Don’t Like, WORST of the Decade (Art): The Britney Spears Pro-Life Statue (NSFW?)

December 16, 2009

1) Irony will never die. It’s here to stay, for better or worse.

2) If it did, it was not in the wake of 9/11 when it the declaration was highly popular, but instead with the creation of this statue.

Why? Because at the time of the release, there was an honest to goodness belief that this was indeed a pro-life statue meant to honor Miss Spears’ “commitment to put her children ahead of her career.” Actual quotes from the artist, Danie Edwards. Look at it again. The bear skin rug. The pose. The legs akimbo. The crowning, my god the crowning. Was this truly some pro-lifer whose unfiltered id puked up a nonsensical, counterproductive, and all-together heinous  sculpture? Much like Stephanie Meyer, the “fabulous idiot” did with her Twilight series? Or was it merely the work of a subversive genius who was working a front in a “Borat” like capacity?

The truth is it was sort of both. Daniel Edwards is not a genius. Check out his wikipedia page. Yup. The body of his work seems to define the word inane. Specifically inane shock art. Probably attention whore too. Really he defines a lot of terrible qualities.  Then again he’s made a living off art, which probably makes him some kind of Machiavellian genius considering how impossibly hard that is to do. But still he’s a shock artist who sort of stumbled into this limbo zone where his impossibly zany decisions  rendered one of his sculptures bizarre enough to capture the public’s attention. To this day I have no idea what to make of it. I just feel confident in labeling this guy a terrible artist who stumbled into something that is both frighteningly dumb and fascinatingly dumb.

And thus the logic of irony collapse in on itself, like in “Timecop” where the same matter occupying same space. Altough that can’t be true because I just used irony.  No one would ever make a serious “Timecop reference.” Nobody.

And now the horror of the crowning shot.


Like, Best of the Decade (Art): Tim Hawkinson & Banksy

December 12, 2009

I’m not going to pretend I follow the art world close enough to have fully realized and educated opinion on the matter. They only realm I’m truly comfortable with is movies and TV. So take all this with a huge ass grain of salt. I simply pay relative attention on stuff on the internets, and I check out galleries from time to time; usually getting to see every other one of the major exhibitions at LACMA. I don’t really have a vested interest, just a passing interest. But I know what I like.

And Tim Hawkinson is my favorite artist.

His art has unfairly been categorized as being  “grotesque”, which is not only a judgment made on a fraction of his work, but one that misses the absolute restraint and intent of that work.  Remember at one time Picasso, was considered to be wholly grotesque too. And today’s definition of grotesque art has to goal to provoke the viewer, to shock and revolt. Those have never been qualities of Hawkinson. No, his bent on space and form is far, far more interesting because it’s always a matter of perspective. His work a remarkable amalgamation of installation and sculpture, formed with a rigid balance between an organic look (you can’t classify it is modern or cold), yet realized in its meticulous, detailed construction (like his tiny bird skeletons constructed from fingernails). The work is largely about balance. Not the concept of balance itself, but between the extremism of various forms.

Take his tree/man sculptures pictured above. They consume the space of the room. Each figure is fully realized and excruciatingly detailed. It is a remarkable sight in person (he actually made a much larger version for his exhibition at LACMA). But the best part of this piece is that it’s a functional percussion piece. Since I have no idea how he did it, I’ll just surmise it uses air, mechanics, and physics to create these steady beats and taps and clicks. It’s so peaceful and intriquing, a truly sensory experience. But more importantly it’s a complete experience. It balances technology, form, space, sensory experience, audio and detail. It’s everything I could want. And it’s a trait you see in all his work.

Check out a google search:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&safe=active&um=1&sa=1&q=tim+hawkinson&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1&start=0

Meanwhile, I fully realize the significance of the effect that Banksy has had on the larger cultural audience.  Contrary to the opinion of some, it’s a great sign of ability when an artist transcends “art popularity” into “actual popularity.” So his books show up in Urban Outfitters and hipster haircut places… so what? That’s only because even non-art people can recognize that his art is good stuff. And yes, Bansky is an artist. He’s big, bold, functional, crass, and never falls into the trap of shock art for shock art’s sake. He’s clever. He’s fun (yes, art can be a lot of fun).  And most importantly, his crassness transcends mere political cartooning, to have a kind of delightful, if not slightly obvious, poignancy.  And functional/logical poignancy is something I support in any form. I like to think he personifies the movie Fight-Club (both in terms of his sensibility and effect on culture) . And like that movie he’s probably a little overblown, a little misunderstood, something I don’t full agree with, a little bit dangerous, lots of fun, and in the end, completely significant.