Patton Oswalt and Sherrie Levine

Sherrie Levine – Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp), 1991

Comedian Patton Oswalt recently wrote a piece for Wired called Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die, about how the Internet blasts once-obscure nerd minutia into the mainstream. It’s 1/3 cranky, 1/3 brilliant, and 1/3 hilarious.

He says, “Why create anything new when there’s a mountain of freshly excavated pop culture to recut, repurpose, and manipulate on your iMovie?”

This reminded me of something conceptual artist Sherrie Levine said in a 1982 statement: “The world is filled to suffocating. Man has placed his token on every stone. Every word, every image, is leased and mortgaged. We know that a picture is but a space in which a variety of images, none of them original, blend and clash. A picture is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.”

The big difference seems to be that while Levine takes this as the starting point for her practice, Oswalt sees it as a reason to call for a complete pop-culture apocalypse.


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