29 October 2014

Left To Its Own Devices

"...What matters is that no force is on hand that could be expected to reverse the three downward trends in economic growth, social equality and financial stability and end their mutual reinforcement. ...What is most likely to happen as time passes is a continuous accumulation of small and not-so-small dysfunctions; none necessarily deadly as such, but most beyond repair, all the more so as they become too many for individual address. In the process, the parts of the whole will fit together less and less; frictions of all kinds will multiply; unanticipated consequences will spread, along ever more obscure lines of causation. Uncertainty will proliferate; crises of every sort—of legitimacy, productivity or both—will follow each other in quick succession while predictability and governability will decline further (as they have for decades now). Eventually, the myriad provisional fixes devised for short-term crisis management will collapse under the weight of the daily disasters produced by a social order in profound, anomic disarray."

from | via | see also

24 October 2014

The Pictures Generation

In a recent bluntly-titled post at Artnet News, Paddy Johnson declares what some people have either known or suspected for years by proclaiming that Richard Prince is a cretinous douchebag. The verdict comes in response to the exhibition of Prince's latest round of work currently up on display at Gagosian NY, which consists of blown-up inkjet prints of Prince's Instagram likes, including the artist's accompanying inane captions and comments. Clap clap clap.

More pointedly, Johnson calls critic Jerry Saltz out on the carpet for his own review of the show, charging him with hypocrisy and art-starstruck obsequiance. The Saltz piece isn't worth reading, but the brief Peter Schjeldahl review that Johnson cites cites is. Highlights:

"[Prince's] show at Gagosian...feels fated. The logic of artifying non-art images that Andy Warhol inaugurated half a century ago could hardly skip a burgeoning mass medium of individual self-exposure. ...Is it art? Of course it’s art, though by a well-worn Warholian formula: the subjective objectified and the ephemeral iconized, in forms that appear to insult but actually conserve conventions of fine art. [...]

Possible cogent responses to the show include naughty delight and sincere abhorrence. My own was something like a wish to be dead — which, say what you want about it, is the surest defense against assaults of postmodernist attitude. Come to think of it, death provides an apt metaphor for the pictures: memento mori of perishing vanity. Another is celestial: a meteor shower of privacies being burnt to cinders in the atmosphere of publicity. They fall into contemporary fame — a sea that is a millimetre deep and horizon-wide."

If anything, it seems like a better and more fitting title for the exhibition would've been "New Portraits: Losing My Edge."

18 October 2014

First Rule of the Krump Club is That Nobody Talks About the Krump Club...

Given, most of what the early-mid/best Autechre came down to was: "Listen ye, what Mantronix hath wrought."

16 October 2014

But minus the hamster named Special Patrol Group

Like George Grosz shaking hands with Legs McNeil and The Young Ones. May have to try & track down some hardcopy editions.

[ via ]

Supply Meeting Demand

From a recent item via Agence France-Presse, about the Geneva-based Fine Arts Expert Institute:
"The ballooning amounts up for grabs have also hiked the incentive for art forgers, and scientists like Walther and Mottaz are increasingly being called upon to supplement efforts by traditional art experts and conservationists to authenticate works. ...Experts estimate a full half of all artworks in circulation today are fake -- a number that is difficult to verify but that Walther says is, if anything, an underestimate. Between 70 and 90 percent of works that pass through FAEI turn out to be fake, he says."

Related: Authorities publicly identify the painter responsible for the works involved in the recent Knoedler forgery scandal.

image: Adrian Ghenie, "The Fake Rothko," oil on canvas, 2010

15 October 2014

Objets sonore, II

Not every electronic composer can boast of having learned his chops while editing and composing for "Tom & Jerry" cartoons.

Re, as with what I stated earlier about Richard Maxfield. It seems like saying that the music of Tod Dockstader has been unfairly neglected or undocumented is akin to sending the USS Cliché to run aground on the Shores of Redundancy. At least in Dockstaer’s case, there’s actually a few discs of the collected early work, plus that spate of recent productivity that was released about a decade ago, executed shortly before his faculties started to sadly decline.

Watching the clip from the proposed documentary above, I can’t help but be struck by how Dockstader seems so much as he did in that series of b&w photographs taken in 1966, during the recording sessions for Omniphony. A tall figure towering over the equipment, the hairless head gleaming under the overheard lights, and - in many of the images - some sort of smile across his mug, as if there were nothing else in the world he’d rather be doing than pushing sounds around, exploring new sonic syntaxes. One can’t help but wondering if his early jobbing as a film editor didn’t have something to do with why it is his pieces - when stacked alongside those of his then-contemporaries - moved with such brisk fluidity.

From an interview with Chris Cutler, c. 1993:
"I'd done quite a lot of music in a relatively short time. I'd almost lived in that studio for six, seven years, engineering by day and doing my music in down-time, nights, and weekends there. Concrete and electronic music was an expensive music to make, then; it cost a lot in time and money - too much money, in those days, for some one working alone. And time... l was pushing those studio machines hard, and they were always breaking down and I had to stop and fix them right then, no waiting, so they'd be ready the next working day. A regular composer, what's the worst will happen? He breaks a pencil, he loses a few seconds. l break a big Ampex and you lose most of a day, or, in my case, your job if you can't get it working again. And the heat... The decks would get so hot you couldn't touch them and you'd have to turn them off to cool down for a while. It really was like a kitchen. I read, much later, where someone from those days - maybe Berio - said he couldn't believe he put in all that physical work that tape-music demanded. Of course, he had another way to make music: he went back to writing, as Stockhausen and most others did around that time, late 'Sixties, 'Seventies. I suspect many of them turned away with a sigh of relief. But, as I've said, I wanted to make music out of sound, not the other way around, even if I could have. And then, things were changing even while I was still at it. The 'Glorious Junkshop,' as someone called it, of [musique] concrète was closing. And it did."

And at a later point in the same interview:
"TD: I remember I got a couple of 'phone calls in the 'Eighties from someone, I don't remember his name, who said he was working in a group, composing, or trying to, and they were all listening to my LPs, and could I tell him what to do. I didn't know what to say to him, except, don't worry it, just do it. Because, I'd always worked alone, not even listening to other people's music then, let alone working in a group. So, what were they hearing in my music? I don't know; maybe - it's the hands.
CC: 'Hands'?
TD: Well - in painting, which I studied, seriously, in school, we used to say a painter we liked had 'good hands.' You could see his hand in the work, in the brush-work. This was early 'Fifties, with painters like DeKooning and Bacon; they had great hands. And, for me, like painting, making music was always a very physical thing, very tactile. I played those tape machines like a DJ plays turntables, rocking reels back and forth, pulling the tape through by hand. The only time I sat down was to edit - more hand-work - otherwise I was always in motion. ..."
I'm not so sure about the doco. But at the very least, maybe there should be a Kickstarter campaign to liberate and market the musical contents of Dockstader's hard drive.

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