Tag Archives: artbollocks

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: HETERONORMATIVE

7 Mar

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

Last time, we discovered that having a baby makes a woman magic and gives her special insight into the very fabric of reality. Sorry, I should have written “giving life”, not “having a baby”. This week, a call for presentations and conference papers, but only if they reinforce the organisers’ prejudices that certain very narrowly defined types of gay men and lesbians are also totally magic!

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters *, pseudoscientific claptrap *, bad grammar, typos or misused words *, telling us what we see or think *****, spurious appeals to art history (0), art world jargon ***, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] ****, justifying nothingness or lack of work (0), [gender or sexual identity/motherhood/minority status/nationality of the artist] is magic *****, everyday object, technology or phenomenon presented as if the artist is a virtuoso for being able to use it (0), “between [random noun] and [random noun]” (0), artist is unique **, body horror ****.

Performing Identity: The Relationship between Identity and Performance in Literature, Theatre and the Performing Arts 

(As part of the Second Global Forum of Critical Studies organized by Euroacademia in Prague, Czech Republic)

Identity is often seen as being a controversial topic. Whether it is fictive or real, (de)politicized and/or aesthetic, gendered or engendered, identity is often seen as being a powerful political tool and an essentially social construct. It also allows individuals to define themselves. In a sense, we perform our own identities everyday – or, perhaps, we perform a wide range of different identities at any one time. We implicitly live in a society which constructs various definitive identifications, and which often sees the rigid maintenance of hierarchical systems and exclusive ideological constructions of gender, identity and sexuality, or what Judith Butler defines in her work Bodies that Matter as an ‘exclusionary matrix.’ This has often resulted in the displacement of any discursive systems which resist these exclusionary systems. 

This panel seeks to give voice to discursive systems which have so often been displaced by exclusionary systems of identification. The main exclusionary focus in culture and the arts has often been on the white, heterosexual and supremacist male (or female). To rectify this oversight, this panel seeks to address any works of art and culture which are directly and explicitly related to the performance of identity from a different standpoint – that is, one which is not exclusively heteronormative and heterosexual.

Let’s just recap: today we’re apparently not interested in hearing from white people, heterosexual people, men who identity as men, women who identify as women, or any combination of the aforementioned. Even if you somehow escaped this carpet bombing of almost every type of opinion as far as the eye can see and you also like to be told your point of view doesn’t matter, there’s no need to feel left out. Soon they’ll get around to excluding plenty of LGBT people too! From an event that’s more or less about LGBT people, no less. Bravo.

When you’re “giving voice”, it’s not a winner takes all proposition. The great thing about genuine free speech and expression is that there’s no need to deprive other people of theirs in order to have yours. Incidentally, excluded people and minority voices don’t need or want academics to patronisingly grant them an audience. They’re quite capable of speaking for themselves. Continue reading

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: FEMININITY

26 Feb

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

This one gets four out of five stars for its “women are magic” rhetoric. It would be five stars in the “X is magic” category if I didn’t know that next week I’m doing HETERONORMATIVE. I’m sure you can imagine just how magic having a minority sexual or gender identity must be when this week’s artist “giving life herself” is held up as a remarkable occurence. I’m reliably informed that pregnancy and birth can be a painful, difficult and stressful process. I respect and love my own mother. I have great admiration for all the other mothers in the world who do the best they can to raise their children. But for fuck’s sake get over yourself, woman. You weren’t “giving life”. You were carrying out a normal, biological, animal function that countless humans have done already without congratulating themselves about it. Not to mention billions upon billions of other life forms on the planet. The sole control or volition you had in the entire thing was whether to get pregnant in the first place. Despite the commercial onslaught dedicated to pathologising pregnancy and birth for profit, at the most basic level you really only need to keep yourself and the foetus alive for nine months and your body does the rest. There’s nothing mysterious about it. At birth, babies are little more than noisy vegetables who happen to have faces and they’re stupider than the average dog or cat. Just don’t abuse or neglect them and don’t let them die, that’s about all you can do. I’m not saying childrearing is easy, simple or without problems because I know it never is, but the element of choice is the only substantial difference between a human romantically “giving life” and a guinea pig or a kangaroo doing the same thing.

Even that one difference is arguable, since the majority of people just sort of have children fait accompli because they harbour a base urge to mate and reproduce with little rational, objective thought to the consequences or why they’re doing it. Plus there are still billions of women in the world who don’t even get to choose when or if they have babies. Women are great, but being able to drop a sprog has nothing to do with “feminine forces of the earth”. A nasty corollary of this daft new agey mothers-are-magic drivel is the implication that women who don’t or can’t have children are somehow not feminine or participating fully in womanhood, which is bullshit. And rude.

While we’re on the subject, the text (pasted below) uncritically repeats the common factoid that prehistoric societies were utopian and matriarchal until nasty old men violated Gaia with football and lager, or something. To the best of my knowledge this is ideological speculation and there is no scientific research or evidence to support it. To the unbiased, the fact that ancient people made voluptuous female nude figures no more proves the existence of a matriarchal society than the prevalance of women with incredibly large breasts in contemporary pornography proves that Western culture matriarchally celebrates the virtues of women more than those of men. We already know it doesn’t.

Quite apart from this text being a factoid festival, it also blithely lumps all Paleolithic cultures into one. By the references to megadeer and Celtic deities it’s clear they’re talking about northern European culture and history. If you’re an artist and you’re going to play with archaeology, anthropology and so forth, then get your facts right. You can depart from them because that’s your prerogative as an artist instead of a scientist or academic, and you probably should. You still need to know what the facts are, not make up “facts” of your own, and be aware of ethnocentricity. Other parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceana and the Americas all had their own prehistoric cultures. They weren’t deviations or offshoots from a European norm. It’s extremely romantic and ignorant to blather on about a golden age of matriarchy as if it’s an undisputed fact when this interpretation is by definition speculative and ideological i.e. the period was prehistoric, it precedes reliable record keeping, and the overwheleming majority of its cultural content and physical artefacts are lost forever. Like many artists or art writers who tackle science, the level of understanding and language here is science-y, not scientific; woolgathering presented as fact.

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters ***, pseudoscientific claptrap ****, bad grammar, typos or misused words *, telling us what we see or think *, spurious appeals to art history *, art world jargon *, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] ****, justifying nothingness or lack of work (0), [gender or sexual identity/motherhood/minority status/nationality of the artist] is magic ****, everyday object, technology or phenomenon presented as if the artist is a virtuoso for being able to use it ***, “between [random noun] and [random noun]” *, artist is unique ****, body horror (0).

Original text is below. The artist is Swiss and the exhibition took place in the autumn of 2013 in Lausanne, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that nobody much saw it. As I mentioned last week, preposterous as they are, art texts don’t really need to make sense. Their main purpose is to provide a paper trail for an otherwise virtually invisible artist and their gallery. I suggest Muriel pops back into her cuckoo clock and takes her bloody antlers and her feminine forces with her.

Galerie d’(A) is following the red thread that Muriel Décaillet used in her ‘Anima’ exhibition, presented in 2010. The complexity of the feminine universe was then at the centre of her work. The artist has continued her reflection on the deeper feminine self by grasping the legends of the deities of the underworld, known as the Chthonians, with reference to the mother goddess, Gaia.

DON’T EVER SAY OR MAKE REFERENCE TO “GAIA”. Thank you.

Continue reading

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: TRIANGULARIZATION

14 Feb

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

This week’s artist is asking “how can triangularization contribute to the ever-increasing signification of subject formation?”, certainly one of the most pressing issues in the world right now. At least someone is dealing with it instead of just sitting around and ignoring the effects of triangularization. Come on everybody, let’s get it sorted out.

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters *, pseudoscientific claptrap ****, bad grammar, typos or misused words **, telling us what we see or think ****, spurious appeals to art history *, art world jargon ***, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] (0), justifying nothingness or lack of work *, [gender or sexual identity/motherhood/minority status/nationality of the artist] is magic (0), everyday object, technology or phenomenon presented as if the artist is a virtuoso for being able to use it ***, “between [random noun] and [random noun]” **, artist is unique ***, body horror (0).

Original text is below. The exhibition was in a Berlin gallery at the end of 2013. I’m not sure why, but Germany is one of the world’s leading exporters of International Art English with high levels of nonsense content.

Rather than mimicking the interface and aesthetics of the cyber world and negating its effect, Annabelle Craven-Jones’ takes her effect to the 100th degree. For her second solo show at Cruise & Callas Craven-Jones translates how we can make sense of new multiple identities. She invites the viewer to look at how we engage in the cyber world through her psychologically provocative triangulation.

What is a psychologically provocative triangulation? How can a triangulation (noun: 1 the tracing and measurement of a series or network of triangles in order to determine the distances and relative positions of points spread over an area, especially by measuring the length of one side of each triangle and deducing its angles and the length of the other two sides by observation from this baseline. 2 formation of or division into triangles) be provocative? How does one provoke psychology? The 100th degree of what? One hundred degrees out of how many? Fahrenheit or centigrade? Degrees as in six degrees of separation, or degrees out of 360 as in Euclidean geometry?

I just succumbed to semantic satiation. I used the word “degree” so much it seems weird and meaningless now. Thanks a lot, Annabelle Craven-Jones. Continue reading

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: SPACE

7 Feb

ArtBTheatreTitleArtbollocks Theatre is back! As a friend of mine said last week upon hearing the glad tidings: “Oh shit, I’m scared.” More dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week. Today we’ll learn about places in spaces being in spaces that are places. Or something.

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters ***, pseudoscientific claptrap *, bad grammar, typos or misused words *, telling us what we see or think **, spurious appeals to art history ***, art world jargon **, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] ***, justifying nothingness or lack of work ****, [gender or sexual identity/motherhood/minority status/nationality of the artist] is magic (0), everyday object, technology or phenomenon presented as if the artist is a virtuoso for being able to use it (0), “between [random noun] and [random noun]” ***, artist is unique ***, body horror (0).

The original text is below. The exhibition was in Oslo last summer so luckily there’s no chance of you seeing it. As with most contemporary art exhibitions in small independent galleries, it is in fact highly unlikely that more than a few dozen people saw it even at the time. That’s a large part of the reason why curator texts full of gobbleydgook exist in the first place, i.e. to validate things virtually nobody sees or has any interest in seeing. If they didn’t, there would be essentially no trace of the artist’s work in anybody’s memory or in any kind of public record, and their work would seem even less important than it actually is.

Continue reading

SCHEI$E KUNST KLUB

7 Nov

AGArtBTheatrePlease join me in London at Schei$e Kunst Klub on Thursday 14th November (a week from today) for some all new live performances of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism in Artbollocks Theatre. Schei$e Kunst Klub is a new, regular evening of bad art and excellent cabaret. From November I’ll be there every month with dramatic readings of the most terrible art writing I can find… which is a depressingly easy thing to do, by the way. Also featuring:

The Gentrification Suite by Giuseppe Marinetti, Deficit Toilet by Jamie McCartney, I’m a F**king Snowflake by Aniela Czajewska, Photobooth Anthropology by the Two Sophies, Primart® by Dogged Films, How to Make it as an Artist by The Centre, and continual interventions from The Gross Domestic Police. You could also win a one-way trip to Berlin.

Time and place:

Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42-44 Pollard Row, London E2 6NB. 19.30 – 00.00

Entry:

£4 advance for gallery interns (copy of letter of exploitation appointment required on entry)
£6 advance
£8 on door
£10 Trustafarians
£50,000 Art Dealers

Advance tickets here.

s kunst poster 1a new

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