Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I should have done this a long time ago. more updates p.12.

Remember Weber… and Saint-Simon, and the first modern* use of “avant-garde” to refer to artists, in a dialogue between an artist, a scientist and an industrialist. 

From Dreams of Happiness: Social Art and the French Left, 1830-1850, by Neil McWilliam.

 

Taking up Saint-Simon’s belief that in a fully developed industrial society government would be rendered redundant, the artist argues that it is the triumvirate of progressive capacities who best understand popular needs and whose destiny it is to administer the state. Only suspicion and misunderstanding prevent them from assuming this role and bringing about sweeping change in the moral and political order. The remarks placed in his mouth signify the artist’s final admission into ruling circles as the peer of both industrial and savant. His newly recognized powers transform him from an independent professional into a public figure whose work must be dictated by broad considerations of polity. In this respect, Saint-Simon robs him of the autonomous exercise of moral judgment demanded by such eighteenth-century commentators as Diderot and La Font de Saint-Yenne; in return for social eminence, he is obliged to direct his talents toward propagating ideas that emerge from the deliberations of the administrative triumvirate. From this perspective, the artist in the Dialogue foresees his colleagues taking on decisive responsibilities:

 

It is we artists who will serve as your vanguard, [C'est nous, artistes, qui vous serviront d'avant-garde.] since art’s power has greatest immediacy and rapidity. We have arms of every sort: when we wish to spread new ideas among men, we inscribe them on marble or canvas; we make them popular through poems or melodies; we use in turn the lyre or the flute, odes or songs, stories or the novel; the dramatic stage is also open to us, and it is there above all that we exert an electric and victorious influence.[i]

 

“L’Artiste, le savant et l’industriel”,  following “Le Catéchisme des Industriels” [Catechism of the Industrialists], sound like contemporary fantasies out of Silicon Valley and MIT, minus the need for deliberation, since the distinctions between the three have vanished. We’ll get to that later. 

 

Nochlin, in “The Invention of the Avant-Garde” [ii]cites the passage as quoted by Donald Egbert in “The Idea of "Avant-garde in Art and Politics”.[iii]  Neil McWilliam responds to Egbert in a footnote.

 

Egbert’s suggestion that the phrase avant-garde prefigures its later usage in the sense of an artistic vanguard is entirely misleading. Rather than referencing formal or thematic experimentation, the context in which the term is habitually used within modernism, its deployment here refers exclusively to the political relationship the artist sustains as mediator between the leadership and the people. Valuing the artist only insofar as his talents contribute to the progressive amelioration of society, Saint Simon restricts his discussion to a range of functional priorities entirely indifferent to any formal characteristics intrinsic to the various media embraced within the term beaux-arts. In emphasizing his designation of the artist as being in the avant-garde, Egbert ironically overlooks the term’s appearance in Saint—Simon’s earlier work, where he speaks of a scientific avant-garde in a sense closer to modern usage, albeit in the context of a different discipline.  

 

As if intellectual history weren’t a game of telephone, of evolution, decay, and transformation. Etymology and philology are the history of change, of ideas and objects signifying one thing at one time and the opposite two centuries on. And Egbert is clear in describing what artists took from Saint-Simon and what they left behind. The history of the avant-garde is a history of visions and revisions. Honest history, partial by definition but stripped of enthusiasms, makes a mockery of fantasies of rational continuity.  McWilliam himself says Saint-Simon is “important in elevating the Middle Ages as a period of exceptional creative achievement.” [p.49] He and his disciples, like the Catholic revivalists, "judged the Renaissance from the perspective of the Middle Ages, and regarded the later period as initiating a critical era of which contemporary society was the inheritor." [p.133]. This is humanism seen from the perspective of anti-humanism, an ideology foundational to modernist purism in both politics and form. 

 

Nochlin cites Baudelaire’s reply, in his posthumous Mon cœur mis à nu, but doesn’t quote him. 

 

XXXI

Of love, of the predilection of the French for military metaphors. Here every metaphor wear s a moustache. Militant literature. —To man the breach, —To bear the standard aloft, —To maintain the standard high and firm. —To hurl oneself into the thick of the fight, —One of the veterans. All these fine phrases apply generally to the college scouts and to the do-nothings of the coffee-house.  

XXXII

To add to the military metaphors: Soldier of the judicial press (Bertin). The poets of strife. The litterateurs of the advance guard. [Les poètes de combat. Les littérateurs d’avant-garde] This habitude of military metaphors denotes minds not military, but made for discipline, that is, for conformity, minds born domesticated, Belgian minds, which can think only in society.[iv]



*Matei Călinescu finds an earlier source, in the late sixteenth century. Calinescu, Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism, Duke, 1987 pp 97-8


[i]Neil McWilliam,  Dreams of Happiness: Social Art and the French Left, 1830-1850, Princeton, 1993, p.46

[ii] Nochlin, “The Invention of the Avant-Garde”, in The Politics of Vision,  Harper and Row, 1989

[iii]Donald D. Egbert, "The Idea of  'Avant-garde' in Art and Politics," The American Historical Review, vol. 73, no.2, 1967

[iv] Baudelaire, “My Heart Laid Bare”, trans. Joseph T. Shipley, in Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry, ed. T.R. Smith, Modern Library, Boni and Liveright, 1919, p.234


I was in living in Bloomington Indiana when I began this, in 1987, and I didn't know who Matei Călinescu was, or that he lived there. I've posted the quote before but having finally gotten around to putting Saint-Simon in the manuscript I forgot to add it. [now I have, at least as a cite]
The wordavant-garde” (fore-guard) has an old history in French. As a term of warfare it dates back to the Middle Ages, and it developed a figurative meaning at least as early as the Renaissance. However, the metaphor of the avant-garde—expressing a self-consciously advanced position in politics, literature and art, religion, etc.—was not employed with any consistency before the nineteenth century. Among other things, this fact accounts for the indelibly modern appearance of the label “avant-garde. ”Poggioli’s earliest example of the cultural use of the term is from a little-known pamphlet published in 1845 by Gabriel Desire Laverdant, a follower of Charles Fourier. I was convinced, with Donald Drew Egbert, that the cultural notion of the avant-garde had been introduced at least two decades earlier, in 1825, and that the utopian philosophy of Saint-Simon had been responsible for this specific application of the term. Actually, the avant-garde metaphor was applied to poetry almost three centuries earlier, as I found out looking up the word “avant-garde” in the recent and excellent Tresor de la langue frangaise (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1974, vol. 3, pp.1056-57). During   the second half of the sixteenth century, in a period that anticipates certain themes of the later Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns, the French humanist lawyer and historian Etienne Pasquier (1529-1615) wrote in his Recherches de la France:
A glorious war was then being waged against ignorance, a war in which, I would say, Scève, Bèze, and Pelletier constituted the avant-garde; or, if you prefer, they were the fore-runners of the other poets. After them, Pierre de Ronsard of Vendome and Joachim du Bellay of Anjou, both gentlemen of noblest ancestry, joined the ranks. The two of them fought valiantly, and Ronsard in the first place, so that several others entered the battle under their banners.

This interesting passage occurs in chapter XXXVIII of the Feugère edition of Recherches (1849), “De la grande flotte des poetes que produisit le regne du roi Henri deuxième, et de la nouvelleforme de poésie par eux introduite.” The chapter is part of a larger tableau of the overall development of French poetry, one of the first such attempts, in any European country,... 

You can hear the difference between a scholar and a pedant, before anything else,  in their tone: admitting the possibility of error. He's wrong about kitsch, but most people are. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Old and new. Piketty and Slobodian, and Dorothy Thompson. The top graph, over Piketty's, is new, from Adam Tooze, who now has a tag.

Dorothy Thompson. The Introduction to The Poverty of Theory. 

Of course it produced responses. Some of these emerged at an extraordinary evening at a History Workshop conference in Oxford in December 1979. This was for some reason held in a dimly-lit ruined building, and had been set up as a discussion. It ended up however as an emotionally-charged event whose repercussions continued for months if not for years. Unfortunately the paper to which Edward was replying which had particularly annoyed him when he saw it a short time before the debate, seems to have been completely re-written for the published version. Nevertheless, the point to which he took particular exception is explained in his published reply - his categorisation as a ‘culturalist'. At the end of the evening a leading History Workshop character asked whether he would continue to publish relevant material. Edward replied that he thought he would not be publishing much of anything for a while, since he felt that his time would be taken up in trying to organise opposition to the sighting of cruise missiles in Britain. The answer was ‘cruise what Edward?’

As a definitive work of ‘theory’ the essay has many shortcomings. It is much more a defence of history than an exposition of an alternative to Althusser’s views of Marxism. Edward saw the dispute not only as a scholarly one, but as the tackling of a set of intellectual assumptions which in politics could be taken to justify Stalinism and the discredited methods of the old Communist parties. Readers of Althusser’s autobiography, a strangely haunting volume which is now available in English as well as French may feel that the gulf between the two writers lies not only in their different intellectual approaches but in their whole lives. Perhaps one may even use the despised word 'experience’?
I could go on. I hadn't used these ones before.

Friday, March 26, 2021

* - links to this page.

Taibbi worries about liberal fascism*; he tells stories to "progressive journalists" about the good old days, eliding his history as a “white god”*. He defends Charlie Hebdo.* None of his fans are rude enough ask him what he thinks of nigger jokes. Greenwald says Tucker Carlson, Bannon* and Trump are socialists; he agrees with Taibbi about liberal fascism, and is on great terms with writers from libertarian organizations that call for the end of child labor laws. Jilani continues to side with Zionists against identity politics and defenders of race science* against racism. Ryan Cooper wants to nationalize Spotify.

update. Why not?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

From 2015, because it's necessary:

Three posts from November 2008.

Time and Consensus
When my family and I ate out in the Italy of my youth and early decades of my marriage, we would look for any plain trattoria where we could find the kind of cooking that was closest to what my mother and father were putting on the table at home. The person making the meal may have been the owner or his wife or his mother, or someone working in total anonymity. He or she was never referred to as the chef, but as il cuoco or la cuoca, the cook.

This was the old world of Mediterranean family cooking, a world where satisfying flavors had been arrived at over time and by consensus. That world hasn’t disappeared, but it has receded, making room for a parallel world, one where food is often entertainment, spectacle, news, fashion, science, a world in which surprise — whether it’s on the plate or beyond it — is vital. This is the world of chefs.
see "Rules and Beer" from the 24th, and "Rules vs Trust" from the 22nd, etc.

Marcella Hazan
---

Rules and Beer: Law is hard convention Convention is soft law

The connection should be clear enough.
note taking. my comments elsewhere. neatened up a bit here.
Between corporate and industrial culture and the cult of individual self-expression there's the culture of community, communication, and language. Nothing that's been made the same way for hundreds of years has actually been made the same way for hundreds of years; that applies to beer as much as law. It’s slow change. You put 20 people in a room you’ll get an argument. You put 3 people in a room followed by 3 more as the first ones leave and 3 more following again on and on for 500 years you might get something interesting, whether it’s or bread or beer or wine or cheese or Homer or the Bible.
Budweiser is not good beer. Microbrewers, by and large, miss the point. Of course they do, they’re beer geeks.

This is the critique from cultural “depth” which some conflate with mysticism or ‘spirituality.’ It’s simpler than that: subtlety takes time.
---

Rules vs Trust: Language always changes, so what are rules?

Communication isn't about ideas, it's about people.
Something Leiter et. al don't understand.


[above (in case it vanishes): Brian Leiter and Scott Shapiro-Hart/Dworkin and theoretical disagreement.]

Crooked Timber and Balkin

notes:
A judge is an orator, a public speaker trying to win over his audience, or at least gain their respect for the possible logic of his decision even if they disagree.
The purpose of law is not the search for truth but for for social stability and peace.
The truth itself is unknowable.
[Maybe he killed her, maybe he didn't.]

The foundational Ideological commitment in a democracy is the commitment to getting along. Truth is a function of the social and any conclusion must be socially acceptable.
Dworkin's Hercules is a fictional character, like Socrates.
Laws must be, or appear to be, non-contradictory. Principles are under no such obligation. Legal decisions are public performances in defense of one description of an illusory seamless web: our mythmaking of ourselves and our processes.

Positivists are interested in rules, in numbers and grammar, and of course they mythologize their own positions. Anything in language will be contextualized by history. American legal realism manifests itself as a datable aspect of an era, as does post-war American rationalism. There is no equivalent in physics or mathematics and to say otherwise is to analogize words as numbers, and perception as Platonism. Naturalized epistemology is an inappropriate philosophical basis for a democracy. The only foundation in law in a democracy is theater.

Again (a reminder): If 1 is next to 2, 2 next to 3, 3 next to 4, and 4 next to 5, is 1 therefore next to 5?
No. Numbers in their relations to one another neither evolve or devolve. Language always changes. Law in a democracy is one aspect of the public marking/manifestation of change.

The question in TVA v. Hill was whether the courts or the legislature had the right to make a decision and under what terms. Is it permissible in our system, as we define it at this time that the courts have such authority?
The question is: can we as we imagine ourselves now, get there from here?
Social truth not objective truth.
The argument in law is a public argument over the definition of our language and ourselves in the present, not an argument over external objective truths. The only natural law is the law that says language is and society are artificial.
and again
On general questions: Democratic justice is not justice, but one definition of justice. Justice or law can be defined as a language structure perceived commonly as manifesting a stable order in which things and people have a specific role and place. Law is a roadway and a map to the world. There is law and justice in a monarchy as long as people perceive it. Barbarism is society without law. Fascism is society of the hypocritical pretense of law: law as kitsch. The mechanisms of such an order make it far more violent than simple barbarism.

Art and culture are the history of human self-description and self-definition. This in law [its foundation and penumbra]

This is all so basic it depresses me to need to form it as an argument.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A birthday card for a friend (he's on the left). File under visual imagination, or at least memory.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

I've been predicting the future since about 1978.

NYRB: "The philosopher Ernst Cassirer’s most timely insight is that even in a scientific age, people are prone to magical, mystical thinking." NFS means No Fucking Shit

The appearance of a new English translation of Ernst Cassirer’s The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms marks the culmination of an unlikely intellectual revival. Cassirer’s three-volume magnum opus, first published in Germany between 1923 and 1929, was translated into English by Ralph Manheim in the 1950s, when its author’s reputation was in decline. For a long time thereafter, it didn’t seem the book would ever need retranslating. Interwar German thought exercised an enormous influence in the late-twentieth-century US, from Martin Heidegger’s existentialism to the critical theory of the Frankfurt School to the Marxist mysticism of Walter Benjamin. But the apocalyptic radicalism that made these thinkers so fascinating—the product of a period that felt like, and in a sense really was, the end of the world—is absent in Cassirer.

...His work found some admirers in this country, most notably Susanne K. Langer, whose Philosophy in a New Key (1941) built on his idea of art and myth as nonsemantic forms of thought. By the turn of the century, however, Cassirer had almost vanished from the consciousness of the American intellectual public—especially compared with Heidegger, who became ever more fascinating as his history of Nazi involvement came into clearer view.

Then, in the 2000s, the tide began to turn. In Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture (2008), Edward Skidelsky wrote semi-ironically of the “Cassirer industry” that had already sprung up in Germany. Skidelsky’s book was followed in English by Gordon’s magisterial Continental Divide (2010), a detailed analysis of a storied 1929 debate between Cassirer and Heidegger in Davos, Switzerland. In 2013 Emily J. Levine’s Dreamland of Humanists proposed that the Frankfurt School had a rival in a “Hamburg School” centered on Cassirer and Erwin Panofsky, both of whom did research in that city’s Warburg Library.

I'm still not sure these people know what humanism was. And Kirsch is a putz. 

I've found a book on Cassirer and Arendt. I'm more interested in Arendt and Panofsky; her contempt for social science follows the older humanists' contempt for the hard sciences, something that as I've said seems to go unmentioned in scholarship in English. 

Someone needs to do a study of how the humanist contempt for the love of mechanics –utilitarianism– was redirected towards a defense of science as another form of reason against the glorification of unreason. Arendt's connection to Heidegger is Kantian, and the Davos debate was a debate over the the interpretation of Kant, not for or against him. Again, Kant and the older humanists were not optimists. And no one who defends fascism is interested in freedom, other than freedom from the burden of responsibility for their own actions. 

Erwin Panofsky explicitly states that the first half of the opening chapter of Studies in Iconology—his landmark American publication of 1939—contains ‘the revised content of a methodological article published by the writer in 1932’, which is now translated for the first time in this issue of Critical Inquiry. That article, published in the philosophical journal Logos, is among his most important works. First, it marks the apogee of his series of philosophically reflective essays on how to do art history, that reach back, via a couple of major pieces on Alois Riegl, to the 1915 essay on Heinrich Wölfflin. Under the influence of his colleague at Hamburg Ernst Cassirer, the principal interpreter of Kant in the 1920s, Panofsky from 1915 on exhibits in his work ever more Kantian thinking and language. But Logos was not an art-historical review or one dedicated to aesthetics but a principal mainstream journal of the philosophy of culture. So ‘On the Problem of Describing and Interpreting Works of the Visual Arts’ has a good claim to be the culmination of Panofsky’s philosophical thinking in his German period under the Weimar Republic.

...It is a critical attempt to ground the concepts of the discipline and an interrogation of the meanings of images in the context of Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms and Warburg’s cultural history.  Alongside this synthesis, and more than in any of his other works—although with little acknowledgement or direct citation—the 1932 essay comes closer to integrating into his own project the intellectual positions of Panofsky’s prime theoretical opponents: not only Hans Sedlmayr and the theoretical position of the second Vienna school but also Martin Heidegger and his assault on neo-Kantianism and on Cassirer in particular. In this sense, at a particular (it turns out, late) moment of Weimar scholarship, Panofsky’s Logos essay makes a pitch for the high ground in the developing argument about what art history should be as a conceptual discipline. It happens that all Panofsky’s collaborators in the Hamburg scene (and most neo-Kantians) were Jews, while his specific opponents— even in the late twenties and early thirties (namely, Sedlmayr and Heidegger)—would declare for the Nazi Party as soon as the National Socialists were on the ascendant.

No one who defends fascism is interested in freedom, other than freedom from the burden of responsibility for their own actions. But science sees the world as determinist. And round we go.
The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.
We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.

For those too lazy to follow the links to the end, they're the dying words of Reinhard Heydrich.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

"A brilliant quip can lose its sharpness or even its intelligibility taken out of context, but that doesn’t take away from the intelligence of the gesture, only our ability to recognize it." 

I'd had an introduction to that quote, but it was too much. It's a hilarious "meme"–photoshopped collage– the kind of thing someone would turn into an NFT. But the whole point is that it's infinitely reproducible. The age of mechanical reproduction began with Gutenberg. The cultural significance of the form –demotic commentary– has no relation to money.  

Albrecht Dürer, St. Philip 1526 Engraving, 12.2 x 7.7 mm.

The one I own, printed before final revisions, is worth a lot more than I paid for it. The dealer made a mistake. But I'll never sell it. 

While it is true that commercial art is always in danger of ending up as a prostitute, it is equally true that noncommercial art is always in danger of ending up as an old maid. Non commercial art has given us Seurat's "Grande Jatte" and Shakespeare's sonnets, but also much that is esoteric to the point of incommunicability. Conversely, commercial art has given us much that is vulgar or snobbish (two aspects of the same thing) to the point of loathsomeness, but also Durer's prints and Shakespeare's plays. For, we must not forget that Durer's prints were partly made on commission and partly intended to be sold in the open market; and that Shakespeare's plays -in contrast to the earlier masques and intermezzi which were produced at court by aristocratic amateurs and could afford to be so incomprehensible that even those who described them in printed monographs occasionally failed to grasp their intended significance—were meant to appeal, and did appeal, not only to the select few but also to everyone who was prepared to pay a shilling for admission. 
It is this requirement of communicability that makes commercial art more vital than noncommercial, and therefore potentially much more effective for better or for worse.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Switched out some files, and added a few more. Better images, still not good.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

NFTs again. 3/11-Price realised: $69,346,250

He's a commercial illustrator. The pitch is the "innovation". The market is producing the artist and the art.  

The positivist definition of art is illustration. If fine art has devolved into design, it still performs the function of art: the following of sensibility, responding to experiences, perceptions. But to ad men, like philosophers, art is successful communication as seen in metrics, and is designed as computer games are in the service of “fun”. The MIT communication department model of creativity follows the enthusiasm of the designers of Assassin’s Creed, and Gears of War, blind not even to subtext but to direct meaning, a blindness matching the enthusiasts of the “formalism” of the films of Paul Sharits. For all the discussion of the delivery of content, the content itself is seen as meaningless. This is the world of ideas, the academia that claims to provide a foundation for capitalism and anti-capitalism, revolution, Wall St. and Madison Avenue.

It's all here

I'm leaving in all the links: telegraphing the hard sell.
As of 6:48 pm on 3/10, the bidding is at $13,250,000 
On 1 May 2007, Mike Winkelmann, aka the digital artist Beeple, posted a new work of art online. He did the same thing the next day and the next, and the next one after that, creating and posting a brand-new digital picture, or ‘everyday’ as he called it, every single day for 13-and-a-half years. Now those individual pieces have been brought together in EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS, a unique work in the history of digital art.

Minted exclusively for Christie’s, the monumental digital collage will be offered as a single lot sale concurrently with First Open from 25 February to 11 March. Marking two industry firsts, Christie’s will be the first major auction house to offer a purely digital work with a unique NFT (Non-fungible token) — effectively a guarantee of its authenticity — and to accept cryptocurrency, in this case Ether, in addition to standard forms of payment for the singular lot.

‘Christie’s has never offered a new media artwork of this scale or importance before,’ says Noah Davis, specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s in New York. ‘Acquiring Beeple’s work is a unique opportunity to own an entry in the blockchain itself created by one of the world’s leading digital artists.’...

His visionary and often irreverent digital pictures have propelled him to the top of the digital art world, winning him 1.8 million followers on Instagram and high-profile collaborations with global brands ranging from Louis Vuitton to Nike, as well as performing artists from Katy Perry to Childish Gambino.

In EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS, the artist has stitched together recurring themes and colour schemes into an aesthetic whole. The individual pieces are organised in loose chronological order: zooming in reveals pictures by turn abstract, fantastical, grotesque or absurd, deeply personal or representative of current events. Recurring themes include society’s obsession with and fear of technology; the desire for and resentment of wealth; and America’s recent political turbulence. 

‘Beeple is looking at his whole body of work as it’s presented on Instagram as a kind of Duchampian readymade’ — specialist Noah Davis 

The notable differences between the early and later pictures reveal Beeple’s enormous evolution as an artist. At the project’s inception, ‘everydays’ were basic drawings. When Beeple started working in 3D, however, they took on abstract themes, colour, form and repetition. Over the past five years, they have became increasingly timely, reacting to current events.

‘I almost look at it now as though I’m a political cartoonist,’ Beeple explains. ‘Except instead of doing sketches, I’m using the most advanced 3D tools to make comments on current events, almost in real time.’  

He's an idiot. 

The seriousness of fine art is the connected to the seriousness of philosophy: an artistic and intellectual elite removed from the world through its connections to authority. People forget that fine art was also known as "non-commercial" art, money dealt with discreetly, and buying to flip looked down upon. 

Playboys didn’t buy polo ponies, or football teams, to make money off them, and heiresses collected expensive dresses. The point is the game for the game’s sake, art for art’s sake.

I've said that all before. Rich people can afford to do some things things for love. This is the equivalent of real estate prices going through the roof while the rental income stays the same. It has no foundation, not even the foundation of self-respect still associated with good publishers and movie producers.

The potential for it to disrupt the traditional art auction model is humongous,” said Noah Davis, the specialist in charge of the first NFT auction at Christie’s. Beyond the record-setting sale of Beeple’s “Everydays,” he said, NFTs’ “lack of objecthood” meant auction houses faced no costs required for storing, handling, cataloging, photographing and insuring a physical work of art, making a “really attractive opportunity” for auction houses.
History repeats, and now no one gets the joke.  I have no problem with Klein or Manzoni.

Guardian, 2012:  The 10 Best Invisible Artworks, etc.
The Florentine intermedios of the manneristic theater (similar to the English masks) abounded in such complicated allegories as seen in the Intermedio of 1585 and 1589 where the conclusion of Plato’s Republic appeared on the stage, including the Planets, the Harmony of the Spheres, the Three Goddesses of Fate, and even Necessity, holding the adamantine axis of the Universe (fig. 40). We happen to possess the diary of a nobleman who saw this play and stated that it was very beautiful but nobody could understand what it was all about. 

Saturday, March 06, 2021

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.

The Golden Age of Ozzie and Harriet, Ken and Barbie. The evil of banality. 

"i fucking loved TNG and how gentle and kind everyone was and how enthusiastic about my nascent Trekkie journey"

"John Quiggin dreams of Shangri-La/ Ecotopia with images of city planning for the People's Republic of China, designed by architects from Singapore."

I'm not defending the Senator from EpiPen

If we review Bentham’s contemporaries in search of a figure who might be seen as exemplifying the antithesis of the Benthamic view of life, many names might suggest themselves and might, in one context or another, be appropriate. Rousseau, Burke, Kant himself, Hegel – each of these would have a claim, though each might prove, on closer inspection, to have something at least in common with Bentham. There is, however, a figure – a man who was born less than ten years after Bentham and died less than five years before him – who may provide the requisite antithesis. William Blake, I suggest, both embodies that antithesis and proclaims the imperfection of Bentham’s understanding of happiness. Two passages may serve to illustrate the point. One is, inevitably,

He who bends to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

And the other is all the more telling for its expression of a view – an understanding – of life as far as possible from Bentham’s utilitarianism:

Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The author, J.H. Burns, was first General Editor of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. 
I can't believe I've never posted that before. It's in. I read the essay years ago.

Friday, March 05, 2021

Announcing representation of Garrett Bradley
Lisson Gallery is pleased to announce exclusive worldwide representation of American artist and filmmaker Garrett Bradley. Bradley works across narrative, documentary and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice and cultural histories in the United States. Adopting archival material alongside newly shot footage, Bradley’s films exist simultaneously in the past, present and future, not only disrupting our perception of time, but also breaking down our preconceived ideas about objectivity, perspective and truth-telling. These narratives unfold naturally in both feature-length and short form, rather than being forced into a singular definition or perspective, and consequently reveal the characters’ multifaceted individual and collective stories.
Kings of Leon Will Be the First Band to Release an Album as an NFT
The band’s revolutionary tokens will unlock special perks like limited-edition vinyl and front row seats to future concerts

The band is actually dropping three types of tokens as part of a series called “NFT Yourself,” people involved in the project tells Rolling Stone. One type is a special album package, while a second type offers live show perks like front-row seats for life, and a third type is just for exclusive audiovisual art. All three types of tokens offer art designed by the band’s longtime creative partner Night After Night; the smart contracts and intelligence within the tokens were developed by YellowHeart, a company that wants to use blockchain technology to bring value back to music and better direct-to-fan relationships.
How a 10-second video clip sold for $6.6 million
The video by digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work.

It’s a new type of digital asset - known as a non-fungible token (NFT) - that has exploded in popularity during the pandemic as enthusiasts and investors scramble to spend enormous sums of money on items that only exist online.

Blockchain technology allows the items to be publicly authenticated as one-of-a-kind, unlike traditional online objects which can be endlessly reproduced.

“You can go in the Louvre and take a picture of the Mona Lisa and you can have it there, but it doesn’t have any value because it doesn’t have the provenance or the history of the work,” said Rodriguez-Fraile, who said he first bought Beeple’s piece because of his knowledge of the U.S.-based artist’s work.

Rodriguez-Fraile is as bad as Felix Salmon. (two links) 

Pop music is a commodity: it's the music of commodity culture. "Punk was the revenge of pop music against the pretensions of theatrical art rock. It was made as a commodity that stated itself as such: a spike and glitter covered hand grenade, a 3 minute hate, the recorded sound of angry teenagers pressed on vinyl disks and sold back to them."

Video Art/Gallery Film: Fine art vs film; it still applies. The gallery shows are adjuncts to the "art". And museums are becoming theaters. 

If Tate Modern was Musée de la Danse?  Scroll down to May 16th

1934: "Today there is no denying that narrative films are not only “art”—not often good art, to be sure, but this applies to other media as well—but also, besides architecture, cartooning and “commercial design,” the only visual art entirely alive." etc.
---

Beeple, at Christie's