The Kevorkian Papers

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"The value that painting displays is determined in manifold ways; though for some it's pure pleasure, I think the real measure is wisdom in thought is conveys. The subjects of art should be more than the aspects of life we adore; because dark sides abound, surreal paintings profound may help change a few things we abhor." Jack Kevorkian, M.D.

Brotherhood

 Every person is physically a part of the fabric called humanity, which bedizens itself with all kinds of noble epithets and arbitrary virtues. On the contrary, the pervading spirit is, and always was, a miasma of distrust and suspicion, periodically accentuated by hate, outright mayhem, and murder. A perfect example of this societal putridity is the ugly history of Native American extinction and slavery in "free" and "enlightened" America. Despite effusive lip service to sublime ideals, humanity's worship is lavished on its real god, Satan, whose sovereignty and leering confidence are sustained by all his mindless subjects throughout the world,—and don't forget Waco.

 

Fever

This is a repainting of one of the original works of eighteen paintings (now lost) concerning various medical signs, symptoms and social commentaries. Depicted here is the great discomfort of intense bodily heat. The inferno is internal, and in some tragic cases even the will to live is charred.

 

1915 Genocide 1945

The inhuman gall and depravity inherent in the planning and execution of race murder defy comprehension. Any such attempt (including this painting) would never convey the real meaning of unlimited murder for the purpose of national extinction, beginning with the Indians in the Western Hemisphere. This painting, framed in actual human blood, commemorates the two most well known attempts at genocide in modern times: The Turkish massacre of one and one half million Armenians during World War I and the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews during World War II. To fail to take but token interest in the whole ugly affair, to avoid making it almost hereditary memory, would be abdicating decent human responsibility and thereby assuring recurrence, ─ as is happening at this very moment.

 

Coma

How strange and inscrutable is the deep sleep of trauma or disease. Is there consciousness in the live brain? The eyes may be flitting, but do they see? Does that signify dreaming? Sometimes the sleeper awakes; but more often this last profound act of Morpheus merely provides another morsel for nature's ultimate scavenger— death.

 

The Double Cross of Justice

The current widespread and perpetual distrust of jurisprudence in America, and ecially in Michigan, is to be expected and is justified. It is expected, because the exalted ideal of justice is corrupted by its practice. As Einstein said, "It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man." In the painting the impairment of one cross, the scales of justice, is obvious; but its background shadow is not the other cross. The latter indeed is a shadow; and if you spot it, you will grasp how unspeakably corrupt the system really is. Both crosses overlie as if to conceal and to desecrate the theoretically ideal instruments of rights and justice. The distrust is justified by the indelible legacy of evil exemplified by "esteemed" judicial enforcement of our "Dred Scott" laws and of their "Nuremberg" laws. That evil spirit is still at work.

 

Very Still Life

The message here, though somewhat capricious, nebulous, and indefinable, is clearly underscored by intense feeling and brilliant colors. These highlight the melancholy age-old balance between the warmth of life and the iciness of death, spiced with the sardonic humor of irony.

The disquieting mood portends inescapable doom for the frail symbol of individual life and through seemingly callous extinction of its evanescent aura. The age-old balance is certainly skewed.

 

For He Is Raised

The annual resurrection by dumb bunnies of a pathetic, despairing, almost scorned image of purported divinity is hardly noticeable amid the garish paraphernalia of irresistible paganism at its vernal orgy. It is a spectacle badly conceived, poorly manipulated and superbly desecrated by the disciples of Mammon, who, with armfuls of brilliant multi-colored eggs and with gleeful joy, framed in parade-stopping millinery, might, in a rare pseudo-pious mood briefly condescend to acknowledge some sort of disquieting mystery pervading it all. Such is the perfunctory Easter of modern Western society that seems to have lost appreciation for anachronisms like rods and staffs and angels and lambs.

 

Fa La La La La, - La La, - La, - LA!

The commemoration of what is considered to be divine birth is usually framed within the juvenile delights of irrelevant rituals and icons. Hopelessly enmeshed in the tawdry garlands, a degenerate and decaying spirit vainly and even frantically seeks renewed vitality and sustenance in the paradox which has set and sealed its fate. Is the ultimate exaltation in garlands and gifts, trees and tinsel, hearths and holly, or Santa and his reindeer? If not, if there is too intimate an involvement with false idols, then the boot should be lifted off quickly, the candle lighted, and the cobwebs brushed away. But alas, - it might be too late. It takes more than dry bones to do these things.

 

Nearer My God to Thee

How do most human beings feel about dying ─ at least about their own deaths? Despite the solace of hypocritical religiosity and its seductive promise of an after ─ life of heavenly bliss, most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death. We contemplate and face it with great apprehension, profound fear, and terror, ─ sparing no financial or physical sacrifice, pleading wantonly and unashamedly, clutching any hope of salvation through medicine or prayer. How forbidding that dark abyss. How stupendous the yearning to dodge its gaping orifice. How inevitable the engulfment. Yet, below are the disintegrating hulks of those who have gone before; they have made the insensible transition and wonder what the fuss is all about. After all, how excruciating can nothingness be?

 

The Gourmet (on War)

What is war? Is it a soldier dying, or guns, or bombs, or crosses, or weeping mothers, or sport, or patriotism, or valor, or high paying jobs? What is war? Not hell, for that is merely evil. War is worse than evil. It is mind-boggling suicide – mass suicide – with humankind devouring or trying to devour itself. In vain attempts to assuage some sort of weird, innate (and apparently insatiable) appetite nurtured by our true, beloved, and pagan god, Mars, we will not settle for less than the "flower of evolution" as the main course embellished by bountiful side dishes and fanciful shakers filled with the "fruits" of our marvelous hands and big starving brains. How long before we really believe that salvation lies not in an insane paradox fostered by brute and selfish gluttony, but instead in the far more "nutritious" and healthful viand in the sadly neglected garden of human compassion and understanding? Considering the status of brotherhood today, probably too long.

 

Paralysis

A chained brain and spinal cord cannot motivate or empower. Or, is it muscle, like petrified statuary, that cannot respond? Despair and panic accentuate biological incarceration as though trapped by dank encroaching walls. In time there will be atrophy, ─ hopefully only corporeal, not of the spirit.



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Comments  

 
0 #1 Julie InYourFaceNewYorker 2011-05-16 22:05
I love these paintings, especially "Nearer My God to Thee." They're so wonderfully disturbing.

It's odd how people who are the most scared of death are the ones who believe they're going to heaven and hang with Jesus. I'm an atheist, and even as a little kid I didn't believe in an afterlife (except for a brief stint at age 12 after my dog died).

At age 7 I found a magazine and started reading a column about tough questions kids ask. One of them had an example of a kid asking his mother if their pet rabbit that they buried in the backyard went to heaven. I showed the article to my mom and said, "Can't they just dig it up and check?" My mom explained to me how some people believe in a soul and what that meant (I was raised in an agnostic Jewish household). I thought, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" Well, not in so many words, but I did find it ridiculous! And who wouldn't except those indoctrinated with religion??

Julie
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