"Gliese 710"

"Gliese 710" [mp3 removed]

Gliese 710 is a red dwarf star headed towards Earth. In a million years it will be 1 light year away from us--four times as close as Alpha Centauri is now. "We" as in homo sapiens will be long gone, of course. The descendants of long-beaked echidnas who have replaced us as the planet's stewards will have to deal with comets being shaken out of the Oort cloud and raining down on the atmosphere.

The rhythm parts of this song are taken from the "Schmutz kit demo" by Sutekh. I took out what I didn't like and repeated parts I did. I added some arpeggioid tunes (almost like minuets) that could generously be called Goblin-esque.

Non-Pictures Art

philip smith

As discussed in the previous posts, artist Philip Smith was excluded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Pictures Generation" show even though he was one of a handful of artists in the original 1977 "Pictures" show curated by Douglas Crimp. Many people are upset by this but almost no one is taking the opportunity to talk about what the exclusion means in terms of defining what a "Pictures artist" is. Above, a Philip Smith in his typical style (the image of a subtly layered, predominately red painting has been brutally inverted and made grisaille to emphasize the drawing). Imagery such as this is anathema to what we think of as the "cool," mass media-conscious style of Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, et al. Elements that might be considered corny, trite or unhip, in combination or not: DNA, quacking duck, acrobats, palmistry hand, bird, clock, cell mitosis.


Above, a Robert Longo enamel on cast aluminum work in the Met's "Pictures Generation" show. The image may also seem corny or trite, almost folksy in execution, but the hipness of the source is impeccable: a still from a Fassbinder movie reproduced in the Village Voice. Also, the single "iconic" image syncs more readily with the Pop ethos (which the Pictures artists are essentially a continuation of), as opposed to the allover, AbExpressive roots of Smith's cornucopia of imagery.

Philip Smith Not In Met

Much crying and rending of garments has resulted from artist Philip Smith's omission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Pictures Generation" show. See Anaba and AFC for links to all the pro-Smith coverage. Many top critics excoriated Met curator Doug Eklund for excluding an artist who was part of the original "Pictures" show back in the '70s from his current survey. So far I haven't read anything like a statement that "Smith deviated so far from the 'Pictures' script in his subsequent work that he had to be excluded on doctrinal grounds"--it's all been a pity party for Smith and attacks on Eklund's selective scholarship. (I haven't read everything.)

Eklund's statement "I didn't respond to [Philip Smith's] work strongly enough to include it" sounds like a hedge. Surely something like this is closer to the truth: "The Pictures artists as we've come to understand them make tough and unsentimental work, but it's also very cool work that sits quietly on museum walls and in collector's homes (barring the occasional lapse such as Richard Prince's 'de Koonings'). For all the attention to building up paint layers in Smith's paintings, they are ultimately about his drawing, which is often 'uncool,' as in cartoony, New-Yorker-Magazine-wacky, occasionally cornball, and ultimately conventionally self-expressive. We can't have that in a show of Pictures artists, it totally blows the vibe of studied cool. It's not that I don't respond to it; I respond to it like hell; I want it out of my sight."

Smith's absence might do more to define what "Pictures" art is than the tendentious statements about individual works on the Met's website.

How "Pictures" art differs from mere Pop is question for another post.

Update: image comparison

Largely Unsupportable Propositions

...or nonsensical ones, or faint ones, written with the objective of supplying art with a purpose after the fact, from a web page documenting the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Pictures Generation" exhibition:

In Big Camera, Small Camera, Simmons shows how deeply photography permeated the inner life of her generation and how from the 1950s forward we would all have images coursing through our veins.

Acting as art director, artist, and viewer, he imagined his purloined images as stills from a movie in his head. He developed a repertoire of strategies—blurring, cropping, enlarging, grouping—that revealed the hallucinatory strangeness, or "social science fiction," of his seemingly natural source material.

The artist's greatest coup came in 1984, when she was granted full access to the Connecticut home of twentieth-century collectors Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine.

For his MFA thesis exhibition, Welling presented examples from his series Men, along with even more provisional-looking works that floated free from any particular medium—collage seems too potent for these enigmatic presentations of excised magazine pages—and put both artist and viewer in the strange position of being understood by the image rather than vice versa.

McMahon's pastels were greeted quizzically by Conceptual artists of the previous generation, who tried to expunge systematically all traces of recognizable imagery and discrete media from their work (pastel may be seen as one of the most elite and rarefied).

The works of both men hunt back the violence that permeates our society to its source in the play of a typical 1950s American childhood.

Mullican's unbounded archiving of the self is the result of his constant testing of the boundary between objective and subjective reality; for Mullican, images have equal weight in both those worlds.

In each picture, the artist foregrounds the elements of cinematic form—from gaze and camera angle to lighting, costume, and backdrop—that trigger the stock narratives and characters from which our identities are composed.

Despite their seeming simplicity, however, the artist was playing complex games with the way that images normally include or exclude segments of the audience, and bringing to the forefront the kinds of power plays that underlie all forms of communication.

Using the camera to question photography's cherished myths of documentary veracity and transparent objectivity, Casebere virtually invented the tradition of setup photography as it is practiced today by artists such as Thomas Demand and Vik Muniz.

The caption is only one of many expressions of a desire that treats the image with the mechanistic devotion appropriate to a fetish. The obsessive manipulations, alterations, applications of words are the materialization of a reverie. But because desire comes about only in the sphere of frustration, the image remains forever at a distance.