Monday, June 24, 2013

What's Up With...

So right now, at this very moment I am at a posh hotel in the Hamptons and just got a Swedish message so I’m floating in an alterna world in more ways then one.   As I was getting all muscle relaxed, thoughts kept popping in and out of my brain, quickly and without consequence.  Many times the thoughts started with ‘what’s up with ---‘ because really what is up with a lot of things that are happening in art, culture, America and the world right now. 

Below are some of these thoughts.  Next week I promise to do an actual post about actual art. Promise.

What’s up with slutwave? Or whatever they are calling it and it’s various incarnations?  You know what I mean, girls wearing hooker clothing, think fishnet onsies and clear plastic glitter stilettos.  It’s mostly educated, well off white girls who are doing it and it has to stop! I am all for any girl, women, person to look and dress however they want and sexiness and raunchiness can most certainly be in that cache of choices but the way it is being presented and done currently is often times just tacky.  Dressing and presenting oneself in this way requires brains and balance.  Some are successful in doing this and are challenging sexuality, being a women etc. in some ways but most are not and it’s embarrassing to see.  Slutty can be empowering and cool but let’s get it real and stop it if you are solely doing it for selfie gratification. 

What’s up with Miley Cyrus’ stylist?  On a related note on the above, who the hell is Cyrus’ stylist and whoever they are they should be shot.  Not shot, but at least have their hands glued shut.  Cyrus has turned from Disney child star to a feux ghetto twerking machine.  Jezebal’s Dodai Stewart wrote a quick reflection on Cyrus’ use of ‘rachet’ and other signifiers that originated within black fashion and culture.  I wish it was more in depth but I was glad to see someone else doing a frowny faced what the hell is this.  White people (and basically all other people in America) will always mimic and mine black culture.  That’s not a bad thing or a wrong thing but the way Cyrus is doing it is so transparently designed.  Hopefully something else will become hot and authenticating soon and she can transform herself into whatever that may be.

What’s up with all the racists?  Paula Dean.  You know the story.  Racism is back ya’ll.  It never went away but yeah, wow.

What’s up with gluten-free?  As discussed with my friend when seeing this written on a bag of chips: gluten-free as a term and food-branding strategy is an inside job.  Eat bagels, be happy.

What’s up with the lack of men in the city?  Really. Men, are any of you out there?  Is the idea of a “man” an illusion that novels and movies have tricked me into thinking exists?  Is it because in New York you can take your age and subtract 7 and that’s how old you act?  (For men it’s subtract 10)  I am fond of the opposite sex, obviously, but yeah…  It would be nice to know of, see in the wild, a bonafide man.  I’m not sure what that even means but I think I would know when I see it.  Sigh...suspension of youth is beautiful but also a curse.

So, yeah, that’s a little tidbit of thoughts.  Sorry to sound so complainy.  Not really.  Feeling rushed to get back to vacation mode.  Till next week, think things, see things, hold hands and laugh out load a lot with friends.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Post by Zachary German: Thoughts On Kanye West’s New Record

Hey.  It’s summer.  I’ve been busy but not busy looking at/thinking about art.  I have been busy peeling off sunburned skin, drinking/not drinking, eating, running, making out, looking at cute people on the street, trying to eat a lot of ice cream and figuring out what the meaning of life is.  So because of this, I’ve got nothing to give any of you today.  If you want to come over for dinner or a cold drink or watch my cats fit into boxes, then yeah, we can do that.  Until then enjoy the thoughts of my bestie, Zachary German. 


Thoughts On Kanye West’s New Record

Sasha Frere-Jones begins his New Yorker review of Kanye West’s sixth solo album, Yeezus, by asking “Why are so many people fond of being mad at Kanye West?” Those seeking an obvious spectacle will never see the forest for the drunken outbursts, and Mr. West has well advanced spectacle as art form. It would seem a shame though to allow that to obscure one’s view of his original – and, perhaps decreasingly, primary – medium.

A minute and seventeen seconds into album opener On Sight, West asks himself “How much do I not give a fuck?” before cutting the Daft Punk-produced house beat for an unaltered thirteen-second sample of a children’s choir singing “He’ll give us what we need / It may not be what we want.” The tone is set, and West’s apparent belief that Yeezus is what the world needs does not falter through the forty minute ordeal.

Sharing a pair of ear buds with a friend walking over the Williamsburg bridge is not ideal conditions for picking up subtleties – her only comment upon first listen was “He’s fucking insane,” coming during the repeated murmurs of “God!” coming at the end of Black Skinhead, essentially a remix of Marilyn Manson’s The Beautiful People, though nominally another Daft Punk production. The next song is I Am A God, a claim echoed in the song’s intro and hook. West’s pronunciation of “hurry up with the damn massage” (like the first two syllables in “misogyny”) in I Am A God was one of the first things to make me pay attention, in its seeming throwback to his call to “pass that ver-say-see” in 2004’s All Falls Down.

The college dropout of 2004 is again apparent in New Slaves, whose publicly projected video constituted a majority of the album’s minimal promotion. West goes off on urban materialism, addresses Hip Hop Illuminati conspiracists, and claims to “come in [the] Hamptons mouth” of prison executives’ spouses, before concluding with a heavily distorted, and frankly beautiful, Frank Ocean outro.

Fellow Chicagoan Chief Keef – whose underground hit Don’t Like was brought to the masses by West’s G.O.O.D. Music remix – sings the hook on Hold My Liquor. I was surprised to hear Keef, after his brash tweet in the fall of 2012 claiming that the remix had helped no one so much as ‘Ye himself. Despite West’s interesting choice to focus on a lover’s aunt as being a “skinny bitch with no shoulders” – the rhyme scheme continues the entire verse, and culminates in said aunt’s characterization of West as a “late night organ donor” – the song is boring and unpleasant, as are the album’s next three.

I’m In It, which boasts four lines about fisting, climaxing in a looped orgasmic scream, may be West’s most explicit passage since his judgment in the Don’t Like remix that “unless they use a strap-on then they not dykes.” My only addition to comedian Max Silvestri's tweet about Blood On The Leaves, “I bet stupid Billie Holiday didn't even realize ‘Strange Fruit’ was about banging chicks on ecstasy,” is that the version sampled on Yeezus is Nina Simone’s. Guilt Trip retreads territory from I’m In It, down to the dancehall guest artist (I’m In It features Agent Sasco, Guilt Trip has Popcaan.)

Send It Up serves foremost as a showcase for King Louie, another young Chicagoan, whose performance recalls nothing so much as Pusha T’s “Pyrex stirs turned into Cavalli furs” verse off Mr. Me Too, an effect furthered by Gesaffelstein’s gorgeously stark Neptunes-esque production. When West shows up to call the song “The greatest shit in the club / Since In The Club,” one nearly believes him. I could have done without the outro by Beanie Man, who displays an unbecoming warmth amidst so much stunning iciness.

With Bound 2, the most immediately pleasant song on the album, West turns on the charm. The “bound to fall in love” soul sample, Charlie Wilson’s “I know you’re tired of loving with nobody to live” bridge and a teenage Brenda Lee saying “Uh huh honey” during breaks in the beat emphasize the sweetness in lines like “I wanna fuck you hard on the sink / After that give, you something to drink.” The swaggering vulnerability of “Hey, you remember where we first met? / Okay, I don't remember where we first met” is vintage Kanye, and it is welcome.

Yeezus is not College Dropout. It’s not Late Registration, or Graduation, or 808’s and Heartbreaks. It’s not My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, or Watch The Throne, or the Cold Summer mixtape. No singles were released before the album’s release, and it’s unlikely any will be released now. On Saturday West became a father. I like Yeezus, I fuck with it.

Zachary German, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

To Do List

Gah! It’s already June 10th and the summer feels like it is going by in a blur.  Things in the summer slow down in the art world, well they are supposed to, but there is so much going on with the Basel and the Biannale and all this other international jazz.  I’m grounded in good old NYC for most of this summer and I have so much I want to do/have to do before Fall 2013 that it is making me apoplectic to think about.  Sigh.  Busy living or busy dying right?

All I can think about right now is all these must do, to dos and per use, I am procrastinating in my imaginations of them versus my actualizations of them.  This is okay though.  Being able to visualize the near and far future in tasks and goals (or whatever one calls those things) is like strength training for your inner psyche.  Visualize to actualize.

Below is a list, of things that I want to, have to, and should do in the coming weeks and months.  I hope you are all having a fab summer thus far and if not, eat a lot of ice cream and corn on the cob until things get better.

  1. Do all the laundry
  2. Go see Donald Judd’s house
  3. Go see Walter DeMaria’s Broken Kilometer
  4. Go to beach every day possible
  5. Watch Citizen Kane
  6. Run at least 3 miles 3 times a week
  7. Eat strict veg diet 98% of the time
  8. Have someone paint a portrait of me
  9. Get hella fit
  10. Somehow get $45,000
  11. Go to the Cloisters
  12. Walk the length of Central Park
  13. Ride on the back of bikes
  14. Play tennis
  15. Go to a cabin
  16. Go on a sail boat
  17. Watch fireworks
  18. Go look at Van Gogh’s Postman
  19. Go to Spa Castle
  20. Go to a Russian bath
  21. Go to 3 star restaurants
  22. Go to parties where tacos are involved
  23. Read all of Shakespeare
  24. Learn how to download torrents
  25. Grow hair to belly button
  26. Push ups with one hand
  27. Grow basil
  28. Watch as many movies as possible at Spectacle Theater
  29. Make out as much as possible
  30. Walk along the water at night as much as possible
  31. Learn how to make creme brulee
  32. Read 2-10 artist biographies
  33. Master the split
  34. Reconcile with all(most) past loves and friends
  35. Watch all the Game of Thrones episodes to date
  36. Buy backgammon board
  37. Defeat acne
  38. Hold hands with someone in the Greek Wing at the Met
  39. See choral music at a cathedral
  40. Make dinner for all my friends

Well that’s my to do list from now till September, seems doable no?  I have total faith it can all be achieved.  Life is silly sometimes.  It’s like happening right now but it also feels like the thing that you are waiting for to begin, happen, something like that.  All I know is that life is amaze and it’s incredible that we are all right now existing and able to bump into and connect to one another and to a mass of strangers at any given point.  I know I am sounding all hippie dippie but yeah, that’s the truth of it.  Go out and get shit done and if you don’t want to do anything at all, that’s chill too.  Enjoy your day, week, month, summer.  I know I will.  Summer 2k13 is going to be fantastic. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Google Search Words

I was going to write about the really amazing show, Subliming Vessel: Drawings of Matthew Barney, at the Morgan Library but I have severe sunburn from the beach and can’t think straight due to the pulsing pain.  So instead I’m going to do a dumb little exercise using Google Search terms on art.  This is dumb but yeah, brain is bad today.  Anyone who wants to see something really great, go see the Barney show.  Go on a Friday, it’s free and open till 9pm and it is great for dates, romantic, familial or otherwise.  You will not be disappointed (also the Morgan is choc full of other amaze things like medieval cook books, Wagner’s compositions in his own hand, one of the first Gutenberg pressings and a lot more.)  So with that, here goes… (search terms as of 11:40-11:55am June 3, 2013, search words are in bold)

art is
art is
art is dead
art is dead lyrics
art is life

painting is
painting is dead
painting is a metaphor for control
painting is hard
painting is silent poetry

how do you become an artist
how do you become an artist
how do you become an artist on sims 3
how do you become an artist on sims freeplay
how do you become an artist manager

museums are
museums are useless
museums are boring
museums are where art goes to die
museums are expensive

why do people make art
why do people make art
why do people make art journals
why do people make art yahoo
why do people make art essay

new york city is
new york city is in what county
new york city is killing me
new york city islands
new york city is overrated

scutlpure is
sculpture is what kind of process
sculpture is
sculpture island
sculpture island salon

contemporary art
contemporary furniture
contemporary art daily

best art
best art schools
best artists of all time
best art museums in nyc
best art galleries nyc

galleries are
galleries are full of critics
aresnaob galleries
arena galleries
arena galleries Liverpool

making art
making art
making artichokes
making art fun
making art prints

female artists
female artists music
female artists love songs
female artists of the 20th century

male artists
male artists
male artists names
male artists 2013
male artist that play piano

andy warhol was
andy warhol was right
andy warhol was an idiot
andy warhol was right meaning
andy warhol was shot

art critics are
art critics are bullshit
art critics are idiots
art critics are

art fairs are
art fairs are about money
art fairs Chicago area
art fairs bay area
art fairs Detroit area

collectors are
collectors are proteans
collectors are op
collectors are too hard
collectors are the real looters

how to be a successful artist
how to be a successful artist
how to be a successful artist manager
how to be a successful artist on etsy
how to be a successful artist book

art school is
art school is a waste
art school is a joke
art school is hard
art school isreal

art makes me
art makes me feel
art makes me happy
art makes me depressed
art makes me smile

bad art
bad art good walls
bad art tumblr
bad art museum
bad art bistro

modern art is
modern art is bullshit
modern art is
modern art is not art
modern art is crap

artists are
artists are
artists arena
artists are useless
artists are weird

art is for
art is form and content
art is for art’s sake
art is for everyone
art is for the rich

For some reason Google stopped letting me search things at this last entry.  Not sure why but yeah, the above is a quick sampling of what comes up when you input art things.  What does it mean? I’m not sure, Google is an auto bot (supposedly…) that caches accumulations of peoples’ search terms.  This type of thing can be done with any person, place, thing or word and the results are sometimes revealing of the status quo.  The internet is a funny thing.  It connects but does not reveal.  It is a tool that can be used poorly or well.  Words are good.  Knowledge is good.  Just always remember, don’t believe everything you read.  Do this with things you are thinking about if you have a few moments to kill.  It’s a form of poetry for our contempo-techo-state.