Thursday, August 13, 2009
What makes a postmodern novel
Courtesy The Rumpus, I found a link to an entry on the LA Times books blog listing 61 "essential" postmodern novels. I was more amused by the alleged common attributes of a postmodern novel, as defined by the author -- LA Times books columnist and reviewer Carolyn Kellogg -- than by the list itself (of which I have read 12 of the 61 books). The list of common attributes:
- author is a character
- self-contradicting plot
- disrupts/plays with form
- comments on its own bookishness
- plays with language
- includes fictional artifacts, such as letters
- blurs reality and fiction
- includes historical falsehoods
- overtly references other fictional works
- more than 1000 pages
- less than 200 pages
- postmodern progenitor
To that list of attributes, I would add "refers to pop culture ironically, i.e. in such a way as to both embrace it and distance itself from it."
technorati: books, postmodernism
Labels: art, books, irony, novelists, postmodernism
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Today's fake: girl lied about not asking for 56 stars on her face
A Belgian teenager got 56 stars tattooed on her face, then claimed she had asked for only three but had fallen asleep and was the victim of an overenthusiastic tattoo artist. Today she admitted lying. (Courtesy BoingBoing.)
I hope she keeps them, they look awesome -- as she says she thought when she first saw the art. Moral of the story? The tattoo artist "now intends to get written consent from clients before he begins tattooing."
The only thing that would have made this story better is if she were Austrian.
Labels: art, Bad Behavior, fakes, parenting, tattoos
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I'm in a cafe in the Mission, sitting toward the front. It's a dimly lit cafe that's very quiet and comforting on a bright, cold morning. In the back there's a twelve-step meeting going on. "See, chronic alcoholics -- they don't know. One day they'll know but not today." They spell out Roman numerals that denote sections of their scripture: "That's X-X-V-I?" "No, it's X-X-X-V."
This morning I'm going to the SFMOMA to meet artist and writer Trevor Paglen and interview him.
Here's the interview on TheRumpus.net. Paglen may be best known because of his appearance several months ago on "The Colbert Report" talking about his short book about the unit patches worn by people working on secret military projects, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. He's also the author of "Blank Spots on the Map," a geographical approach to the black world of secret military projects, and co-author of Torture Taxi, about the Bush administration's uncharted rendition air flights.
But he's not just an author and academic -- he is in the geography department at UC Berkeley -- but a photographer whose work is hanging at both SFMOMA and the Altman Siegel Gallery in SF. His photographs, many of which use what he calls "Limit Telephotography" or the practice of taking very long-range telephoto pictures, peek into places you're not supposed to see and pick out needles -- secret surveillance satellites -- in the haystack of the night sky.
technorati: Trevor Paglen, secret
Labels: art, photography, surveillance
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Bettie Page, 1924-2009
Bettie Page, inspiration for young women across America and an icon of the 20th century as surely as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, died today at age 85. A selection of her classic pinup photographs, as well as drawings of her classic image, appear with an obituary on her website.
technorati: Bettie Page
Labels: art, sex, strippers, superheroes, women
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Americans not the only ones freaked out by images of children
Jesse Helms may be dead, but his spirit lives on in Australia, of all places. There politicians are freaking out over a nude image of a child -- her mother is the artist -- on the cover of Art Monthly Australia. Foamers are threatening to cut support grants from the publication. Ironically, the issue contains an article exploring a previous controversy over images of children that were yanked, then restored, to a Sydney gallery after being declared "'G' or 'very mild.'"
It's no surprise that Australia is the only English-speaking country aside from the U.S. where right-wing evangelical Christianity has a foothold. Among the influential foamers down under is the Anglican bishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and other organizations like Family First and Catch the Fire Ministries, which attempt to duplicate the influence of U.S. groups like Focus on the Family.
technorati: art, censorship,Australia,fundamentalists, nudity
Labels: art, Australia, censorship, Focus on the Fundies
Saturday, December 08, 2007
'Line Up' piece gets typical reaction
Some politically oriented pictures of Bush, Cheney and other administration figures in an exhibition of prints in the New York Public Library are creating controversy. The NYT's comments are spot-on, saying the mug-shot like images of Bush and his cronies would hardly be unusual on "The Daily Show," for instance, but in the context of a staid show at the library, they're electric.
See a video version of the show here.
Predictably, the right wing is saying stuff like:
At first I wondered who put al-Qaida (sic) in charge of the New York public library, but then of course remembered the American left is doing their bidding for them.God, that shit is tired. I mean, images of Bush et al as criminals are almost as tired as that, but surely people who listen to right wing radio are getting tired of it, aren't they?
No, I guess they're immune to that. The left will get tired of anything and say "enough already" but rage junkies never get tired of their rage. Who could have imagined they'd still be demonizing Jane Fonda, for example?
technorati: Bush, Cheney, Republicans, art, political art
Labels: art, Cheney, Republicans
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The only people that interest me are the mad ones
"... I certainly do envy you... The thing I'll always remember about this fellow" -- he looked from one to the other with a melting glow -- "is his inextinguishable gaiety. I don't think I've seen him depressed more than once or twice in all the time I've known him. As long as there's food and a place to flop... isn't that it?" He turned his gaze on me with unmingled affection. "Some of my friends -- you know the ones I mean -- ask me occasionally if you aren't just a bit touched. I always say, 'Certainly he is ... too bad we're not all touched in the same way.' And then they ask me how you support yourself--and your family. There I have to give up..."
We all began to laugh rather hysterically. Ulric laughed even more heartily than the rest of us. He laughed at himself -- for raising such silly issues. Mona, of course, had a different reason for laughing.*
"Sometimes I think I'm living with a madman," she blurted out, tears in her eyes.
"Yes?" said Ulric, drawing the word out.
"Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and begins laughing. He's laughing about something that happened eight years ago. Something tragic usually."
"I'll be damned," said Ulric.
"Sometimes he laughs that way because things are so hopeless he doesn't know what to do. It worries me when he laughs that way."
"Shucks," I said, "it's only another way of weeping."
-- Henry Miller, Plexus
* Miller's wife June -- "Mona" in the book -- supported them by gold-digging.
technorati: Henry Miller,artists,iconoclasm
Labels: art, depression, novelists, working, writers
Thursday, August 30, 2007
At Burning Man, everything's art
A man who hung himself in "a two-story tent" at Burning Man swayed there for two solid hours before people realized he was dead. His friends thought he was doing performance art. (Via SFist)
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Elton John: Kill the internet
Courtesy BoingBoing: Elton John suggests:
Let's get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging. I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span... Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet. That's some music I'd like to hear.
Reminded me of Alex Chee's post a couple weeks ago, Delete Your Blog.
technorati: Elton John, internet, new music
Labels: art, the internets
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