October 30, 2007

Ahora

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I'm chopping wood over here.

This painting was a scrape off until I saw what was underneath and liked it. Now, it's like a ship coming into port, slow and steady.

Meanwhile, I've been called into jury duty. What a mundane mandarin legal system we've built. And yet it does seem noble even when, and perhaps because it is lavished on some bunch of knuckleheads acting the fool. I figure that this is all I can write about this at the moment, so commandeth our judge. She is simultaneously stern and sweetly jocular, an interesting character who is aware of mediated ideas of the justice system in our heads and she took the time to correct for it. Today is the second day and I get to learn this day if the next two weeks of November will be consumed by a whodoneit.

The trouble is that I was planning to fly to New York early November and civic duty might blow that plan away. (I've already bought the plane tickets.)

...aaaaaaand I've got to finish that blogpost about the Murakami show. That requires some serious head wrapping, that one.

UPDATE: I pled professional hardship. The judge jumped in, eyes on eyes: "Why didn't you say that in the beginning?" My response: "Missing a trip to NYC didn't seem to approach the level of hardship that you conveyed in your instruction." I mean, people were getting out based on weddings and pregnancies. She looked to the lawyers --they had been sorting twelve from over seventy five jurors, jockeying for a jury that might favor their side of the case-- and everyone knew that they had yet to comb through twenty more...

"You can go."

As I walked down the immense hallway of the fifteenth floor of the Superior Court Building, my feelings were mixed. There was in me the impulse to skip and sing for the blessings of sweet freedom. But there is this duty thing that I've just ducked out on, and despite the sorry fact that our justice system was being wasted on apparently lightweight hooliganism, this whole experience was a significant part of the friction that our society is placing against our natural tendency to regress to the tribalism that is gangster life in America. Some kid shot at another kid in a car one night. No one got hurt apparently. I wouldn't like to see a young lad get swept away to jail, losing any chance of entering normative (modern) society. I also wouldn't like to lend any energy to the dynamic that condemns youth to the life of the savage in the midst of all the plenty of 21st century progress either. Jury duty is a pain in the ass, but ultimately it is a noble one.

Posted by Dennis at 7:12 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2007

MOCA MURAKAMI GALA

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A word floated up from that evening.

What was it?

Uuuummmmmmm. Yea.

Imprimatur.

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Imprimatur

Everyone was lending huge gobs of imprimatur to each other that night. Murakami lent his global exotic Japanese-ness to MOCA (thus fulfilling the Schimmel legacy launched with Helter-Skelter); MOCA+Murakami were lending their art-ness to Kanye West and Marc Jacobs; Kanye West sealed a collaborative deal in a previous video illustrated by KaiKai Kiki LLC; and Jacobs seemed the most generous delivering as he did the heft of fashion world cred, filling everyone's pockets with a most delicious imprimatur galore. As a seat filler for my gallery from Japan, I had about as much imprimatur to give as I could scrape from a fingernail... and I took about as much from the evening, watching the embarrassment of riches that was the Gala.
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Walking through the show, it was stunning to see an artist who grew into this position during the same time frame as I had to reach my own dizzy height as a gala seat filler. Humbling, a better word. As I like to say, there are many art worlds, and It was a marvel to witness this part of the artworld, the global museum artworld, inflate itself and float away into a different categyory alltogether, like the very image of Takeshi's professionally fabricated sculptural installations, big toothed cavernous mouths and all. I've mentioned before, this particular phenomena that has caught my attention: that not only are there several artworlds, but that the premier one expressed by the global museum exhibition world is evolving into something altogether different from the kind of the museum as I have grown to understand and appreciate...(READ: THE PRADO, the best museum in the world, if they don't blow the upcoming restoration) and this world is beginning to resemble the huge crowd pleasing spectacles of other epochs: the circus, world fairs, vaudeville, bullfighting, bearbaiting, gladiators in the coliseum. I write this not to trivialize the gala, please don't get me wrong. The night was fun, star studded. There is something important, perhaps necessary to the human spirit that spontaneously conjures spectacle and aesthetic power at this level.

Somebody has to be Takeshi Murakami. Better it is the one person who wants to be him.

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And that was the one other thought that floated up in my mind that night: everyone who wanted to be the big dog at this level, became one... be him Pardo, or Hirst, or Bouchel, name your poison*. Bearing this in mind, I wondered if I really ever wanted this, or did I want to be another kind of dog entirely. If the name of the game is to get your attention (you, my dear audience) , then these guys have done their jobs nicely. The strategies of spectacle deployed: huge objects, space grabbing installations, wallpapered rooms, blurred boundaries between the relics of the fabrication process and the objects fabricated, history timelines showing the humble beginnings, commercial links to global brands at multiple levels, audacious commercialism in the costume of contemplative object/act/installation, artist as CEO. It was everything that we were taught to fear and admire and criticize and emulate in school. If the name of the game is to engage my own attention (you, the artist), then that game is of another type... entirely. As someone I knew once, once said: "It's showbiz, Dennis." These are the kind of artists who at least care as much as what you are curious about as what they themselves are curious about. Contrast that to that the kind of artist who gets lost in their curiosity and thus requires a museum to spend eternity plumbing the depths. It's a matter of the difference between Courbet or Cezanne, Puvis de Chavannes or Van Gogh, Keith Haring or Ray Johnson.

There are many artworlds. Don't get too judgmental of one against the other, both types are valid. Each type is different. Our world is simultaneously absolute and relative, that's the beauty of it. The question for me was, will the museum world be able to represent any other artworld than this one, or have they gone the way of the circus and there now exists a civilizational hole where the museum used to be? Could they tell my story if they had to?

(Well, I guess I would have to make them have to.)

Anyhoo, enough about me.

What about the show?

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The whole affair seemed to be a gamble for MOCA and the verdict that night was that it paid off. MOCA needed this to work and the whispers about the millions raised that night confirmed the success. Brands, enhanced all around. If the blood of the artworld --of all artworlds-- is prestige, then blood ran in the aisles that night.

The one art form that stood out was the art of the deal. The whole fundraising drive of that night was compensation to the museum for hosting a retail store without sharing in the division of the spoils between artist and retailer, thus soiling the hands of the institution with filthy lucre. Laundered clean lucre came in from sponsors who paid for the tables, the reward for which was to rub against the robust exchange of the aforementioned imprimatur. Add to this, the feeling of collaboration for donors and guests, not only in the substance itself in the artwork (as actors) but causal agents in the process of making it happen. Artist as CEO, engineering a legal entity as artful as a Fortune 500's aspect toward the Federal Tax Code.

The whole show took 6 weeks to install and it required additional staff to meet the deadline. The install aspired to a legendary status and nearly got there. The physical layout was built around an over and under central block that formed the heart of the show. Above was the flower of a collaboration with a Louis Vuitton Store. Below in the bunker was a kind of library cataloguing the early evolution of Murakami's vision, objects arranged in glowing shelved walls in a boutique format, literally underwriting the audacious appropriation of the commercial world with what might be considered the creative soul of Murakami's project. All around this block spun whorls of environments fabricated by state of the art atelier teams.

It was as if the handmade level of Takeshi's creation was a drawing on a balloon where hot ambition was blown into it, expanding to fill the exhibition spaces. Thin but fun all the same like balloons are. It's interesting to consider that for artists of this caliber, say a Paul McCarthy, Walt Disney is the name of the game. I can think of a McCarthy character: the demented Santa dude, the pirate booty thing, the debased painter. I can't think of a Murakami character. Takeshi, for all his accomplishment, has no Mini Mouse. Singing flowers or happy faces with sharp teeth don't cut it for me, sorry. Thin but fun... no problem. And still, it works.


Overheard: "There are tables of artists who are too cynical to buy into it, turning their (KaiKai Kiki signature circular) placemats over in silent protest." (They seem to think that a little integrity might rub off while one rubs on the imprimatur. ?And yet still they rub!) "The chatter over there is so cynical, they looked uncomfortable. But at the end of the night, they were snatching them up to take home."

and

"Are you going to sell them on E-Bay?"

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* That would be "poison", as in a bar drink.

Posted by Dennis at 9:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2007

Something's Happening

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Posted by Dennis at 8:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2007

Lush Tropical Settings

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News from my family: my mother Angel is visiting my uncle (Tito) Albert (Bitan) and son, my cousin Laurindo in Manila this month.

My cousin wrote:
Greetings from the beach...

We're about 3 hours drive out of Manila.. at a remote beach house of a friend of my dad's

Arrived late last night... your mom had one helluva surprise when she saw the lush tropical setting we brought her too - she didn't know what to expect, especially since the road here was rather... shall we say... rustic.

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UPDATE: Tito Bitan wrote in today:

Hello Dennis

You might like these photos of your Mom's visit to Batangas, 2.5 hours south of Manila
we stayed at a place called Matuod in a beach house of good friends of mine.

I believe you enjoy the water... so the lion fish in the aquarium were caught off the waters and will be released back eventually.
the fish lady came around selling the days catch for $ 3 /kilo.
breakfast under the coconut trees added to the ambiance.


The tropical setting just got lusher and more tropical.

Posted by Dennis at 2:04 PM | Comments (0)

Jacques de Beaufort

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Jacques and I hung out the other evening, a studio visit. I'm tumbling ideas about how to approach video and recording the conversations that occur during studio visits. The video I took that evening was rough and curt given my equipment that I have at the moment, and I will show I notwithstanding, because I actualy like that which is notwithstanding in art. More about that later.

Jacques was nice enough to bring his class over and I said a few things about the work as the students jammed into the studio. Thanks, Jacques!

Posted by Dennis at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

Last Week

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Last week was like this.

The way I have been painting has been expanding the range of how I touch paint to canvas, evolving over time a print type of mark making that involves applying paint and removing it. This could be construed as a claim on paint-as-material that spans from a smudge to a wad all done directly while the paint was wet. Wet in to wet. The immersion into material as a meditation vortex that could conjure a subject as it spins.. (The revision, elisions leaving traces, this parenthetical aside itself is a corallary of this kind of painting in text.)

All of this a fancy way of streamofselfconsciousnessly saying that I have been putting paint down and scraping it up all through the week, only to have the week end at Saturday with what I thought at the time to be a monumental scrape off. In the past, I would have considered this to be a "game over" moment. Given that the virginal aspect of the painting was shot, I would have considered flipping the strategy to something that buldoses the bodies below another kind of painting. But the imprintation of paint brings me back to that layering strategy that I originally sought to sidestep by working Allah Prima Alla Prima. All paintings proceed from something done, then something else done... and it was the ability to plumb the depths of those layers with eviscerating scoops and blurring drags that canceled out the fixed rigidity of superpositioning that was the name of the thing that irritated me.

It seemed as if I was visited by Gaff last week, who left the origami unicorn late Saturday afternoon to tell me I wasn't all that. So I took Sunday off to think about it all.

But this morning, I liked what I saw when I came into the studio. And the surface was still sticky to boot. The wet into wet is still wet.

Posted by Dennis at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)

Notes from Spain

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Stephanie is avidly reading Giles Tremlett's Ghosts of Spain, a well written reflection on contemporary Spanish society and the reverberations from their history spoken and unspoken of, the ghosts that Tremlett refers to. She told me of the Flamenco singer Camaron de la Isla. We looked for more information in iTunes --no luck-- then Wikipedia --not enough-- for music in Amazon, then in YouTube. I don't know why we didn't go to YouTube first. The first clip was the best of a bunch of great videos:


From chapter 6 "The Mean Streets of Flamenco", page 187:

His brother recalls how, when Camar?n was still a child, the se?oritos who gathered at the Venta de Vargas would insist that he came to sing. 'After a while they always asked for Camar?n, and we all knew we would earn more money that way. I would have to crawl on to the bed above all the other sleeping bodies and prod him awake. often he would tell me that he didn't want to come.

It was the start of a story of genius and tragedy, of the first flamenco star of the media age. Just as Camar?n was often unwilling to sing for the se?oritos, so he was an unwilling star. Quiet, introverted, uuninterested in the trappings of wealth and stardom, he was a mystery to most people - even to the legion who claimed to be his friends. Rafael, my friend from Las Tres Mil, recalls meeting one of the shyest, quietest men he had ever seen: 'He would wrap his arms around his body and sink into himself when he was in company', he said. "You had to pull the words from his mouth. But he was a beautiful person.'

Camar?n de la Isla died in 1992, aged just forty-two. A concer caused by four packets of Winstons a day finished him off. Years of drug abuse, of heroin and cocaine, had already drained the sesistance out of a body that produced a sound which revolutionized flamenco. With his death, Camar?n's mythical status was ensured forever. It continues to grow.


Let it grow. But talk about moths to the flame!


I remember they lyrics from another video in the blogpost Tiriti Tran Tran Tran Tran, so I googled for more.

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Here's what I found (the translation has lots of 'tude, so be advised):


Tiriti tran tran tran....
ditto ditto ditto
Just the cantaore's warm-up

?cu?ntas veces te lo he dicho
que te miraras en ello? (or ellaaaaaao?)
How many times have I told you that you'll see yourself in [it] ???????
or...
How many times have I told you that you look like her?

y te viniste a mi vera
and you came to my side (?)

cuando no tiene remedio
when it couldn't be fixed

que mi cari?o tunante
that my affection (something to do with living free without attachments, like a vagabond or.. Gypsy, or a little bit lecherous?)

que mi cari?o truh?n
that my affection (Cheeky, or sly ... like a scammer?)

cuando te vayas conmigo
when you go with me

que ?d?nde te voy a llevar?
where will I take you?

El sentio me da vuelta
The feeling spins me 'round

compa?erita de mis entra?as
companion of my innards (soul?)

El sentio me da vuelta
y yo me acerco a las paredes
and I move close to the walls
que ya est?n llegando a tu puerta
[because] they arrive at your door

y yo me acerco a las paredes
que ya est?n llegando a tu puerta

La amapola del campo le dijo al trigo
the red flower in the field says to the wheat

no me caso con nadie
I won't marry anyone
no s? contigo
if it's not with you

no s? contigo ni?a
no s? contigo
La amapola del campo le dijo al trigo


Que cuando la miro llora
when I look at her she cries

no s? que tiene tu mare
I don't know what your mom's problem/deal is (?)

Que cuando la miro llora
That when I look at her she cries

y no s? con que cosita
and I don't know [with] what [little. unimportant]thing

contemplar a esta se?ora
the woman thinks [about]

Cuando va andando, canelas y rosas va derramando
when she (you? the girl, not the mother?) goes walking cinnamon and roses go spreading/sprouting (?)

si yo mismo no me entiendo
if I don't understand myself

?qui?n me va a entender a m??
who's going to understand me?

digo que ya no te quiero
I tell you that I don't love you [anymore]

y estoy loquito por ti
yet I'm crazy for you

que a los titirimundis
the (wtf?)

que yo te pago la entr?
I pay your [entrance fee?]

que si tu gente no quiere
If your family/people don't want

que ?qu? dir?n, qu? dir?n?
what will they say?

que ?qu? dir?n, qu? dir?n?
what will they say?

que ?qu? tendr?n que decir?
what would they have to say?

que yo te quiero y te adoro
I love you and I adore you

que yo me muero por ti
[so much] that I die for you.

Source

A note on "Notes": the title is a reference on our favorite spanish language enterprise, Ben y Maria's notes From Spain

Posted by Dennis at 7:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2007

LA DriveBy

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The classic image of A.C. Martin's classic modern Department of Water and Power is here.

Posted by Dennis at 1:40 PM | Comments (0)

Admin: Defrag

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I've just learned all about defragmenting my hardrive. Wuh. My computer was limping to a crawl. All is well, but it feels as if I am definitely pushing this machine to its limits. The silver liniing: I was able to recover the use of 20GB out of 80, woohoo.

Nice image of the hardrive, though.

Posted by Dennis at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2007

Free Ayatollah Boroujerdi!

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Ahora

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Painting: drawings that ooze,

Posted by Dennis at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

LOLART, Green and Saltz too.

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Tyler Green in his Modern Art Notes took Jerry Saltz to task in the first piece Saltz wrote for New York Magazine:

In near GawkerForum-style, Saltz builds up clubby NYC-centric anecdote after anecdote to present an image of a community awash in cash. Ironically, for at least a week Saltz joined the crowd he professes to dislike: He became one of those writers more interested in the scene than in art.

Here's why I don't like it: One of the important roles of a critic is to step outside the immediate present, to resist fads, to exert judgment when popularity dominates. By so doing a critic should place art in what s/he thinks is the right context, s/he should say what's important now and s/he should consider what could matter in 50 years, in 100 years -- and not what will matter at the next Bottino Boesky bash.


It was a good critique as far as I could tell, Green's call to redirect attention to art in the midst of the current bloom in our art world is spot on. I wouldn't normally need much prompting to seek out Saltz's writing, but after Green's reality slap, I clicked over to Saltz's Has Money Ruined Art? more avidly than usual. What I found was that indeed Saltz did dwell on the money-money-money problem..but then again , after a 20 paragraph drill down into the article, Saltz did in fact bring our attention back to an art that might matter more than filthy lucre:
This is not just a case of a rising tide that lifts all boats, however. Aside from the occasional Greeting Card?like debacle, young artists are working in new ways that are specifically driven by this overwrought moment. They aren?t making giant, expensive, space-eating installations. They?re not thinking small or becoming unambitious, but?adept at culling, sorting, reshaping, and plotting information?many are reacting to the scene, innately comfortable with the idea that while there may not be anything entirely new, there is an infinite variety of ways to create unique thought-structures and complex specificities. They?re employing a strategy of maximum diversity in minimum or multiple spaces, rather than the maximum diversity in maximum space of their immediate forebears. They?re attempting to merge seriousness, process, irony, intuition, language, materials, belief, and thought with lived reality, not just with pop culture. It?s the way an artist like Peter Coffin has pieced scores of color photos of rainbows together to make a giant Nauman-esque spiral; this shape connects to a real-life phenomenon, re-creates a familiar shape from recent art history, and remakes something out of things that already existed. Or the way that artist Karl Haendel makes velvety charcoal renditions of photographs of his father, George Bush, old political posters, and personal notes; Haendel weaves together his inner life, moments in time, and collective history in mysteriously alarming installations. Or the way that Klara Liden has walked in circles around a bicycle in an empty room before going at it with a crowbar; somehow you get the absurdity, anger, and the frustration of this urban self-attack. At first, these artists, like so many others, make you react with Henry Hill?s line in GoodFellas: ? ? the fuck is that?? Then they make you think, Holy fuck.

Against expectations, all this money turns out to be useful?not just as a lubricant but as a smokescreen. Interesting growth is already occurring within the chaos. Small galleries can open, and while they may not be visible to large numbers of people for years, they are visible to just enough people with money so they can survive without having to toe any line. (This means there?ll be more bad art, too, but even bad art feeds the chaos.) Already, pockets of galleries have sprung up outside Chelsea. The Lower East Side has a handful of good galleries, more are on their way, and the New Museum opens there in December. Not all of these galleries are great, but many are trying to be alternatives to the big market. They operate out of storefronts; some are run by artists. Obviously, they are as dependent on sales as any other gallery. But their attitude feels more relaxed. At the same time, another cluster of galleries has appeared on the far West Side between Vandam and Bank Streets, not far from the vigorously revived alternative space White Columns.

In the next paragraph he conjured the juxtaposition of ?Beneath the Underdog,? with the Murakami show at Gagosian last spring. And he continues in this mode for five more paragraphs as well.

So, what to make of it all? Both writers are completely justified, each in their own way. Green is calling for us to ignore the elephant in the room, primarily because we have already had made a fuss over it and it isn't going away any time soon. Saltz was right on when he focused on the fact that the room itself is becoming elephantine- an inflation of scale of our artworld not just in dollars or egos but in the numbers of galleries and fairs and the gargantuan exhibition spaces in all venues. I've had passing thoughts that not only are there many artworlds but some of them are floating away and becoming other worlds entirely... resembling a 21st century circus of sorts, less art and more the stufff of mass spectacle, amusement and wonder: Wild Bill's travelling show, gladiators in the coliseum, more bang and rattle in a noise filled information epoch, something that fills a human need. You can still call it art (and who cares about a label called art when you serve curiosity in any form? Ah, that's the sticky part isn't it... just what is art when you boil off the sensational, spectacular parts?), the term is pretty elastic after all... but as a categorical class, it doesn't mean that what is called art would neccessarily be good art... or great art for that matter.


Posted by Dennis at 5:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2007

Phil Wagner

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Posted by Dennis at 8:17 PM | Comments (0)

Work on Paper

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WOP 22-07

Posted by Dennis at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

Work on Paper

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WOP 21-07

Posted by Dennis at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

Work on Paper

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WOP 20-07

(This was one that I painted shortly before I left for Spain last June.)

Posted by Dennis at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2007

Ahora

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Down the ladder.

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Posted by Dennis at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2007

LOLBible

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Bible Study made anew.

Simply wonderful.

srsly.

(via Boing Boing)

Posted by Dennis at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2007

LOLART

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Image:Diego Velasquez, The Forge of Vulcan

***

UPDATE: more amusement here.

Posted by Dennis at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

Please Choose Your Country

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October 4, 2007

Parallel Cities

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Parallel Cities circa 1988

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Posted by Dennis at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 3, 2007

Henry Taylor opens Oct 4 in NY

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Henry Taylor opens tomorrow night at Rental Gallery NYC/Sister Gallery LA.

Posted by Dennis at 4:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2007

Painting

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Posted by Dennis at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Chris Jagers in LA

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It was great to see artist and entrepreneur Chris Jagers in ChinaTown last week. It was a good opportunity to show him the local scene with a couple of openings and enjoy some hang time at our local bar Hop Louie. I got to meet his friends Ryan and Elisabeth, both fresh to SoCal from Texas. Good times were had by all.

(I'm not sure why I didn't whip out my camera last week, so much had happened, plenty of bloggy material. Maybe it was because I was hip deep in paint at the time? Maybe I am reticent to break conversational flow with a self consciousness inducing camera lens. But no worries, I flitched Chris' image form his blog and processed it a bit.)

Posted by Dennis at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Aaron Parazette

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Dacat
40" x 40"

My old friend Aaron Parazette will have a show at Marlborough Chelsea NYC this coming November 8th. Here are his latest, fresh from his studio in Houston:

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Bitchin
84" x 120"

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Trim
56" x 46"

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Frothing
84" x 72"

Posted by Dennis at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Inertia Variation XXXV


Kevin O'Sullivan's Pharmakos is evolving into video clips via YouTube.

Congratulations, Kevin!

Posted by Dennis at 9:49 PM | Comments (0)

Who is Guy DeBord Slavoj Zizek?


Wikipedia Links:
Guy Debord

Situationist International

Raoul Vaneigem

interesting:

While the entire history of the Situationists was marked by their impetus to revolutionize life, the split was characterised by Vaneigem (of the French section), and by many subsequent critics, as marking a transition in the French group from the Situationist view of revolution possibly taking an "artistic" form to an involvement in "political" agitation. Asger Jorn continued to fund both groups with the proceeds of his works of art.

One way or another, the currents which the SI took as predecessors saw their purpose as involving a radical redefinition of the role of art in the twentieth century. The Situationists themselves took a dialectical viewpoint, seeing their task as superseding art, abolishing the notion of art as a separate, specialized activity and transforming it so it became part of the fabric of everyday life. From the Situationist's viewpoint, art is revolutionary or it is nothing. In this way, the Situationists saw their efforts as completing the work of both Dada and surrealism while abolishing both. Still, the Situationists answered the question "What is revolutionary?" differently at different times.

Very Interesting:

The concept of detournement has had a popular influence amongst contemporary radicals, and the technique can be seen in action in the present day when looking at the work of Culture Jammers including Adbusters 1, whose 'subvertisements' 'detourn' Nike adverts, for example. In this case the original advertisement's imagery is altered in order to draw attention to said company's policy of shifting their production base to cheap-labour third-world 'free trade zones'. However, the line between 'recuperation' and 'detournement' can become thin (or at least very fuzzy) at times, as Naomi Klein points out in her book No Logo. Here she details how corporations such as Nike, Pepsi or Diesel have approached Culture Jammers and Adbusters (sometimes successfully) and offered them lucrative contracts in return for partaking in 'ironic' promotional campaigns. She points out further irony by drawing attention to merchandising produced in order to promote Adbusters' Buy Nothing day, an example of the recuperation of detournement (or of culture eating itself) if ever there was one. Klein's arguments about irony reifying rather than breaking down power structures is echoed by Slavoj Zizek. Zizek argues that the kind of distance opened up by detournement is the condition of possibility for ideology to operate: by attacking and distancing oneself from the sign-systems of capital, the subject creates a fantasy of transgression that "covers up" his/her actual complicity with capitalism as an overarching system.


Which took me to Slavoj Zizek:

?i?ek's metaphysics are, to a certain extent an anti-metaphysics, because he believes it is absurd to theorize the All, because something will always remain untheorized. This can be explained in Lacanian terms, in terms of the relationship between the Symbolic and the Real. For ?i?ek, we can view a person in several ways, but these ways are mutually exclusive. For example, we can see a person as either an ethical being with free will or a determined biological creature but not both. These are the Symbolic interpretations of the Real, ways of using language to understand that which is non-All, that which cannot be totally understood by description. For ?i?ek, however, the Real is not a thing which is understood in different ways depending on how you decide to look at it (person as ethical being versus person as biological being); the Real is instead the movement from one vantage point to another - the "parallax view". ?i?ek sidesteps relativism by claiming that there is a diagonal ontological cut across apparently incommeasurable discourses, which points to their intersubjectivity. This means that although there are multiple Symbolic interpretations of the Real, they are not all relatively "true." ?i?ek identifies two instances of the Real; the abject Real, which cannot be symbolized, and the symbolic Real (see On Belief), a set of signifiers that can never be properly integrated into the horizon of sense of a subject. The truth is revealed in the process of transiting the contradictions; or the real is a "minimal difference", the gap between the infinite judgement of a reductionist materialism and experience as lived.

(Again, Emphasis Mine)

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And who is rgcauble? Whoever he/she is, I look forward to seeing the third installment and other offerings too.

Posted by Dennis at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)