21 December 2011

Night of the Invasion of the Living Baby Jesus Eaters (or: Start the 'War on Xmas' Without Me)

Just because. Part of that because being that I'm about to hit to road for rounds of Seasonals. But also because most of that traveling will involve having a nice holidays in the company of some good folk. And because I hope your holidays shape up nicely, too.

Binge & Purge

In the course of recently trading comments about the passing of director Ken Russell, a friend observed:
"And nearly every film he made had a scene where someone writhes around in shit, mud, food etc. etc. I think he was working on toilet-training issues sometimes -- very 70s!"
And I suppose it was. Or it sometimes seems that way on reflection. It very much seemed that way over the years when I looked at some of the performance art of the era, particularly that of Paul McCarthy and the duo included above, the Kipper Kids. Lots of smearing of and wallowing in foodstuffs and/or anything that might vaguely resemble excreta. Never sure why that was exactly, why that sort of thing had some sort of resonance at the time, turning up as a trope that diagnostically pointed in the direction of some societal neurosis or something. Maybe something connected to the continuing popularity of Freud and psychoanalysis, perhaps? Or maybe it was the product of some sort of nagging puritanical cultural subconscious, a way of acknowledging and exorcising certain demons. Because it was the end of the postwar boom – a two-decade roll of middle-class affluence and all the consumerist, material benefits it'd brought about. And about how that culture of consumption had been driven by a boom in advertising in order to sell that ceaseless gush of goods, advertising of course being all about stimulating or creating desire (false or otherwise), targeting and directly addressing the Id and infantilizing each member of its audience in the process. Dunno -- it's all part of an impression I've carried around for years, but have never gotten around to researching.

But yeah, apparently the Kipper Kids were pretty foremost in the performance art scene of the 1970s. Their work always struck me as the combination of a food fight and some poo-flinging monekyhouse melee, as staged in some Hamburg vaudeville dive under the direction of Jerzy Grotowski. I first heard of 'em in the early-mid 1980s, probably via High Performance magazine. Yes, there actually was a magazine exclusively devoted to performance art once upon a time; and considering the cultural backwater I grew up in, I have no idea why copies turned up on the mag rack of a local second-hand bookstore in my hometown, but there it was. It being the mid '80s, Laurie Anderson had already sort-of brought performance art into the broader culture, her success having hipped a good many people to the idea that such a thing existed, and that it was big in New York and it had a history. And it was in the pages of High Performance that I learned a little about its recent history; not just about the Kippers and McCarty, but also about Marina Abramovic & Ulay, and Rachel Rosenthal, and it's also where I first encountered the names of Spaulding Grey and Eric Bogosian and Karen Findley just slightly before they made national names for themselves. And since the bulk of this stuff was centered in New York, it overlapped with some of what was going on in the music community, which meant that the magazine was probably the first place I read about Christian Marclay and people of that ilk.

And, ironically enough, it was the first time I recall reading anything about the Blue Man Group. Because I remembered them being reviewed in the backpages of the mag sometime around 1985, when they'd just started out and the thing just some off-Broadway production, a much smaller and modest affair than the big complex, franchised affair that it would become some years later. I recall it had a photo from the performance of the blue men all sitting at a table side to side, each of them with his own box of Cap'n Crunch cereal; because apparently at some point in the production they would big through the boxes, stuff the cereal into their mouths, and chomp it all up and then spray it out of their mouths. So I guess by that point the whole business of excess and foodstuffs had long since settled into some performance-art cliché that was game for satirizing.

And then there was Virgin Prunes. Perhaps you've heard of them, because – yeah – they were a musical group. They hailed from Dublin and in some ways they were an odd sibling group to (no less) U2. In their early years there were a number of stories circulating about them. One story had it when they'd played one particular venue, they lined the entranceway of the club with renderings from a local abattoir; which seemed like a cross between Abramovic & Ulay's Imponderabilia and some sort of Aktionist outing. And then there were reports of shock tactics that included simulated oral sex and rolling around in some suspicious-looking substance onstage. Never knew if any of the stories were apocryphal or not; but if true, they certainly got people's attention. Glam's camp and theatricality merged with the visceral end of then-contempo performance art. Soon to be followed by Die Tödliche Doris out of Berlin, who took the art part of the art-rock rubric to such a conceptual extreme that the music often seemed like a superfluous by-product of their activities, a mere residue.

There, was all of the above sufficiently meandering and pointless? Yeah, figured as much.

18 December 2011

'All we do is complain.'

Rem Koolhaas, in an interview with Spiegel Online, speaking about assembly-line cities and working in an unstable ideological environment:

"Under neoliberalism, architecture lost its role as the decisive and fundamental articulation of a society. ...Take, for example, the prefabricated building. No matter how misguided this ultimately turned out to be, it actually was a very clear articulation. But neoliberalism has turned architecture into a 'cherry on the cake' affair. The Elbphilharmonie is a perfect example: It's icing on the cake. I'm not saying that neoliberalism has destroyed architecture. But it has assigned it a new role and limited its range."

Interesting to me is the part on the second page where Koolhaas states: "In an age of mass immigration, a mass similarity of cities might just be inevitable. These cities function like airports in which the same shops are always in the same places. Everything is defined by function, and nothing by history." Which is more-or-less Marc Augé's idea of the non-place, but applied on a larger civic scale. Which makes me think of a comment that turned up in Glenn Gould's radio documentary The Idea of North: "When the time comes that every place is like everyplace else, will anyone want to go anywhere?"

via Down With Utopia

16 December 2011

Lineage (The Way of All Flesh)

in the beginning, something about the word. but before that bit about the beginning
there was a lot of business about how mamoaha begat slipshad, and how slipshad
begat hamrach, and hamrach begat nimrod, & so on & so on. the stuff
that was in the gospels but never gospel proper, what only made it into the worst
of sermons and fell between the crevices of all the killings and the fuckings, the
cursings and redeemings, the departures and wanderings and arrivals. the last of
which seem to be -- once you think about it -- always and foreverly forthcoming
and a little too heavily reliant on a surplus of (ahem) trust.

before all that: the word supposedly spoken, and then (eventually) scratched down.
the word made flesh, or at least given worldly weight -- legs, if you will -- with its
shaping in the meat of the mouth. its meaning only by way of agreement, a signing
on some undrawn line. that agreement being only that which was mutually known.
the thing we each acknowledge, that lay there between us on the table.

but the only things that can really be known or trusted are those that arrive
well in advance of words. words too often arriving very late to the scene, like
the ambulance rolling up hours after the crucial moment, long after we'd sent word
to the sheriff, with someone having agreed to set out on foot carrying, how it had to
be done before the wires and the telephones made it out our way.

a narrative given shape, strung together and given beginning, middle, end.
tales passed from one to the next, the words there for the purpose of telling.
the sort of tale that sometimes -- some times -- reaches the point where language
breaks down, collapses, that goes a place that words can't go, where description falls
short and takes its leave, leaving just the prelingual utterance, sans syntagma.
because hurts of a certain kind have a quality of (if they must be spelt)

* * *

and it's tiring, killingly so. it gives me a goddamn headache sometimes how some
cats think they can map all this stuff out -- with everything connected or correlated,
categorized and labeled, with everything falling properly into place, all named and
laid out tidily, fixed (supposedly) with certainty about their relatedness. but the
only thing one knows for certain is causality, and even that itself is all wound up in
randomness and happenstance, and beyond that everything else is just guesswork.
but the one thing one can be assured of is the hurts, and the varying qualities
and depths thereof.

now: the hand held aloft, its inside offered up for scrutiny, for decipherence. that fate
is something etched on the skin is another given, among the first things you learn. so too
with the ways in which everything is encoded. delineation, a schematic: the interrelation
of all things, each connected to another. this line tells of progeny, kinship. and over
here we have betrayal. here, the most dooming of jealousies. and here desire. here
abandonment. here fortune. and over here need. and here in need. and here ahhhhh,
and over there unnghhn...

with all of these leading to, pointing to nothing bigger than

come sooner,
come late

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image: John Lee Hooker, 1951.
Photograph by Clemens Kalischer.

13 December 2011

'The odd misery through the murk.'

T. J. Clark, writing in the LRB, reviewing the current Tate Modern retrospective of the work of Gerhard Richter:

"The idea of working from the photograph seems in Richter, again from the beginning, to have been bound up with the idea of almost painting things out. A kind of botched concealment comes from the photograph as if it were its inner perfume. The photographic seems much of the time to be another word for the lifeless. ...The photo-language is archaic: that is what the dim monochrome suggests to me most powerfully. It speaks to a false fixation on the past – maybe that of a refugee from East Germany, maybe that of post-Hitler Germany in general. ...Richter’s is a world where even fetishism does not work: the shine on the nose of appearance, which one or two canvases bring on emblematically – ineffectively – can do nothing against philosophy, or art after Auschwitz, painting its grey on grey. That cliché again...

Perhaps I have pulled out the stops of despair and disorientation in the last paragraph, but not by much. Richter’s 1960s is a horrible decade. His past in the DDR seems to cling to him, and always he turns from the imagery of the future on offer in the world he has chosen – the new freedom and equality of the children in the porn shots – with a shudder. The Red Army Faction is near. There are some cityscapes painted in 1968 and 1969, in particular Stadtbild SL (from which Luc Tuymans learned brilliantly), where all the achieved non-life of modernity is painted with a truly chilling lack of affect, as if seen by a sociopath looking through the sights of a gun."

* * *

"Richter is the painter at the furthest remove, I reckon, from Adorno’s sense that the whole and only point of art is always to find – to instantiate – concrete particularity in a world of false vividness. Vividness for Richter, if it comes, will have to have falsity written deep within it. I guess this is the strong side (the genuinely disabused-of-illusion side) of his Duchampianism.

[...] Perhaps Richter is a petit bourgeois nihilist: the question the righteous leftist commentators might have asked themselves, however, is what the nerveless attitude allows him to ‘say’ about neo-Leninism; whether nihilism (whatever its class ascription) is now the only vantage point from which the ghost dance of revolution can be chronicled."

Article here.

10 December 2011

The Dematerialization of the Art Object

By now most everyone is familiar with Walter Benjamin's essay 1936 "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." Especially with Benjamin's argument that photographic reproduction brings about a "withering" or diminishing of the art object's "aura" -- its value, authenticity, or "authority" as a singular, hand-crafted artifact in material culture. He explained:

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical condition over the years as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original. [...]

The situations into which the product of mechanical reproduction can be brought may not touch the actual work of art, yet the quality of its presence is always depreciated. This holds not only for the art work but also, for instance, for a landscape which passes in review before the spectator in a movie. In the case of the art object, a most sensitive nucleus – namely, its authenticity – is interfered with whereas no natural object is vulnerable on that score. The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced. Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter. And what is really jeopardized when the historical testimony is affected is the authority of the object."

André Malraux took this idea as the premise for his Le musée imaginaire (or Museum Without Walls), arguing that this process of reproduction and disconnection ultimately liberates art objects from their historical and physical origins, thereby making them available to circulate broadly throughout the public sphere.

And about specific some specific works of art: Above is Gustav Courbet's The Stone Breakers (aka, The Quarrymen), painted in 1849. In some ways it's an archetypal Courbet painting, in that it typifies certain elements of his work -- primarily its gritty and grubby portrayal of figures performing manual labor, a subject considered -- by the academic dictates concerning genre painting and the like -- controversial at the time on account of being too lowly and crude, and therefore unworthy of depiction. As such its an example of the "Realist" aesthetic that Courbet shared with his critical champion Emile Zola. It's also considered in many ways of the ethos that not only informed Courbet's Realism, but also his politics, as well.* While it's not as famous as his A Burial at Ornans or The Painter's Studio or a couple of his other works, it ranks highly enough to have frequently reproduced over the years, quite frequently as the sole of representative example of Courbet's work in survey-level art history textbooks.**

But the painting itself no longer exists, and hasn't since 1945 when it was destroyed during the ariel bombing of Dresden. At the time the painting was reputedly aboard a transport truck that was carting it and some 154 other works away from Dresden for safer territory, a truck which was quickly targeted and destroyed by an RAF bomber. Which is why it turns up, alongside works by Ruebens, Caravaggio, Cranach, Van Gogh and many others in this Flickr pool someone's assembled of "Lost Art: Masterpieces Destroyed in War," a collection of some 170 images that appears to be a subset of an online collection of images posted by the Clark Art Institute. With each, there is no longer an original from which all reproductions are taken, there are just the facsimiles.

Turning up in the pool are Otto Dix's Street Fight and War Cripples, each depicting various aspects of the political turmoil of post-WWI/Weimar Germany. Which draws our attention to the text that accompanies the pool, which states that the photos "represent the only remaining documentation of important works of art -- art that was destroyed before high quality color photography became the standard for documenting art." Leaving them, it seems, to carry on in their existence in diminished form --in an achromatic virtual half-life.

A number of works, particularly landscapes, by Gustav Klimt turn up due to the destruction of a private collection in Austria during the final days of WWII. among the many works lost was Music II, which I've seen many times before; and for some reason, I'm fairly certain I've seen it (on occasion) reproduced in color. Perhaps my memory's playing tricks on me? Or maybe there are colorized version of the photograph floating around. Or maybe a color lithograph version of the painting exists?***

But it seems that the biggest causality of the lot is Casper David Friedrich. It appears that many of the works included were lost in a pair of fires, the first of which (curiously) occurring when the Glaspalast in Munich burned down in 1931. While the fire was apparently deemed an act of arson, its unconnected to with any military actions; seeing how it wildly predated WII proper, and happened nearly a year in advance of Hilter's appointment as chancellor.

And curiously also, Kurt Schwitters's Dadaist Merzbau construction turns up in the collection. Which calls attention to the fact that it is (I believe) the sole entry in the collection that is not a painting. Surely there are plenty of sculpture that have lost to the ravages of war over the years?

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* Courbet having been quite chummy with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and also having served a stint in the hoosegow for his own activities as a Communard.

** The painting also typifies a visual trope that occurs through a good many Courbet works -- that of a figure, often depicted performing some act of manual labor, facing away from the viewer. I believe it was the art historian Michael Fried who once offered the intriguing theory that this recurring figure serves as a "doubling" or a visual analog of the artist -- of the craftsman himself facing into the picture plane while he works.

*** And I actually have a book on Klimt that includes a color reproduction of Schubert at the Piano, so I'm inclined to say that the pool isn't entirely accurate in that respect.

06 December 2011

Endnote to the Previous

And since I'll take any excuse to post music videos however I can get it...

About seven years ago, I happened to attend both the Best and the Worst Show I've Ever Been To within a couple of weeks of each other. Both shows were at the same venue in Baltimore, and both involved established and highly venerated acts of a certain vintage and pedigree. The Worst happened to be finally getting to see The Fall, who I'd long loved; but about the show perhaps the less said the better, because it proved to be one of the most dismal, pointless, and disappointing things I've ever witnessed. (And judging from some of the audience that night, I was far from being the only person there to think so).

But I rebounded just a few weeks later when I first had a chance to see The Ex. It was the exact opposite experience of The Fall show. The Ex played with abandon that night, with a rare degree of sharply-honed energy, passion, and ferocity. Inasmuch as I could ever say I'd seen a band that nearly "blew the roof off the place," it was that show. And I was able to see them a couple more times in Chicago in the years that followed. First was at the Empty Bottle, where the the place was the fullest I'd ever seen it, with the audience wall-to-wall, cheek-to-jowl.

Roughly some eighteen months later, they came through town again; this time bringing with them Ethiopian saxophonist Getachew Mekuria, with whom they'd just recorded an album. I'd just conducted a correspondence interview with guitarist Andy Moor for a Chicago online publication I contributed to, and he'd been most generous with his answers. The venue was larger this time, and the crowd was a little thinner than before, but it definitely more "mixed." About a quarter-to-third of those attending came from the local Ethiopian population. Most of whom danced throughout, though I don't recall seeing anything quite so ecstatic as what appears in the first clip.

And getting to see, at about the same time, Konono No. 1 perform was also pretty great.

At Home I'm a Tourist

I'll admit, I'm very tempted to jump in on the exoticism/xenomania topic, or at least the "Orientalism" reading of same that's all-too-predictably (if not rotely) be grafted onto it. But I probably shouldn't, because I could off. And by'that I mean on some looongggg-asssss who-cares 200,000-word screed. One that would range from going on about everyone from Claude Debussy (et et et al) to a certain now semi-hip DJ that I corresponded with over a decade who up and asked me at one point if I knew anything a certain type of music his breakcore fellow-traveller DJ told him about that reputedly provided the soundtrack for (he claimed) "Brazilian fight clubs," and about the other DJs who netted a lot of hipster cultural clout a few years later by going poaching in the very same domain dude had been initially asking me about, which in turn brought about the whole "shantytown chic" hipster thing that MIA milked like nobody's biz. And then how the whole West African thing oddly came around a few years later, with everyone from OOIOO to Modest Mouse hopping aboard the Remain In Light Redux train before Vampire Weekend came along with their Graceland 2.0 schtick. Which could lead to a discussion of the burgeoning of the "world music" market back in the 1980s, only a part of which was the "afro-pop" category. And how the whole Awesome Tapes From Africa and Shortwave Music and Sublime Frequencies things were so wonderful at first, because they took such a very welcome "impure" approach to all of this, resulting in the sort of thing that was an old-school ethnomusicologist's worst nightmare.* And how this is nothing new. How the best remark on the topic I recall ever reading was some critic reviewing My Life in the Bush of Ghosts for Rolling Stone magazine back when the album first came out, and saying the thing begged the question of "Does the Global Village Support Two-Way Traffic?" By which he meant: what if non-Western could do a similar plundering in reverse. (Which of course they do, because the culture of the West penetrates the rest of the globe to the deepest degree.) And the fact that Byrne & Eno weren't so much enamored with West African music at the time, but (from the sound of it) had been listening to exactly one West African musician -- King Sunny Adé. And about oh my god, dude I only recently found out that soooo many of those old, early, very rare Adé tunes are now available in boocoo loads on (godloveit) Youtube. And about how there's really really really really nothing new about of any of this, because many books have been written on it already, but with a lot fewer having been written about the reversed flow. And about how -- it's sometimes seemed to me -- there's frequently an element of this afoot with various "folk"-isms; a sort of domestic exoticizing that extends not only across cultural lines, but also those of time and economic class. But hell no, I'm not going to go down down that path; because there's no need, because all that matters is that this topic finally allows me the excuse to post the video above (the first one), which I've been waiting for a flimsy excuse to post for like the past three years. So: Guilty as charged? Yeah, I suppose.**

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* Which could lead to a digression about the parallel resurgence of collections of DIY Harry Smith-style 78rpm excavated Americana, particularly of the "ethnic" variety; with which, when I briefly lived in Baltimore, I had a fair number of wonderful evenings having my mind blown by such stuff thanks to an around-the-way connection with someone who's since gone on to start his own label for releasing collections of same.
** And NO, the above post is not a intended as a swipe at Simon. And not to be construed as such. In fact, I thought he covered the topic quite excellently in the MTV IGGY piece; not only with lining up the glut of corresponding trends of recent years, but also in acknowledging the problematic aspects of each.

02 December 2011

We Like It Raw

A photo blog, presently some 46 pages deep, devoted to everyone's favorite architectural bête noire. And because it's a tumblr, it only follows that it's called Fuck Yeah Brutalism. Leagues better than any of the Flickr brutalism photo pools I've picked through, because this one upholds its own aesthetic integrity by only using vintage photos. Yeah sure, a lot of the usual classics (the Simon Fraser campus, et al) are there; the thing provides an internationally comprehensive survey, complete with drawings and models for unrealized projects. And one would expect as much, seeing how the guy who puts it together teaches architectural design & theory at Kent State University.

01 December 2011

Getting Hammered (Love is Colder Than Death)

Consider this an extrapolative riff on the previous post; about which a friend popped up with something in the comments box that got me to thinking. She pointed out that my selection of header image -- one of the many variants from Robert Longo's Men in the Cities series -- turned up in the latest edition of Adbusters magazine.

Which prompted me to realize something about the cultural status of Longo's series, how it entered into the larger culture back in the early 1980s and has more or less stayed there ever since -- frequently reproduced, recycled, visually quoted, and etc. It's fair to say that its a body of work that's emblematic of its era, if not of a certain aspect of the larger culture that was emerging during the Reagan years. Plenty of people have seen some image from the series used in one context or another over the years, even if they can't identity it or know where it originally came from.

The series of large drawings, which Longo produced in 1979, were based on photographs the artist had staged and taken himself. In the years that immediately followed, these images were commonly viewed as some cheeky social commentary, on yuppiedom specifically -- contorted caricatures of business-district types spinning amidst the whirl of the accelerating and increasingly diffuse rush of contemporary life -- buffeted and dizzied to point of practically being yanked out of their shoes.

Longo's series was something of an instant hit, and for something that came out of the fine-art world, it circulated broadly throughout the culture at large. For instance, I recall seeing reprints from the series turning up in Spin magazine sometime around 1986. It was a backpage piece, maybe one penned by Glenn O'Brien or one of their regular contributors at the time, in some piece titled "Do You Want to be a Rock'n'Roll Star?" Something about those images spaced across the top of the page with that header running under it made immediate sense. The rock'n'roll reference drew out something about the images. Specifically, it underscored how these urban yuppies types appeared -- obliterated on their evening's intoxicant(s) of choice, mindlessly dancing away in some club, and how each figure -- floated by the artist in a blank white field -- looked like a specimen isolated in its own little egocentric universe. Or, looked at another way, some of the figures' flailing about made it look like they were playing air guitar. Something about playing air guitar deeply resonated in those years -- paralleling and coalescing with the alternate economic universe that was coming into being at the time. Yeah, here's to living in your own movie.

Like I said: Emblematic of an era. All too, the more I think about it.

But Longo didn't just pull that series of images out of the air. Like a number of NYC artists of his generation, Longo was a big fan of the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The German filmmaker cranked out an insane number of films over the course of his shortened career, and these films has been very chic among the New York cultural set during the 1970s. Longo was taken with one Fassbinder film in particular, Fassbinder's 1970 neo-noir/gangster film homage The American Soldier. More specifically, Longo seemed to be obsessed with one particular part of the film -- its closing scene, in which the main protagonist, a contract killer named Ricky, and his friend Franz (played by Fassbinder himself) are gunned down in a railway station corridor by the police. As soon as the fatal shots are fired the scene kicks into slo-mo, and the viewer is treated to a brief totentanz as the figures of Ricky and Franz twist and spin about from the impact of the bullets...

When the film finally turned up in Manhattan cinemas in 1976, Longo gravitated to this final sequence, quickly incorporating the figure of a man frozen in the throes of death into a series of performance works entitled Sound Distance of a Good Man. Shortly thereafter, he began reworking the that same motif a number of ways in what would become the Men in the Cities series. Here's Longo himself talking about the series, from a clip about his recent project of reviving Men in the Cities as a series of colorized digital prints...

The original idea having originally come from a cinematic shooting. And it was this stealthy theme that I thought I saw echoed in his later Body Hammers series of large graphite & charcoal drawings -- a set of severe, blown-up renderings of various models of handguns. It was as if Longo was revisiting the core idea for Men in the Cities, but reversing the perspective; this time turning the focus towards the fatal weapon itself, toward the instrument from which the bullets issued.

So there's that matter of the violence and morbidity that lay at the core, with the germinating source, of Longo's Men in the Cities series. I suspect that this was the sort of thing that Gail Day, in her review of the current V&A "Postmodernism" exhibition, was referring to when she stated that postmodernism often "treated the reminder of death as a deliberate leitmotif." A sort of momento mori several degrees removed, remotely masked behind a layering of veils. And there's that other hallmark of postmodernism -- its incestuous intertextuality, the way cultural products perpetually references and comments on other culture products, forming an endlessly intertwining series of riffs, tangents, and juxtapositions.

Like many of his peers of that '80s generation of NYC artists, Robert Longo's fame dwindled considerably in the decades that followed. But in that that period during the early and mid- 1980s, he was among the forefront of NYC's new gen of rising "art stars," he was hailed as something of a po-mo wunderkind. Much of this was because his work often straddled numerous media. Drawing, yes; but also performance, the odd free-standing sculptural work, as well as film and video. And it was his work in this last area that provided him means of sometimes crossing over into the "pop" domain, most often by doing projects with musical artists. For example, one of his works was used as the sleeve art from the Replacements' album Tim. And he also ended up directing a number of music videos; most notably for R.E.M., Megadeath, and New Order. That last item, apparently included in the V&A exhibit, was for the song "Bizarre Love Triangle" -- both of which (the song and the video) have come to be regarded as zeitgeist-defining cultural artifacts over the decades.

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