Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm Joining the Army

For those of you keeping score about how behind I can be when it comes to the obvious and music, let me remind everyone of a few things we all already know...

Sometimes, you know, it's important to say things that we think we all know. I recently told a student of mine who confessed a love of punk about Fugazi. New information to the student, so I like to do this for safety's sake. And cause I'm an edumacator.

First, I need to offer an apology to Linda and Tommy G. (last initials for anonymity's sake, but as we used to do in New Jeruz). These two were my first introduction to KISS, through a massive quantity of t-shirts and tunes being pumped. At the time, I was about 6, so I don't know how much I can be held responsible for not catching on, but the imagery is quite vivid, so maybe we can talk latency. Well, ma'am, you son seems to have a case of latent KISS. This'll all work out when he hits puberty and learns to headbang. Anyway, by the time I got to high school, I should've known better, especially as another guy I grew up with, Dom P., was a huge fan with his own collection of t-shirts.

Once again, I prove to be an idiot.

For those of you that don't know, KISS might just be one of the best bands ever.

Yes, I know Gene Simmons is on TV and all that, but did you know that his songwriting was that good? I didn't. Well, I did, since I knew all of the KISS tunes without ever owning any of their music.

That's how good they are, and how integrated they are into our culture.

And their stage show is certainly unstoppable. Unless, of course, you're boring.

And Paul Stanley dances like my friend Alan from tha M-town, which, if you know either, is pretty astonishing.

Anyway, get your head out of the sand, people. Go listen to some KISS. It'll change your life.

My Students Kick Ass

I don't know what y'all are doing out there in your version of art school land, but I just came upon another reason why we're doing it right.

Last week, I went to an appreciation dinner for a number of our students who run organizations, clubs, the Student Alliance (yeah, we take it Star Wars down here), etc...

And I learned that, in addition to being artists and scholars, our students have been up to the following things:

-making mosaics for local hospitals

-painting murals for a local retirement home

-tutoring inner city children

-planning and constructing a garden for that same retirement home

-raising money for Haiti

And that's just the stuff I can remember off the top of my head.

So, next time anyone wants to start perpetuating stereotypes of art students as being dyed-hair, mohawked, black-clad, no bathing, disenfranchised weirdos and anti-socials...'d better add community-builders and philanthropists to the list.

Nicely done, artists. Way to be part of the solution. Keep going, and many thanks.


Sweet. I've gone bimillennial.

Looks like over 2,000 innocent humans have come and read the ongoing shenanigans of this blog, which makes me feel pretty good about a few things.

So, in an act of Volunteer State pride, I'd like to remind you all that Chris Johnson also had a 2K+ year this year.

And that the NFL Draft is on April 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.

Thanks again everyone.

Don't forget, I'm on the Facespace.

Search "adrianduranblog" for more updates, insight, and localized idiocy. Ole!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's all been done before.

Speaking of only writing when something makes me mad, I have been involved in something I can no longer countenance.

There seems to be a school of thought circulating in the arts today that all has been done already.

And that we should accept this as some justification for a protracted pessimism about the ontological possibilities of the art object, thus apparently by extension, its metaphysical, phenomenological, ecc. ecc. potentials.

I find this deeply disturbing.

Not because I take particular issue with the termination of ontological ecc. ecc. possibilities for the art object, but I find it very difficult to believe that we can't find some less fatalist method here.

For example, let's consider the art object as the sum total of its constituent parts. I would find it difficult to do otherwise, especially considering that even the smallest of atoms has is constituent parts.

Then, can we not find the new possibilities in the interrelations of these constituent parts? And, then to the whole as the sum total of these parts and interrelations?

That sounds like Minimalism, so we'll have to consider the nature of these constituent parts.

Certainly, they ought not be made of Minimalist parts, though it would be quite fun to obtain a series of Minimalist works and recombine the constituent parts without obligation to the original configurations.

So, perhaps they could be made of regular stuff or junk or shit. Nope. Nope. Nope. Among a million other examples, Rauschenberg, Arman, Manzoni.


For real.

So, maybe they could be made of nothing? But, if we categorize them as art, don't we just end up where Yves Klein started?

They can't be made of everything, if only because of the paradox of the acquisition of everything in an ever-expanding vacuum of a universe. And Manzoni, but I guess he just claimed the Earth.

And, just for giggles, how do we get around Tom Friedman? Or Warhol? Or Duchamp for God's sake, as if we didn't just invoke one of his manifestations.


It occurs that there is another rather persistent pessimism that be useful here. And that is the pejorative nature of Mannerist. Ben Street has already addressed this recently, but you'll have to search the site for it. I certainly don't mean to lay this pessimism on him as it is neither his fault nor, would I ultimately submit, his position. But there seems to be a rather cavalier dismissal of the value of a Mannerist period within the history of art.

First, I think it might be worthwhile to get back down to study, which is one of the things at which Mannerism excels. Obviously, it made for something of a mess at certain points throughout cinquecento Italy, but look what it did for Rubens early on. He's hardly a Mannerist by the end of his career, except in that he maintained throughout his life a certain ability to recombine things that had already been done into forward-looking and thinking innovation. It's one of the fundamental reasons we celebrate him as we do.

Perhaps art should embrace this notion of everything having already been done and get to thinking about how to make new combinations of things that look forward, rather than getting stuck in some kind of pessimistic backwardistic looking.

If nothing else, the work will keep us all occupied away from the pessimism.

Support the Arts

Dwayne is having an art show. I'm DJing. It'll be worth it. In fact, if we're lucky, it will be the place to be seen.

As my friend from Emden says, "It's not about seeing. It's about being seen."

Viva l'arte!

Dwayne Butcher: “Forget What You Know, this is Dwayne”

Friday, April 9, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Motamedi Gallery
Memphis, TN