Bill Anthes

Monkey Painting

An imagined primate protagonist, an amalgam of Kafka’s character Red Peter, and the chimpanzee subjects of experiments in artmaking and language usage, addresses his human interlocutors on the subjects of art, identity, and desire.

Monkey Painting (for Desmond Morris)
Red Peter, with assistance from B. Anthes

Hands me a thing
For to see what I will
Oh! Good monkey
Thing makes a shape
From my mind I distill
Oh! Good monkey

To be speaking for me
Oh! Good monkey
Hear my address
To the academy
Oh! Good monkey

Exceptional primate
Create signifiers
Oh! Good monkey
Make shapes to show
What in my heart desires
Oh! Good monkey

Monkey Michelangelo
Imperfect metaphor
Isn’t what my art is for
Categories are all yours, doctor
Don’t call me monkey
I’m not your monkey