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Collection > Rachel Harrison >

I'm No Monkey

2005

  • Medium

    Wood, polystyrene, cement, acrylic, encaustic, plastic skulls, wig, and tiara

  • Dimensions

    85 x 35 x 26 in. (215.9 x 88.9 x 66.04 cm)

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Purchased with funds provided by Carol and David Appel

  • Accession number

    2006.5

  • Object label

    Rachel Harrison’s I’m No Monkey brings together a seemingly incoherent collection of objects—plastic skull, wigs (an “X-Tensions” brand tag dangles from one), tiara, wooden box, drinking straws, and a rough, hand-painted form that resembles a toppling stack of books. The sculpture’s title refers to a then-recent campaign by opponents of Darwinism to eliminate books on evolution from libraries. Knowing this, however, does little to resolve the incongruity of the work’s components. In fact, Harrison’s sculpture underscores the tension between the abstract, handmade, and lavishly painted column on the one hand and cheap, store-bought, and common objects on the other. By composing I’m No Monkey so that the one-of-a-kind encrusted tower and specially fabricated box with circular cutouts appear to be, absurdly, an elaborate means of presenting a few kitschy consumer items, Harrison juxtaposes traditional sculpture’s need for a pedestal and a consumer object’s need for an appealing display.