Monday, December 11, 2017

Reading Group



I have a freaking rash (again) and I my will to live is zero so I will share with you a list of essays and books that a reading group (that will hopefully begin/continue in the New Year) has compiled.

We all want to read more so here’s a start. Sorry, will post actual thoughts soon.


ESSAYS

"the outside can't go outside" by Merlin Carpenter

Living Currency By Pierre Klossowski

Minima Moralia: Notes on Gerhard Richter's Red, and The Singer of 1965 by Jaleh Monsoor

Sontag, "The Aesthetics of Silence"

Bernice Johnson Reagon - Coalition Politics

Alexandre Kojeve, Introduction on the Reading of Hegel

J.G. Ballard, The Overloaded Man

Maurizio Lazzarato, Immaterial Labor


BOOKS

Marshall Plan Modernism: Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia by Jaleh Mansoor

Lee Lozano Dropout piece by Sarah Lehrer Graiwer

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Clarice Lispector

The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Hito Steyerl, Duty Free Art

Edward Glissant, The Poetics of Relation

Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble

Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Edward Said, Orientalism

McEvilley, Art and Otherness

Trungpa, True Perception: Dharma Art

The Absence of Work (Broodthaers' biography by Rachel Haidu)

The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan

On Longing, Susan Stewart

In Praise of Copying, Marcus Boon

My Friend Dahmer, John "Derf" Backderf

Feelings Are Facts, Yvonne Rainer

David S. Roh - Techno-orientalism: Imagining Asia in Speculative Fiction

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing - The Mushroom at the End of the World

Hao Jingfang - Invisible Planets and Folding Beijing

Rey Chow - Entanglements, or Transmedial Thinking about Capture

Alice Walker, In Search of our Mothers Gardens

Paul B Preciado, Testo Junkie

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

Sadie Plant, Zeros + Ones

The Structure of Detachment: The Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shuzo, ed Hiroyshi Nara

Quartet, Jean Rhys

Rey Chow - Primitive Passions but not Entanglements

Edward Glissant

Kill all Normies – Angela Nagel

Sloterdijk’s Spheres III: Foams

Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine Garwood (2008)

Jodorowski’s The Way of the Tarot

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mexico City Recap




It’s that time of day when I look at the clock and remember I have to blog and I’m like way busy, it being my first day back after my short vacation so yeah, going to just bang the keys a bit here (like usual).

Anyways. As you might know, I was in Mexico City aka DF for about a week and last week’s post was me just whining a bit about stuff so this time around I’ll be positive about my short jaunt. Trying to do this post in under a half hour so yeah, it’s not going to be pretty…

Tacos

I probably ate like 20-30 tacos while I was there. They are all really amazing. There is no taco in DF that I don’t like. There are stands on sidewalks/streets, wherever and they are usually 20 pesos (like a dollar) and they are yum yummy. Tacos might be the perfect food. The tortilla is it’s plate; it has no wheat, and is pure taste bud and fuel sensation. And the toppings! For free! And I always over do it but the classic is just with meat of choice, some lime, chopped onions and cilantro. A woman named Maria made the best tacos. She sets up her stand outside Bosforo, a mexcal bar in Centro, and for 20 pesos you can get her incredible Oaxaca cheese filled banana pepper with chorizo or beefsteak. She is there from 10pm-5am. She is a taco angel.


Construction

The recent earthquake probably had a lot to do with it but DF was like a permanent construction zone. It was a bit much, all the jack hammers until 2-3am but yeah, it’s got to be done. It’s kind of funny walking around and having to be extra diligent so you don’t literally fall into a very deep hole that is only covered with a little piece of wood. Everyone seemed chill about it though. If it were like that in NYC people would be loosing their minds. Seems nice to be relaxed about even stressful things.


Weather

Cold so you need a jacket at night but hot so you strip off your layers during the day. The weather in DF is nice because it gives you a burst of cold and heat all in 24 hours. It’s sort of a nice way to pace your day out. Like you adapt you activities and clothing to suit the mood and temperature. I guess LA weather is sort of like that but the sun in DF is warmer than in LA. LA light is so harsh, I just can’t deal.


Making Out

I think I have mentioned this before but wow, people love PDA in Mexico. One night I walked passed this park and there was a young couple literally on top of each other just quietly, passionately making out. About an hour later I walked past the same park and they were still at it. I hate PDA but ya, it’s cute sometimes I guess.


Make Do

There is this wonderful knack and grace that people in Mexico have with just making do with whatever is on hand. Like, if a string it too short, just tie on a shoelace. If a ladder is not tall enough, stack some bricks under it. If you don’t have curtains, make a newspaper collage. It’s aesthetically alive and wonderfully MacGyver.


Sexy Young Things

I went to this dance club and although there wasn’t many people there the ones that were, were so freaking cute. Some were super young, like possibly even high school age… but they all had on amazing outfits; tutus, bra tops with open biker jackets, boys with hair to their waists and glitter chokers. They were just divine and fabulous and they were doing it all for themselves and each other. It was just gorgeous and adorable.


Cheap

It is so cheap for everything in DF. Well, if you go to Condessa and Roma areas it can get like NYC prices, but in general, it is really cheap for everything. Three course meals are around 70 pesos ($5). Subway is 5 pesos (like idk, a few cents?) and a crazy night out with hours of mescal, micheladas and 3 Ubers later might cost you a whopping $40. There is a wonderful freedom in being able to spend without guilt or next day remorse. Yes, I know that is a privileged tourist position but hey, giving to the DF economy as much is I can is something I will always be first in line for.


Time

I mentioned this in my post from last week but wow, time is really different there. Yes, I was on sorta vacay mode while there but seriously, Mexico operates by its own clock. When you have plans at 7 that usually means midnight. When you text someone, them not responding for like 3 hours is totally normal. For a time spaz like me it was a bit bracing to be forced into patience but eventually I did and returning to NYC I feel maybe not chiller but more understanding of time.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Being Obnoxious in Mexico City




I’m in Mexico City and my cell phone is dead so I am chilling out, charging it and writing this thing in the meantime. I’ve only been here for a few days but I’m already exhausted. Vacations/trips are funny things. We go on them to ‘relax’ but really we are just headless monsters flaying ourselves.

I’m here for no reason really. An escape from New York. An escape from things, people, and responsibilities. Part of this trip was a way for me to reboot myself, a psychic cleansing of sorts. What has been upsetting though is that instead of a rejuvenation I am literally yelling and arguing about god knows what and making a bigger mess of my life. Partly, this is fuelled by partying, not enough sleep and general misanthropic disposition but yeah, it sort of sucks.

Nothing is too big or messy. I’m just the type that stews and internalizes but yeah, being in another country and trying to ‘unwind’ and chill out is not very productive when you are a grump ass.

Of course it hasn’t been all that bad. Like 90% of this trip thus far has been really great but it is annoying when you are escaping in all ways possible but then your like, crap, I’m still stuck with my damn self.

I was having this sort of conversation with someone yesterday. This idea of traveling, moving, being flexible in geography, movement and life and that being a form of independence. Mexico City is the type of place that people go to and are drawn to when searching or seeking this type of looseness and freedom.

For the people from here, it is obviously home, but there are slews of other people from all around the globe who are looking for something in being here. That is lovely and in Mexico City, it is possible because of the pace, cheapness and the massiveness of a city that somehow feels big and small all at once.

That is why I wanted to come, even for a short trip, to be reminded of that type of freedom. But sometimes it doesn’t matter where you go if you are still somehow trapped with yourself.

Sure, I’m being a little hard on myself. Sure, I have changed a lot since seeing some of my old friends here but there is this sense of something different, not fitting somehow, and that feels a bit sad and perplexing.  Perhaps this friction is the thing I need though. What will make me let go and alternate behaviors, thought patterns and reactions.

I’m really not sure what’s in the air right now. It felt this way in New York too, this film of anxiety, a weary edge of wanting progress, change, eruption, but having to be patient or resigned in waiting for it to come.

Mexico City is the most amazing place. There is a life here and time feels so different. It feels stretched out and days, hours literally feel longer. I hope that I can take my grumpy New York City mania and calm the fuck down and ease into this type of time.

Going to take a siesta now because I just ate a three-course meal (for only $5!) in the middle of the day. Sorry this was a bit emo, meh, at least it’s honest. For all the people I’ve been obnoxious to in Mexico City and in New York, my bad, but yeah, let’s all relax and be kind to each other, even if only just a bit more.

Monday, November 20, 2017

I’m So Tired I Think I’m Going to Die





This past weekend, well actually Friday till this morning, has been a social fun/hell scape. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been this busy for a long time. I have probably only felt this spent the last time I was working crazy international art fairs and partying all night and then working non-stop for days at a time. It’s that level of over-doing it.

Anyways, that being said I don’t have much to offer cause my brain is literally in pieces. (Body too). So with that I’m just going to spew some random ass thoughts because that’s all I can muster. Escape now or forever hold your peace.


It sucks being the oldest person at the party. Especially when it’s your birthday.

Sometimes you have to pretend you like the way something tastes to be polite even when you think it tastes not so good but meh, seems a little to ask to keep everyone happy.

I spent over $400 this weekend. Gahhhhhh.

Pretty sure I did drugs for 9 hours straight. Bad. At. Life.

Not sure how people can be high on acid/mushrooms in public. Seems hard/complicated.

People who ask to show you their portfolio, send you their website, at an opening should be shot on site.

Always feel happy when a chill group of Asians enters the party.

Pretty sure I talked to 500 people this weekend but probably only had like 4 meaningful conversations.

Old people like Facebook. A lot. Funny.

When you think someone has a crush on you but they probably don’t because they are probably gay (and you're not).

Sex bruises on one’s body is a sign that it probably wasn’t meant to be.

Really enjoy blocking people’s phone numbers. Like way too much. Seems okay.

When all your friend groups are in one room and you just basically ignore everyone.

Red wine tastes really bad to me atm. Huh.

When you are about to travel to another country and you don’t have anything prepared. Nada. Zip.

When you are spending so much money it might actually be better if you literally burned it.

When you want to live in Manhattan but you don’t want to live in a box for $2,000.

Telling yourself you are going to start acting your age but you're still drunk when you wake up.

No one should spend more then 48 hours straight with another person unless they legally have to.

When people trap you in a literal corner to talk to you about their art. K. No. Help!

When you hate your birthday but throw a big party because it drowns out the loneliness of existence.

People who are couples and only talk to each other all the damn time.

Trying to wear clothes that make you look hot is usually complicated and uncomfortable.

When all your friends are like 10 year younger than you and they get annoyed when you say how young they are but your like, ‘But you are young.” And they all shut up.

When you’ve accepted you will have acne until the day you die.

When people message you out of the blue and you are like, ‘yay!’ and then ‘weird.’

I’ve decided I like sleeping alone. Forever.

I love my cats but they are like furry balls and chains for another 10 years. Gasp.

When you date the wrong guy. Over and over and over again.

I haven’t made myself food in a long time and it makes me sad :,(

I’ve been told many times I’m too loud and now I realize how annoying that could be. Loud people are fucking annoying.

When you are actually, really, over someone it’s similar to that feeling when you pull the plug when your vacuum is running.

The Universe is a real asshole sometimes.

I’m grumpy. My new vibe is grumpy. Seems chill.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Does Being Rich Help You Be Successful In The Art World?


Jeff Koons bag for Luis Vuitton

The other day I was mindlessly scrolling through social media when I saw a link for an article by Ben Davis in artnet entitled, Do You Have To Be Rich To Make It As An Artist? I read it and only after finishing reading it did I realize it was from January 2016, which doesn’t make too much of a difference but it feels just as topical a subject/question to ask today. So I got to thinking about this idea, as this is something I have had so many conversations about though the years.

So, does being rich help you be successful in the art world? Yes, duh, of course it does but let’s unpack that and see what that means and to what degree.

Many times this question is more specially asked in relationship to artists like Davis’ article articulates. Does coming from wealth, like a lot of wealth, make it easier for you to be an artist? Yes, of course it does.

First it helps because art costs money to make. The more you have of it the better and to a higher degree of intricacy and professionalism can you make or have something produced.

Second, It takes money to have space. Studio space is expensive, especially in a place like NYC, and to have space is key to also having room to think and to not have restrictions of scale.

Third, money gives you time. That is a key element to it all. Having time to not having to work a day job in which you need/must work, 40 hours or otherwise. It gives you liberty to really work out ideas, to go to shows and be inspired, or whatever happens when you look at art, and to travel, and to move freely in the world that is not conditioned by making a paycheck.

Lastly, most importantly, money gives you a type of bravery. Not having to worry about money, time, space and to be able to be one’s optimal self allows for a type of risk taking which is so conducive to ‘creativity’ that one might say that it is at it’s core.

The above cases for why having money is beneficial to artists is transferable to other art practitioners. Gallerists, curators, theorists, critics, all else is made vastly easier, more accessible and swifter if you have time, space and mental liberty to experiment, take risks and to be entrepreneurial.

This is all so blatantly obvious, it might seem redundant to parse out but there is another angle to this as well. Having money, a lot of money, does make it easier but it doesn’t always work or stick. There are/have been/will be many artists past, present and future who have a lot of money who want to be in the art world in someway or another. And the truth is most don’t stick if their work is bad, their taste is bad, or they just can’t hack it. The art world wants rich people to participate and play. I mean, that’s who the real audience and reason this is all for. The uber rich supporting this thing called ‘art’ is what makes the whole machine work. But just because you are rich doesn’t mean you get a complete pass. Thankfully.

But, yes, we have all seen so many bad artists, bad spaces, bad projects helmed by this or that person who seems to just keep sticking around even though they really are not adding much to anything and we all know why they have this strange staying power but that happens, and it always will so there’s that.

What rubs me is the reverse of this. When poor artists are taken up by this rarified art world of ours and it is used to be exampled in a way. Like a ‘look, we support artists from here/there, who have this/that story, so that proves we are not elitist,’ or something along those lines.

The other thing that really rubs me is when super rich (or even really well off) people don’t think that being so allows them privileges, liberties and frankly a tipping of the scales. If you can take a year off and live somewhere else to read about semiotics and not have to work or take out loans, you are privileged. If you can hire a studio assistant to help you edit a video or make a sculpture for a show in which you probably won’t sell anything but will get rave reviews and you don’t have a side hustle, then you are privileged. If you work and support yourself month to month and do the hard work like everyone else but you have a trust fund waiting in the wings, you are privileged. You are and that’s great for you but just admit it! You don’t necessarily have to wear a stigmata of fortunes and family net worth on your sleeve but know it and understand what that means.

Art is a rich person (usually man’s) game and it has been and always will be. Us bleeding heart liberals can’t go around thinking we are some anti-capitalist saints. We are all participants in the most egregious form of cultural elitism. But we need to air this house out! It’s so gauche to talk about money and art. We want to treat it like some Athena sprouted whole and immaculate from the head of Zeus but alas we are far from that and never were or will be.

To all the rich and privileged artists out there, I don’t hold it against you. You were born into something and it’s cool that you are doing the art thing because hell, you could be putting all that capital and self into something worse, but come on, be honest about it. Everyone will respect you more for it. And if you are really rich and your art and taste suck, then yeah, just bow out and do something else with all that time and money, like buy art from those that don’t have that liberty.

To all the poor to truly self-sustaining artists and art world people, keep trucking. It’s stacked, and the more adjectives of race, gender all else will make the scales tipped even less in your favor but don’t let that demoralize you, and also don’t use that as an excuse. If you make good art and have some luck on your side, you’re successes will be even sweeter.

Money makes everything funny. I’ve said it for years and I’ll keep saying it. What’s important is that there is transparency. Let’s air it out, let’s admit what we have, what that means and how that changes how we live life, interact with art and how that positively or negatively upholds or continues structures of access and power.

Super wealthy, very rich, middle class, broke, poor, whatever you are or have been or will be doesn’t define you but whatever it is, make good art and support good art, with everything you have, even if it’s nothing sometimes.