Michael Bisbee   Walking the Dog, 2011











Michael Bisbee  The Dog 2010-11
25 X 12.5 inches

Collection Nevada Museum of Art + Environment



‘The Dog’ is a found object composed of three pieces of wood attached to each other with wood screws, some of which sharply protrude from the opposite side from which they entered. It is scrap from a construction site at the artist’s house in Magdalena, New Mexico. The artist disposed of multiple loads of material from the site, and noticed that this piece remained in the truck bed after each load.


The persistent survival and seeming attachment of the scrap piece reminded the artist of a troublesome and loyal dog. It also brought to mind Kafka’s Odradek in “The Cares of a Family Man.” Odradek is an incomplete scrap that "once had some sort of intelligible shape and is now only a broken-down remnant." Kafka writes further “He lurks by turns in the garret, the stairway, the lobbies, the entrance hall. Often for months on end he is not to be seen; then he has presumably moved into other houses; but he always comes faithfully back to our house again. Many a time when you go out of the door and he happens just to be leaning directly beneath you against the banisters you feel inclined to speak to him. Of course, you put no difficult questions to him, you treat him - he is so diminutive that you cannot help it - rather like a child. "Well, what's your name?" you ask him. "Odradek," he says. "And where do you live?" "No fixed abode," he says and laughs; but it is only the kind of laughter that has no lungs behind it. It sounds rather like the rustling of fallen leaves. And that is usually the end of the conversation. Even these answers are not always forthcoming; often he stays mute for a long time, as wooden as his appearance.”


When creating the “Walking the Dog” project the artist took “The Dog” for a walk at THE LAND/an art site in Mountainair, NM by repeatedly throwing, retrieving, and throwing it again. In each step he photographed the landed / rediscovered / faithful object. The work’s dimensions are variable and it is composed of up to 24 images.