Doug Beube
Sketchbook #6: Undercover/Coverunder

1990
collage, ink, cloth, water color, gouache
12 x 8 x 2 in.
The double-page spreads from Sketch Book #6: Undercover/Coverunder illustrate concepts for a proposed large-scale work that eventually became part of a multimedia installation entitled, The Pentagon. These sketches and paintings represent my thinking about the piece, rather than give precise specifications for constructing the full-scale installation. The installation itself was displayed at the Barbara Fendrick Gallery in SOHO, while a tape loop provided an unending soundtrack of footsteps echoing along an empty corridor; metal doors swinging open and shut to reveal the various sounds of bombs exploding, tortured groans, the grinding of a paper shredder, and a whispered conversation; and the hollowed and slowed down voice of a man giving a barely intelligible speech. The objects in the installation were centered in the room like a memorial sculpture. Approximately four thousand M-2 machine gun bullets were lined-up in the shape of a five-pointed star, at the center of which forty-eight mousetraps spelled out the word covert. Approximately three hundred red delicious apples (that eventually rotted) surrounded the star, while a bowling ball was suspended precariously above. Five aluminum stanchions joined together by plush red cords cordoned off the entire display. A few feet beyond this stood a black podium supporting a golden ceramic book with the inscription, “LET US REJOICE NOT SO MUCH IN WHAT WE HAVE BECOME BUT IN WHAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF BECOMING.” In order to read it, viewers would step onto a platform constructed of artificial turf atop a stack of Federal Law books, as if standing above the law. Looking out over the podium, the viewer seemed to become the embodiment of the hollowed out voice on the tape giving a speech to an audience of rusty bullets, rotting apples, and mouse traps.
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