Posts Tagged ‘artists’

The Nothingness of Marina Abramovic

Monday, July 7th, 2014


If you’ve always sensed some nothingness in the work of celebrated performance diva artist Marina Abramovic, you’ll be glad to know it’s official.

Discussing her new work at the Serpentine Gallery, her first since The Artist is Present, she says:

I had this vision of an empty gallery — nothing there.

So far, so good. So radical and avant garde! Her show is called  “512 Hours,” the amount of time she will be present at the gallery, where patrons will enter an empty room and do nothing, or something.

There is just me. And the public. It is insane what I try to do.

Oh Marina, you kook! You bring the nothing, and we love you for it! Well, I don’t, but whatever.The gallery’s curators have received a number of letters, accusing Abramovic and the gallery of failing to acknowledge the work of Mary Ellen Carroll, a New York-based conceptual artist who has been working on a project called “Nothing” since 1984, describing it as “an engagement with the public.”

The Serpentine’s curator admits that many artists (including John Cage and Yoko Ono) have explored the relationship between art and nothingness. The matter is far from settled but Abramovic has responded a bit defensively:

It’s not that I’m doing nothing — quite the opposite. It’s just that there is nothing except people in the space.

See, you idiots? You fucking philistines! Back off. Get out of her grille.

I like this paragraph about Marina, from a profile at CNN online: “She has danced with Jay Z in his music video, counts James Franco and Lady Gaga as loyal fans and friends, and was named as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of 2014.”

I think it sums up her place in our culture, although I also believe there was a time when she was a genuine artist with something to say.

Meanwhile, if you want, you can watch her sell out to Adidas, below.


An Artist to Love

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Matjames art


Matjames Metson is a self-taught artist whose work needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

Each piece is complicated but deliberate, and full of hidden delights. His art is personal but resonates with wonder and mystery.

I met him at his studio and fell in love with him, as did my companions. Matjames is fucking adorable. He told us about his experience of Hurricane Katrina, and showed us the graphic novel he is working on. Each page is a mini-masterpiece of emotion, beautifully crafted with a black Sharpie. He told us about the Sharpies he acquired in the chaos of Katina, when he walked through a looted store where everything was gone but the school supplies.

I can’t wait for his book to be published. Meanwhile, his art is available for sale right now, and will be on exhibit next year at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles.

Here is a video where you can see Matjames in his studio. Here is an album of his work on Facebook. Here is his website.

If you collect art or know someone who does, a piece by Matjames Metson will be something to treasure. I really believe that art elevates the soul. My soul was enriched by the radiant sweetness of this talented artist and yours can be too!

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(c) Matjames Metson

Beyonce and The Scream

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Th other day, my nephew R was visiting and I asked him if he’d seen or heard about Beyonce‘s wacky Met Gala dress. Since R is one of the most culturally literate people I’ve ever met, it was a reasonable question.

His response was to shake his head in dismay and express contempt for the idea that anyone gave a shit about Beyonce’s dress. Why should anyone care about this, he exclaimed.

I considered his question and asked, Why should anyone care about anything?

This is the type of conversation I live for. And R is always up for it.

I asked him if anyone should care about the recent auction of “The Scream,” which set a world record by selling for $119.9 million. He said, Yes, because it reflects the state of the current art market and blah blah blah.

Why is “The Scream” more important to know about than Beyonce’s dress? This is a real question. I think that everything we “care” about is just a distraction from the horror of existence. Any time you find yourself in a life or death situation, you realize the fatuousness of all your preoccupations, of everything going on around you. Your choice of car, your shoes, your blue-ray TV, your favorite band, it’s all a distraction.

Moving away from existentialism, I wonder why The Scream is worth $119.9 million. It’s obviously one of the few paintings that is instantly recognizable by any imbecile. The Scream, the Mona Lisa, and Sunflowers are probably the big three, in terms of iconic paintings, right? And I love The Scream, but only because I know it’s an expression of unversal anguish. If it was called “The Toothache”, would it still be worth all that money?

We like The Scream because our taste is a consequence of our social class. Beyonce’s dress probably strikes my nephew as too crass and lowbrow to merit his interest. He may not know that you can take a course in Beyonce Studies at Rutgers.

I am comfortable with the idea that it’s all bullshit, but it’s my nature to wonder about human behavior, even my own. As I continue to waste my time with Tumblr, I’ve been wondering how I make the distinction between real art and kitsch. I tend to disdain the latter, but I wonder if Kitsch is in the eye of the beholder. I also wonder when I’ll be able to stop distracting myself with Tumblr and TV and start experiencing my actual self again.

Meanwhile, where do you stand on Beyonce’s dress, The Scream, and whether you should give a shit? Thoughts, arguments, insults?

A Big Rock and a Bunch of Idiots

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has acquired, in its wisdom, a 340 ton granite boulder that will form the centerpiece of Michael Heizer‘s massive outdoor sculpture, “Levitated Mass.”

LACMA director Michael Govan points out that the huge rock is “only part of the sculpture,” which requires the  construction  of a subterranean slot upon which steel rails will support the rock, I mean the sculpture.

The largest part of the sculpture is the negative space, the channel in the landscape,” he says. “It has its own independent sculptural presence. The marriage of these two forms comprises the sculpture.”

When was the last time you got to hear the term “negative space” used without facetiousness?

Anyway,   the logistics of moving this huge rock are a nightmare. A company that moves “extreme objects” has been hired to figure out how to do it.   Some utility lines, street lights and stop lights will have to be taken down by the local area’s utility companies as the boulder passes through crowded urban areas, and the route the rock will take can’t be confirmed until permits are cleared.

At a cost of somewhere between $5 and $10 million dollars, this is a coup for LACMA.   Michael Heizer, the artist, is best known for “Double Negative,” the 1,500-foot-long land sculpture he cut into a desert mesa in a remote section of southern Nevada.

Breathtaking, isn’t it? To quote Heizer: “There is nothing there, yet it is still a sculpture.” So true.

As we ponder the meaning of art, the suffering of Sisyphus, and the value of ten million dollars, let us not forget that people are idiots.

Art is Art

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

After coming across this photo last week, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.   It’s a stage in Austria’s Lake Constance, for Kieth Warner’s production of Umberto Giordano‘s opera “Andrea Chénier”, which will open to the public in July.

Here’s a description:

The first performance of the four-act opera, based on the life of the eponymous French poet who was executed during the French revolution, will take place on 20 July at the Bregenz festival in Austria.

Lake Constance is often used during the festival as an extension of the stage, which this year is being transformed into a 24 metre-high figure of Jean-Paul Marat, inspired by the depiction of his death in the 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David.

The stage design also includes an open book from which members of the cast will emerge, and a large gold mirror.

Shit! How wonderful! I love the monumentalness   of this  enterprise. I wish I could transport myself to Austria. If you find this image compelling, see more here.


Here’s another piece of art that blows my mind. It’s a van I’ve seen around Venice lately, and yesterday I got to see it up close when I went to get groceries and there it was in the parking lot.   A slightly-built man emerged and he was very nice when I asked if I could take a picture.

I walked around and around the van, trying to take in all its wacky glory. It’s completely covered in black and white leather, heavily studded and topped off with realistic-looking stuffed tigers.   There are religious plaques on both sides of the van, praising the lord.   I believe this van is a tribute to the owner’s loved one, Shirley Ann, his “Queen in Life and Death,” “Together for Eternity.”

It’s  uplifting  to see artistic commitment of this magnitude. Whether it’s part of a prestigious festival or one man’s expression of devotion, real art is transcendent, isn’t it? I’m grateful for these glimpses of it.

*van photos via

Obsession + Art

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Olek is a Polish-born artist who has chosen to “crochet everything that enters her space.” A strange decision perhaps for a graduate of a cultural studies degree, but even stranger are her motives, “in order to do two things at once: watch movies and make art.”

Olek’s artists’ statement: “A loop after a loop. Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet. Life and art are inseparable. (via)

I LOVE obsessive artists! Olek’s work must be amazing to see in person. I love how she has taken a craft associated with prim old ladies and made it crazy and vaguely sinister.

I love people with grand obsessions. As long as they’re not aimed at me, of course. Werner Herzog movies, stories of psychotic jealousy, people who devote their lives in pursuit of some maniacal passion, it’s all good. I like artists whose work verges on OCD.

I shared my fascination with the brilliant, obsessive Liza Lou here.   And there are some high resolution images of Olek’s work over here.

Sister Wolf Fan Art

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

What an honor to receive the gift of fan art. At least that’s what I’m calling this beautiful picture from Tanya, a sweet and talented follower of   This is actually how I see myself a lot of the time. I love it, Tanya!

Pretty soon, I’m going to go into fund-raising mode. I may use Kickstarter or I may just beg. I am drowning in debt and the roof is leaking in the kitchen. I can’t get a job because I can’t get a job. Mr. Sister Wolf is working long hours but the hole gets deeper.

Any ideas for money-raising projects, please share them!

Any small donations, click on the Virgin Mary thing on the right.

Blessings either way, xo

Not Gala Darling: Natalia Fabia

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

I don’t know how to break it to Gala Darling, but there’s another pink-haired girl who loves glitter and tattoos and actually has a talent!

Natalia Fabia lives in Los Angeles and paints hookers, among other subjects. She is an excellent fine artist and doesn’t seem to give a shit about self-love. From what I can tell, she likes jewelry, kitsch, parties, nature and her cat. Her apartment is remarkably unpretentious and so is she. Here’s one of her paintings.

Maybe girls with pink hair and tattoos are actually a species, and Gala Darling just represents an unfortunate bottom-feeder?

Ray Caesar

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Artist Ray Caesar begins his biography with this:

I was born in London, England on October 26 1958, the youngest of four and much to my parent’s surprise, I was born a dog.

I just discovered him tonight.   Nobody ever tells me anything!

I looked around and found this wonderful interview with him here.

I love him!

Top This

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I was innocently reading a thing about the Beats in NYC, when I came across the name Genesis P-Orridge.

What a story! Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is an artist/provocateur who decided to turn himself into his wife, a dominatrix known at Lady Jaye. They spent $200,000 on surgery and other procedures, in an effort to turn themselves into identical beings who would then metaphorically become a Third Person. Or something.

Lady Jaye died before the project was completed but P-Orridge now refers to him/her self as “we.”

Read more here, or google his/her/their name to find more images. Or maybe everyone already knows about this, just like the ponies. No one ever tells me anything!