Oh! art Oh! Part 2
Oh Art Oh was a series written in 2009. Someone asked if we would republish the series and we say, “sure why the heck not.” We start with number 2 as it had the most work to bring it out of storage and hunt down lost photo’s and republish each in its correct place. Oh my what a job. To any of our new readers and the spies who have been spying we hope you like this piece and let it be known here is just a bit more of where we come from on our best day.
Oh! art Oh! Part 2
Okay, so what are we trying to do here. I really don’t know but we will see where this trying and don’t knowing takes us. Part 2 posting is a posting of many different things that interest us as workers in the arts. We use that term, workers in the arts very lightly as both words carry more baggage than the Catholic Church. All of the very different things here do not all agree with one another and that is why we like it. This posting is a type with things gathered from sources and put together. We are not going to splash any paint around in order to try to bring it all together like those who make collage or assemblage. That is the job of anyone who reads this. We do it in our mind. You can too.
Let’ s start this posting with a poem. Since everyone likes a poem and there probably are just as many poets in the world now as there are visual artists it’s a safe bet that you will like it too. If you don’t, well go on home and sit with your hands under your butt. Now I don’t remember the year that this poem was written and that really doesn’t matter. The poem is called The Struggle Is Our Art and we think it says some things that need to be said so here goes.
The Struggle Is Our Art
The Struggle Is Our Art
The world is our studio, gallery, museum
With our lives we paint the new day.
Our thoughts, words, deeds and actions
like hammer and chisel shape reality.
Our poems are as gentle as the spring falling rain
But also as terrifying as the raising flood waters.
Our brushes are ready to sweep away the dirt
that oppressors try to heap upon us.
Our song like the mighty thunder rolls
Alarming all that hides beneath the rocks.
Chasing it out into the light of day.
Away, Away, Away
The chorus sings against injustice.
The battle lines are drawn our erasers are ready
to clean the pages of mistakes.
Our dance a million feet non-stopping
To those who oppose, We are their danger and they shall know
No ba, ba, helpless little sheep are we
No stay in your place people
No going back from where we came
No saying, “Yes, Sir,” “Yes Sir”
For no sir you are not our baby.
And if you try to turn the clock back, we will smash the clock.
The struggle is our art.
So how is that for a little poem to get us started. When it was written we all belonged to the MADA Art Party so named for our two spirit beings we are. We had the ma and the da in us and we were out to prove who we were, what we stood for, and nobody better get in our way.
To Me That Shit Is A Lot Like Voting and Working For Reform.
“Oh my goodness,” said Nell. “there are so many artists.” Artists, here and artists there. Big ones, small ones, skinny ones all kinds of ones. Enough to go all the way around the world and maybe then some. There is one for you, one for me, and one for Minnie who lives down the lane and plenty left over when you get sick of the one that you have. Artists, all doing something and hoping to make a buck doing it. No body likes to wait on tables and get sore feet, so won’t you buy my art. I can’t really imagine that all these so called artists really have something to say. My god, the world of something to say would be so damn top-heavy that it would collapse. Lucky for everyone that it never does. Just keep filling up with all the nothing to say but saying it anyway. Fill, fill it up.
“It’s not important enough to burst, so don’t worry honey,” added in Mary Mary. Good thing that they are only doing the over and over again routine. Over and over rover and calling what they do by some other name. The isn’t that nice, Johnny is such a good artist he really can make that tree look real. Oh, Miss Arty one, two, three is so profound, she really is telling me something. Moving me, moving my spirit, ohhhhhhh, giving me a good cream in my jeans.
“Phooy,” spits out Dora, (now a member of the gang of 5 making it the gang of 6) “So much hogwash.” I truly wonder if they all think that they are saying something? Besides the pat on the backs from adoring friends what do they have. So many artists. An old art teacher of mine use to believe that if everyone became an artist then the world would be set free from its misery. Flowers blooming, kitties me-u-ing, babies and pigeons coo cooing. All is right–sigh–with the world. “Hey, Joe we are out of paint and my brush is leaving hair on the painting.” “Well, Mac get busy doing something else them.” How about washing the dishes?”
To us making art is a lot like just doing something while we wait for some type of transformation to take place and making everyone believe that we are profound and showing the way with our profoundity. It’s like in politicks when people go into the voting booth convinced that Mr. Brown is better than Mr. Brown and he will bring us all the good things we need. It’s like being given the crumbs we call reform. “Well, says Agnes, a new member of the gang of 6 now the gang of 7, “at least by all these people making art they aren’t out getting in trouble, doing silly things.” At least they are adding to groovy. Oh, groovy the place to be. Well artist, hot dog, it is the general trend that people attend the wine and cheese opening and then never come back to look at your pictures. They look at Lucy and say yum, yum, they say to Perry, “oh I’m so glad its almost summer so I can go to my summer place in the Berkshires,” chit chit chit chat, fly kisses in the air. So many people standing around that one can’t even see the art, expect for those who know that they are the art and not the stuff on the walls.
But still some make art. We got to get it all out somehow. Goosy Bell just told me, “every time that I look at Art News all the work artists are doing now I really have to wonder, What year is this? All of the art looks like art that was done in some other time. It says to me that someone has been there and done that, probaly better the first time around.” Round and round she goes, and we all know where she is stopping. In the same old place. Since we got the shit of a few thousand years in us going around and around doing the same over and over and calling it something new, we may need a major enema not only to clean out our colons but our brains as well. Back in the day when our brains needed a good cleaning we would pop some acid and wham bam out cob webs out. Fresh and clean ready to go about the business of clogging up ones self all over again. There is so much to clog up with, right there at ones disposal. It’s everywhere. Mrs. Greely just retired and now she is taking classes to become an artist. How nice. Let’s see what she can do.
How about a fun fact called, Many Reasons for a Rejection. I forgot now who this was written by and that doesn’t matter. It is an insight by an art dealer and goes like this: “We can’t have a conversation with each individual artist who sends us material, but here are some of the reasons we might reject and artist’s work: (bear with it as it is sickeningly sappy sweet)
1. We might love it but know that we don’t have a collector base to support it.
2. Much as we love to show art, we have to sell it to stay in business.
3. We might already represent an artist who fills that niche for us. We do want artists who fit our program, but if their work overlaps with what a represented artist does, we won’t consider the applicant.
4. One of us may love it and one of us may not. This is a common issue for business partners.
5. The price may be too high or too low for the gallery.
Well business performs for the arts again.
Two Lovely Paintings if I ever did see two.
Here’s two for all of you who love to see a lovely painting.
Madonna of the Pinks. (no relation to punkpink)
Madonna of the Pinks a lovely painting that was purchased by the National Gallery in London from the Duke of Northumberland for $41.7 million. It is a painting attributed to Raphael and was thought to be painted in 1507-08. Turns out it was painted in 1827 and is a fake. OH ART OH. The vase with the one blossom we know nothing about except it is a copy of a real vase and flower.
Notes of a Plein Air Painter of the Maine coast.
1.”At our Small Works show in early July, freshly painted, small originals went quickly to on-going collectors as well as new collectors who attended this fast-paced and enormously popular event. (49)
I am not a starving artist:
2.”Painting is truly a holistic experience involving mind, body and soul. Good basic self-care can really enhance an artists’ work. I like to begin with three simple concepts: eat well, sleep well and exercise. After a few days of employing the three concepts, there is room for natural alignment to begin. In other words, once the physical self is nurtured, the energy is provided for mental, emotional and spiritual enhancement.” OMG this person real???
I maybe can see clearly now, or so I thought.
“British cult writer Stewart Home says that art is bureaucracy, that the line between what is and is not art is often just a decision made by a curator or gallerist. I think a lot of the best art of our time is out there waiting to be labeled as such by forward-thinking art bureaucrats.” Shall we kill the forward thinking bureaucrats now or later? How about if the artist says that its art, then it is art?
‘Every magazine reader knows that dead art’s better than living art, and that there is only one thing better than a living artist, and that’s a dead artist.”(96)
“Why not look at painting and sculpture and find out why they are so constipated”(101)
Now this is the kind of art that we like. Until someone stole it and made it their own money making business.
May 68 Beginning of a Prolonged Struggle.
The posters of the May uprising in Paris were made when workers, students and artists occupied the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and formed the Atelier Populare, (Popular Workshop.) The posters were designed and printed anonymously and were distributed for free. No artists has been credited for these posters These posters were not made to beautify the homes of the elite as decoration but took center stage in the workers and students rebellion by provoking action and awareness. (68)
Let them eat cupcakes: Yum, Yum art.
There is no other reason that these 4 cupcakes appear except I would love to eat one or two.Or just in case anyone needs a little more please see (12)
Contributions towards the discourse that continues building.
The battle for Seattle. After the fact we get a Anti-Capitalism fight out on the Big Screen. Telling the peoples story and filling the pockets of those that we should be fighting against.
One of the most important sculptures in the world.
So named, 2009
Down with a world in which the guarantee that we will not die of starvation has been purchased with the guarantee that we will die of boredom (Situationist graffiti, 1967)
Gentrification is Class Warfare!
Justice for Janitors Leaflet from the MADA ART PARTY.(55)
The flip side of the leaflet said this:
THE MADA ART PARTY
CELEBRATES AND SALUTES
THE JUSTICE FOR JANITORS CAMPAIGN.
OUR BROOMS ARE READY TO SWEEP AWAY
THE DIRT THAT THE GREEDY TRY TO HEAP ON US!
Mr. George David of UTC things it’s quite okay to wage war upon the working poor. Mr. David and UTC think that art is nice but those that clean their toilets don’t deserve a living wage, with good benefits. They wish to be seen as good corporate citizens. They sponsor this show and that run. Their name is up in lights so bright. But their sponsorship is like the shiny red apple and their apple is full of worms. Worms of the worst kind. Those that eat away at the gains of the workers. Those that try to destroy the little that the working poor have. All the while here at the Wadsworth Atheneum the UTC name is up in lights sponsoring an art exhibition. Oh, yes George, art is nice, but lets see those dead artists and pretty pictures clean your toilet. You poo too, and someone must clean up your mess. Certainly UTC can afford to give to the janitors that clean its buildings a fair wage. Is that too much to ask? We don’t think so.
The MADA Art Party says to hell with pretty picture shows. Give the janitors a decent wage!
The MADA Art Party seeks justice. We are not affiliated with the Service Employees Union, Local 531. We join the Justice For Janitors Campaign as workers in the arts and stand against corporate greed and the war against the working poor. The Struggle Is Our Art.
Hidden art we told you about in Oh, Art, Oh-Part 1. (on the railroad tracks near Capitol Ave.) (3)
Unsanctioned art that the man did not find and paint over. Real art as we like it art. Art of the youth. Free art. Art that I like. Art that Alvin likes. We hope you like it too.
Sanctioned Art: Art that the man claps his hands about. Keep them kiddies in line and we will all be fine. One way to go. Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same.(5)
A Little game with Benny and Moe
Words are only words. Pick a word or pick two, any ammount of words will do.
Do whatever you want with the words you choose. Add new words, make up your own. But Do It! (9)
smash, burn, break, throw, tip, scream, night run, jump out,
over, map, roll, spray, provoking, action, deed, resistance,
alternative, feed, love, new, resist, flying through the air, climb –
Notes on OH, Art, Oh-Part 2:
The Situationists and Fluxus are movements that I have based many of my ideas in for the last 40 + years. I try hard to do things that the man can never capture and use for buying and selling. I do not like the system, nor do I like the rich. I have a problem with the kiss kiss crowd in the art scene and the I got one up on you and will become famous. I don’t like museums as there are too many smells in them. I get very tired when I tour around looking at art. I don’t like the big heads that run the places or the little heads that think they are big heads. I never know what to do with my hands when I view art. In front of me, behind me, in my pockets? Galleries are just as bad. You got Miss I know it all, aren’t I sleek, real contemporary in both manners and dress, looking at you. ”Are you a buyer, or just a looker?” Don’t try to talk to her as her nose accent will drive you wild. We’re in a business here honey, I don’t have time to chat it up with a looker. (and you’re not even a good looker)
For study see:
The Situationists: Situationism’s roots can be traced back to the Surrealist mission of radically disrupting conventional, bourgeois life. The Situationist Internationale was made up of the Lettrist International, the Banalistes, Psychogeographical Association, and the Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus all members of the European Avant Garde who formally merged to form the Situationists. They rejected art as ornament of privilege and a commodity for consumption and believed that people were no longer participants in their own lives but spectators. The group wanted to collapse the divide between art and life, thus finding art a revolutionary practice. By the mid-1960s Situationist art making had largely given way to theoretical writing and political organizing. The French student and workers strike of 1968 owed much to Situationist ideas. By 1972 the group was dissolved. In 1989 a major exhibition of Situationists work was exhibited at the Centre Georges Pompidou. The exhibition, “On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time,” was controversial in its attempt to present a highly politicized movement through art objects and historical artifacts. (1)
For a complete transcript of Guy Deboard’s “The Society of the Spectacle,” 1967 which is a very good read go to: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/debord/society.htm
For a transcript of chapters from Raoul Vaneigem’s, “The Revolution of Everyday Life,”and Vaneigem’s “Intended to be discussed, Corrected, and Principally, Put into Practice Without Delay.” see here http://library.nothingness.org/authors.php3?id=4
2. Fluxus: “Long long ago, back when the world was young-that is around the year 1958 a lot of artists and composers and other people who wanted to do beautiful things began to look at the world around them in a new way (for them). They said: “Hey–Coffee cups can be more beautiful than fancy sculptures. A kiss in the morning can be more dramatic than a drama by Mr. Fancypants. The sloshing of my foot in my wet boots sounds more beautiful than fancy organ music. And when they saw that, it turned their minds on. And they began to ask questions. One question was: “Why does everything I see that’s beautiful like cups and kisses and sloshing feet have to be made into just a part of something fancier and bigger? Why can’t I just use it for its own sake?” When they asked questions like that they were inventing Fluxus. In the Spirit of Fluxus, Edited by Janet Jenkins, first edition 1993 Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (44)
“Fluxus’ goal was the journey but alas it became art.”—Willem de Ridder. ”They always find a way to kill us, take our stuff and stuff it in a museum.” ..Molly Jean jones.
For some fun check out The Fluxus Indian Museum–Fluxus The Art Movement here: http://www.fluxus.org/museum/maciunas.htm Be sure to visit the museum’s quick tour. Real quick so pay attention.
Here is an excellent video by Acumensch found on you tube. Its title is “Democracy is a Spectacle.” All narrations are from Guy Deboard.
(1) Art Speak, Robert Akins, Abbeville Press, New York.
(12) Even revolutionaries Have To Eat. Back in 1999 I was one of the weavers on an exhibition called, Challenging and Changing America, The Struggle For LGBT Civil Rights, 1900-1999. We had boxes and boxes of material to go through and archives like one wouldn’t believe. Well to me when I take on a project its 24/7. Work, work, work for the glory of the revolution. Many times I didn’t eat my dinner like a good boy, and stayed up late like a bad one. Then one day when I was going through a spiral notebook of the Kalos Society (early political/culture civil rights group in CT) reading the planning of the first Pride in 1972 I came upon a recipe for meatloaf. Then it hit me, even the revolutionary had to stop and eat. Take a break for food and relaxation. After than it dawned on me that I must do that too. Not that one should eat only cupcakes but I think these cupcakes as displayed are very pretty and Deric and Alvin can have one for dessert.
(44) In the Spirit of Fluxus, exhibition catalogue. (great book of art)
(49) Years ago when I was a house painter I took on the name of Fresh Paint.
(96) & (101). artist Les Levine replying to art critic Robert Hughes’s essay “The Decline and Fall of the Avant Garde, Robert Hughes, Time Magazine, 1972. Idea Art, A. Dutton, 1973.
(9) The words in the piece above are chosen for this article. Please add in your head any words that you want.This is a very old piece of mine (1966) called Pick a word or two.The idea was to pick a word or two and do what you want with the word. Do it all day. Back in the day the words were cut out of newspaper and collaged together. People gazing at the piece would pick a word and go from there. Sometimes I would use block letters. In my senior year of high school my friend Bonnie who was very good at cutting out letters from folded construction paper and I did a bulletin board using all sorts of colors for the back ground and letters in black. Everyone thought they were in English class rather than the art room. Oh, art can be so confusing sometimes.
(3) Hidden art photos by Alvin. 100 cheers for a real good job with these photos. 100 cheers to our artists.
(5) For more info in case you missed Part 1 (P.S you should really read it too) on the Sanctioned art of Capitol Ave click here, here, and here. Sorry but we can only say that this wall looks like it is covering something up in more ways than one.
(55) When we protested with the Justice For Janitors Movement we always used this type of leaflet on one side. We were dealing with pigs who rolled around in their greed and always wanted to cut the hours the janitors workers, cut their pay, cut their benefits, give them more work, and on and on. The companies we worked for were always trying to lick up to the management of the buildings so their company would get the contract. Both were just as bad for our health and the health of our families. As artists we had to join in the fight. No questions asked.
(68) These posters are now collector items, bought and sold like any other piece of art. I am sure they are hanging on the beautiful wall of the elite these days, being groovy.
Here is the statement from the Popular Workshop about the posters that were produced during the uprising in May 1968:
“The posters produced by the Atelier Populaire are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories. To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the Atelier Populaire has always refused to put them on sale. Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class. That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, though contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”
We at this blog only can hope that more artists will hear our call out, understand it and work with it.
Lets all take a listen to a song that says alot about it all. Anti-Flag’s Turncoat.
Oh Art Oh Part-2. Queer Artist/2009