Michael Bühler-Rose’s practices on multiple platforms influence his production as an artist. He has described his subjects as “theatrical cultural realities” and “feats of representation through place and displacement.”
I’ll Worship You, You’ll Worship Me reflects on my background of years of studying and teaching Hindu rituals as a Brahmin priest in India. By creating parallels between the artist as priest, the art object as a deity, and viewing it in the gallery/museum as a pilgrimage I explore how conceptual art practice translates to thousands of years of intricate Hindu theory on dealing with imagery.
In the two-way viewing theory of darsana, the pilgrim/viewer takes darsana of, or sees, the deity. Just as important though is that the deity is always looking back at the pilgrim/viewer, creating an acknowledgement of the viewer’s reverential presence.
In this video, the priest/artist uses a bathing ritual, usually reserved for venerating a deity, to worship the viewer. Flipping around the darsana idea explores how the presence of the viewer vindicates the existence of the art object, e.g. The viewer venerates the art object by coming to its temple/gallery to see it, the art object in turn, ritually welcomes and worships the viewer.
About the artist
Michael Bühler-Rose, born in New Jersey, lives and works in New York City. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to India, obtained his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and his MFA from University of Florida. Recent work and curated projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi; Witte de With, Rotterdam; Vogt Gallery, New York; Scaramouche, NY; Chatterjee and Lal, Mumbai; Nature Morte, New Delhi; and Carroll and Sons, Boston. His work is held in the Sammlung Goetz, Munich, the SK Kultur Stiftung/Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, and the Harvard Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA. He is an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design and The Cooper Union.
This exhibition was supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.