There’s something unnerving about the Brothers Quay.
Not their work so much, but them. But their work is tied so closely to their work some of that inscrutability might transfer.
Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator at the MoMA where “Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets” opens this week, introduced them with the claim that their work is “indecipherable”.
Lenica, Borowczyk, Joseph Cornell, Bourgery & Jacob, and the rusting flotsam of 19th Century genius can provide a more than sufficient cypher to break the code.
Some of these influences are presented at the MoMA. The Brothers generosity in citing work they like -Alexander Alexieff, Yuri Norstein, Igor Kovaleyev, Pritt Parn -contributes to a very personable engaging show.
Typically, the personal life of an artist doesn’t particular interest me. The twins are so synchronized, for such a long time, examining their work -especially the illustration, painting and prints -constantly calls back the question of penmanship. Film, their primary medium, demands many hands. A two headed author of a film is common. All of the work is signed under the “Brothers” name, with no clue into the division of responsibility.
They did give one insight when discussing disagreements. They don’t argue, never have disagreements. Collaboration is process of “distilling differences.”
The show runs through January with all sorts of screenings too.