This week, the “anarchic wit” that arises from the revolutionary, hitherto unknown act of drawing with a pencil. My original commentary on this text is here: One Dimensional.
“He meets his counterpart as a discreet partner…” It’s rare for an art text to accurately convey how blithely sordid, mercenary and pervy many artists are about exploiting other people to make their work, but this is a pretty good distillation of it. It almost sounds like a phrase from a disturbing Craigslist personal ad.
See some Artbollocks Theatre videos and a live discussion of bad artist statements and egregious press releases at the artist-led Sluice Art Fair this weekend (19th-20th October) in London.
Previous episodes: Lacunary Schwittersian Ephemeral Investigation Pschogeography Haptic Noesis Oscillating
Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. Some of them have already been featured on this site; others are based on tip-offs and reports from colleagues or readers.
My original commentary on this text is here: Lacuna Space-Time Vortex Mimesis Interrogation.
Let’s talk about “the field of lacunary knowledge.” This is oxymoronic, given that a lacuna is a gap or missing section. We might be very well aware that there is a gap in a body of knowledge, but by definition we cannot know what information existed in that gap until the missing information is recovered and the lacuna is filled, making it not a lacuna any more. Therefore there cannot be such a thing as “lacunary knowledge.” If you must use the word “lacunary”, I will accept “lacunary speculation” or “lacunary hypothesising”, although I may still slap you a few times.
Previously: Schwittersian Ephemeral Investigation Pschogeography Haptic Noesis Oscillating
Taking a break next Friday; the last of the current series will be published on the 18th October to coincide with my appearance at Sluice Art Fair 2013 in London with the complete Artbollocks Theatre oeuvre so far, and on Saturday 19th they’re a hosting live online chat with me
investigating forms of discourse that hover between hegemonic academic forms and widespread vernacular dissimulation as practiced on the middle class CV about international art English and artbollocks. See the Sluice site for details. I’ll also be presenting monthly live performances of Artbollocks Theatre in London’s Trendy East End™ from this November. More information anon.
I’ve just rationalised (in most cases reducing) the prices of my books and ebooks so they’re consistent across like formats. Since I’m based in Britain and price things in pounds the prices may still translate into odd amounts in foreign currency, but they will at least now translate oddly and consistently.
Career Suicide is my memoir of working as an artist and film maker for most of my adult life, while experiencing almost every misfortune except popularity. I’ve been told it’s funny, a good read and it contains valuable insights on the art world’s foibles and failings. And slightly less valuable insights into my own.
Uncanny Valley collects my published short stories from various anthologies and magazines circa 1996-2006: among other things, a magic talking dog castrates the Estuary Gaffer Tape Rapist with his teeth, a robot maid trades housework for sabotage, and the last living intellectual escapes from his cage at the zoo and goes on a rampage of contemplation…
Buy Career Suicide or Uncanny Valley here.
Rejoice: even though it’s not being updated for the time being, the Market Project site is online again. This means that all the transcripts of our talks with gallerists and other art professionals are available again, and so are the numerous useful articles about making a living as an artist. Of course this also means the return of the original and notorious Debut Contemporary thread in which er… “somebody” cried havoc and let slip the sock puppets of flame war, mainly to call me and my colleagues bitter, or over-zealous, jealous losers and other playground names… but all in vain when a good number of their former clients broke cover to provide first hand accounts of how shitty their experiences were. Some of those people have good reason to be bitter but it seems like most of them were able to be more magnanimous, generous and humble than any of Debut’s supporters could manage in that discussion.
I’m sure Samir will be as thrilled as I am that the site is back.
Meanwhile, in Notting Hill…
If you’re an artist or work as some other type of creative freelancer then you’ve probably earned most of these already. Lucky you. You’re going to need very long sleeves to sew them all onto.
Illustrations by me, based on legitimately licensed and cleared stock images, before anybody starts with the ad hominem bitching about me not practising what I preach. I’m not sure what you’d use them for but you can re-use them if you like, provided you credit them properly and don’t offer them for sale or profit in any way, or as elements on or in any item that it is for sale and/or profit. It would be lovely if somebody with the necessary skills actually embroidered them. Provided they don’t show up for sale on Etsy.
Yes, I had some time on my hands.
You feel like an idiot because you were duped by somebody whose mendacity and/or incompetence now seems blindingly obvious to you with hindsight, although for some reason it wasn’t at the time. Examples of specific experiences that allow you to claim this badge:
You paid money to an exhibition or so-called “art fair” organiser who turned out to be a charlatan. The exhibition, portfolio site or art fair was a badly organised, amateurish joke if it existed at all.
You believed somebody with no track record, professional provenance or credible references and got involved with one of their schemes when they sent you an unsolicited message telling you that you’d been “selected” and generally making you feel like a very special snowflake.
You allowed yourself to be flattered, emotionally blackmailed or sleepwalked into a project that ultimately was far less productive and good for you than if you’d done nothing at all.
You did somebody a favour by helping them out, going beyond the call of duty, making an exception in their case… and they still shit all over you.
Those of you who are interested in the antics of “top tastemakers” Debut Contemporary should visit Charlie Tuesday Gates and read about her CON ARTIST demonstration/infiltration at their Christmas party. She’s brave (and firmly within the law– she very shrewdly checked with the police first!), righteously angry, funny, and among other things you will learn:
- About Debut’s “CEO” [sic] Samir Ceric and his failed “airline” that wasn’t really. According to company records at Duedil.com he is 39 years old and has TWENTY-THREE known defunct businesses behind him. Therefore if they were spread out evenly throughout every year of his adult life this would amount to at least one defunct business for every single year since 1992. He retired from only three, i.e. in only three cases does it appear the company outlived his involvement. The closed companies include two (Globace Ltd, and the interestingly named Salon Gallery Ltd) flagged in the database as having, quote, “possible adverse information” about the financial risk and general advisibility of dealing with these companies. There’s another one– Graduate Art Fair Ltd– that is also dissolved but seems only to be recorded at Companies House and not on the Duedil database.
- How Ceric also claimed to be a board member for the British Council (with screengrab proof of the since
deleted page. Addendum: actually amended– page is still there but it now says he just attended a workshop, alongside at least one known crony of his from elsewhere) and how that didn’t go down at all well with the British Council… because he wasn’t a board member. Not even close. He also seems to be doing the “who’s going to check this magazine or quote actually exists?” press clippings trick.
- How DC tried to reel Gates in even though she turned up to her interview with a dead fox in a suitcase… then persisted in citing her as one of their success stories for a year after she’d told them where to go. (A correspondent tells a similar story here about her asking them to remove a spurious testimonial and an unauthorised image from their promotional literature three years previously.)
- How, when the police were called to remove Gates and her crew, the police apparently agreed that Ceric might well be liable to prosecution based upon the information available about him.
and, last but not least, as CTG says:
- “You can’t buy your way in. There is no shortcut to fame and glory.”
Anyway, her post is far funnier and more inspiring than my boring summary so I suggest you go and read it.
And to The Hospital Club, The Guardian, and various other supposedly reputable people or organisations who shouldn’t really in good conscience be having anything to do with Debut Contemporary instead of taking everything they say and do at face value… having carried out the basic and not very time consuming homework you should have done before you endorsed Debut Contemporary I’m sure I can speak for Charlie Tuesday Gates and myself when I say: you’re welcome.
… it’s easy if you try. This is the anti-Artbollocks Theatre. Belgium’s Netwerk Center for Contemporary Art recently sent out an announcement about forthcoming solo exhibitions by two artists:
Bert Danckaert – Simple Present
Bert Danckaert (b. 1965, Antwerp) is working on a doctorate in the arts. The research is reflected in two publications, one with pictures that act as protagonists and the other in the form of a novel. In Netwerk he presents to the public a presentation of his final thesis with a wide selection of photographic works and an installation with two new films.
Sean Edwards – Drawn in Cursive
Sean Edwards (b. 1980) intelligently examines the functional value and the sculptural potential of everyday objects. His oeuvre consists of minimal sculptures and installations, which are composed of small objects, drawings, photos, pictures and clippings he has collected.
Although the word “oeuvre” still brings me out in a rash– “His oeuvre consists of…” could easily be further clarified to “He makes…”– the statement is simple, factual, clear and it doesn’t presume to tell us what we should see, think or feel so I’ll allow them one jargon word. Some people may be surprised to hear it, but I would be very happy if eventually I was unable to find any atrocious artist statements or preposterous press releases to make fun of. The art is supposed to inspire us and tell us everything we need to know about the artist’s intentions, not the press release. Congratulations to whoever is responsible, whether it’s the gallery, the artists, or some combination of the aforementioned. More press releases like this example, please.
And the whooooole world will be as one.
“I’d ask youse to sit down, but our Yoko’s hidden all the furniture again, haven’t you luv?”
This horrifically kitsch and perfectly ghastly painting was commissioned by the Danish royal family from the artist Thomas Kluge in the past few years and completed recently. It was not commissioned from some hack illustrator in 1979 for the cover of a bad horror novel, as its dated and creepy style might suggest. It’s just so ugly. Even Rolf Harris is a better painter of royal parasites, and he’s appalling. They claim:
“Stylistically, Kluge’s art can be characterized as a kind of magic realism, and while making obvious art historical references he is also a significant postmodern innovator. In his works the precise depiction of humans and objects known from reality forms part of a universe which challenges the interpretations of the spectator, as they encompass something other and deeper than immediate, accurate likeness.”
Other? I’ll say. Other, perhaps, in the sense that Prince Christian doesn’t look “upright and severe” or “aware of his future responsibilities” as is claimed in the publicity gubbins. He looks exactly like one of the terrifying little Midwich Cuckoo bastards from Village of the Damned.
An aside: this film was written by a gentleman called Stirling Silliphant, which is an absolutely magnificent name.
They’re aware of their future responsibilities, which include enslaving the human race and using human women as unwilling incubators for their alien spawn.
Weird child-demons? Yes, that about sums it up. The abominations on the right are presumably playing with Lego (Denmark isn’t just about putting weird child-demons on the throne!), but did the Lego have to be blood red and look at first glance as if they’re carefully draping a swathe of freshly flayed skin? The girl on the left is about to explode your head with her Scanner powers. Why would anybody– least of all members of a royal house– sign off on a painting that makes their children look like Satan spawn? Unless it’s a coded admission of what some conspiracy theorists and people like David Icke have long suspected anyway. The Queen and Crown Prince certainly have the smug, condescending power-stares of people who are like: “Yah, we’re multimillionaire reptilian motherfuckers and we’ll be here forever at your expense, what are you peasants going to do about it?”
Perhaps Kluge has slyly pulled off a huge act of anti-monarchist subversion under the very noses of the monarchs themselves by doing such a horrible painting of them at their expense. I doubt it, though. Real life is rarely that just or satisfying. Artists are rarely that brave, either. In light of equally weird and crap (though less terrifying) official paintings done recently in Britain of the Duchess of Ambridge and Her Majesty Queen E-Lizard-β II, I think it’s more likely that the aristocracy just have appallingly bad taste. See also: Prince Charles.