The Greenest Grass
Soil, Sod, MDF, Acrylic, Blk/Wht T-shirts, Blue Jeans, Sparring Mitts
Kyle Duske
Special thanks to: Jureck Szymczak and Dave Stewart
2008

The Greenest Grass is a mixed-media installation and performance that relies not only on an existence within the gallery, but a digital existence as well. While it is in the gallery it is constantly evolving, there are most often three distinct stages. When viewed in any single stage, The Greenest Grass is an effective and thought provoking work. However, it is most successfully understood when the entire evolution is experienced.

Through material and performance it deals with many contemporary issues such as: the recent growing popularity of sport fighting, and the ever expanding and contracting urban sprawl. These topics come from a concern with the strange human desire to take the natural, most notably ecological and behavioral in this work, out of its original context to give it value and argue for its legitimacy.

Within the gallery, it exists first as a sculpture; A pristine, white, 8' x 8' planting bed, filled with soil and topped off with sod. For many viewers the green top is an obvious reference to monochrome painting. To many others it may look much like their own back yard with in urban spaces.

Two sets of lightweight sparring mitts sit on top of the sculpture foreshadowing the performance to come. During the opening reception two men fight atop of the sculpture in a brutish free-for-all. A referee indicates the beginning and end of the fight. Though he and the now swarming observers all have the power to step in and stop the fight at any time, the men are allowed to fight until they can barely hit each other any longer.

In an art gallery full of pacifists, intellectuals and prudes one may expect that such an event would not be acceptable but this is quite the contrary as it is embraced whole heartedly. People swarm around the work speculating on the out come and calling out for blood. As handheld technologies have become the norm the audience hurry to retrieve cameras and cellular phones in order to record this unexpected event.

After the performance the sculpture is left scarred. During the first exhibit of this work, one wall of the bed became bowed, and the turf was left damaged and torn. With in days videos and photographs began surfacing on websites such as YouTube, Facebook, in personal online journals and e-mails.

The Greenest Grass is able to draw viewers in by taking very familiar materials and behaviors and staging them together in a controlled fashion. It asks its viewers not only to reflect on its existence but their existence in relation to the work, constantly picking at questions of appropriateness and our strange desire to restrict our selves and surroundings in a attempt for potential bettering.