Tag Archives: Venice

TOP TEN THINGS TO SEE AT THE VENICE BIENNALE 2015

5 May

Aper

PPBorborygmusArtCriticBY GUEST CRITIC PP BORBORYGMUS, CONTEMPORARY ART CORRESPONDENT AT LARGE FOR TEMPORARY CON ART MAGAZINE

1. THE FRIEZE PARTY

It’s fabulous because hardly anybody can get in, so no riff-raff will be there to see you trash the place and talk shit about the person you’ll then turn right around to, air kiss and and be all smiles with. You’ll see lots of peons outside, though, trying to blag their way in as you sail through like an oligarch’s yacht (see No. 2) deliberately ramming a Mediterranean immigrant raft. That’ll show them who’s important and who isn’t. Matthew Slotover is a darling and almost never strangles people then stuffs them into weighted suitcases to dump into the lagoon from the back of a water taxi in the middle of the night a bit like that chap in American Psycho. Don’t forget to appreciate his tasteful business card and you should be fine.

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Matthew Slotover rarely does this.

2. PARTY ON AN OLIGARCH’S YACHT

It’s fabulous because everybody is incredibly rich. There are always a few yachts docked beside or crashed into the front walls of Venice’s historic palazzi. Oili Massovoye-Ubiystvic’s über-yacht is the crème de la crème; it’s forty storeys high, matte black, armed with mortars supplied by Poju Zabludowicz, and it has its own designer brig section for permanently imprisoning Middle Eastern refugee women who’ve been sold into sexual slavery. If you ever wondered about Venice parties having so many bevies of dazed, dopey, dusky twenty-two year olds in couture dresses, wonder no more. And the answers are yes, they come from O M-U’s sex brig; don’t worry, they probably won’t remember much because of the rohypnol; maybe, but don’t touch what you can’t afford because breakages must be paid for; no, the dresses don’t belong to them.

3. PARTY BY ONE OF THE COUNTRIES WHO HAD A BIG ENOUGH EMPIRE TO BE IN THE GIARDINI

Get there reasonably early because sometimes they’re a bit stingy with the free nibbles and drinkies. Something to do with tax payers’ money? You might be surprised how many tax payers you actually know, so just get as much down you as possible and politely pass over the tricky subject of who pays for all this stuff. Grab a whole bottle from a passing tray if you can. On the plus side you can probably tick off a lot of these little ones in very quick succession, so they work as a delightful if sometimes unpleasantly democratic pre-party for the main attraction which is obviously the Frieze party, oligarch yacht hopping, Lady Gaga’s party (see No. 4), or preferably all three.

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IMAGINARY ARTISTS I: LEBOWSKI

22 Mar

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“My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina. Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say, whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his ‘Johnson’.” Maude Lebowski

You don’t need me to tell you that the Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski is a classic; just ask the internet. It’s also remarkable for having two painfully accurate satires of contemporary artists in it. The art talk and Julianne Moore’s mid-Atlantic Sylvia Plath drawl, geometric hair and snotty attitude are all perfectly observed, and hilarious. In fact there’s three painfully accurate satires of contemporary artists if you count The Dude’s landlord Marty and his almost entirely unattended vanity premiere of a self-devised interpretative dance/performance art piece to Mussorgsky in a “nude” bodystocking and plastic vines. I’m sure many of us art lovers have been to those shows and regretted it.

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BAD ART IS ETERNAL, ONLY THE MEDIUM CHANGES

25 Jul

The Tempest, c. 1507 by Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco).

Although I often have a go at contemporary art– and a lot of it is absolute bullshit because the artists who make it have less self-awareness and intelligence than your average contestant on Britain’s Got Talent– I also don’t have much sympathy for the view that proper art is old art, proper art is figurative art, proper art is something that looks pretty hanging on the wall. Just because a painting is old that doesn’t mean it’s good. Loads of bad art works are still around and they probably shouldn’t be, many good ones have been lost. I’ve seen the actual painting reproduced above; it’s quite small, and it hangs in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice. Yes, I know, wankorama, in the last post I was casually dropping it in that I saw this and that in Tokyo, now Venice…

Various art critics and academics have had a stab at unravelling what Giorgione was trying to say with this painting. It used to be referred to as a picture of Mercury and Isis, even though these two mythological characters don’t even come from the same cosmologies as each other. It’s been spoken of as an allegory of charity, death and other things that you’re fairly safe in speculating that a 16th century painting’s about. I think I can slice right through this particular Gordian knot and explain all instantly. The painting is not enigmatic. Superficially it’s well done and everything, but this painting is total shit. Continue reading

HOW TO EARN SOME FORGIVENESS FOR BEING A CAPITALIST PIG

30 Sep

François Pinault may be the first plutocrat billionaire übercollector from the top of Art Review’s most powerful art world figures list who also appears to have some taste and discernment. Or at least a taste that somewhat coincides with mine… which amounts to the same thing, obviously, because we’re on the internet where opinion is daily defended to the death as if it has a factual basis in some kind of Universal Law of the Universe.

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NON SEQUITUR VENICE OBSERVATION

29 Sep

In the evening, a band plays at the famous Florian café on the edge of Piazza San Marco. The efforts of these musicians are entirely for the benefit of the most clueless tourists nowadays since nobody right of mind or slim of wallet would actually eat in such a tourist trap. These tourists seem perversely thrilled that instead of playing anything that might lay down memories of a distinctively Italian or Venetian experience, or something that might evoke the Renaissance surroundings, the band instead plays from a cognitively and geographically dissonant, pandering repertoire.

New Yorkers in the audience got New York, New York. The Germans- with more than a hint of Basil Fawltyish “don’t mention the war” passive aggression, I thought- got a medley from ‘The Sound of Music’ which might have Julie Andrews, nuns and kiddies in it but is still best remembered for being about Nazis and is therefore probably not a cultural artefact that’s looked upon with great fondness by modern Germans, if they’ve even seen it.

Of course all the other tourist traps in the area compete to mop up the excess money of naïve and undiscerning visitors by hosting their own bands. The best thing (indeed, the only tolerable thing) to do is stand in the middle of the square when they’re all playing at once so you get a free atonal Schoenberg concert. Then move on swiftly before some hawker tries to make you buy a copy of a Vuitton handbag.

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