Saturday, December 01, 2012

Corey Robin quotes a footnote by Brian Leiter on Nietzsche and "Ressentiment".
Bittner (1994: 128) points out that, “The German word [ressentiment]…needs to be distinguished from the French word spelled and pronounced alike, which is also its source. The words need to be distinguished because they differ in sense…[B]oth ‘to resent’ in English and ‘ressentir‘ in French suggest a more straightforward annoyance, less of a grudge than the German word does.” Bittner’s point is confirmed by the fact that in the German, Nietzsche does not italicize “ressentiment” except for occasional emphasis: Nietzsche treats the word like any other German word. This, of course, is lost in the English, where most translators continue to use Nietzsche’s German word, thus italicizing it.
Robin end with "That's All" and embeds this.


Meryl Streep as drag queen.
Notwithstanding Leiter's concern, the Oxford American Dictionary's definition: "a psychological state arising from suppressed feelings of envy and hatred that cannot be acted upon, frequently resulting in some form of self-abasement." It gives the meaning as originating in Nietzsche.

A few weeks ago Leiter linked to a review in the TLS [link updated] "As part of our periodic series of scathing book reviews. From the review of How to be Gay:
Halperin’s teaching promotes “homosexuality as a social rather than an individual condition and as a cultural practice rather than a sexual one”. He scrutinizes artefacts that he believes are indispensable to “gay acculturation” and the development of “gay male subjectivity”: Hollywood movies, Broadway musicals, opera, diva-worship, pop and disco music, camp, and allied phenomena. This is because he believes that “gay sentiment”, the feelings of the “socially disqualified”, can only be expressed in “histrionics, rage, maudlin self-pity, hyperbolic passion, and excess”. To this end he provides prolix, relentless analyses of scenes from Mildred Pierce (a 1945 Hollywood film starring Joan Crawford) and Mommie Dearest (a 1981 film about Joan Crawford’s despotism towards her adopted daughter). His interpretations seem all the more lumbering and verbose for being written in academic jargon overlain with insinuating archness. Halperin, who preens himself for his courage in comparing these films to the Iliad, makes high claims for them in sections that are ulcerated with bombast and self-reference. “The entire history of gay liberation . . . may owe a direct debt to Mildred Pierce . . . or, if not exactly to Mildred Pierce, at least to . . . a definitive mass-cultural . . . drama of enraged female powerlessness suddenly and dazzlingly transformed into momentary, headlong, careless, furious, restless power.” Both films teach “the supreme wisdom” of “living one’s love life knowingly as melodrama – understanding full well . . . that melodrama signifies . . . a despised, feminized, laughable, trivial style of expressing one’s feelings”.
The book and review exhibit forms of self-hatred: one arch, high-minded and self-consciously clean, the other low and self consciously dirty."sexual acts between men can be “undignified, filthy, shameful, and perverse (at least if you’re doing it right)”. Callie Angell, the cataloger and historian of Warhol‘s films told me it was still safe to assume every homosexual was self-hating until proven otherwise.  That's not something I'd put in writing if she were still alive.

Adam Lindemann's eyes lit up when I shrugged and said Jack Goldstein's work was nihilist. Now his wife is showing Bjarne Melgaard.
Beginning November 9, 2012, Luxembourg Dayan will open the door to A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard, an exhibition that coincides with publication of the artist’s latest novel, his first ever to be published commercially in English. Working closely with a group of leading designers and craftspeople, Melgaard is transforming the gallery’s Upper East Side townhouse into a completely immersive environment that uses his new novel’s story – its protagonist’s tortured infatuation with a doorman and the willing degradations of a surrounding cast of characters – as a point of departure to plumb further the through-line of his entire practice: an exploration of the ways in which sex and violence dovetail with love and loneliness. Melgaard belongs to a long list of artists in different disciplines and across generations, who have explored the animal state of pain and abjection as a sort of certainty, a reliable signpost in the otherwise uncertain search for existence. For such artists, a profound sense of separateness and isolation is negotiated through art and the process of translating ideas from one medium into another.

...For A New Novel by Bjarne Melgaard, each room of the Luxembourg & Dayan townhouse will become a colorful, crammed tableaux occupied by ‘dolls’ acting out the types of violence that figure centrally in Melgaard’s book. More than 150 dolls of different sizes have been made for the show by JoJo Baby, Gabe Bartalos, Colleen Rochette, and Jessica Scott. Occupying a sequence of vignettes that unfold on three floors, these odd figures will wear couture clothing made by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler in collaboration with Melgaard. The rooms where the dolls appear will be furnished by Melgaard with rugs and layers of patterned wallpaper of his own design, along with furniture created in collaboration with Billy Cotton and upholstered in vintage Ozzie Clark dresses; textiles made by Proenza Schouler; and a jacquard fabric based upon the paintings Melgaard has created for the exhibition. Melgaard also has deployed the dolls for a stop-action animation ‘snuff film.’
Lindemann's also a fan. He compares Melgaard to Mel Gibson, attacking Gibson. But Gibson is a Catholic masochist, far from a nihilist, while Melgaard is a both a nihilist and sadist.
From the past:
"With full deliberateness, Morris pushes form, concept, and meaning," as Ratcliff says, "toward an ultimate 'all-overness' -absolute equivalence, the entropic dead end."
No one I know who liked The Passion of the Christ, claimed to agree with the convictions of its maker. In art that's not the issue. For Lindemann and Melgaard, compare El Amrani and Houellebecq. I saw The Passion of the Christ, and Hellboy in the same afternoon; two good films and within the context of their shared interests, Catholicism and filmmaking, two opposed philosophies.  Robert Morris' work, for what it was, was academic. His work was "about" nihilism, more than it was an example of it. Melgaard has turned ressentiment into an affirmative ideology: the definition of fascism.

A fashion shoot for Italian Vogue


History repeats, and so do I.

Preaching to the choir in the cult of high style, and high anti-style. A work of art should tempt us to agree with its philosophy, and as I told Lindemann, when it comes to nihilism in art, I'll take Bronzino, Seurat and Gursky.

Enthusiasm for various forms of passionate intensity: at Miami Basel, Lindemann is showing Betty Tomkins



Dayan's partner in London is showing Rob Pruitt.

The NY Times' Randy Kennedy two years ago, flacking Pruitt's previous show at Gavin Brown.
Rob Pruitt — who last week opened a gargantuan solo exhibition inspired by the Amish tradition of Rumspringa, the period during which some teenagers sow wild oats before they reach the age to join the church — is not the first artist you might think of when you think Anabaptist. You might go way down the list before getting to Mr. Pruitt, 46, a gleefully tricky purveyor of trash culture who is known for making paintings of pandas and of Paris Hilton, who has fashioned an eternal-flame monument from a bar table and a Bic lighter, and who once held an extremely brief gallery show composed solely of a long floor mirror bisected by a line of real cocaine, which was ingested by visitors.

But Mr. Pruitt has been through his own personal version of a wandering-homecoming experience, a kind of reverse Rumspringa that became so well known it has shaped his career and reputation almost as much as his work itself. In 1992 Mr. Pruitt and a collaborator, Jack Early, put together a splashy, irreverent exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery exploring the marketing of African-American culture. A decade later it might have been the subject of battling reviews, but at the time the winds of political correctness quickly turned the show, by two Southern white men, into an incendiary event. They were called cynical, even racist, and were essentially drummed out of the art world for years; Mr. Pruitt ended up selling couture dresses for a while and coming up with craft ideas for Martha Stewart Living.

As a man who earnestly, and convincingly, describes the gallery world as his church, Mr. Pruitt was devastated by his expulsion from it. In a sense he has worked for almost 20 years to earn a place back among the faithful. And with his new show, “Pattern and Degradation” — whose pieces fill more than 13,000 square feet of space at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, the West Village gallery that represents him, and at a nearby gallery, Maccarone — Mr. Pruitt is making his most ambitious bid yet. He seems to be trying to make a case for himself not just as a congregant but also as a deacon, a major artist.

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