Tag Archives: video art

CREATIVITY

13 Jan

In this case creativity should really be spelled with a K, for K Hole. I was reminded of this great film by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling because their new one (below) has already gone super-viral too. It’s a mordant comment on the way our culture festishises creativity– as part of modern child rearing and pedagogy, as an adult lifestyle choice, as a tool for social improvement– while reviling anybody who is genuinely and totally creative because real creativity is sometimes dark and messy and unnerving, and it doesn’t reliably arrive on schedule or under budget. Or something. If you ever thought Sesame Street needed a bit more ontological horror, these videos are for you. You should also try watching Fraggle Rock as an adult. Seriously, that shit is morbid.

Creativity really is a beautiful pie full of raw guts.

IMAGINARY ARTISTS I: LEBOWSKI

22 Mar

Lebowski-Julianne-Moore_l

“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.

MartyInterpretiveDance

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KANYE WEST

28 Dec

“HE’S TAKEN TO A PALACE FULL OF FRUIT… THE CURE FOR BLINDNESS IS A REMIX OF A SONG BY COLDPLAY”

… are just two of things that happen when Kanye West decides he’s a video artist and makes a seven screen installation to be shown in Cannes. Well, in a tent in a car park in Cannes. Naughty Kanye isn’t the first and nor will he be the last artist to massage their CV by claiming more approval, imprimatur and enthusiasm for his work than actually exists. Like those artists, he’s probably gambling (and he’s probably right) that people will notice “Cannes” first then skip all subsequent processing.

A ridiculous Muppet... and some kind of pig thing?

A ridiculous Muppet… and some kind of pig glove puppet thing that isn’t Kanye West? (IMAGE UNRELATED TO KANYE WEST’S VIDEO INSTALLATION.)

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ONE OF THESE IS ART: CHRIS MARKER / REDDIT CREEPSHOTS

19 Oct

CHRIS MARKER, SELECTED WORKS 1957-2011, LOUISE BLOUIN FOUNDATION, 9 OCTOBER–3 NOVEMBER 2012

Dozens of furtive, objectifying, fetishistic pictures taken of women in public places without their knowledge or consent apparently constitutes an art exhibition to some people. Except when they’re on Reddit in the currently super-controversial Creepshots (i.e. the place where men post furtive, objectifying, fetishistic pictures taken of women in public places without their knowledge or consent) in which case they’re just weird fapping material for a few, but exceedingly problematic and distasteful to nearly everybody else. I will again state my belief that not everything an artist does is necessarily art, even if they themselves claim it as such. I will also recommend not looking at the parts of Reddit where things like Creepshots– and far, far worse– are nurtured and validated.

This exhibition at Artinfo/Modern Painters oligarch Louise Blouin’s art space in west London– in the contemporary silo gallery style, and therefore consisting mostly of white paint, cavernous wasted space and the flinty eyes of sullen gallery maids peeping out above oppressively high white cuboids– was presumably in the pipeline long before Marker snuffed it earlier this year. But one can’t help thinking that Passengers (AKA Creepshots) being flagged as his last work possibly indicates that if he’d lived he might have had the sense to think again about showing work that could literally be printouts from Reddit, both in terms of subject matter and the (very low) quality of the images themselves. There’s also some truly horrible Photoshop work to be seen on the prints of images he took in North Korea in the 50s; pretty clearly, he didn’t ‘shop them during the Korean War, so again somebody seems to have been making bad decisions on behalf of an artist who’s obviously no longer in a position to police how his work gets shown.

I’m actually a huge, nerdily knowledgeable fan of Marker’s films and installations. Static pictures on walls seem almost irrelevant to any survey of his work. La Jetée, his most famous work, drives this point home. It’s made of still images, but it’s the montage and the journey through time diegetically and structurally that makes these still images work. As contextless still individual images, most of them have little relevance , interest or meaning. Obviously the mainstream art business is still for the most part about having things to hang on walls, even if the artist is primarily a film maker or a performer, and so film makers and performers who want to get on make token things to go on walls, and so other artists have to do the same, and so it goes on. This exhibition is absolutely dominated by still images, a perverse state of affairs for an artist who expressed himself most and best through moving ones. An installation plonked almost as an afterthought near the doorway gives a glimpse of the real Marker with intensely edited and exquisitely structured fragments from silent movies and old stock footage, but Blouin is apparently of the orthodox view that we don’t deserve seating or any other form of comfort to experience long-form video art.

Seriously, people, the room must be at least 20m x 20m. You have space for a few damn chairs.

ANTHEA HAMILTON: SORRY I’M LATE (I’M SORRY I WENT)

5 Oct

Firstsite, Colchester, 8th September-25th November 2012

How the hell does somebody who makes such dim, shallow, repetitive and pointless work get such a big show? Oh… she’s been in Frieze. Mystery solved. Frieze seems to be all Firstsite cares about, because they appear not to care that there’s usually a ratio of about 10 staff to every visitor. There was exactly one other visitor when I was there at lunchtime, a period when a large public gallery should by rights be full of people even if they’re just passing, curious, getting out of the rain or killing time. This other visitor looked like a professional on her lunch break, but she was obviously bewildered and left quickly. Every alienating, vapid exhibition like this escalates the already sky-high resentment, disconnection and mistrust that still constantly swirl around Firstsite’s arrival in the town and in the east of England at large, whose flagship gallery it’s meant to be. I only sat on a bench outside for five minutes and I heard three passing pedestrians opine about how much they hated it.

The artist herself is present as an endless loop of babbling, random, artspeak Tourette’s syndrome on a wall monitor, with– yes– her Frieze cuttings in a file below. It seems the curator had a bit of a wobble and realised that the exhibition was all over the place and mostly incomprehensible.  Nice try, everybody, but this video isn’t helping. I actually found it highly entertaining and engaging for entirely the wrong reasons and I had a really good laugh at it (or rather, at her). I have to thank Hamilton for that, at least. And to be fair, she seems to be the first artist to find some viable way to actually show art on Firstsite’s intensely stupid and art-hostile sloping walls, even though it’s just giant wallpaper decals of John Travolta’s head. I don’t know what John Travolta has to do with anything, but he reappears as a screensaver in the foyer as well. Again, credit to Hamilton for calling a screensaver a screensaver instead of doing a Tacita Dean and claiming it as art. Continue reading

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