Tag Archives: 21st century

NASTY, BRUTISH AND SHORT

18 Apr

An artist who painted a picture of Donald Trump nude, with a very small penis, possibly even a case of bona fide medically diagnosable micropenis, has been threatened with legal action via an “anonymous filing of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice” if she sells it to anyone.

U OK, Don?

It’s currently being exhibited in London, to the general edification and amusement of all. In the USA, meanwhile, the artist received thousands of death threats and galleries chickened out of hanging it because they feared violence from Trump’s thuggish, quasi-fascist supporters. QED.

Anyway, let’s all spite those imbeciles and Streisand Effect the shit out of the deranged, shit-for-brains, racist, rabble-rousing, hypocritical, incoherent, child-handed, small-dicked, candyfloss-haired, ignoramus psychopath megalomaniac robber-capitalist they idolise by looking at Illma Gore’s painting of Donald Trump and posting about it everywhere.

Make America Great Again by Illma Gore, 2016.

Make America Great Again by Illma Gore, 2016.

Artist threatened with lawsuits if she sells nude Donald Trump painting

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SPACE TIME AGENCY

10 Mar
AlistairGentry_ELGlasses

I’M FROM THE FUTURE, PROBABLY

(NB: Reposted from my main site, because I know there are lots of artists and arts people reading this blog who don’t follow that one or click through to it from here. YOU SHOULD.)

Dear friends, colleagues, and strangers,

Live art is mostly shit, isn’t it? Not that I am or should be the final arbiter of such things, but the point is there are arbiters of these things and there’s literally nothing I want to see right now or in the near future that those arbiters approve of. I know I’m not the only one. For the past two or three years I’ve been trying to get some new live projects launched but despite lots of meetings and being on various shortlists, very little has come of it. I know many other artists for whom this is true as well. So a while ago I just thought “Fine then, fuck it. I’ll do it myself.”

YES I’M BITTER, but out of that bitterness has come a beautifully sweet idea. I’m determined to find new ways of sharing live art that matter to normal people, outside of theatres, arts centres and galleries. Time to re-route around the blockages. Time for artists to support each other and seek their validation and their connections with people without the stuck-in-their-ways places and the no-sayers who work at them getting between us and the audience.

I don’t know what this thing will be, but it won’t exactly be an organisation or a commissioner. It definitely won’t be an attempt at a permanent space or venue; there are far too many of those being dragged along as dead weight in the arts funding net already. It might be a business of some sort, or a cooperative. It will certainly be shaped by the outsiders I want to find and help and show. You. I want you to tell me about your live art and why it isn’t getting the money and eyeballs it deserves. There’s a contact form you can use at the bottom of this page.

What will happen if I sign up?

This isn’t even a project yet, it’s a large but vague cloud of ideas for a project. For the time being you won’t be asked to do anything except be your very special self and not let the bastards grind you down before I can get it together. I will collate the names and contact details of all the people who get in touch with me over the next few months. I’ll keep you in the loop about any significant developments or opportunities that arise from my research and development process. The people who make themselves known to me and the things they want to do will obviously play a large part in how whatever-this-thing-is develops. There’s no money, performance opportunities or jobs going at the moment so don’t ask, but see What will happen later? below.

One favour you can do me, though, is to please share, forward and retweet links to this page as widely and as often as you can… within reason. You’re a live artist. You should be good at choosing your place and your moment.

What will happen later?

From the autumn of 2016 I will start working towards finding money, space and time for a first event or intervention or festival or mortal rupture to the British live art scene’s comfy conformity. Neither the project as a whole nor any individual event will ever go ahead unless it’s financially sustainable, a good and positive experience for everyone involved, and everybody is being paid fairly. As they should be for all performers and artists, the twin mantras for STA are:

  1. Professionally made, professionally paid. (Nod to Equity.)
  2. No day rate? No me, mate.

NB There may be more mantras later.

Who is it for? Two nos, many yeses.

Your work has to require your bodily presence in an actual place in real time; could be minutes, months, anything. You need to be permanently based in the UK because that’s where I am and I can’t take on the whole world.

YET.

NO

CatSharkRoomba

Not to downplay, dis or dismiss their craft but I’m not looking for musicians, DJs, VJs or technologists unless there’s a unique, unavoidable and holistic liveness to what they do beyond playing or mixing a track, running code or telling a machine to do its thing. There are numerous places, venues and festivals for these artists and forms already. But if your digital or technological work truly interacts with and acts upon people or places in real time and you need to be present to make it happen, get in touch. Performance lectures are my thing and I’d love to see more of them, but I’m not looking for playwrights, playwright-performers, standups, cabaret acts or conventional linear dramas that could be, would be or should be staged in a theatre.

NO

I’m not really interested in artists working through their body issues, or in basic drag acts with pretensions because

a) I’m just so incredibly bored by them all

but mainly because

b) I think this kind of live art is supported very well– if not excessively so in some cases– by the existing venues, opportunities and organisations. Both of these subgenres are MASSIVE clichés of live and performance art, i.e. once they were fresh and interesting but now nobody really even thinks them through. And I don’t believe anybody is clamouring for more of this stuff, except apparently the people who commission it all the time.

Maude

As with my previous no, there will be exceptions. If (for example) your gender-based performance transcends camp and all the isms, if your body-conscious or body horror show is genuinely like nothing else you or I have ever seen, I’d like to know about you.

YES

People from groups under represented in live arts, and all of the arts– those with disabilities or mental health problems (being an arsehole doesn’t count, there’s loads of them working in the arts already), the self-taught or retrained, people from working class or low income backgrounds, artists interested in all the subjects this planet has to offer and not just in themselves and their own angst, too young [sic], too old [sic], unfashionable, rural or suburban– are not only very, very welcome but exactly who I’m looking for. People to whom none of these things apply may also make themselves known, of course. We’re making a new thing that includes, not just yet another bloody thing that excludes. Apart from cutters and shitters. They’re not in our gang. Nobody wants to hang out with them.

Live artists who’ve lapsed or dropped out because you were demoralised or had other priorities or the money just wasn’t there should also join the list. Let’s try to get it right for you (and all of us) this time.

Work that’s funny or serious or frightening or comforting or sublimely stupid or too clever for most people or almost Lovecraftianly indescribable and no venue or commissioner will touch it? You’re the one for me, arty.

Please contact me if you’re at all interested in any of this, and share widely. That is all for now, carry on.

NEO-THOREAU

18 Aug

henry-david-thoreau

Discussions of economics and making a living from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854):

SELLING AND AVOIDING THE NECESSITY OF SELLING

MiffyArtistRijks

“Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. “Do you wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. “No, we do not want any,” was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate, “do you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off—that the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and, by some magic, wealth and standing followed—he had said to himself: I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one’s while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men’s while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?”

GO UP GARRET AT ONCE

“This spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.”

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YOU SHOULD BE CERTIFIED

16 Oct

Mr Barlow the vampire, from "Salem's Lot' It just seems appropriate in some way.

The New York-based group W.A.G.E. have for some time been advocating better pay and conditions for artists, and more accountability by the organisations and businesses who profit materially from their labour. Now they’ve launched a certification system for places that meet their guidelines of voluntarily and fairly remunerating artists. I won’t add too much commentary because I suggest you go over there and read it all if you’re an artist or you work with artists, whether you’re based in the USA or not.

Among all the professionals who participate in this economy, artists are often alone among those whose contributions go uncompensated. While many non-profit arts organizations provide fees to artists for some forms of participation, fees are rarely provided for the most basic contributions artists make. Exhibition budgets include compensation for curators, writers, insurers, shippers, designers, printers, preparators, caterers and event organizers, among many others, but rarely for the artists on whom the exhibition itself depends.

Definitions of various types of work, or working relationships, that an artist may have with an arts organisation and for which they should be paid.

Their fee calculator. Note that their minimum levels, although quite low, are still far more than many artists currently get. This is just as true in the UK as it is elsewhere, even though the UK– despite vicious ideological cuts by the Conservatives and their so-called “austerity” measures, not to mention a tiny fraction of GDP funding it all to begin with– has one of the world’s most generous, functional and comprehensive systems of state funding for the arts. It just doesn’t filter through to artists, for the most part. As W.A.G.E. point out, and I have noted many times, none of these publicly funded places would think of telling their caterers or printers that they shouldn’t expect to be paid because “there’s no budget for it.” Their attitude seems to be thanks for the lifeblood, hope you don’t die so we can bleed you some more later.

The W.A.G.E. minimum fee for a solo exhibition is only $1000 (€790 or £630), for example. Bear in mind that most artists are lucky to have one solo exhibition per year. At these rates she or he would need to have one for every month of the year to earn the meagre pre-tax figure of $12,000 PA. For an artist talk or reading, the W.A.G.E. minimum is $150 (€120 or £95). Although these are minimums and obviously the hope is that organisations voluntarily pay more if they can, it should be emphasised that these are not ambitious figures by any reasonable standard and they’re setting the bar very low. Which is not a dig at W.A.G.E. in any manner whatsoever. It’s just indicative of how disgracefully and contemptuously the art world has learned to treat it’s most precious assets, i.e. artists.

The W.A.G.E. wo/manifesto:

AS AN UNPAID LABOR FORCE WITHIN A ROBUST ART MARKET FROM WHICH OTHERS PROFIT GREATLY, W.A.G.E. RECOGNIZES AN INHERENT EXPLOITATION AND DEMANDS COMPENSATION.

DANISH ROYALTY: A HORROR STORY

22 Nov

danish_royal_familyThis 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.

village-of-the-damned

An aside: this film was written by a gentleman called Stirling Silliphant, which is an absolutely magnificent name.

village-of-the-damned-original

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.

HouseofGlucksburg

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