Monday, February 29, 2016

One Sentence Reviews

Still from Tangerine (2015)

I don’t want to blog today but I (self-inflicted) have to, so for today I will do one sentence reviews of things I liked and disliked in art, life, culture. Sorry, not sorry.

Tangerine (movie) – If you want your eyeballs, ears and a bit of your heart to thump then watch this surprisingly captivating movie.

Fischli and Weiss (Guggenheim) – Laugh out loud clay sculptures the rest is doomed in the Lloyd Wright conundrum that is the spiral ramps.

I Pledge Allegiance (On Steller Rays) – Faux grubby/sincere in a good way overall and Jason Benson is the literal light of the show.

John Oliver on Trump – One word: Drumpf.

Marcel Broodthaers (MoMA) – Sculptures wow – Overwrought Brussels humor meh.

Park McArthur’s Sort of Like a Hug (essay) – Understand why someone sent me this to read but feel I didn’t need/want to read it.

Damn Daniel (meme) – Reminds me of boys in high school that didn’t want to date me/ vice versa.

Future’s Purple Reign (song) – Catchy as heck and probably the best song to listen to while walking to/out of a subway.

Oscars – Doesn’t seem like something I have/will/ever care about.

Zika Virus – “We” only care about it because of the Olympics.

Talenti Gelato – Sort of winning it in the home gelato industry and their reusable containers are effective re-marketing lunch boxes.

Cy Twombly’s Death – The papers seemed very prepared for his obit which seems a bit #dark.

Spain (restaurant) – Obviously this place had health and safety issues but man, it’s Spain!

Slate (Magazine) – I’ve meet more people associated with Slate in the past two weeks then I have in my entire life aka suspect.

Armory Week – Eyes glaze over.

Candy Crush Jelly Ads – Makes me feel slightly nauseous and terrified.

Casper Bed Ads – Makes me realize everything is an inside job.

Syphilis Subway Ads – Makes me think of a flow chart showing the increase of STDs in relationship to dating apps.

Those Ads about meals (ingredients/recipe) getting shipped to you – Makes me imagine unhappy couples eating silently on ‘mid-century’ furniture.

Andrea Fraser (Whitney) – Thinking how I will eat rice and beans for a few days to offset the cost to see this.

Chris Kraus – Yup, still haven’t read anything by her even though I have her book right next to me.

Obama Interacting with Kids – Looking at these en masse online the other day actually made me a bit weepy.

Donald Trump – We get what we deserve.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp

I recently finished reading Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne (Da Capo Press 1979 edition [1967, Editions Pierre Belfond]) and it was interesting if you are interested in Duchamp which probably everyone in contemporary art is. Unlike Calvin Tompkins interviews this is more specific. This is in the way that Cabanne and Duchamp speak about specific works, dates, people, and places with exacting recall. Cabanne seems more of an insider then Tompkins and because of this has a statistician’s ability to direct and pin the conversation. This is helpful in revealing/demystifying the mythology that Duchamp and Duchamp fans stoke but it at times results in disjointed and impatient sequences of dialogue. Regardless, it had moments of revelation that are surprising and insightful.

I’m not one to uphold the ethos and demagoguery that elevates Duchamp in the understanding and constructing of our current state of art but he is who he is and his influence is intriguing. Below are some excerpts that I found compelling and perhaps pertinent to understanding a bit more of the art world which holds him in such an influential position.

On Taste

Cabanne: What is taste for you?

Duchamp: A habit. The repetition of something already accepted. If you start something over several times, it becomes taste. Good or bad, it’s the same thing, it’s still taste.

On the Death of Painting

Cabanne: You never touched a brush or pencil?

Duchamp: I think painting dies, you understand. After forty of fifty years a picture dies, because its freshness, disappears. Sculpture also dies. This is my own hobbyhorse, which no one accepts, but I don’t mind. I think a picture dies after a few years like the man who painted it. Afterwards it’s called the history of art. There’s a huge difference between a Monet today, which is black as anything, and a Monet sixty or eighty years ago, when it was brilliant, when it was made. Now it has entered into history- it’s accepted as that, and anyway that’s fine, because that has nothing to do with what it is. Men are mortal, pictures too.
The history of art is something very different from aesthetics. For me, the history of art is what remains of an epoch in a museum, but it’s not necessarily the best epoch, and fundamentally it’s probably even the expression of mediocrity of the epoch, because the beautiful things have disappeared- the public didn’t want to keep them. But this is philosophy…

On Fame

Duchamp: To put it another way, the artist exists only if he is known. Consequently, one can envisage the existence of a hundred thousand geniuses who are suicides, who kill themselves, who disappear, because they didn’t know what to do to make themselves known, to push themselves, and to become famous.
I believe very strongly in the “medium” aspect of the artist. The artist makes something, then one day, he is recognized by the intervention of the public, of the spectator; so later he goes on to posterity. You can’t stop that, because, in brief, it’s a product of two poles- there’s the pole of the one who makes the work, and the pole of the one who looks at it. I give the latter as much importance as the one who makes it.

On the New

Cabanne: …What do you think the “new” is?
Duchamp: I haven’t seen so much of it. If someone brings me something extremely new, I’d be the first to want to understand it. But my past makes it hard for me to look at something, or to be tempted to look at something; one stores up in oneself such a language of tastes, good of bad, that when one looks at something, it that something isn’t an echo of yourself, when you do not even look at it. But I try anyway. I’ve always tried to leave my baggage behind, at least when I look at a so-called new thing.

On the Evolution of Art

Cabanne: How do you see the evolution of art?
Duchamp: I don’t see it, because I doubt its value deep down. Man invented art. It wouldn’t exist without him. All of man’s creations aren’t valuable. Art has no biological source. It’s addressed to a taste.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fuck Seth Price, A Novel

I borrowed this book from a friend after another friend had been saying that I should read it for some time. I read it in two sittings (it is quite short) and had a range or reactions to it. Fuck Seth Price, A Novel (Leopard, NY 2015) is not a novel (which it is ironically aware of this in its subtitle) but I’m not sure exactly what it is. Is it an art project, a ruse, a drug fueled mental purge? I’m not qualified to say but it is a deposition turned internal monologue of what we can assume is extracted from Seth Price’s brain.

Seth Price is an artist. He is represented and shows at the crème de la crème of the art world. It is because of this that this book, and the tone, and contents that it posses has weight. The book is essentially about the ‘art world’ and the machinations, construct and limitations of what that all means. It is from the perspective of a male who at various times seems to be in real time, walking through a hotel, possibly attacking someone, these moments are rare and slide in and out of the internal exposé on the thoughts about what it means to be an artist today.

At first, I was very excited while reading it. It felt as if Price had looked in my brain, this blog, my inner deepest thoughts and typed it out neatly, efficiently, and authoritatively on the page. My eyes got big and excited when reading such a clear and passionless voice about the basically shit situation that anyone who loves art/does art, has to be a part of and negotiate if they want to be in the art world. His laying out succinctly of how the contemporary state of art has gotten to where it has and how those involved are doing so through the motivations of one of the following: 1. Freedom 2. Craft 3. Money  4. Scene felt like some sort of coup to the illusions of the art world system.

Reading this book makes one (at least someone like me who feels like a broken record on these matters) feel justified and relieved that someone gets it as well as vindicated that they are not a crazy person banging their head against the wall. But then I kept reading. Soaking it up, feeling as if I was reading back my own writing at times. And then the book was done and I felt a bit dazed. I knew that I would have to give it some time to settle in, for it to digest. It’s like all things that have complications in their consumption; one has to see how they feel when it goes fully through the system.

The next day I felt a sudden sense of anger followed by annoyance. I am not sure why I was feeling this way. I agreed and was delighted to read Price’s book at first as it hit all those ‘Yes! Same!’ bells and it was written mostly well. Then why was I now feeling this way I wondered. I let it go and decided to wait longer.

Now it has been a week since I have read it and to be honest I have nearly forgotten it. Obviously not fully as I made it a point to reflect on it today, but forgotten it in the bigger way. I think this is because I am not very young anymore and anti-/critical/contrary things do not move or radicalize me as they used to. Also, I think because of who Seth Price is and also his acknowledgement page at the very end.

In this acknowledgement section, when the author thanks those that helped him in the creation of the book, there are familiar names. They are people I know, others that I don’t but they are all heavy in the art world. This is honest because Price is heavy in the art world and that is perhaps why it annoyed me and then nullified the book for me in some ways. As before stated, because Price is “Seth Price” it enables him to write this and to receive so many kudos about it. He is this type of artist, he works in this modus operandi, but that makes all that is in this book seem so inverted. The fact that someone at his level did such a thing is all fine and good in some ways but it doesn’t change anything at all. I know that wasn’t his purpose. He seems to know this as clearly as anyone else, hence his title, but still, it feels like a book for only those that are already so a part of the art world. Only the successful, involved, validated participants of the art world have any power to unravel it and this book is a FUBU (for us by us) in cultural discourse.

I guess the biggest problem that I have with this book is that it is a bit lazy. It is too short, too vague, too indulgent. I think that is Price’s attitude about things though. The ability and the permission to do things half ass, or to stop whenever is something he clearly relishes in. I can respect the punk attitude of that but it feels safe and it feels veiled. I wish that it was five times longer. I wish that the character (which I don’t think is actually Price at all) got weirder. I wish that this book would not only matter to such a small audience, which already gets it, and can snigger or dismantle it for useless theoretics and moments of feeling outsider. I wish a lot of things but I would say read it. It will take only a few hours and maybe it will change a few people out there, possibly, maybe, probably not but at least it’s trying to do something even though I’m not sure what that is.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What you should eat when…

Watched the Super Bowl yesterday and wow, that was possibly the boringest game I’ve ever watched (I actually really like watching sports) and that halftime show was such a visual disaster. Cringe all around and can someone please make Beyonce stop with her window-shopped politics? She’s as bad as Ai wei wei. Anways… all things sucked about the game but it did make me think about food which I have been doing as a diversion from ‘the meaning of life’ thoughts. The spread during the game was very nice at my friend’s place. The classics like guacamole, chicken wings (exceptional), pulled pork sandwiches, and a variety of dips and chips. I made gimbap (kimbap), a Korean nori roll thing. Very not Super Bowl but it’s all I had at my house that could be easily transported and didn’t require utensils.

I guess since the game and the spectacle around it was so dull, the only impact if the evening was the food and that made me think about what the ideal food would be for certain things. Here are some thoughts on this for your late afternoon Monday perusing. 

What you should eat when you(‘re)…

Going on a movie date: Sushi – It is neat, it doesn’t make you smell and it won’t make you pass out from carb overload.

Going to see galleries in the daytime: Falafel – Filling and quick.

Visiting a Museum: Soup and salad – Eat an hour before or right after, maybe a fancy salad to make you feel more fancy about eating salad and going to museums.

Wake up from a mild hangover: Greasy Egg Sandwich – I like mine on an everything bagel.

Wake up from a mega hangover: Spicy Ramen Soup – Something about cheap spicy, lots of carbs ~$1 food is a savior (w/ soda too).

Reading a good book: Chocolate spread on toast – Lil suger, lil crunchy to keep brain going.

Reading a bad book: Doritos – Will make things have proximity of shitness.

Riding in a car for more then 3 hours: Apples, pears, Pretzels – All things that you usually don’t want to eat but in a car they seem like the most delicious things ever. Plus you can chuck the cores out the window.

Meeting with an Ex-Boss: Thai or Vietnamese – Color and flavor in case things are dull or it’s been a long time.

Going to see music: Nachos – Will give you the will to stand all night.  

Going on a blind date: Alcohol – Who can eat when you are meeting an actual stranger?!

Visiting your parents: Whatever they want – Avoid minor tragedies.

Visiting your relatives: Cheesy, carby things – Naps on the couch are an excusable escape.

Post sex: Anything cold and salty – Like cooked ham, cold pizza, anything that can be consumed standing in silence and requires only the light of the fridge.

Pre sex: Fruit – Juicyyy.

Bored at work: Chocolate – Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a far away place.

At a funeral: Sandwiches – Understandable mechanics in the time of grief.

At a wedding: Champagne and cake – Even if the wedding is at 10am this is acceptable.

With a vegan: Whatever they are eating – It’s not a big deal all around.

With someone gluten free: A baguette – Like eat the entire thing while looking them dead in the eyes.

With co-workers: Pizza – Diminishes all systems of rank.

With someone you secretly don’t like: Waffles or omelets – Both are non-revealing and passive foods.

With someone you secretly do like: Waffles or omelets – Same as above.

Before an interview or test: Poached Eggs – It’ll make you feel like a god damn adult.

At the beach: Gimbap (kimbap) – Google it, it will make you feel healthy and cute.

Going through a breakup: Chinese food takeout – Anything that can be eaten out of a box and comes with disposable everything is key.

Late night/early morning when you finally return home: Spoonful(s) of peanut butter – Fill belly without waking up bloated.

Don’t have any money but your out with friends: Soup of the day – All that free bread.

Out with someone who doesn’t have money: Sandwich or something else that can be shared – Sparing embarrassment is one of the kindest things you can do.

Eating alone: Pasta – It’s comforting, cheap and versatile.

Having a dinner party: Anything that can be made in advance and just heated/ assembled quickly– A truly good dinner party host(ess) is one that is at the table with their company.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I’m Dropping Out of the Art World

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, the idea of dropping out of the art world, and I have come to a decision that this is what I will set out to do for the foreseeable future. In a way, I have been dropping out for over three years. Skipping things, not paying attention, not caring, feeling sharp levels of frustration, crying tears of anger, dull abysses of apathy, and a general dissatisfaction that I could only imagine unhappy marriages must experience after too many years of holding it together for the kids.

Anyone who knows me has heard me say such things before and they will also know that this is actually impossible, but I do mean it. Art, will always be a part of me, it is the thing that is me. It has given me a beautiful life, friends and experiences, but the rest of it, the machinations, the system, the strivings, are just not something I want to participate in. I have tried, in various ways via, jobs, education, relocation, projects, galleries, writing, and this blog included, to make alternate spaces, paths, ways to be a part of the art world, and while I am happy and proud of all that, I feel that I too have become a part of the problem that has made the art world the way it is.

Today is a time of excess. There is just too much of everything and that is amazing in some ways but it has also resulted in a heap pile of, frankly garbage. Garbage thinking, talking, art making, relationships, goals. It’s a garbage culture and there are those involved that are thankfully excavating and salvaging some good parts to make it worth something, be something, but that is very, very rare. I myself, being more brutal to myself then to others, also feel that I too have been at times a producer and consumer of garbage and because of this I am going to pause/stop in adding to the excess.

The reason why I have participated in the art world in certain ways and why so many others do the same thing is because it gives a sense/personification of purpose. We are alive; we are trying to understand, to participate and to influence the lives that we have to live. This is not a selfish thing but there is a need to understand the motivations for our desires, our drives and what that really all means. For me, the production of some form of art world investment has now become a thing of diminished returns. The more I input into this flawed system the less benefit and reward I achieve for myself and for those I support (who truly deserve everything). Because of this, the value for me to keep participating in it is more about my preservation of ego then anything else.

I relinquish my ego. I relinquish success, spectacle, audience, and validation.

This relinquishing is probably due to a feeling of failure in some ways but the failure has not been in meeting/not meeting certain expectations but of knowing what they are and knowing that I do not want them and that achieving them would not make me fullfilled.

So, how will I drop out of the art world? It has already begun and as time goes on it will happen more and more until nothing remains of my trace and involvement. Maybe after that time I will join up again, maybe in a few weeks or months I will see something that will change this whole decision and blow my mind away, but I doubt it because I have always and will forever be bad at being a part of anything and it has been a long time since I have seen something in art that has moved me to tears or kept me awake at night.