29 May 2009

25 May 2009

Henry Shrimpfield: the slow burn

"The café: generally an extra-familial and extra-professional meeting place, where people come together on the basis of personal affinities (in principle and at least apparently), because they have the same street or the same neighbourhood in common rather than the same profession or class (although there do exist cafés where the clients are predominantly of the same class or profession). It is a place where the regulars can find a certain luxury, if only on the surface; where they can speak freely (about politics, women, etc.), and where if what is said may be superficial, the freedom to say it is fiercely defended; where they play."
– Henri Lefebvre Critique of Everyday Life, 1957

20 May 2009

...who's to say...that if you sat on a bean-bag chair...all day at the office...that that would be a bad thing???

One colleague explained that the company was downsizing. A supervisor said the firm was rightsizing. Still somebody else told me that I was being unassigned. The only way I could really figure out what had happened to me was the tone in all these conversations. Also, I asked my boss point blank, “Am I being fired?” He replied euphemistically, “No, you’re being uninstalled.” Cool.


13 May 2009

The fantasies of Bankers are collective

"He wished to construct a universe of pleasure and relaxation - like Matisse's "armchair for tired businessmen," but more so - and in this he succeeded."

Matisse once said that he wanted his art to have the effect of a good armchair on a tired businessman. In the 1960s, when we all believed art could still change the world, this seemed a limited aim, but in fact one can only admire Matisse's common sense. He, at least, was under no illusions about his audience.

- Text from "The Shock of the New", by Robert Hughes

For sure, he wants to bring you into the paintings: to make you fall into it, like walking through the looking-glass. Indeed, Matisse once said that he wanted his art to have the effect of a good armchair on a tired businessman

Matisse said that he wanted his art to have the same effect as a comfortable armchair on a tired businessman and many of the paintings he left us seem to be the view from that armchair. 'The Egyptian Curtain' is one such view.

"What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, be he businessman or writer, like an appeasing influence, like a mental soother, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue"
Barr, Alfred H. (1966) Matisse: His Art and His Public, New York: Arno Press

The building in Hastings, Nebraska where Kool-Aid was invented

"When asked what Jamaica looked like, Columbus is said to have crumpled a piece of paper in his hand to dramatize the fact that deep valleys and gorges, steep hills and mountains account for over 70 percent of the land surface."

- Rastafari: Roots and Ideology by Barry Chevannes

2 May 2009

Time for Jon

"Who is the Spectator, also called the Viewer, sometimes called the Observer, occasionally the Perceiver? It has no face, is mostly a back. It stoops and sneers, is slightly clumsy. Its attitude is inquiring, its puzzlement discreet. He – I'm sure it is more male than female – arrived with modernism, with the disappearance of perspective. He seems born out of the picture and, like some perceptual Adam, is drawn back repeatedly to contemplate it. The Spectator seems a little dumb; he is not you or me. Always on call, he staggers into place before every new work that requires his presence. This obliging stand-in is ready to enact our fanciest speculations. He tests them patiently and does not resent that we provide him with directions and responses: "the viewer feels..."; "the observer notices..."; the spectator moves...." He is sensitive to effects: "The effect on the spectator is....""
– Brian O'Doherty

1 May 2009

The Kings of Community Art

"For many art-world habitués today, collectivism signals little more than a group of people working together collaboratively, sacrificing the individual autonomy of the one for the project of the many and gesturing vaguely toward numerous aesthetic practices of the 1960s. Useful though this definition might be as a descriptive shorthand, it masks something of the complex historical relationship between the individual subject and the collective – their mutual imbrication within one another – not to mention the extent to which subject formation is necessarily a function of collective identification. Indeed nineteenth-century debates on the collective are inseparable from the political constitution of liberal subjects, and identity politics de facto stress identification with a group. By extension, the practice of pseudo-collectivism in the age of bio-politics wreaks havoc on our assumptions about the subject thought to stand behind it. Shadow "organizations" such as the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) or the Atlas Group (in effect, the artist Walid Raad) 'appear' to take on the mantle of the collaborative efforts of the past. In their address to contemporary phenomena, they appear to tap into a much longer tradition of collectivism with a decisively political pedigree. At the same time, in presenting their work under the banner of a monolithic rubric, they also renounce the terms of singular authorial subjectivity. In doing so, they offer inadvertently canny insights into the status of the political subject, its identification as either enemy or friend."
– Pamela Lee My Enemy/My Friend