I’m reblogging this in support of the women at JPLNASA who object to the casual sexism (the most pernicious kind) displayed in the ‘cool’, dudely video. As usual, their voices are not being heard.

To Assange supporters, Galloway, Akin, rape apologists everywhere:

“…no matter the cause, the progressive left cannot deny, downplay or ridicule the seriousness of rape and sexual assault to treat women’s bodies as collateral in some wider battle. Women’s rights are not secondary to liberal or class politics, they are, and should be, placed at the their heart.”

~ Women from Compass, a group for the betterment of society, in a letter in Thursday’s Guardian.

To ‘feminist’ right-on male and female supporters of Pussy Riot: READ THIS:
http://radicalhub.com/2012/08/20/pussy-riot-whose-freedom-whose-riot/  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lyn Gardener’s review of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh:

“It’s a reminder that, in the powerplays of men, women’s bodies are often the battlefield”.

So it goes.

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Excellent article by Tanya Gold on the current vogue for ‘rape jokes’ at the Edinburgh Fringe:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/17/heard-one-about-rape-funny-now?CMP=twt_gu

Exiled Stardust

Today on Spot the Misogyny: the viral video “We’re NASA, and We Know It”

This video was all over Twitter today and even @MarsCuriosity thinks it’s OMG THE BEST VIDEO EVAR!!1!

Youtube user who posted this video: “Satire”

Am I the only person wondering why such a spirited celebration of geekery just HAD to include a headless dancing chick in an American flag bikini?  While every male in the video remained fully clothed with his dignity intact?

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Talking Balls 2: ‘artspeak’

“These images represent the juxtaposition of the timeless and majestic elegance of nature’s sensory-surpassing miracles with the entangled and growing tensions of our time in culturally reconnecting with the shift away from the human condition of love.”

You know what this is, don’t you?
It’s the first sentence of an ‘artist’s statement’, the artist in this case being photographer John Kilar. (Apologies, John; I’m not picking on you out of personal spite, just by way of a bone-idle, half-assed Google search; you are very, very far from being alone.)
A couple of John’s photos accompanying said statement:

“In giving careful attention to the mediating filters that propagates socially-constructed irreverence, I aim to address the necessity of breaking down the symbolic paradigms of understanding to revisit the overlooked empathy for humanity…”

Ah, now I get it.
That’s not just a lardy fry-up; he’s not just a raving lunatic with a Messiah complex: they’re ‘symbolic paradigms’.
Read the whole thing here: pay particular attention to the comments; is Mr/Ms ‘rien de le monde’ (sic) for real?

“…a glimpse into the unmanaged consciousness that searches for meaning amongst the chaotic jumble of stigma, tropes, tenets, and tradition…”

Or taking the piss, big-style?
How very postmodernly ambiguous.

I was inspired in my seconds-long quest by a great article at artinfo.com pondering on the past and future of International Art English, aka ‘artspeak’, or as I prefer to call it, ‘bollox’.
It, IAE, consists in the main of pseudo-sub-Derridean-esque-ian drivel which, from my own observations, must increase in inverse proportion to the quality of the artwork to which it is attached, and which, as Richard Feynman once famously said of quantum mechanics, “nobody understands”.

Understanding, of course, not being the point; the ‘democratisation’ of art, the great post-modern, defiantly anti-modenist ‘project’ – “we’re all artists now” – has run concurrently with increasing obfuscation and obscurantism in the way we talk about art. So banal is so much ‘art’, it must rely on words in the form of arcane/portentous titles and mystifying accompanying text, convoluted exegesis, to give it any heft whatsoever; ie, to compensate for shocking levels of mediocrity.
There is nothing ‘democratic’ in this; impenetrable bamboozling jargon is always exclusive and elitist, in whichever sphere it operates.

Of course, it’s terribly easy (and fun) to parody this type of discourse, as was shown by Charisma Robot’s Bottom Boom in my last post.
And remember the Sokal Affair? A ‘postmodern essay’, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity, was cobbled together randomly from “…grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense… structured around the silliest quotations [by postmodernist academics]…”
It was created to prove a point; hilariously, it was accepted for publication; rightly, the shit hit the fan.

Yet back here in ‘Art’, the crap goes on. And on.
This is not a good thing.
For one thing, you can still get away with misogynistic, ‘titillating’ rubbish, if you frame it ‘right’:

“Though the subject itself is revealing and seducing, the intimately intertwined images weave the viewpoint and gaze in such a way that the work becomes less an open seduction and more a psychological game of voyeurism and ways of looking.”

This from the blurb accompanying the work of Lee Horyon; and you know what I thought about that. “Ways of looking”: reference John Berger obliquely, and it’s alright, mate; it’s cool. We dig.

Happily, I reckon the game may well be up. Or it will be if the rather marvellous artybollocks generator has anything to do with it.
Dipping into the Golden Treasury of Delight that is the Museum of Bad Art, I officiated at a marriage made in the Ninth Circle of Art Hell:

Circus of Despair (yes, really) by Someone From Whom All Art Materials Must Be Forever Withheld:

“My work explores the relationship between Critical Theory and life as performance. With influences as diverse as Munch and Frida Kahlo, new tensions are created from both opaque and transparent structures. Ever since I was a pre-adolescent I have been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of the universe. What starts out as hope soon becomes debased into a dialectic of defeat, leaving only a sense of failing and the inevitability of a new beginning. As shimmering phenomena become distorted through diligent and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the inaccuracies of our existence.”

Fabulous. I could do this all day.
But my point is serious: language, words, are, I firmly believe, the greatest tools for good or ill that we have; it matters, more than anything, how and to what ends we use them. Use language disingenuously, without clarity, honesty and forethought, and you make the world just that little bit shittier.
‘Art’ is a language and it speaks for itself; if it cannot, maybe it should keep go away and keep its gob firmly shut.

Nice interview with lovely T’Art Club member and super artist, Mary Lonergan, featuring her ‘Grand Iroquois’ which was shown in the recent NY spectacular, Art Takes Times Square.
Very proud!

All About Travel

”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~Steven Pressfield

Bay Area Artist Mary Lonergan is a client and friend of All About Travel and we wanted to share with you a bit about her creative endeavors.

I have personally known Mary for many years. We worked together in the Bay Area in the music scene managing bands and producing live events. In fact, Mary and I have created artwork alongside one another working on our own projects, spending the day creating with music in the background. It’s definitely something I miss quite a bit. I actually worked with oils mostly until Mary introduced me to acrylics.

In fact, Mary’s first show in Florence I was going to…

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Sharks ‘n’ Sh*t… (lest we forget)

Right. Where were we?
Ah, yes: “disaffected cynicism”.
(And, in case you’re just about to have your tea, a healthy dose of the scatological.)

It’s a good while since I dusted off my All-Purpose-ArtiBollox-Detector™ (with optional Nut-Crusher) and went Damien-bashing; I began to think it was tediously easy; more to the point, post the monumental display of unbridled hubris that was the Gagosian/Hirst collaboration and then those appalling new ‘paintings’, every bugger was at it.
I hate a bandwagon. So much so, I actively sought out positive reviews. Just for the change.
“Poor Damien. He’s alright, really. I’d buy him a pint.”

Then I remembered: he’s made, like, a gazillion quid from getting other sackless sods to make shite.
He can buy me a pint.

Instrumental in returning me to my senses was a quote in last week’s Guardian from the late, great Robert Hughes (yes, him again; you can’t have too many Hughes quotes):

“The publicity over the shark created the illusion that danger had somehow been confronted by Hirst, and come swimming into the gallery, gnashing its incisors. Having caught a few large sharks myself off Sydney, Montauk and elsewhere, and seen quite a few more over a lifetime of recreational fishing, I am underwhelmed by the blither and rubbish churned out by critics, publicists and other art-world denizens about Hirst’s fish and the existential risks it allegedly symbolises.
One might as well get excited about seeing a dead halibut on a slab in Harrods food hall.”

Ya see?
Degrees of separation between Hirst and experience; between Hirst and authenticity; between Hirst and the real world. What kind of deluded, lily-livered namby-pamby wuss are you, Jonathan Jones, – “No encounter with a contemporary work of art has ever thrilled me like the day I walked into the Saatchi Gallery in 1992 and saw a tiger shark’s maw lurch towards me…” (you lurched towards it, by the way) – if you sustain ‘visceral shock’ over a pimped-up fish-bowl in the admittedly life-threatening, elemental confines of a London art gallery?
Embodied ‘primal fear’ as felt when viewing Jaws from behind a cushion, and to which the only reasonable response is “Big, innit?”

So, Hirsty, in memory of Mr Hughes, consider hostilities well and truly resumed.

On Sunday, happily, I came across this review, and delicious kick to boyo’s nethers, in Charisma Robot’s Day Trips to the Void blog, which reminded me how much fun Damien-bashing is when you put your mind to it. So moved was CR by Hirst’s oeuvre, she/he spent literally minutes creating this heartfelt homage:
Bottom Boom: A Conceptual Fart:

“Bottom Boom captures a moment frozen in time, a moment of existence, an action, that can never be experienced in that quintessential way ever again. Bottom Boom is a study on ontology and the way it delineates our existence… The wonder of the body in motion meshing with time and existence, having awareness of itself and its death, the waste of lives ever moving in a cycle of creation and destruction. The ebb and flow, the yin and yang, the immorality and the morality bla bla bla bla…”

Yes. CR farted into a glass box. Or pretends she/he did. Or, more likely, got someone else to do the farting. Either way, so very ‘Hirstian’.
(Of course, I could add that this work clearly references and engages in debate with Piero Manzoni’s Merda d’artista (1961), but that would be talking crap, and we can’t have that.)

Serendipitously, (the Blessed Robert was surely guiding my hand by now) I then stumbled upon an ancient (2008) article from The Daily Squib:
“Arse Hole, by Damien Hirst”:

“The painting is part of the Hirst ‘Arse Series’ where he depicts himself as the contemporary ‘anal bullshit’ con-artist that he is.
“‘I aim to paint myself as limitless angular momentum in constant toilet flushing flux. My anal sphincter muscles loosen and expel hydrostatic equilibrium into the anus-sphere of existence and of course stick a dead fucking cow in there too,” Hirst writes in Arthole magazine.”

Tee-hee.
I know, I know…
Puerile, facile, really not helpful. Cheap shots, for sure, with far too much ‘arse’.
But Hirst’ll do that to you.
Anyway, I’ve spent the last fortnight in a state of Olympics-induced beatific magnanimity.
It was never going to last. 😉

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Because it’s Shark Week: Ten Fun Facts About Jaws by Holditnow.

Just calling to say…

Hi! How are you?
Long time no see!

Yes, at least half my life has been put on hold while I savour The Greatest Show On Earth and thank God I’m not Australian. I’m no sports fiend, but it’s so exhilarating, so uplifting, to see anyone doing anything to the absolute peak of her/his ability, whether it’s winning a chestful of medals or recording a PB; in a world where gratification and reward are increasingly expected to be instant and involving the least possible effort, it’s a timely reminder that the best most often comes from long, dedicated, slow-cooking.

That’s Jason Kenny on his way to a gold medal.
I’m (morbidly, not pervily) fascinated by the sprint cyclists’ thighs. Who would win a thigh-off between a cyclist and a speed-skater? Where on earth do they buy their trousers?
Important stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I also want to mark, as so many have, the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn’s death. She remains elusive to me, and, I think, to the zillions who profess an opinion on who/what she was; suffice to say, to a gawky, angular, too-tall, un-pretty adolescent she was a vision of what a woman ‘should be’: lusciously ripe, petite, baby-faced, baby-voiced, desired and accommodating.
Then I grew up.

By our youngest T’Art Club member, Dayne Britten.
Very affective, I find.

Finally, RIP the great Robert Hughes, whom I thank for providing my favourite ever art quote. Not this one – you should know which I mean by heart by now! – but it’s pretty damn good too, not least for being applicable to all human endeavour, not just ‘art’:

“There is virtue in virtuosity, especially today, when it protects us from the tedious spectacle of ineptitude.”

Speaking of which: nearly forgot: huge congrats to NASA!
(Why did I nearly forget? Why aren’t we more thrilled at Curiosity landing on Mars? Are we indeed suffering from what William Gibson calls Future Fatigue?)
This is MARVELLOUS!!

Again, as in the Olympics, people, just people, being the best they can be, through sheer hard graft and patience, at what they do.
If you don’t take inspiration from all of them someone should check your pulse.

So, somewhat bitty and rambling, but I just wanted to check in.
Back to cogency, sense (really?) and rampant disaffected cynicism next week when, all being well, I’ll be less distracted and emotional.

Take care, and speak soon.

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Really enjoyed this by Chris at Anxiety and Biscuits: A Very British Olympics…

See more of Dayne’s work here.

Lovely post by Ann; the portrait of a marriage…?