Some art to talk about 2014.
A very happy New Year to all of our readers from all over the place. We would like to welcome to our readship folks who have been appearing lately from Serbia. We were startled one day when we had a massive jump in our stats and upon doing a little research we discovered that our Oh Art Oh series were quite popular reading by someone from Serbia. We welcome you and hope that you will read up on other postings and send in a comment or two. We dedicate this piece to you and your reading on our art thoughts.
As The New Year Opens We Have On Our Minds.
Some other things on our mind.
We have to admit that we have been quite lazy of late not feeling like writing a great deal and just posting to our information please art series. We will try hard next year to do a better job of writing about things that should be written about. We have some ideas floating around about art, about society, about what we think of many things. But you know we are becoming more and more interested in foraging wild food and identifying edible wild plants. We are more interested now in how to survive out there in the woods if we need to. punkpink as many of our readers will remember has been doing such things in the wild woolies of Vermont and now knows quite a bit about twigs, berries, leaves and roots. One of the best guides that we use often is Foraging New England written by Tom Seymour. Here is a very simple forage that anyone who lives in this neck of the woods can begin with.
White Pine Pinus Strobus
A rich source of Vitamin C and A White Pine tea is easy to make. To gather simply pull the needles from the branches, chop enough to fill a cup 1/3 full, pour boiling water over the needles let steep strain and enjoy.
We Like Fluxus and Fluxus Likes Us.
George Maciunas said in his manifesto on Fluxus art “Purge the world of bourgeois sickness, ‘intellectual,’ professional & commercialized culture, PURGE the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art” Yes we respond a lot needs purging, not only in the arts but in all of society. It seems a lot of the sick bourgeois sickness has infiltrated the arts.
Art that did not impress.
We often say things others are afraid to say, not just to offend people, but because some things need to be articulated. We are mostly dismissed here in this city by the artistic elite but you know that’s okay. We will never complain about being an outsider in the Hartford art world and cherish every moment of it. Its too much work being cool and groovy. Been there done that years ago and gave it up when cool and groovy became something that everyone was. Its too much work doing the same old thing over and over and calling it something new. Where pray do tell is the innovation? Where is the good experimental? For the most part the art looks like, “I graduated from art school and this is what I learned.” Boring shit if we have to say it twice we will. There just isn’t all that much in art around here. Even the one gallery that is suppose to be provocative shows slick. They lost that raw so many years ago and now have become nothing more than acceptable counter culture culture.
Lately we have been noticing lots of posters around town for upcoming events. Posters that are up in all the places that posters post are slick. Slick like everyone is a machine? Nice posters guarenteed but somehow the human aspect has been left out. They tell me we are the biggest, the best event we are slick as slick can be. We are art. Oil slick, oil stick. Slick as this sick oppressive Capitalist society that must be destroyed along with all the slickness and the slick people. Now the emperor’s new clothes stuff going on in the art world is fine but thank our lucky stars for the boy who sees the emperor naked and has the balls to say so. That boy has bigger balls, bigger balls than the big balled artists hanging on at every gallery click, slick, click open opening could ever dream of having.
I think one of my favorite artist says it quite well,”I keep telling younger artists: at some point you’ve got to be critical about how successful you’re being socially and how successful you’re being artistically. It’s pretty easy to be successful socially when you’re in your 20s and 30s, you’re going out all the time, and people come to your shows because people like to know artists. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re successful artistically.” —Penny Arcade
OH ART OH Sometimes you make me so sad.
Here is a photo of one of the sculptures from a gallery show this past year. We say without any hesitation that it and other other works in the show is the most offensive art in 2014. (we even changed our route so we would not have to look in the windows at this art during the duration of the show.) How boringly slick.
A What-Not from Cartier’s Curiosity Shelf.
Vector Oculus-Terrance Lavin 2007
We have always loved looking in windows but to see art that is not really our style especially if the art we are seeing are small works. Why back in the day we use to do window installations as our art. Yes we know this is an art gallery but the gallery is hardly ever open so we have to resort to looking in the windows at the art and being satisfied with that unless we call ahead and make a reservation to come in and see the art but then we wonder if we do that will the proprietor think that we are collectors who want to buy even though we don’t? (shit we got more art under the bed than the Vogels use to have.) It is rather awkward looking in the window at small art. But that said we want to add a bit about a show we saw that recently ended. We really don’t know why we hated the show so much and can only say the show reminded us of “what nots from Cartier’s curiosity shelf.” It so slick it makes us fear slick. Safe boring art. We went to art school art. I am a machine and I make art. Slick art. Isn’t the artist talented art. Everything that we hate about art. Everything that isn’t art. To check out more of these expensive looking What-Nots see HERE.
Here Kitty Kitty Kitty. Leave me alone I want to take a nap.
Much to talk about but so little talking.
When the kitties came to town and took up residence at Real Art Ways we were thrilled. The Cat show was one of our favorites but what should have been said wasn’t. We need to talk. We hungered for more information. We read in an article in the Hartford Courant, Picture Purr-fect, Cats are Art and Artists in Exhibit (1) written by Fluffy Dunne that the cats were artists, and one could take home an artist but not the art that the cats would be making while in a cage as they performed with the humans who came to visit them and perhaps take one home and give it the good life. (all cats were up for adoption) Here are just a few of our observations and questions about this piece that we have and would have loved to discuss with others. But it seems Hartford folks being Hartford folks and like what Penny said thy were more interested in the petting, purring, mewing, meowing and pretty kitties rather than a real deal discussion about art of these times. So sad. So what have we got to ask and ponder:
1. Are or can cats really be artists? Do we need human intervention to tell us it is so? Must there be human intervention in order for the magic of art to work?
2. Do the cats continue to be artists when no one is looking?
3. Do the cats continue to be artists when they are taken home, and given the good life?
4. Are we willing to extend artist status to other non-humans outside of the animal realm. (wind, rain, etc)
5. Are these cats only artists when they reside in a man made artist environment? Big Boy escaped last night does that mean he doesn’t want to be an artist but a stud?
6. Take a cat any cat anywhere, are these cats artists too?
7. How about forced participation? Do the animals really want to play with you? I am sleeping leave me alone. Fuck your time.
8. We see the cat. How does the cat see us?
9. Does pretty kitty feel pretty sad that no one wanted to adopt him and now he has to go back to living in a cage at the rescue shelter?
Part of the cat landscape at Real Art Ways Hartford Ct.
A few more animals in art in a crowed field.
The use of animals in art has been traced to the 1938 exhibition when Salvador Dali showed Rainy Taxi or Mannequin Rotting in a Taxi Cab. The piece consisted of a real automobile with two mannequins. A system of pipes causes “rainfall” within the taxi. The female wears an evening dress. Her hair is tousled. Lettuce and chicory grow around her. Live snails crawl across her. The chauffeur has a shark’s head. Shocking for the time even for some of the Surrealists and their followers.
Of course the most famous piece in our day and age was when Joseph Beuys in 1974 took up residence in the Rene’ Block gallery with a shepherd’s crook a live coyote, a bolt of felt, straw, newspapers and other objects.. Beuys called his piece Coyote: I like America and America likes me. We loved his art and he loved us. (2)
Today in our contemporary art world the current trend is more oriented towards the research of a dialogic and a linguistic relationship with the animals, and inter-species or ethically correct boundaries are often challenged.
Once we read what we wrote: A thousand ants carry a dead beetle home. We saw it happening, we called it, watched for awhile, went home and did what we do after seeing a thousand ants carrying a dead beetle home.
It has been discovered that if you give a monkey, a cat, an elephant a paint brush, a nice wall, paper and paint they will paint. Someone said they paint as well as any man woman or child and could make it in the art world if given a chance.
Ruby painting on the wall.
How about a little concert from one of the best in the business, Tucker The Schnoodle.
One art work that we remember but can’t for the life of us remember who did it or where we saw it in all of its eerie glamour was a large cage split in two sections. In one section was a large group of black birds. In the other section was a large group of black cats. Oh the tension in that cage. We stood watching hoping that something would happen. But nothing did. All creatures just stayed there looking at us. How Mary Anne wanted to let the birds out first. Open the window, fly away.
“DADA, as for it, it smells of nothing, it is nothing, nothing, nothing.” ( )
DADA Show Hartford Ct. “Oh give me new faces, new faces, new faces, I have seen the old ones.”
Jeff Poole, Homage to Marx Ernst.
We thought at the time of our visit that this was one of the best art shows that we had seen in Hartford in a long time. Well sometimes second thoughts are the wise thoughts and sometimes not. Now DADA happened along time ago and that ago has long passed. One thing we hate is when an artist makes art along a theme. She doesn’t and could never be a DADIST but suddenly shows what she thinks is a piece of DADA. What we found here was I have studied DADA and this is my interpretation of DADA, which is DADA in itself. This DADA today didn’t fit the bill and the show look like acdemick DADA. Hardly a life breath of DADA DADAING about. So removed from what original DADA faced most of these works would be welcomed on any wall of the rich, the capitalist, the museum, or perhaps a member of the enlightened bourgeois. The framed works in the front gallery do not rebel, do not say we are united by opposition to the war and its patriotic nationalism, as well as irreverence toward bourgeois behavior and taste. The artists who would proclaim “Dada” as a creed, did so because, in the words of Marcel Janco, “we had lost confidence in our culture. Everything had to be demolished. You won’t find that in the framed pictures in this show. Most of the works looked like anything that is being done in contemporary art of today or a take off on what DADA was 100 years ago.
There is no revolutionizing of aesthetic form, no social rebellion,( except in the case of Dennis Peaboy’s mimic comic work, of ex. governor John Rowland’s as a prison lube sweating porky pig gov. with a comforting Sylvester the cat standing next to him. This piece only tweaks, and would look good on some democrats walls for a tee hee among party favorites, toss in a tinge of a straight mans fear of prison, getting fucked in the ass by a well hung man, a bit of homophobia swirling through out and another tee hee hee from the viewer to match. Serves him right. Man could suffer a worse fate in jail than a stretching of the butt hole.), no social revolutionaries out to overthrow society but what amounts to a bunch of art mimicking of left wing Bohemianism of another time and place.
Wall with porked pig Ex. Governor John Rowland.
Get into the street Hartford DADA, get out a bull horn, march, work to over thrown this racist system, this oppressive Capitalism. Shake up the mainstream Open Studio art world of Hartford. Rebel. We won’t get true DADA within a framed picture show monkeying the past. Nice try boys and girls but you just didn’t make it.
Where or Where Do Might We Find DADA?
Now of course as with everything there was an exception. Off in the back room which reminded me of the Salon De Refuses, was works by in our opinion one of the only artists to really capture the spirit of DADA. Marc Carlton Burns art spoke DADA to everything else in the show. Indeed Mr. Burns threw a bucket of DADA at the acdemick art world of Monkey DADA in the front room and captured a real spirit of the times. We liked that he didn’t try to make DADA but just was. What a relief I found it to be to walk into that back room. Right before becoming there I was asked by the curator “How are you doing?” I responded “Fine now that I have found the Salon De Refuses, (3) where is the urinal?” I think that went way over his head as he pointed me to the men’s room. Piss in is art but no R Mutt. One piece we love was an artist card give-a- way that artist Burns had on the give-a-way table. Wrong color is now framed and is hanging on our wall in another blow to living DADA argument.
Wrong Color, Marc Carlton Burns
We only took a few pictures of some of the wonderful works. We liked the works using marks on the wall, tape, Styrofoam, cardboard and other refuse, string, ropes, an old piece of carpet, mops and brooms in a corner, piles of wood, floor sweepings in a pile and other construction supplies. Now don’t get us wrong we know this type of art is nothing new, we knew it many moons ago as baby fluxus amazed little brat run-a-ways in the streets of NYC but would have to say if any DADA was within the DADA show this was it. This dumped everything. This rebelled. This said no. This told the front room where to get off.
Not going all the way but still its okay.
One participation art work that was a framed photo of the Statue of Liberty that folks were invited to write on the walls around. Even most of the written words didn’t hit on a rebellious nature, No stop Bombing, End War, Pigs, just “Dogs licking blood from the streets,” that even hinted we were at war in the country, that even hinted that a symbol of americkkka could bring on rebellion. No “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,” (except of course if your brown and have walked all the way from Guatemala.) Not even a dead chicken, plucked and washed on the counter each day getting a bit older.
The written words we liked the best were on the right at the corner edge of the wall. “Please Do Not Write Beyond This Point.” Arrow drawn to point the way. Contained rebellion, contained on one wall, do not go beyond, art work on the next wall that doesn’t have anything to do with rebellion. STOP IN THE NAME OF THE DADA SAYS THE POLICEMAN Stay within the lines. Oh but Bombs away bombs away blow them all away, Oh what fun it is to bomb the whole wide world today. Now that idea doesn’t stay within the lines, doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, cares nothing about your art, your loved ones your home but spreads it out equal, all dead and blown to bits. This wall that wall any wall now contain on just one. We rebel against such a world view. That is like, we don’t care who is at the end of the beating stick as long as it isn’t us. Miss Goosey said, “Perhaps a framed photo of President Obama would have been more of a DADA choice, as you know how these artists, and other liberal nuts just love that man and think he can do no wrong. We wonder what they would write then? But you know that could be a bit too much for some and just might have caused a little war right there in the DADA art show. Racist pigs thrown all around. Better than licey rats at a real DADA concert.
One work that got a lot of giggles: We consider this work to be 2nd runner up for the prize of DADA. Now then again real DADA today would have included an aroma of some kind as we all know new money smells and old is full of germs.
“In God We Trust” by Isabel Acosta.
So little, so late I saw it a small hole in the wall down near the baseboard where an outlet had been removed. Ah thought I a perfect place to stuff the front page of days newspaper each day. Daily News Filling a Rats hole I would call it.
DADA this all is not, but if in the real spirit of DADA it is, its there looking out from the back room thumbing its nose at the academy in the front room.
(1) Picture Purr-fect Cats Are Art and Artists In Exhibit, Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, Friday October 31, 2014
(2) In 1997 Oleg Kulik, inspired by the above mentioned Beuys’ action, proposes the performance I bite America and America bites Me, spending two weeks as a caged dog and living like it. Sculptor, photographer and curator, Oleg Kulik is best known for his tribal performances as a ‘man-dog’, which explore the physical and emotional relationships between man and beast, evoking the immemorial dualism between culture and nature. The L’Enfant terrible of Russia’s contemporary art world gained international notoriety in the mid 1990s when his canine alter ego shocked audiences during performances in Zurich and Stockholm. Memorably, Kulik performed ‘I Bite America and America Bites Me’ (1997) for an exhibition in New York during which visitors were invited to enter a cage where the naked and unchained Kulik would interact with them in unpredictable and surprising ways.
(3) The original Salon des Refusés was an art exhibition that took place in Paris in 1863, showing works that had been rejected by the official Paris Salon. That year artists protested vehemently after so many paintings were rejected (only 2,217 paintings out of the more than 5,000 submitted were accepted, and Emperor Napoleon III ordered a special exhibition be held at which rejected artists could display their works. Hence the name, Salon des Refusés.
Whistler is best known for the nearly monochromatic full-length figure titled Arrangement in Gray and Black: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, but usually referred to as Whistler’s Mother. The painting was purchased by the French government and is housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Whistler’s painting The White Girl (1862) caused controversy when exhibited in London and, later, at the Salon des Refusés in Paris.
Gertrude Stein and Alice Tokalas had a back room at 27 ruede fleurus where art that no longer engaged them was hung called the salon de refuses. Perhaps the most famous refusal and the one that the writer is referring to was the following.
Fountain is a 1917 work widely attributed to Marcel Duchamp. The scandalous work was a porcelain urinal, which was signed “R.Mutt” and titled Fountain. Submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, Fountain was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee. Fountain was displayed and photographed at Alfred Stieglitz‘s studio, and the photo published in The Blind Man, but the original has been lost. The work is regarded by some art historians and theorists of the avant-garde, such as Peter Bürger, as a major landmark in 20th-century art. At the time Duchamp was a board member of the Society of Independent Artists. After much debate by the board members (most of whom did not know Duchamp had submitted it) about whether the piece was or was not art, Fountain was hidden from view during the show. Duchamp resigned from the Board in protest.
(4) A very interesting article on DADA written by Clare Hurley in 2006 on the occasion of MOMA’s DADA show is No Nonsense About DADA. published on the World Socialist Web Site. Ms. Hurley states: “Some ninety years after the outbreak of World War I, militarism and imperialist conflicts are again the order of the day. In these circumstances, an exhibition devoted to the art movement that called itself “Dada” in 1916 seems timely. Reacting to the slaughter that many of them had seen as soldiers in the trenches across Europe, Dada artists expressed healthy disgust not just at the carnage of imperialism, but with bourgeois society as a whole. Several of its adherents subsequently took their revolt a step farther and sided with the revolutionary struggle of the working class. Others, who did not take the path of political commitment, made significant contributions to the development of various trends in contemporary art in the period between the world wars.
Note on art and animals: In the 1970s Gino De Dominicis, one of Italy’s most mysterious artists, organized an exhibition which was open only to animals – no humans allowed. It’s impossible to know what was in the show and, more importantly, what animals might have thought of it, but De Dominicis succeeded in reversing our usually anthropocentric point of view.
If only it were this easy.
For the Whitney Biennial in 2000, Yukinori Yanagi, a Japanese-born conceptual artist, created two pieces with the help of some ants. For one, Mr. Yanagi assembled a replica of Jasper Johns’s ”Three Flags” by pouring red, white and blue sand into three Plexiglass boxes. Then he poured in live ants, inviting them to tunnel through the sand. As the ant farm got busy, the flag began to collapse. In another piece shown at Venice Biennale consisting of 170 national flags, each made of colored sand and filled with ants. Over the course of the exhibition the ants build a network of tunnels in each flag and travel to neighboring flags via a network of tubes. In doing so the ants move the colored sand around, breaking down the design (ie. the nation itself) and the borders between the nations.
Yanagi was a Matrix 128 artist at the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1995. During the exhibition a child broke one of the plastic tubes incorporated in the piece for the ants to pass from flag to flag and ants escaped into the museum. No one ever said if the ants were rounded up, or if the gallery was sprayed with insecticide and the ants dispersed to make art in the world beyond. A controversy arose when some of the ants began dying in the art work due to what was said the wrong diet. We stated at the time if you are going to use live animals in art at least get their diet right.