Whatever happened with the penis cashew you had for sale last year? How much did it end up going for?
Good question and a great opportunity to talk up the new book. I just sent off the first draft of ape2, the complete 2008 collection of apes. It’s going to be epic (apeic?) But in there I put the complete cashew story. Here it is with the questions cut short because they get long. Anyway, buy the book when they are done. I promise you won’t regret it… the answer to your question is somewhere below.. read on..
steven’s trader joe’s cashew #4
Let’s pause the questions for a second to tell a little story. I was siting at my desk working one day and eating trail mix when I stopped for some reason on a specific cashew. As I looked at it I just started laughing because, well, it just looked like a dick. Of curse I took a picture and sent it to a few people. The immediate response from almost all of them was “put in on ebay!” So That’s what I did. Here is the original auction:
So. Today I’m sitting at my computer, enjoying a bag of Trader Joe’s sweet, savory and tart trek mix (expiration 8/8/08 .. the weirdness doesn’t stop..) For anyone who has yet to be fooled by this particular trail mix, you should do yourself the favor. For even though it is in the “healthy” trail mix section. It’s basically a bag of candy. Guilt free candy. To be honest, as I was shoveling in the handfulls of mix, I don’t know what stopped me on this particular cashew. When you think about it, how many penis cashews have I missed over the years only to be destroyed by biblically gnashing jaws? None? Three? A lot? I don’t know. But today something miraculous happened. I paused, and caught it. The most beautiful cashew penis mine eyes have ever laid upon. Excellent curvature, exquisite tautness of the “tea bag.” Absolutely flawless and beautiful. Absolutely one of a kind! This is where it is your lucky day my ebay friends. I offer this delightful Mentula Anacardium Occidentale (penis cashew in layman’s terms) up for auction. No reserve, no shipping, bidding start at $.99. Does ebay ever get sexier then those terms? Sometimes, but rarely. Don’t delay! Thanks for looking and as always.. bid with cockfidence.
Well it was fun for about half a day, but as it turns out ebay isn’t that stoked on penis cashews and they removed the auction with some “terms of service” excuse. I thought about it a bit and realized I had to do what pornographers since the beginning of time have been doing; camouflage the porn as art. After some careful rethinking, I posted this auction next:
First of all, let me start this auction by letting you know that I’m an artist. As an artist, I see form and expression in everyday objects that others miss. Where you see earth, I see eARTh, and where you see a cashew, I see art. As a common ebayer, you might see in this piece a whistle, or a space horn, or even a nose. As an artist I see a full and shapely expressive form reflecting and commenting upon society, commercialism, and the continuous conflict between positive and negative space.
I don’t know why I stopped at this particular cashew as I was eating my Trader Joe’s sweet, savory & tart trail mix, but as an artist the unexplainable happens often. My body is a vessel of creation and expression in tune with everything around me, including what you would see as “just another cashew”
No, something about the shape of this particular cashew reflects the shape of our society. As the artist, I have split and re-glued the cashew as an expression of the “cracks” that have been “glued” in modern life. It is a complete work of art in every way. Famed art critic Richard Barokavov had this to say about the piece:
“Steven’s ‘Trader Joe’s Cashew #4’ is such a complete and absolute brutally dissecting view of the industrial conflict between capitalism and modernism that is is hard for even the most verbose of critics to add too. Regardless of Steven’s relation to me as a colleague and studio mate, the intense complexity I feel for this work is also complete and absolute.”
Again, I don’t expect most to fully understand the complexity of the form but as you can see it is quite powerful. Included will be a photographic digital print of the piece. Pleas bid with confidence and ask questions if some of this was hard for you to understand. Thank you for looking.
No reserve auction, free shipping. Escrow services will be used if auction exceeds the expected $500,000 that is has been valued.
What happened next was pretty bizarre. The auction blew up and eventually 25,000 people had viewed the page. Some stupid afternoon wacky radio show interviewed me (I really think they thought I was serious) and the cashew bidding began to get fierce. It was a weird week. A random search of the internet finds these reactions…
“Is it Art because I can not stop staring at it, or can I not stop staring at it because it is Art?”
“The funny thing about this is that often times the actual art making is the easy part and the promotion, writing, selling of it is the hardest part. I say good luck selling your nuts.”
“I find it amusing that someone that wants $500,000 for a nut that they made by gluing two halves together is met with laughter and whimsy and the ~$6000 chair that a person bangs into shape with a sledgehammer themselves is met with near-hate and disgust.”
“This is like the white canvas with a black line across it, that somehow is earth shattering artwork…or something I did when I was bored in elementary school.”
“Are they fucking serious, people are really bidding on this. I know I don’t know art but come the fuck on, sorry just had to rant a little. Shit like this just show the ignorants of some people.”
The questions and answer also got pretty entertaining. I really didn’t want ebay to remove the auction, so I tried to stay in character as much as possible. After a while the questions became so frequent that I stopped answering them, but here is a handful:
Q: Did you just stick a needle in the sculpture’s balls?
A: Balls is an interesting term, but i prefer to refer to them as the “bells” of the piece, or even more technically, a “double reverse punt.” A nod to my sommelier hobby. As for the “post” it was delicately and of course artfully, done.
Q: what informed your decision to mount the piece via spearing through the scrotum? Vicious statement on gender politics in the modern world? Aiming for a particular spatially-induced emotional state in the passive viewer? Your answer will have stark implications for my valuation of the piece.
A: Again, not sure of the reference to the genitalia. Although I have tackled those issues numerous times in some of my other work, which you have likely seen, this piece specifically is not about gender politics. I do understand that it is very Freudian to gravitate towards the genitalia when trying to fully comprehend a powerful sculpture as this, but still, it smacks as a tad pedestrian.
Q: I can’t tell but is the penis cashew circumcised or uncircumcised?
A: I don’t understand why you bring up circumcision. I think you are confusing this sculpture with my well known performance piece titled “A bris walk through the park” which deals with said issues.
Q: color me intrigued! as an art collector, and something of a completist, may i ask about numbers 1 through 3? i’m worried that there will be stiff competition in the bidding from someone looking for a complete collection!
A: I can assure you that there is no 1 through 3, for the use of #4 was used as a powerful statement of protest against the linear confines of modernality. Happy bidding.
Q: how big is this penis shaped object? If I win, can I suck on it? BUT NOT EAT IT? Also, will detailed instructions come with this cashew on what to do if i get hungary? thanks
A: It’s about the size of a cashew. As i’ve said a million times now, the winner can make any artistic statement with the sculpture if acquired. And your dietary concerns are of no interest or responsibility to me.
Q: How will the item be shipped – as three separate parts inside the bubble wrap? Will you include instructions for assembling?
A: The item will be shipped assembled. The correct angle of the object on the pedestal is a crucial element to the statement, and I would hate to see it done incorrectly by a non-artist.
Q: Why are you selling this on ebay if you make a distinction between yourself “and the common people”? Also, how would your react to critics who suggest that you are primarily seeking an easy profit rather that an outlet for your artistic message?
A: Selling on ebay is the ultimate and purest expression of hysteric capitalism that exists, of which this piece is partly addressing. Besides Sotheby’s found it to be a bit too complex. To answer your second question, I would tell them that they obviously don’t understand my sculptures dynamic form and social critique if that is what they believe.
Q: A Cashew stuck on a woodblock. Come on people this is not art. This is joke, not the fact that this is being sold, but the fact that people consider this art and are making money off of this. Most anyone could do something like this. A five year old could, but guess what it would not be considered art because there is no idea behind it. This cashew is nothing. what is being sold is feelings/ideas on today world that in order to make it art had to have a physical form. If i glue a hotpocket to a black pinstriped men’s suit and gave my reason for “creating” it as that i found its form representation of today’s corporate America and how its constant flow of doing what is easy is staining our creative outlets and hindering the growth of society….would someone on here buy it? This is just as bad as they guy who found a rotting wooden chair put it on a pedestal and got 50k for it. At least this is better than the dog killer.
A: Your critique 101 banter has bored me to sobs. Try the cafe nearest your local college. You may find some interested ears there.
And there it is. The complete files of “Seven’s Trader Joe’s cashew #4.” The high bid was $150, but I had a friend out bid them at the last minute. What can I say, I got attached to the little dude and his intense representation of modern society through such simplified means. He is now on the shelf above the computer I’m typing this on. So if anyone has a museum space for a show, we (the cashew and I) are currently entertaining offers.