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Friday Roundup, Off-to-work Monday edition

Post #1447 • January 25, 2010, 8:33 AM • 49 Comments

David Thompson further notes the "air of default entitlement among the UK's arts practitioners and commentariat."

Aliza Shapiro, who makes Boston a better place by sponsoring the local chapter of Dr. Sketchy's and otherwise queering it up, is holding a fundraiser for an upcoming urgent surgery. Utero-A-GoGo No. 1 and No. 2 deserve your attendance and generosity.

Goodbye Art On Paper. AoP was the last incarnation of the magazine that once was The Print Collector's Newsletter, which published two book reviews (one, two) by Walter Darby Bannard. AoP's erstwhile publishers are the same people that perpetrate Triple Candie, so I'm having a little trouble getting worked up about this.

I start the semester today. Here's my syllabus.

Department of Stay Calm: Pictures for Sad Children.



Chris Rywalt

January 25, 2010, 9:45 AM

Ooh, you're going to teach F-T-P. I had to do that once.

You do know about FireFTP, right? My favorite F-T-P client for the past couple of years. If you're not using Firefox, however, not so useful.



January 25, 2010, 2:24 PM

Don't judge a bowl by its outside. The inside may surprise you. Here's a detail.



January 25, 2010, 9:26 PM

Well, Franklin, if that Verstergaard woman can get financially supported for pondering identity and gender, I should get a nice check, or several, for pondering the demise of visual art as something actually worth looking at. I mean, the magnitude of the situation is such that it would consume my every waking moment. I don't see how I can fail to be subsidized for life.


Chris Rywalt

January 25, 2010, 10:24 PM

What Thompson fails to note amid his tsk-tsking is that she wouldn't be doing anything constructive or useful in any case. She'd have some day job where she did nothing for her paycheck and end up just as much a drain on the system as she is now. Possibly more, since at least now she doesn't have to commute every day.

Bucky Fuller once wrote that about 60 percent of American workers perform no useful work and are just mortgaging their time for their paycheck. If they all stayed home and had their paychecks mailed to them nothing would be lost and in fact we'd gain all the resources they were wasting getting to and from "work".

I agree with Bucky except I think 60 percent is far too optimistic. I'm thinking it's more like 90, 95 percent. I truly believe 100 percent unemployment should be our goal, not something to be avoided. Most of us aren't doing anything but busywork anyway.

Do you know the Japanese developed an automotive factory that could put together an entire Lexus -- not even a regular car, but a Lexus -- in something like 8 man-hours? The company found the remaining workers had so little to do they got depressed, so they stopped making those factories and went back to the slightly less efficient ones.

Duh. Obviously not American workers.



January 25, 2010, 10:27 PM

But she wouldn't be making art. That would be a net gain.


Chris Rywalt

January 26, 2010, 9:42 AM

One could argue she's not making art now.

But I see what you mean. That she walks around with the label "artist" is a big minus for all of us, especially actual artists.



January 26, 2010, 7:43 PM

Tough love:

Chawan 1
Chawan 2
Chawan 3
Chawan 4
Chawan 5

This is either Shigaraki or Iga ware (the two sites are geographically close and there is stylistic overlap, although Shigaraki is a more ancient ceramic center).



January 26, 2010, 7:56 PM

In #7, notice the brown scorch marks, the vitrified green natural ash glaze and the numerous small surface pits, which are the result of quartz particles that explode during firing. Great stuff, no?



January 26, 2010, 9:04 PM

It's interesting how the medieval ethos, whether Japanese or European, has a tough, no-nonsense, rough-hewn strength to it which is both bracing and oddly reassuring. It's so nice to deal with stuff where BS is not only absent but apparently not even an option.



January 27, 2010, 7:38 AM

Jack, nice bowl. You are right about the maturalness of it. Some of the others look a little forced, as if they are trying too hard to emulate the old styles. Is this one old?

Also, sometimes I am confused by the designations, whether they refer to region, artist, style, glaze, etc etc.



January 27, 2010, 8:39 AM

The bowl is modern; the style is not. In most cases, the designations are (or originally were)geographical, though not always (as in Raku).



January 27, 2010, 2:53 PM

OP, you should get this book. It's an excellent reference, beautifully illustrated in full color, and quite reasonably priced. I use it frequently.



January 27, 2010, 2:58 PM

A lovely, subtle pot, rather more "feminine" than the previous one:

Hagi 1
Hagi 2
Hagi 3
Hagi 4



January 27, 2010, 9:28 PM

Beautiful, but maybe a bit too much so:

Deep Space 1 (click on image to enlarge as needed)
Deep Space 2
Deep Space 3
Deep Space 4


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 8:32 AM

Can anything be too beautiful?

Also, personally, I think all pots are feminine by their very nature.



January 28, 2010, 12:33 PM

Can anything be too beautiful? Yes, or rather, beautiful in the wrong way. The Deep Space (my name for it) is a little too suave or slick, a little too pretty or facile; too much surface and not quite enough substance or character. I admire the glazing, certainly, and I love the little pits in the body and how the blue glaze skirts around them, but the whole thing is a bit too impersonal, like a fashion model. In other words, it's not like this 18th century pot:

Shino 1 (ignore modern lacquered lid)
Shino 2
Shino 3
Shino 4
Shino 5



January 28, 2010, 2:08 PM

It looks like I missed the one week cut off on the other thread for comments.

John, your definition of a breakthrough has now been added to the Dictionary of Contemporary Art Jargon Usage. This is a site I set up that anyone can add to and edit. Click the Add an entry link to do just that.



January 28, 2010, 3:44 PM

Re John's comment at the end of the previous thread, it's not that I disagree, but that it would seem to presuppose the game being played officially as "art" is actually about art per se, specifically visual art, as exemplified by Bannard's work. I emphasize that we're not just talking about dubious dealers or rich idiot collectors, but very serious institutional corruption or perversion at every level (like the Met slobbering over Koons and being only too happy to house Hirst's pickled shark, for instance). When the ostensible "keepers of the faith" stoop so low, which is now the norm all over, the kind of breakaway that John proposes becomes a non-issue, something that can be easily dismissed or ignored as irrelevant--neither here nor there. In other words, the game is no longer about that.


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 3:53 PM

I'm going to sound like Jack for a moment here and for that I apologize. But I just started reading that Big Red & Shiny article on which you commented, Franklin, and honestly I can't see why you bothered. The article itself is so badly written it's clear no good ideas could possibly make their way through to the author, let alone anyone reading the thing on purpose. The writer can't even manage a decent English sentence. It's bad enough using a phrase like "aesthetic rendition", but if you're going to whip out one dollar words like that, at least know how to use commas properly and get your nouns and verbs to agree. "I mean that which stand the test of time"? Unfrozen Caveman Art Critic confused and frightened by your modern jargon!

Responding to that article is like casting pearls before flatworms.



January 28, 2010, 3:58 PM

Jack, I think you're exactly right in #18, which is why I've recommended ignoring official artdom. It's not about anything anyway except itself.

John, I don't see why you'd want to try your breakaway idea in an arena which has and wants nothing to do with what the idea is about.



January 28, 2010, 4:03 PM

Franklin, Chris has a point in #19. Did you really think that was worth responding to, or were you just using the opportunity to keep your skills sharpened?


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 4:27 PM

I'm assuming, since the author is Boston-based, Franklin is checking out his territory.



January 28, 2010, 4:28 PM

Chris, Tim I agree.

Franklin, You are fighting a zero sum battle here. You can with your mad language abilities perhaps temporarily remove someones head from their own arse, but I don't think it will be long before they reinsert it themselves. People will always go with what they are most comfortable with and some prefer to use their own ass cheeks as ear muffs. What are you going to do? You are fighting a good fight though and it was your response that inspired the Dictionary of Contemporary Art Jargon Usage. As far as consolation prizes go, I'd say you came out a winner.



January 28, 2010, 4:54 PM

Tim and Jack: I don't quite agree that "the establishment" does not care about good art. It does, misguided as its efforts are. At some point it will come out of the cold. Meanwhile, visual culture certainly does decline, and I could not agree more with that. But nothing is forever, including the current episode of really bad taste.



January 28, 2010, 5:13 PM

This certainly has all the hallmarks of a publicity stunt. If only we could multiply this across every contemporary art gallery globally. Where is my art czar helmet when I need it?

You have to start somewhere...



January 28, 2010, 5:28 PM

John, the establishment chiefly cares about maintaining and, if possible, improving its position. It accepts, condones, promotes and "validates" really bad taste as a matter of course, and does so systematically and as aggressively as need be. Furthermore, it fails to do the opposite, which is precisely what it is supposed to do. It is therefore, by definition, utterly complicit in the problem, and it really makes no difference how it sees or imagines the matter in its head, as it were.



January 28, 2010, 5:28 PM

I probably would have left that BRS article alone if not for the congratulatory comments that showed up at the bottom. Too, now that we've had a year to settle into Boston, I think it's time to start letting folks know that I've arrived.


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 5:31 PM tossing out a few fragmentation grenades.



January 28, 2010, 5:32 PM

It worked in Miami.


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 5:33 PM

I wish you'd moved to New York.



January 28, 2010, 5:34 PM

And Chris, you could do rather worse than sounding like me. You could sound like the unfortunate Ms. Triplett. Heaven knows enough people do, and she's hardly the worst offender.



January 28, 2010, 5:34 PM

Here, I invite you all to have a laugh... an expose (of an unintentional sort) of our local art authorities.

Things are tough all over.


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 5:36 PM

Sounding like you, Jack, isn't so much bad as it is redundant. We've got you already, don't need me too.



January 28, 2010, 5:44 PM

The gallery hopes to acquire Marion Nicoll watercolours, drawings and oil paintings and works by Max Bates, widely known as Canada's premier expressionist artist of the mid-20th century. Crowston would like to add more works by the Regina Five, a group of abstract painters associated with the University of Regina art program since the 1950s.

I understand your irritation but the above indicates some cause for courage.



January 28, 2010, 5:47 PM

MC, you have my condolences. This is pretty bush league material, even for Alberta. I mean, Karen Wilkin was there once, so it's not as if this rather pitiful level is all the place has ever known.



January 28, 2010, 6:28 PM

I wish you'd moved to New York.

That way lay madness. It would have been great from the standpoint of my art writing career, such as a person can have one these days. But it made sense in no other respect. Not to disparage your welcome in the slightest.



January 28, 2010, 6:45 PM

Nice cup, if a little jivey:

Shino 1
Shino 2
Shino 3
Shino 4
Shino 5



January 28, 2010, 6:50 PM

That's amazing. Is the glaze some kind of resist?



January 28, 2010, 7:05 PM

It appears to be, at least the white areas. The thing is, this is just an "ordinary" tea cup, not even a chawan for the tea ceremony. If something so mundane can pack this kind of visual punch, why the hell should I settle for less from "fine" art in some supposedly elevated venue?


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 7:20 PM

Franklin sez:
Not to disparage your welcome in the slightest.

It's really just that I'd like you throwing grenades around here.



January 28, 2010, 8:57 PM

Well, Franklin, you appear to have shocked the BRS crowd into stupefied silence. You know, of course, that they probably think you're either a Martian or a deranged loon. I rather doubt your sort of response is at all familiar to them.


Chris Rywalt

January 28, 2010, 8:59 PM

The article was probably read by the author's mom and maybe roommate.



January 28, 2010, 9:08 PM

That's possible, Chris, but it's also quite possible that, to a certain crowd, anything substantially different from the official pieties simply registers as the ravings of some lunatic or hopeless misfit (or, of course, the ever-useful "sour grapes" rationalization).



January 28, 2010, 10:22 PM

Most BRS articles don't draw substantial response in the comments section. So it would be understandable if the author expects none.



January 28, 2010, 10:33 PM

And when responses are substantial, they are usually only substantial in number. BRS comments are a surprisingly noisy channel for such a literate town.



January 28, 2010, 10:40 PM

Franklin, it's entirely possible to be quite literate, even downright literary, and still be visually clueless art-wise. It's hardly an uncommon occurrence.



January 29, 2010, 1:35 AM

True, Franklin, those acquisitions would be a move in the right direction, as are the current showings of Degas and Goya, no doubt about that... but, one can't help but feel those are almost grudgingly offered as calculated cover, when one considers the stated personal viewpoint of the curator in question.

Continued courage is a necessity around here, that's for sure.



January 29, 2010, 7:52 PM

MC, you're dealing with someone who's basically small change, and you know how far that goes. As my mother says, if somebody's born to be a nickel, s/he's never gonna amount to a dime.



January 29, 2010, 11:03 PM

Unfortunately, those nickel-slots are virtually the only game in town.



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