Response to Aron on the Whitney and NewMu

Random thoughts on Aron Namenwirth's post on "Unmonumental" and the Biennial 2008 (in lieu of a comment--blogspot seems to eat them)

1. Re: the Michael Bell-Smith piece, I'm guessing the "oonce" is some nonsense he found in the original film's flashcards by playing/studying them one at a time, and that he then highlighted the display of the word as a repeated single clip (also calling attention to Allen Ginsberg in the background). Thus the only modification he made was looping the material and adding the house kick drum. Could be wrong about this. Was a little surprised that MBS tackled this subject matter, Bob Dylan holding flashcards being one of the most imitated tropes in the history of pop culture, INXS practically killing it dead in the '80s and beginning its infinite zombie afterlife as fodder for a billion YouTube home hacks. Guessing that was the point, and can't deny that MBS put a new spin on it: it's now the punk gesture we truly can't escape, with Dylan's linguistic arabesques boiled down to phatic noise, his guitar and harmonica dwindling to a nihilistic, almost-gabber thump, the saintly Ginsberg reduced to an "unidentified rabbi figure" in the background.

Nevertheless it almost seems the curators were looking for examples of artists' work to meet the NewMu audience halfway for this crazy new media stuff, hence this work and the Oliver Laric montage of YouTubers imitating 50 Cent (a rehash of Phil Collins' dull piece with everyday people karaoke-ing Morrissey) as opposed to something like MBS' "Video Created to Fix Stuck Pixels in Computer Monitors Recast (with Soundtrack and Sunset) as Video to Fix Your Stuck Mind" which is nerdy and funny as hell. (can't find the .mov described here online anymore.)

2. Aron, you were roaming the Whitney looking for Michael Smith (not Michael Bell-Smith), aka "Mike." Did you see the Sears portraits of him with 8 years of classes of his students? That should give any Young Turk feted by the art world serious pause. Smith is smiling in all the portraits but that is a sad, Buster Keaton face, trapped in a Sartrean hell of growing old amidst endlessly rejuvenating art youth.

3. Sorry to be so depressing. It's April Fools and Vvork turned 2 today.