Monday, January 30, 2017

Fuck Trump

Some people think that using curse words reflects an inferior mental capacity and grace. In some ways I agree with this but in the last few days, weeks, since Trump has become president I can’t help but think, say aloud and feel one phrase, ‘Fuck Trump,’ over and over again when I think about him and all the insane, actually insane, things that he is implementing.

Yes, now is the time for action, for doing things, for protests and being heard in whatever way and platforms that you can but it is also the time to be really mad. I am going to accept that I am mad and perhaps petty but I need to be in order to get out this rage, frustration and deep sadness in order to consolidate and prepare myself for the long fight ahead.

Dear Donald J. Trump:

Fuck you and your Stepford, robot family for being vaguely normalizing shields to you.

Fuck Steve Bannon who is the creepiest, ickiest human flesh sack that is the President-Whisper-In-Chief.

Fuck your basically all white male cabinet picks. Great job assholes.

Fuck your hair. Your under eye makeup. Your dime store self tanner and that god damn reptilian smirk.

Fuck you for talking about African American carnage and saying, “The blacks love me.” They don’t.

Fuck you for being a misogynist pig. (Sorry pigs I know you have a really high IQ but you know what I mean.)


Fuck you and your stupid hotels. They are tacky and filled with tacky people.

Fuck you for Atlantic City. Yeah, I’m from Jersey and we know that this town is a wasteland.

Fuck your twitter account. Please shut the fuck up.

Fuck your media war. You are a liar, liar pants on fire.

Fuck you and your KKK, alt right, Neo Nazi riff-raff. I wish I could punch you all in the face.

Fuck your Muslim ban. I hope that this will be the start of your impeachment.

Fuck your rhetoric. Every New Yorker doesn’t buy it and knows you are just full of shit.

Fuck Betty Devos – Idiot, Ben Carson – Tool, Reince Priebus – Ass Hat, Sean Spicer – Lap Dog, Steve Bannon (again) – Jabba da Hut, Paul Ryan – Follower, Mike Pence – Self Hating Gay, Rudy Guiliani – Bully, Newt Gingrich – Actual Grinch who never grew a heart.

Fuck you and the border wall. Are you that insane?!

Fuck your supporters – There are more of us then you and you know it. #whereareyounow?

Fuck your money – You are a loser in business and you will always be cheesy and on team D.

Fuck your ego – I will enjoy seeing a narcissist self immolate.

Fuck your brain – Of course you are tearing down the Constitution because I bet you have NEVER even read it. (You ass hat)

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!

I don’t want you to die or get hurt or anything like that. I’m not that sort of person but I want you to fail. Fail so hard and so fast because you are the bottom of humanity. You only think about yourself, even your family is a tool to you. You are a coward. You are mean. You are un-American and you will never, ever be my President.

Monday, January 23, 2017

What We Want is Everything – Women’s March, Arthur Jafa at Gavin Brown Enterprises

I said I wasn’t going to watch the inauguration but I did and it made me feel queasy all day and night. I literally felt like I was going to barf. I went to bed. I woke up. I felt like there was some sort of psychic fog that made my eyes unable to focus. I laid in bed and listened to the radio.

I said I wasn’t going to go to the Women’s March but I did and it made me feel lighter and hopeful. Getting on the train at Dekalb in Brooklyn there was already a pulsating energy. It was Saturday at noon. The train was full and the closer we got to Union Square it became rush hour packed. But that was okay. Everyone was there for the same reason and there was a sense of camaraderie. The push of people spilled out and getting on the 4,5,6 to Grand Central was even more jostling. But it was okay because we were all going to the same place.

Outside of the station near 42nd Street you knew that you were there. There being the March. There being where everyone else was. The streets were moving at a snails pace. People were chatting, taking pictures and occasionally there would be a distant or nearby roar of the crowd. It felt like we were each cells of blood in the artery veins of this place called New York City.

The children. The signs. These were the delights that made me smile and laugh even in the face of the reality we were collectively facing. All sorts of people protest and although there are misbalances of demographics, I was happy to see a semi-balanced mix of ages, colors, religions, and genders. This was a Women’s March though and even though pink has been commodified to exhaustion it was something to see, this wave of shades of pink in the pulsing slow moving wave of human bodies.

Reading those signs and seeing all those people I had a Zen moment of understanding what we want and is everything. Women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, Education, Gender Equality, Environment, Health Care, Free Speech, Prosperity, Freedom, on-and-on. We want it all and that seems absolutely reasonable.

Then I had to leave because after two hours and nearly standing still I felt a bit dizzy from the crowd. So I headed up to Harlem to see a show that I felt would add to the spirit of the day.

Arthur Jafa is not your typical artist. He is best know for his film work (as in movie films vs. arty films) but his video, Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, at Gavin Brown’s outpost in Harlem is one of the best video pieces I have seen in some time. It is only 7 minutes but within it there is a packed mash up of African American history, virtuosity, trauma, hopes and existence. The edits are sharp but interwoven with music; both orchestral, pop and rap creating visual and audio cadences that create drops and surges of emotions in your guts similar to a roller coaster ride.

The subject of the bodythe black body is central. You see it conveyed, damaged, incited, and possessing the life and history of a people that is in constant attack and also the originators of exultation. The mixture of historic, internet disseminated, personal, and archival footage of weddings, police beatings, basketball dunks, dancing are treated like notes in a song, each one having just as much necessity and revealing a greater whole.

This video is heartbreaking and one you must see if you care about art and politics. It is something that makes you understand things. Things you know to different degrees. It’s made for the subject, black Americans, but also for the viewer, everyone else. This is honest because that separation of knowing, whether you are or are not, doesn’t take away the impact this 7-minute video has on your understanding of what is being shown or the feelings produced by them.

One of the tracks on the songs sings the chorus, “This is everything,” and as I was watching this alone in the dark I thought about the March as well. This idea of ‘Everything’ feels daunting and overwhelming but it is also cathartic in its completeness.

Jafa’s video stacks your emotional and visual sense to overload but you need to see this. You must.

What people are demanding and wishing for at the protests feels overwhelming and impossible but they all matter and they all must be acknowledged.

Open it all up. Expose it all. Only through this will we ever see what the hell is going on.

Monday, January 16, 2017

So Now You Care Where Your Money Comes From: Art, Hypocrisy and Politics

On Friday President-Elect Trump will become President Trump and that is tragic and insane. Even though this all seems like some horrible dream it is going to happen and in the coming days, weeks, months, years it will be the obligation for all those that want to make sure he doesn’t usher in an age of authoritarian despotism to do whatever we can, as much as we can for as long as we can.

This is a time for gloom as it feels like doom and because of this there is a frustration, and a debilitating, seething anger and desire to do something, anything, to take a stand and make it clear how one feels. This has also been taking place in the arts, which would seem obvious because art is mostly made up of creatives who veer heavily to the Left. This makes sense as when you are in the arts you are choosing to be expansive, curious, open, and different. All those are qualities that work against things like bigotry, sexism, fear of the unknown, and fear of what is different. When those on the Right want to classify those who are in the arts as idealists or snobs, then fine, we are but we work hard at being curious and excited about the beauty and possibilities art can do for oneself, human nature and culture.

So there’s how I feel about the big idea of arts importance to society but I do have a bone to pick with some of these creatives and more specifically those in the visual art world. Recently there has been an influx of artists and arts related ‘groups’ that have been taking announced stands against Trump and his ilk. One in an Instagram account called dear_ivanka, which features mostly Ivanka Trump and has open letters/statements directed to her and the fam in general. Second there are all these big name artists denouncing Trump publically such as Richard Prince and his recent unselling of his work featuring Ivanka Trump. All of these have been posted online by various art news and social media sites but I have yet to see critical discourse on what that means so hear goes my ‘populist’ take.

The dear_ivankainstagram account is just the worst. It feels completely self-indulgent and is remedial. It feels like some sort of proposed spin-off for a not actually funny humor/irony web series. Saying things like, “Dear Ivanka, I’ve been raped and need to have an abortion” or “Dear Ivanka, I’m black and I’m afraid of Jeff Sessions” is so so so so cringe, I can’t even. I hate to gossip but I have been told from numerous sources that do know the creator that they are actually quite privileged, aka rich. Okay so what’s the big deal? Who cares if some rich arty people want to do an irony laden social media account? Why, because it’s missing the point and its merits are flawed. To me, this account feels like just another appropriation tool to relativize oneself and thus to capitalize via cultural/social gain. Also, it is EXACTLY what THEY want you to do. Being obnoxious, insipid, and inciting a pandering call to arms is fueling the ‘them vs. us’ feud. Yes, I get it, it is a them vs. us situation in many ways but doing this account is just showing how reductive and lazy we (Lefty art-worlders) are in thinking, talking and changing the real things that matter. Plus, this isn’t diminishing the brand that is Ivanka Trump. It’s just a mirroring back and also a strengthening of her brand. I guess the thing that really bothers me about this is that it is trying so hard to be so many things: flippant, funny, invested. If it were any of those things actually, I would high five its efforts but it isn’t. It just really really isn’t.

Next, let’s talk about how artists are denouncing Trump and its relationship to buying art. Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are both socialites and they buy contemporary art because that is what socialites do. Artists such as Alex Da Corte, Cindy Sherman, Joan Jonas, etc. have de-cried and denounced Trump and said that they would not sell to that family and in the case of Da Corte has said that he was embarrassed to be seen with her when there was an image of her with one of his works. The most recent vocal artist to be added to this list is Richard Prince who says that the work Ivanka bought from his recent show of Instagram accounts is a “fake” now because he has given the money back and he no longer considers it one of his works.

Richard Prince. Stop. Well besides the fact that that series of works was just horrendous and grossly misogynistic, him doing this pseudo-punk-esq gesture of reversal of sale actually makes this work the most interesting thing he has done in decades. If anything him doing this makes the work more a work of ‘art’ then the sellable revenue vehicle that it originally functioned as. Also, ha! Returning ~$30k for the work and calling it a fake does not remedy the larger problem here and that’s what I want to call out to artists who want to link in their art, bank accounts and politics.

Everyone, everyone, let’s be fucking real here! We know that if you are in the art world and if you make money, and especially if you make A LOT of money, which most of these higher tier artists and galleries do, you are definitely, 100%, selling works to people who make their money from impolitic to very bad things. As most know who read this thing I was in the art game hustle for years and only finally stepped out in a commercial way and I thank the stars for that because this issue of ‘who buys the art’ was one of the biggest moral quandaries I had while working in the gallery system.

The exchanges are clear in this industry art for money.  There are literally hundreds of art fairs a year that the super rich attend like they used to take the Grand Tour across Europe. It is a social status right of passage and being a collector is necessary to that lifestyle and it is the literal oil in the art world machine. Who are the super rich? Well they can be in a variety of industries but the collector is no longer the simple doctor, lawyer type. No, the very rich work in industries that thrive on monopoly and supremacy. Oil, Weapons, Tech (to do god knows what and to whom), Pharmaceuticals, Conglomerated Brands, Real Estate, Manufactures, etc. This list can be translated to all the conflicts, all the damage, all the suffering, all the things that make it so billions of people have nearly nothing while a sliver of one percent have everything. These are the people and their children, their minions, their enablers, and their enforcers these are the people that buy the art.

So, Trump and his socialite daughter are in power now and now you want to say no. No, I will not sell to you because of what you represent. No, I will not be displayed in your house. No, you can’t have that even if you have all the money and power in the world. No? No?! Now you are saying No? If Trump lost the election I doubt any of these artists would have taken a sale back or publically denounced their association with Ivanka Trump. But now that this is the new reality, it is required for artists who have made it such a point to be morally superior and culturally evolved to make this grand stand.

I’m sorry but it just reeks of hypocrisy. And it’s not the artists alone that I am talking about. It’s everyone in the art world who does, wants, desires to make money in this system but also wants to asterisk inclusions to take dirty money even if it compromises their outer politics. The art world has been having their cake and eating it too when it comes to politics and money. They can be holier then thou and do panels and make statements and gather with their compatriots but are they stopping to think and exposing who bought what to pay for all this lifestyle they are living?

Is it any one person’s fault? Yes and no. The art world is notoriously opaque. Like it is the KGB of opacity. Because of this there isn’t a system of checks and balances and the concept of transparency would unravel the very fabric of the smoke and mirrors that is the core of the art world brand. How many times, how many years have I railed against this?! But it’s not about me and my feelings about it. All I am saying is that in a strange way, maybe this new reality, this new administration, is bringing these hidden things to the fore.

Because Trump and his family are now in power there isn’t a place to hide and divert what is really going on in everything. This is a time when facts, transparency, consistency, and truth are all at stake. This encroachment is making many of us feel powerless and desperate. In the face of this, instead of sniggering, complaining and preaching to the choir, do something. If that something is denouncing Trump and not selling works, good first step. But as the world is watching Trump and his ilk, so to should we be watching ourselves and practicing what we are preaching. Don’t want to sell art to him or his family. Fine. But whom else are you selling it to? Frustrated and pissed that someone like Ivanka will be in the White House? Fine. But where does your privilege stem from as well?

Be the change you want to see.  It’s a simple decree but one that I think will help us all get through this and make actual change.

The very first step in all of this is being honest about what is happening in the arts, what is happening in our hearts and minds and then to do something about it. Really actually do something.

Monday, January 9, 2017

But Where Does All My Money Go?

I’ve been complaining about money on this thing for some weeks now and although I’m trying to be a frugal bug, it is just not working. So to publically shame myself and to put words on a page (god why do I still do this stupid blog!?!) I will tally up the last month or so of what the hell I purchased.

Thanks. Venmo me.

$132.50 – Soviet wrist watch from Etsy – I want a watch so I don’t have to look at my phone every 2 mins because I am a freak about time.

$14.83 – Student Debt – Haha, this is going to take a while. Suckers.

$18.68 – Face wash – It takes a lot of effort to not have acne.

$400 – ATM withdrawal – Trying to only use cash so I stop spending so much damn money!

$7.94 – Eye makeup remover – Not wearing eye make up makes me feel more naked then not wearing a shirt.

$121.15 – Groceries Park Slope Food Coop – For a dinner party.

$3.81 – Spinach – Greens

$19.81 – Cat food – Eating me out of house and home.

$37.50 – Donald Judd House – FINALLY made reservations!

$23.65 – Thai Food – Pho. I love you.

$32 – NJ Transit – Train for Xmas

$92.39 – La Mela Restaurant – I got drunk and somehow paid for this whole bill. Stupid.

$60 – Paypal transfer – For all those late night Uber rides. :/

$25 – Paypal donation – For a friend’s friend in Poland who has a paralyzing disease that has a cure.

$30.02 – M2M – Korean food groceries.

$60 – ATM withdrawal – Have no idea what this was for.

$45 – Pearl’s Bar – Drinks with friend who just broke up with BF.

$9.73 – Cat Food – Greedies

$15 – Gottsheer Hall – Beer for a bday party.

$7.99 – Uber – Not sure from/to or where.

$60.71 – Coned – Electricity. Moop

$13.54 – Uber – IDK

$142.99 – Park Slope Food Coop – I luv organic stuff ya’ll

$38.70 – Dear Bushwick Restaurant – I have no recollection of being here.

$21.78 – Vape liquid – Yes, I’m one of those assholes.

$49.95 – LL Bean – X-mas Gift.

$5.16 – Bodega

$120 – Ikebana Flowers – I have expensive hobbies.

$460 – ATM withdrawal – Where? Why? How?

$50.33 – Optimum – Internetssssss

$39.99 – H&M – I needed work pants, don’t judge.

$23.49 – Esty – Xmas gift for niece.

$778.46 – Leesa – New mattress. Worth every penny.

$52.48 – Lidds – Xmas gift for nephews

$21.78 – Vape – Someone shoot me.

$14 – Restaurant – IDK

$2.50 – ATM Fee – Die

$61.70 – ATM withdrawal – Prob for drinks

$22 – Paradise Bar – dranks

$47.04 – Cat Food – I should just release them in the woods.

$77.30 – Tony’s Pizza – To feed people at the after party.

$5.99 – M2M – Korean Udon

$68.62 – King Noodle – Bday Dinner Treat

$146.25 – NYU Bookstore – Xmas gifts for the fam.

$24.25 – Josie Woods – Co-worker dranks

$2.50 – ATM fee – DIE

$101.99 – ATM withdrawal – Where do these nights go?

$3.99 – Westside market – IDK food I guess.

$6.52 – M2M – Prob Udon again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Me

I don’t like that phrase, ‘new year, new me.’ What does that even mean? It’s what basics say and decal all over their whatevers at the end of a year. Got it, thanks. It is the New Year though and although we don’t want to act like the basics it does have meaning, or at least roots. It’s pagan and gravity and sunrays and the stars. The big stuff that is sometimes ridiculous but also has an undeniable sense of truth and constancy.

So what does a new year mean? It’s a time to reflect, measure and to set ‘goals’ or something along those lines for the coming year. Even though that seems contagiously regular, it still feels necessary. This time of year creates a setting that enables this sort of behavior. While it is busy with familial formalities, it also suspends obligations and expectations; leaving room for these future/past wishes to break free or take root.

I’m not sure what I really want to change about me at the moment. I’m happy and unhappy about a lot things in my life but I also think that is utterly besides the point so what’s the fuss and bother? Still, I can’t help but be thinking about this today, so here we go.

Below are some things that I want to change or pursue or whatever you want to call it for myself and the larger scope of things. None of it really matters that much to me but hey, I’m being basic and it sort of feels good.

Here’s to a healthy and prosperous new year. May you get every damn thing you wish for.

Be nicer to men – Really, I am just the worst! (ha!) But really, I am the least fun person to date these last few months because I have zero patience for mediocrity. This can be seen as an asset but trust me, I’m so mean to the men I date that it really is a touch cruel. I’m going to be nicer and if that doesn’t work then I’ll be asexual until I can be.

Save money – I’ve always been really good with my finances until this summer. There was a numbers fluke that I never recovered from and for the first time since I was twelve, I am in the red with money. It’s okay though. Having to change your life financially is interesting and challenging. I weirdly look forward to being frugal.

Exercise – Me and this flesh bag have some time to go still so yeah, got to get on that fitness regime.

Politics blah blah – This coming year is going to be shit re: actualities of politics and though I am not a certified ‘wonk’ I will be following things very closely. I look forward to talking to people about these things in the coming months but I also am NOT looking forward to talking about it as well. Having a good conversation about politics is like having a good conversation about art. It seems easy but it’s not and when it is bad it’s mortifying for everyone.

Go to church – Not for religion but for the architecture, organ music and chorus.

Explore graveyards – I have decided that the graveyards in NYC are better then any of its parks.

Drinks and Drugs – Too old for this shit.

Write More – I’m going to write more poetry, critical papers, aphorisms and not show them to anyone ever.

Sensitive – For those that don’t know me very well (most everyone) I can be a real tough cookie sometimes. I’m going to try to be not so tough this year. (unless you are an idiot asshole.)

Books! – Not sure why I don’t read as much as I want to. (damn internet TV) Please send recommendations!

Help strangers – Little things everyday.

Bye-bye baggage – It’s the time of Capricorn and that supposedly means that there is some heavy baggage life shit weighing us all down and that now is the time to release ourselves from this. It is so creepy true. I have been shedding bad weight in all areas of my mind and life and it’s amazing! Goodbye shitty people I don’t care about! Goodbye crappy lovers! Goodbye guilt filled obligations! Goodbye polite, dull conversations! Goodbye bad habits! Goodbye bad memories! Goodbye!