Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Tony Tasset (American, b. 1960)

Spew, 1993

Silver dye-bleach print

53 1/2 x 53 1/2 in. (135.9 x 135.9 cm)

Gift of Suzette L. and Timothy P. Flood

Spew forms part of a group of photographs Tasset made in the mid-1990s using his body as subject matter to refer to artistic identity. The image recalls another work in the MCA Collection, Self-Portrait as a Fountain (1966–67/70) by Bruce Nauman (American, b. 1941). In that work, Nauman alludes to the infamous Fountain (1917), a urinal that Marcel Duchamp (American, b. France 1887–1968) transformed into art with his signature. In his photograph, Nauman performs the part of the fountain, whereas Tasset, spewing paint, describes his work as an homage to action painting, a loose, gestural style of painting popularized by 1950s abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956), which was often seen as a cathartic and direct release of emotion from the artist onto the canvas.