Friday, July 27, 2012

in re recent discussions of art and aristocracy. More of the same.

Mark Flood at Luxembourg and Dayan
From the press release
Since the 1970s, Mark Flood has occupied the role of an “artist’s artist,” a protected insider’s secret for those who have encountered his work or known his band Culturcide. Working in relative obscurity in his native Houston, Texas, Flood came of age in a Big Oil town in boom times and witnessed at close range the onslaught of corporate and celebrity culture that came to define America in the 1980s. Situated at the intersection of art, music and social critique, his art rescues the relics of abandoned popular culture from the realm of waste in collages that transform celebrities into grotesque caricatures; altered advertisements stripped of their commercial identities; and found ephemera transposed across canvases. Every corner of American mass cultural output provided fodder for Flood’s early works; no popular culture figure or brand— whether David Lee Roth or Newport cigarettes—was safe from his scissors or microphone. Funny and irreverent, but also pointed, poisoned, and poignant, Mark Flood’s early work is both an enduringly powerful lens on America and a sophisticated, anarchic continuation of high art’s love affair with the readymade.
And in the NY Times
Q. You’ve described Houston as an “oil-stained, overdeveloped parking lot, packed with cars, littered with advertising, designed for profit, not people.” Why have you stayed there all these years?

A. I don’t hear any anger in that description. Merely truth telling, which freaks people out. I’ve just always liked Houston. I could operate there. I could drive around. I had a pickup truck. And it was a city that fed my work with something — I call it reality. Houston is more real than most places, more real than New York.

Q. When you worked as an assistant at the Menil Collection, you were close with the renowned curator Walter Hopps. How did an art-world job change your view of the art world?

A. It was wonderful for me to be around people who were so obsessed with art. They were very obsessed and very willful — willful rich people. It’s why I love this place. [He gestures at the gallery around him.] I hate parasitical art bureaucracies. I hate nonprofit organizations. I love willful rich people who are obsessed with art. The context always determines the meaning of a work of art.
The cultural avant-garde was always playing to an audience of aristocrats. The rebellion was against the moralizing hypocrisy of the middle class. Most punk was and is anti-political

Mark Flood was a founding member of Culturcide [as Perry Webb]. Felix Salmon, friendly with most liberal economics bloggers, is an embarrassment, truly awful.

Culturecide,"They Aren't the World"
Salman interviewing Adam Lindemann and Amalia Dayan

Duncan Black from 2003
Morford on SF
This is pretty good:
It's that odd dumbstruck jolting feeling you get as soon as you step more than 25 miles away from this most progressive and funked-out and deeply flawed and self-consciously screwy of kaleidoscopic American urban metropoli: oh my freaking God, what is happening to the world? This is what you say. To yourself. Probably.

Because suddenly you find yourself pummeled with many of those lovely bleak horrible things you've somehow become so inured to while living in S.F., those things you might've slowly come to hope don't really exist quite so violently and vehemently anymore. But of course they do.

It happens when you step off that plane in some -- let's say -- "differently evolved" part of the country and don't see a single ethnic person for four days and can't get a decent organic basil-and-goat-cheese omelet to save your life and all the theaters are playing Adam Sandler and the concept of fresh sushi means "less freezer burn than the corn dogs." Elitist? Whatever.

Sexism. Racism. Guns. Jingoism. Jesus fetishism. Psychopatriotism. Rampant pseudo-religious family-values faux-ethical circle jerking masquerading as Christian humility. Wal-Marts like giant florescent-lit viruses. Strip malls like a stucco plague. Ho hum, ain't that America. It so is.

Let's face it: We in S.F. live in a cultural bubble. A giant tofu-huggin' gay-lovin' lusciously fed hippie liberal sunshine-y cocoon that might as well get blasted by terrorists and die of AIDS and drop off into the ocean for all the relevance it has to the rest of the world -- that is, if my rabid monosyllabic gun-lickin' hate mail from, say, the psychopatriot Freeps over at or the bilious dittoheads of is to be believed.

And they're right -- sort of. It's so very true. We are freaks and crazies and tend to shrug it all off, we in our radical prosaic goofy normalcy. We live in "the Granola State," full of "fruits and nuts and flakes." (Isn't that cute? That's about as clever as it gets, slam-wise. The poor things. They try so hard).
The snobbery of Bloomsbury, or the Eternals, transferred to Berkeley [I repeat myself too much], popularized, Americanized and dumbed down.

Flood's early work has a viscerally intelligent, adolescent rage. It's not very interesting but not offensive, in the sense that would I care about. The music is an angry concept. The recent paintings are crap, and his defense of "art" is boilerplate. The work and his defense of it replay on a very small stage the decline of Modernism: from youthful conflict manifest in form to middle-age complacency, and formalism.  It's interesting to read him alongside Morford, Atrios and Brad DeLong.  But as far as decadence goes Amalia Dayan is more interesting than any of them.

If the last link dies it was to a lecture/conversation between Dayan and Rula Jebreal

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