[-empyre-] poets patrons and the word academic
naxsmash at mac.com
Thu Jan 7 14:13:56 EST 2010
Hi Davin and everybody,
Luv the idea of 'bad' (or pronounced in two syllables: bay-adddd).
Back in childhood my parochial school classmates and I (in January, in
overheated winter classrooms, sun streaming in over the snow) were
hammered with Lutheran notions of sins of omission and sins of
commission-- things neglected/passed on and things done in deliberate
malice. We nearly passed out from the hot-water radiators (clanking
with steambursts) during religion class, a solid hour every morning.
One was left in squirming silence to contemplate what could be the
possible differences-- farting in class, shooting spitwads, thinking
hot thoughts about too tight jeans a couple of rows up, elementals:
which was which?
Then there's the 'bad' of street talk , now (I think?) replaced by
"sick!". Bad has become kinda like 'wrong' of which John Haber made
mention a while ago.
Which brings me to the inspiring Twitteresque brevity of the
appellation "The Wrong Gallery."
The idea that such a "Wrong Gallery" could hang out like a doorstop in
the wilds of Chelsea cheered me during the darkest days of the Bush
era. I like the blurb that just came out today via e-flux about
Mauricio's show at the Menil. Quote--
> The 1997 Venice Biennale established Cattelan's significance as an
> heir to Arte Povera. By combining the familiarity and accessibility
> of Pop Art and the unpredictability of Dada and Surrealism with
> iconic and controversial imagery (corrupt Popes, headless horses,
> Nazi salutes), the disturbing aspects of Cattelan's work are
> lightened somehow by their absurdities.
> For the last five years the artist has focused on publishing and
> curatorial projects that have included the 2002 founding of The
> Wrong Gallery (and its subsequent display at Tate Modern), and on
> collaborations such as Permanent Food (an occasional journal
> comprising a pastiche of pages torn from other magazines).
> Deeply involved in the art and politics of the country of his birth,
> Cattelan functions in the world of global art and images. He lives
> in New York but maintains an apartment in Milan, where he began his
> career as artist-provocateur.
> Cattelan often first visualizes his works in two dimensions⎯seeing
> how it will look on the printed or digital page⎯perhaps because of
> the daunting figurative and literal weight of making sculpture. At
> the heart of his endeavors has been the desire to create a body of
> images that "lives in your head," in the subconscious, which
> Cattelan maintains are triggered not so much by seeing his work in
> the flesh but rather through reproductions in print and on a
> computer screen.
naxsmash at mac.com
On Jan 6, 2010, at 11:30 AM, davin heckman wrote:
> Sorry to take my time getting back to your question, Simon. I am
> still mulling over David Chirot's comment, too (although I think
> that the question of "dangerous" poetry hiding code is an
> interesting and rare official admission that art is precisely about
> some of the very things we have been talking about here. And that,
> we should reflect on just why someone might be hasty to define a
> certain work as "bad."
> I do think that outcomes matter. But there are many other aspects
> to determining whether something is "good" or "bad." For instance,
> I think that the level of ignorance under which a person acts could
> be considered "bad," if the person shows no reasonable effort to
> figure out whether or not what they are doing is in fact bad. In
> this sense, carelessness could be a kind of badness (I certainly
> make many mistakes in this way). If a person is employing a means
> that is widely understood to be harmful, with predictably harmful
> effects. Using another person in any way against their will (or
> without their knowledge), especially if it is going to determine
> their future, is something that is potentially really bad. Passing
> the buck.... letting someone else make a decision which you could
> have made yourself is also a kind of badness. But at the end of all
> this, I think that the key factor is the interval imposed on
> decision-making. If we take decisions away from the automatic,
> impulsive, and assumed responses, and pause to reflect upon them
> (the purpose for the action, the means of acting, the presumed
> outcome, and the actual outcome) we move from being thoughtless to
> being thoughtful, unreflective to reflective.
> On the other hand, we have, I think, lost our overall sense of
> what's bad.... mainly because we cleave to imposed standards for
> moral behavior. We (and I am speaking especially about the sort of
> dumbed-down moral sensibilities that I know best.... the ones that
> operate in the US) have a tendency to reach for the sort of
> shorthand "values" that are defined in American political life (Do
> they prefer one set of sexual behaviors over another? Do they
> prefer one set of substances over another? Do they support certain
> types of killing and oppose others?). You can take this shorthand
> even further, and just boil it down to a handful of profiles (Are
> they white/other, straight/other, christian/other, etc?) and then
> you don't even have to worry about goodness and badness at all. If
> you fall in one camp, you could be helping seniors cross the street,
> saving kittens from burning buildings, changing tires for strangers
> stranded on the motorway... it doesn't matter... you are generally
> going to be regarded as "bad" (or at least "fishy") according to the
> shorthand. Conversely, if you fall in the other camp.... you can
> get away with a lot of badness provided you regard your privileged
> status with some respect. (Look at Tiger Woods.... so he's a
> married guy who had sex outside of marriage.... that's a solid
> month of headlines and moral outrage. But, say, you're a good ol'
> boy like David Vitter, and hire a prosititute dress you in diapers
> behind your wife's back... you will remain in the senate.) But if
> you put both of these things in the grand scheme of global
> badness.... they are trivialities. They might be hurtful for the
> particular families involved.... but they are not harmful in the
> same way, that say, Monsanto might be, as the fight for a monopoly
> of the world's food supply. What it means is that we have lost our
> ability to even begin thinking about right and wrong.
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