Gerald Murphy, “Razor”

Gerald Murphy, “Razor”

Was at the Dallas Museum of Art and this leaped out at me. As S.S. Fair notes in the review above, it features “a vividly rendered matchbox, Parker fountain pen, and Gillette safety razor.” They look “fresh and modern,” and yeah, in this age it looks like an “elegy to everyday tools beautifully rendered but quaint in today’s plastic, junk-tastic universe.”

I got a bit something different out of it. The theme is safety. In addition to “safety” matches and the safety razor, the background is composed of box and file-like shapes, boxes and files protecting and compartmentalizing their contents. The lid of the matches and the crossed razor and pen below resemble some kind of coat of arms. This is our flag, our declaration – oh wait, one of these things doesn’t belong. The fountain pen doesn’t really claim to be safe, especially when one considers what constitutes real writing. The “safe” world is that of design and marketing. The pen reminds of what truly lasts.