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Five Words with Ivan Witenstein

Text by Aaron Zimmerman

Ivan Witenstein's work overwhelmed me the first time I saw it. It was in a crowded group show at Audiello Fine Arts. The collision of symbols and forms jutted, billowed, and ultimately invaded my field of vision so aggressively I didn't know how to take it. Then I tried to decipher them. I knew there was something intelligent at work but still it was beyond me. It wasn’t until I read a piece on him in Beautiful Decay magazine that it all fell into place. "Black Baptism", by the way, is one of the best sculptures I've seen since Murakami’s "My Lonesome Cowboy" He seemed a perfect candidate for the 5 Words Project. Seems I was right. Check it out:


What is scarier, the fact that world events have rendered Jello Biafra's music relevant again or that the terrorists gave Peter Jennings lung cancer? It's like my college advisor always said the only thing wrong with going to Mars is you might get the Martian Dick Flu.


This girl I knew thought that it was so funny that the numbers on the speedometer in her '87 Toyota pick-up truck went up to 180 miles an hour. Every time I was in her truck she said, the only way this car would go a hundred miles an hour is flying off of a cliff then she would laugh a little. It didn't seem like a joke when she said it.


To this day the best tattoo I ever saw was on this relatively young guy's forearm. He was this short slight guy with a beard who worked for the catering company that provided lunch for the day camp kids. The tattoo was big block letters down the front of his arm that read "You Are Dead To Me." I mean, how great, instead of being saddled with the cliché tattooed name, which outlasts the relationship, he waited until the relationship was over and memorialized it forever out of anger and pain.


I had this sculpture that was supposed to go in front of a library in New York, but when it was done everybody was scared that it was racist, so they offered me an additional ten thousand dollars to replace the black figure with Luke Skywalker. I declined but am now kind of having second thoughts.


Women's responses to direct stimulation of the G-spot is identical to the response of males when their prostate is stimulated. The first few seconds of stimulation produces a strong feeling to urinate. This feeling lasts from two to ten seconds, maybe longer, before changing to distinct sexual enjoyment. Most women when faced with this sensation hold back their sexual responses in fear of wetting their partners. This might explain why up to 25% of American females never have orgasms, they've learned early that to avoid embarrassment, they have to hold back.

To see more work by Ivan go to derekeller.com.

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