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Anthony Easton's Ten Aesthetic Events of 2009

1. The Reptiles in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call; New Orleans. (Herzog)


The movie was as insane as a match-up of Herzog and Cage could be, and there was much that could recommend it—but the visuals of the reptile have cineaste/film study thesis all over it. From the engorged python swimming through the brackish muck of a flooded jail, to a crocodile POV of a sunbaked highway, to the instantly legendary double iguana a musical number; most hermetically visionary symbolism of the year.

2. Magdeleana Abakanowicz Head (Detroit Institute of The Arts, 1975)


The 70s were sort of a game in how ugly, how abject, how brutal an object could be before it was rejected out of hand, weren't t hey? This burlap sack, sort of like Harlon Ellison's mouth that could not scream, had a brutality and bluntness that gut hits with it's crudity and unskilled, almost democratic, lowest common denominator materials. (The DIA was strange, 5th largest collection in the united states, equally divided into European aristocratic prettiness and a tight/well curated contemporary collection)

3.The snapshot from Ray Nielson of Chicago, untitled 2009 Best use of orange evah.


and this shot by Brad Moore of Laguna Beach, California, “Kermore Lane, Stanton, California,” 2008


Because it is scant miles from Irvine, with the Lewis Baltz heritage, because of it's brilliant use of vertical and horizontal composition, because of its use of colour, because it finds sophistication in work that seems to be overly processed already, because it's digital.

4. The catalog essay from the NGO show about Dan Flavin's early works and icons Corinna Theirolf and Johannes Vogy.

Which for some reason, aside from being well printed, with great colour transfers, had a great essay about iconoclasm and iconography in modern art.

5. Matt Zoller Sietz's video of the follow scene

Because collating has been the new creating for decades (see also this fan video decimating the line b/w homosocial and homosexual in the case of martin and lewis):


(also Oliver Laric's baptisms and his clip art) [posted stills from Laric's ↓ ↑]

6. The Dirt Clod fight in Where the Wild Things Are


Earnest, and about child hood, but also about the painful, difficult, and not very rewarding traumas, the banal acts of violence and destruction that amalgamate somewhere near the cerebral cortex.

7.The George Ohr show at the Gardiner Museum


Ohr is one of the most important American artists of the 19th century. His work is visually innovative, radically new, and is among the first to figure out how to aestheticise craft—we all owe him a huge debt. This tight, badly installed show, with no publicity, and a jaw droopingly stupid review in one of the free weeklies. It had a dozen of his best pieces, but who would know it?

8.Otto Marseus van Schick's serpents and insects, 1690

New Orleans has a rep for being sexy, mucky, for climbing from the fetid swamp—this huge (10x20) foot painting of insects, snakes, frogs, and one menacing turtle stood out as meet and right, esp. In the context of acres of French meringue.

9. Kirk Cameron's Fireproof, and subsequent para-texts.


The pro-am cult of the evangelical latches onto American Christan's obsession with public confession and thinking they are not quite pure enough. There is a revolving mirror to this: Outsider work made by an insider for an outsider audience who likes the celebrity of the insider but always wants to maintain their outsider status.

10. Kevin Yates at Susan Hobbes


Tiny bronze trees mirrored perfectly into decrepit houses—the most exquisitely constructed, obsessive and melancholy show, one of profound tenderness and an almost permanent detachment.

(Runner's Up: John Heward's messy post minimalism at MoCCA, Nicholas Baer's abstracted, weirdly heart breaking landscapes at MOCCA; How all of the paintings in the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame were painted by a decent but not very memorable artist in the mid 50s, the wallpaper in my friend David Preyde's home, the giant tigers outside of Detroit Stadium; wool jersey's from Midwestern industrial teams from the 40s and 50s; Levi Johnson's gorgeous, meaty ass; Bob Dylan's xmas album; the insatiable ego of Jeff Koons; having a bf for 3 months that looked like the guy from the Pringles package; Wesleyan Methodist Church in Oshawa, that small Jack Bush at the fall Heffel auction, with the stripe of unprimed canvas; That long narrow one—Rose, in the TD Centre, that long and wide pink sash one at OISE; the quirky Benglis' pieces that pop up all over the web, Mooi's one/one scale horse, rabbit and pig furniture; the hand painted mural at the back of Norman Royal Furs; the bus driver portraits at Eglinton station; the card player portraits at the Bridge Club at Bathurst/Lawrence;the Jesus loves me banner made by children at the Church of Redeemer near keele; Jean the legendary Mississauga hoarder, Sholem Krishtalka's scarves; Eaton's spring catalogs from 1968; seeing the 34th floor of the Mies temple on King; Madam Levant's Grave; Shitney Bears; the exquisite disappointment of Obama; that weird bondage queen of a neo-classical martyr at Knox; the Ryman's at the AGO; Fighter; The Gaitor Bait Bar; the polychromed statue of Joan of Arc at the Catherdral of New Orleans; getting a handjob from the easter bunny at a bar called the Bourbon Cowboy in the French quarter; The Tulane episcopal centre; any number of dutch paintings of hanging rabbits; this wrangler king of the cowboys poster at the Ft Sask Laramie; the Wedgwood ROM show; Rob Lowe as Rough Trade shot by Nan Goldin; Tim Scott's giant and sexy sexy plastics at Mirvish's weird Scarborough warehouse; Silvercliff library; Funpix Eggos; Glittery Costco era Poinsettia's; “feel like a drag, leave like a queen” on a wig store near parliament; Andy Parke's house; Atwood's weird and slightly inappropriate purple eye shadow on the cover of Zoomer; Faith La Roque on Convenience Gallery; Swedish Folk Ribbon at MacFAB; the 70s murals at that public school near Christie I did the job classes at; and the Griffin Mac Funeral Home near Main Street Station.)

- L.M. 12-21-2009 6:43 am [link] [210 refs] [2 comments]