Friday, September 26, 2008

Deep in It

Even though I occasionally use the word (rather than "coincidence," which doesn't have as nice a ring to it), I actually am somewhat skeptical about the concept of a "zeitgeist," as commonly used to mean a particular sense of things or response to conditions that permeates the collective subconscious. Having said that, if our current place and time has a zeitgeist, its icon would unquestionably be a steaming pile of poo. As Elizabeth Kley notes on artnet.com:
Excrement is big this September -- Andres Serrano’s luscious photographs of feces can be seen at Yvon Lambert Gallery on West 21st Street, and a group show called "Shit" is the first exhibition at Feature’s new space on the Bowery. And the artist Sue Williams, now showing at David Zwirner Gallery, has long been involved with poo, as well as blood, semen and vomit. Bodily fluids and solids of all sorts (and the actions involved in producing them) were among her main subjects when she first gained notoriety for her scathing representations of sexual warfare in the early 1990s. She subsequently transformed her gritty depictions of angry encounters into airy abstractions that resemble finicky late works by Willem de Kooning. Allusions to bodies remain, but her colors glow with painstaking finesse.

Williams has now returned to more overt grotesquerie, meticulously rendered in a style reminiscent of Dr. Seuss illustrations. Her new paintings, resemble cartoon maps of the world -- polished doodles that metamorphose, upon close inspection, into anuses, teeth, intestines, testicles, eyeballs, fetuses and distorted little facial features.

Scatological imagery comes and goes (if you're excuse the phrase) in art, seemingly more often hand-in-glove with bursts of socially tinged autobiography than social commentary, per se (although anyone with data on trends, please do share). But there is definitely something clogging the system. Artnet.com news points us also to this hilarious site, based on the idea that if Henry Paulson can commandeer $700 billon to buy back the bad investments of Wall Street's Masters of the Universe, surely he can let a few tax payers nuzzle their way up to the trough. From Buy My Shit Pile, Henry:

With our economy in crisis, the US Government is scrambling to rescue our banks by purchasing their "distressed assets", i.e., assets that no one else wants to buy from them. We figured that instead of protesting this plan, we'd give regular Americans the same opportunity to sell their bad assets to the government. We need your help and you need the Government's help!

Use the form below to submit bad assets you'd like the government to take off your hands. And remember, when estimating the value of your 1997 limited edition Hanson single CD "MMMbop", it's not what you can sell these items for that matters, it's what you think they are worth. The fact that you think they are worth more than anyone will buy them for is what makes them bad assets.

Being able to estimate the value of your belongings cuts both ways (in terms of commentary). Consider this so-called G.W.Bush Biography valued at $0.13. Or this recession-inspired money-saving tip for those who thought the living room might look good in green: paper currency is cheaper than wall paper. Some of the entries are a little more high-brow, like this sales pitch for a copy of a Wiemar Republic Studies Textbook:
Amaze your friends by accurately predicting America's future through analyzing the amazing similarities between this period in German history and present day America.
And perhaps my favorite...a hybrid SUV:
Latest "Green" Technology from US Automakers produces it's own shit pile as an added benefit!
Might as well try to laugh...it's as appropriate a response as any other at this point. Have a great weekend all!

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12 Comments:

Blogger George said...

Gee wiz, My bank just went bust!

Buddy can you spare a dime?

9/26/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always equate shit with mediocrity.

"More than 80 exhibitions opened in Chelsea on the first big night of the art season, a couple of weeks ago. Most are mediocre, as usual, and this many so-so shows early on makes one suspect that a pattern is forming." (Jerry Saltz)

9/26/2008 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Shucks, TURD's are just DIRT with a you.

9/26/2008 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

When Shinola installations start showing up in the galleries, we're all in deep, er, poux poux.

9/26/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"More than 80 exhibitions opened in Chelsea on the first big night of the art season, a couple of weeks ago. Most are mediocre, as usual, and this many so-so shows early on makes one suspect that a pattern is forming." (Jerry Saltz)


What I want to ask is, what were the shows that were right on? Since the experts are in the know, the people need to know this in order to know what may be considered good and what is actually execrable. Even I am not so sure. I think that hirst chap is execrable-but his shit commands a lot of reportage, media attention, monies etc.

The only way to understand this is perhaps to accept that the love of shit is inbreed and started long since...when as toddlers, it fascinated us so...

9/26/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, SALUT! should be added to post 9/26/2008 12:30:00 PM

9/26/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Joanna Pousette-Dart exhibition of paintings at Moti Hasson are exceptional.

9/26/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

I have already made the offer to sell the contents of my storage space in Fort Worth Texas, containing the remains of my student artwork, student journals, and a trunk of poems, letters and unfinished plays from pre-1999, for fifty thousand dollars. This is the deal of a lifetime! Pretty Lady's Early Archive! Contact me now!

9/26/2008 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Iris said...

It's hilarious! very funny!

very sad too, very sad indeed, because it's so true, but it's much better to laugh!

have a great weekend everybody!

9/26/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Jerry Saltz confirms my expectations. I usually browse the calendar before going to New York, and all I'm asking are 7 exhibits that I really really want to see.

I couldn't reach that count this time. Part of it is bad coincidence (it's all artists I don't care much for), part of it is artists I love doing works that don't appeal to me (the last Tyson and Bourgeois show), and the last part is that many dealers are pushing new artists, but the PRs or samples didn't convince me.

For museums, I already have seen many Turner (it was mostly the Tate stuff), and I'm catching Bourgeois later.

I don't exaggerate when I say that the PR for the current Winkelman show was the most intriguing in the 300 or so I've read.

Phoebe Washburn is also probably good.



As for shit, I think that McCarthy's inflatable turd was one of the year's bog art news.

Ooops, and about Damien: The Golden Calf is an instant classic, however horrible is that work. It says very bluntly what many of us were thinking for a long time. This work actually begs you to despise it. It's very peculiar. The butterfly works are visually splendid but also very cruel. I had the idea for a Pixar type animation film, where butterfly characters are trying to run away from evil Damien. I really want to make this.


Cedric Caspesyan

9/26/2008 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

There's the show at Creative Time that sounds fun. But it's very short-lived.

Cedric

9/26/2008 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Sunday reading:
Palin Implodes All the tasty links you need, including the best selling National Enquirer article.

9/28/2008 02:30:00 PM  

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