Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

202—Carol Jackson


CAROL JACKSON: Youthful Beast—It's so grand, and it's so gold, but it's an impoverished set of materials. 


NARRATOR: Carol Jackson.


CAROL JACKSON: It's papier mâché. It's a cheap digital print from Staples, five dollars. It’s trying to get away with grandiosity, but it can't quite get there.


NARRATOR: The sculpture was inspired in part by John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost


CAROL JACKSON: The Beast—as soon as Satan fell from grace, he was represented in this grandiose way. This is when he's the most beautiful and the most elaborate. But he's already starting to decay. That’s what I’m—I get that from the poem.

NARRATOR: Jackson has also used photographs from National Park Service webcams in the sculpture.


CAROL JACKSON: When I was looking at them there was just something almost terrifying to look at these cameras that are focused on nothing—I mean, they're focused on something, but it's just atmosphere. There's not really anything happening. But there's this omnipresence. I really felt it like it was kind of chilling. I don't know. I'm very attracted to it.

Most of my work is really romantic—I mean, I've got [laughs] to admit. But I'm really interested in the idea that we're at the beginning of our decay as a culture, and I just function from there.

Paradise Lost, they talk about how many similes it contains. The poem itself is a kind of simile for me for Western culture, specifically American.


Carol Jackson, _Youthful Beast_, 2013. Acrylic, papier-mâché, and inkjet print, 35 x 32 x 16 in. (88.9 x 81.3 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the artist