SO MANY THINGS!!!!

I have studiously been working on a post about my on going shoe piece, applying to shows, reading/researching, teaching kids about art, and cooking, but while doing all of that, SO MANY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED THAT I JUST FREAKING CAN’T KEEP UP!

ALL THE THINGS

The next blog post I was going to write (once I finally posted the one about the shoes) was going to be about performance art and popular culture smashing into one another and making weird offspring. I was thinking about this specific topic because, A) I make performance art, B) I’m not entirely sure people understand what performance art is, and C) my Sister the Psychologist posted this about Amanda Bynes potentially being the greatest performance artist ever. That all got me thinking about Lady Gaga (never thought I’d be talking about her on my blog…), and the interpretations of her as a performance artist that were rife about 2 years ago, and then about the more recent Tilda Swinton and James Franco performance art… But before I had even had a chance to sit down and sift through my thoughts on this matter, much less properly research it (ie not just Google “Lady Gaga Performance Art” or “Tilda Swinton Sleeping” or “James Franco Performance Artist”, and copy and past the most recent link I could find… Like I might have just done….), I get an email from Hyperallergic telling me THIS HAPPENED.

If you’re like me, and didn’t have the damn Vine app (but unlike me refuse to download it, even for this epic something) here are some images of JAY-Z RAPPING AT MARINA ABRAMOVIC AT PACE GALLERY IN NYC. (I whole heartedly admit that these are not mine, I found them doing a Google image search. The first is from blouinartinfo.com, and the second from vogue.com):

jayz_picassobaby-abramovic

jayz-picasso-baby-behind-the-scenes-03_124820387319.jpg_article_gallery_slideshow_v2

Yeah, in case you missed that:

Jay-Z-Marina-Abramovic-Dance-Feature

That one’s from hipinion.com…

I haven’t even had time to process this. I feel like I need an adult or something. I’m not even sure what to say… I can’t keep up with all this arting! Hennessy Youngman help me out here! Give me sometime to think about this and do some reading and I will totally get back to you on this topic. Until then just… Um, I guess make some performance art?!

Oh! And this happened too:

Dry spell officially watered!
Dry spell officially watered!

More soon!

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This Will Have to Tide You All Over for Now…

Hey imaginary followers!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a post, but many things have taken place in the last few weeks that have gotten in my way.  Like WordPress crashing and my half written blog post disappearing into the digital ether…  But the bottom line is that I still don’t have a blog post ready for you, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to write a good one…  So in the mean time I present to you a pictoral version of my last two weeks.  Feel free to write your own captions or stories to go along.  It might be funnier/more interesting this way!

monica cook

Ellen Mueller

I swear I’ll get a real post out about what’s going on in the studio pictures as well as my most recent performance… It just won’t happen til the beginning of next week.  There is SO much going on right now!

Most of the images are mine, or are borrowed from the web.  Paintings from Monica Cook, performance stills from Ellen Mueller (except the ones of me…those are mine, fair and square).  Books from respective authors/publishing companies.  Fountain logo property of Fountain Art Fair, Working Method Contemporary logo property of Working Method Contemporary Gallery.  Did I miss anything?  I hope not.  If I did I’m sorry, and IT DOES NOT BELONG TO ME, IT BELONGS TO YOU.

Looming Deadline: Impending Anxiety Attack

In a little over a week I am supposed to be doing a performance here in town.  I voluntarily opted to do this, thinking that it would be a great motivator to flesh out some ideas and get the ball rolling for the semester.  And then I decided to double it up with a required performance for my Performance History and Practice course, still foolishly thinking I would be fine.  But I am not.

I still have no idea what I am going to do…

Well, technically that is a lie.  I have a general idea of the themes and concepts I wish to address, but I’ve got NO clue exactly what the performance will be.  And I’m fending off an anxiety attack because of this.  I swear I’ve been thinking about this for weeks.  Before school even started actually.  I’ve been doing research, and brainstorming… I haven’t gotten anywhere.

My intended concept for this performance revolves around reality versus expectations,  using the themes of failure, futility, and anxieties that I have been dealing with over the last year or so.  I was thinking about how hard I often making things for myself, frequently choosing the most difficult or involved manner of performing tasks.  This in turn made me reflect on the way that my expectations are often drastically unrealistic, and that disconnect between expectation and reality is very likely the source for much of my anxiety.  Additionally, for me, there is a factor of repetitious, and sometimes destructive, behaviors, because I refuse to give in, or to do something in any other way than I envision it.  In a word, inflexibility.

In it’s original iteration, the idea for this performance was a video of  me running and jumping for a tree limb, just out of my reach, over and over and over again.  Until I was exhausted, possibly bruised and/or bloodied.  That then evolved into a performance of me attempting to jump over a limbo stick that was placed at a height which I could have easily walked under.  Again, repeating this same pointless and destructive action, refusing to admit failure or adjust my behavior to a more appropriate course of action.  But the reason neither of these ideas came to fruition, is that I see them as a bit to literal.  Like one liners that will cause a laugh, but not provoke thought.  With the limbo stick idea, there was a factor of physical technicality too.  The performance is talking place in a space which I cannot permanently alter, making it difficult for me to construct some type of structure which would allow me to repeatedly throw my body against it and have said structure still remain standing.

And that brings me to my current quandary.  I have no idea what to do…

So I am going to continue to write about this and hope for one of my magical moments where everything connects and finally makes sense.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks doing research into Matthew Barney, specifically his Drawing Restraint series.  I will wax lyrical about my love of him in another post, but there are a number of things in his Drawing Restraint series that parallel some of the things I want to do or am thinking about in relation to this performance.

The thing about all of Barney’s work, is that it is informed by the practice of hypertrophic training.  Briefly, this is the way that athletes train their muscles at increasingly difficult levels in order to build up strength.  According to Nancy Spector, the chief curator at the Guggenheim (or The Gügg and The Husband and I sometimes refer to it) in New York, this informs the fundamental tenet of Barney’s practice:  Form cannot materialize or mutate with out struggle against resistance in the process.  In the grand scheme of Drawing Restraint, Barney willingly puts himself in ever increasingly difficult scenarios, using extreme lengths to create a mark or create form.  It’s really pretty fascinating.  Thinking about that, you see the desire to make a mark, or more basically to create, and then you contemplate the accompanying restraint and training required of creating.  So in this really beautifully, and mildly absurd way, Barney is challenging himself, level by level (a theme also seen in his other major body of work The Cremaster Cycle, to make a mark.  Barney is also a proponent of using art to overcome psychological division and conflict, which is very much right in line with where my thoughts are these days.

I’ve also spent some time looking at an artist, William Lamson, a fellow student recently brought to my attention.  In his work I see so much of what I want to convey.  There is this sense of tension and self-defeat in his work that I find completely compelling, particularly in his Actions series.  He very carefully choreographs events in his videos, expending tremendous amounts of time and energy in the process of creation, knowing that the moment he initiates the plan, he is actually pressing a self destruct button.  When you watch these videos unfold, you hold your breath with this feeling of anxiety and anticipation because you know exactly what is going to happen and that it is all going to be defeated.  You are watching self imposed failure.  The scary thing is, I can completely relate to the train of thought.  I can understand and predict the outcomes of my actions or behaviors, and see the possibility for failure.  In fact, no matter what, there is always a possibility for failure.  But that version of events is totally overshadowed and out weighed by the prospect of successfully executing something to my exacting expectations.  So really, it becomes about this tension between the reality of the situation and the expectation, about the inevitability of the out come.

Which brings me full circle back to the expectations versus reality thing.  And for some reason I keep thinking about this scene from 500 Days of Summer, one of my all time favorite movies, and possibly one of the most brilliantly filmed scenes ever.

I just keep watching it over and over again.  Obviously the content is not what I am trying to get at, but there is something in the format that really intrigues me.  The whole movie is brilliant really (and it doesn’t hurt that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is in it, or that there’s a lot of Regina Spektor’s music), but this scene has stuck with me since I first saw it back in 2010 or so.  And no, I didn’t go out of my way to find a JGL connection here.  It was a totally organic happening!

I think the question here is how do I put this all into the meat grinder and distill it into something?  Can some one answer that question for me?  Is that like asking someone to do my homework for me?  Nah… We can just call it an artistic collaboration.  😉
So, no magic moment yet, but maybe it all just needs to process?

 

Oh, and of course, the video clip is not mine.  I wish.  If it were I wouldn’t be in the position I am!

Since Tomorrow is Florida’s Primary…A Little Political/Literary Humor

So tomorrow is Florida’s primary day.  Of course I am going to participate and do my civic duty…or is it doody?  Either way, it’s happening and there is no way anyone can stop it, because I Give a Fuck.  But to most, AKA the average citizen, local primaries are like the birthday party for the lame second cousin to the presidential election…the one where no one shows up.  Boo to that I say.  I mean really, how inconsiderate!?  People go through so much trouble and expense, and then… Nothing!  Uninformed, disinterested, and uninvolved peeps.  What I think politics needs is a little bit more humor.

 
Anyway, as I think I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading books by an author named Jasper Fforde.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE his books!  He has several series running, and I am forever waiting for his new book to come out.  He is super witty, funny, and, most importantly to me, absolutely freaking ABSURD.  I constantly recommend these books to people, but for some reason no one ever takes me up on it (with one exception that I know of, and she now LOVES his novels as well).

The specific book I’m reading right now is titled Something Rotten…

Credits to Jasper Fforde’s website for this image…IT’S NOT MINE!!!!!

I demand that you read his books.  If not now, then in the very near future, because they will make you laugh and smile AND think.  But right now I am going to force you to read part of one of his books because Something Rotten has a plot line about a politician and part of what Fforde does so wonderfully is lampoon politics and politicians.  So obviously reading this book was quite timely, and I just want to share with you what is possibly my favorite scene from a book ever:

“Good evening and welcome to Evade the Question Time,
the nation’s premier topical talk show.  Tonight, as every night, a panel of distinguished public figures generally evade answering the audience’s questions and instead toe the party line.

There was applause at this, and Webastow continued:  ‘The show tonight comes from Swindon in Wessex.  Sometimes called the third capital of England or “Venice on the M4,” the Swindon of today is a financial and manufacturing powerhouse, its citizens a cross-section of professionals and artists who are politically indicative of the country as a whole.  I’d also like to mention at this point that Evade the Question Time is brought to you by the Neat-Fit® Exhaust Systems, the tailpipe of choice.’

He paused for a moment and shuffled his papers.

‘We are honored to have with us tonight two very different speakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum.  First I would like to introduce a man who was politically dead two years ago but has managed to pull himself up to the second-highest political office in the nation, with a devoted following of many millions, not all of whom are deranged.  ladies and gentlemen, Chancellor Yorrick Kaine!’

There was mixed applause when he walked onto the stage, and he grinned and nodded for the benefit of the crowd.  I leaned forward in my seat…

‘Thank you very much,’ said Kaine, sitting at the table and clasping his hands in front of him.  ‘May I say that I always regard Swindon as a home away from home.’

There was a brief twitter of delight from the front of the audience, mostly little old ladies who looked upon him as the son they never had.

Mr. Webastow went on, ‘And opposing him we are also honored to welcome Mr. Redmond van de Poste of the opposition Commonsense Party.’

There was notably less applause as van de Poste walked in…

‘Thank you, gentlemen, and welcome.  The first question comes from Miss Pupkin.”

A small woman stood up and said shyly, ‘Hello.  A Terrible Thing was done by Somebody this week, and I’d like to ask the Panel if they condemn this.’

‘A very good question,’ replied Webastow, ‘Mr. Kaine, perhaps you’d like to start the ball rolling?’

‘Thank you, Tudor.  Yes, I condemn utterly and completely the Terrible Thing in the strongest possible terms.  We in the Whig Party are appalled by the way in which Terrible Things are done in this great nation of ours, with no retribution against the Somebody who did them.  I would also like to point out that the current spate of Terrible Things being undertaken in our towns and cities is a burden we inherited from the Commonsense Party, and I am at pains to point out that in real terms the occurrence of Terrible Things has dropped by over twenty-eight percent since we took office.’

There was applause at this, and Webastow then asked Mr. van de Poste for his comments.

‘Well,’ said Redmond with a sigh, ‘quite clearly my learned friend has got his facts mixed up.  According to the way we massage the figures, Terrible Things are actually on the increase.  But I’d like to stop playing party politics for a momentand state for the record that although this is of course a great personal tragedy for those involved, condemning out of hand these acts does not allow us to understand why they occur, and more needs to be done to get to the root cause of–‘

‘Yet again,’ interrupted Kaine, ‘yet again we see the Commonsense Party shying away from its responsibilities and failing to act toughly on unspecified difficulties.  I hope all the unnamed people who have suffered unclearly defined problems will understand–‘

‘I did say we condemned the Terrible Thing,’ put in van de Poste.  ‘And I might add that we have been conducting a study in the entire range of Terrible Things, all the way from Just Annoying to Outrageously Awful, and will act on these findings– if we gain power.’

‘Trust the Commonsensers to do things by half measures!’ scoffed Kaine, who obviously enjoyed these sorts of discussions.  ‘By going only so far as ‘Outrageously Awful,’ Mr. van de Poste is selling his own nation short.  We at the Whig Party have been looking at the Terrible Things problem and propose a zero-tolerance attitude to offenses as low as Mildly Inappropriate.  Only in this way can the Somebodies who commit Terrible Things be stopped before they move on to acts that are Obscenely Perverse.’

There was a smattering of applause again, presumably as the audience tried to figure out whether “Just Annoying” was worse than “Mildly Inappropriate.”

‘Succinctly put,’ announced Webastow.  ‘At then end of the first round, I will award three points to Mr. Kaine for an excellent nonspecific condemnation, plus one bonus point for blaming the previous government and another for successfully mutating the question to promote the party line.  Mr.  van de Poste gets a point for a firm rebuttal, but only two points for his condemnation, as he tried to inject an impartial and intelligent observation.  So at the end of the first round, it’s Kaine leading with five points and van de Poste with three.’

There was more applause as the numbers came up on the scoreboard.”

Something Rotten, Chapter 3, Evade the Question Time, Jasper Fforde

 

It continues on in this manner, the absurdity increasing, which is why I love it!  I hope you enjoyed!  Now go to the library and check out his books!  🙂