Lorna Mills and Sally McKay
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|It is with extreme regret that I must report I can only find one of my old Rudy comics. A sample panel (dream sequence) is here on the left. Toronto artist Mark Connery drew Rudy throughout the 90s and distributed his comics at zine and small press fairs. I have always been a huge fan, and went looking for my stash when Dr. Doo's zine (see today's earlier post) reminded me of Rudy's oblique yet precise psychedelic humour.|
Below is a reprint of a review I wrote of Rudy in Lola 4 (2000):
Rudy was my very first favourite zine. Rudy is a sort of cat. His friends are Phil (a triangle), and Ken (a fish with legs). In one issue Rudy got a cartoon eye in the mail. He could see what it saw, so Rudy sent it over to spy on Phil and was thus able to rescue him from a psycho-troll who hated triangles. Another time a male cigar-smoking duck from the Bureau of Missing Time turns out to be the mother of four vampire ducklings. Rudy and Ken end up driving a stake into the mother duck but Rudy builds a statue to memorialize her because "a mother is a special thing..." In another issue, Phil the triangle has a new power. He can suck things (in this case a dot) inside the perimeter of his head. Rudy has to help him get the objects out again. The creator of Rudy is Mark Connery. I ran into him recently and he told me he has been sticking his newest drawings under windshield wipers. Makes me almost wish I had a car.
I recently attended a swell evening of entertainment in Toronto when Paper Rad, Beige and friends came to town. My highlight of the evening was (again...saw him once before in NYC) Dr. Doo. This long-haired, trucker-hat wearing dude (so Canadian yet not) plays live drum-kit to recorded tunes and wacked out animation. Sounds dumb. It is. It's also a rush and a lot of fun. For one thing Dr. Doo is a damn good drummer. For another, the mix of an intense physical live act with boldly dumb computer graphics is a cyborg brain teaser. The iconography is psychedelic and spins into states of consciousness trippiness (pyramids and corridors and flying carpets) while staying close to simple themes (big faces, dogs and cats). I scored a free zine and comp cd in my shameless fandom. My favourite panel from the zine, Black and White and Read, is here above. I am not 100% sure that the zine is made by Dr. Doo, but I think so, especially because he and the dog character, Tux, share a rather strong resemblance. [UPDATE: thanks to Tom in comments...zine is by Paper Rad collectively]
Update: the Miss Mouse and Miss Teapot video is now available through Youtube.
Above is a mini, .gif-style version of a 6.5 minute video I made* that is going to Hungary, Albania and Serbia with Kiss Machine's Girls and Guns show (details below). Click here for the soundtrack made with Garageband. This software is frighteningly easy to use. For one thing it takes care of tuning and tempo. The samples they provide are funny and also (at least in this case) useful. This tune (with the working title "First Try") is made up of the following:
guitars ��acoustic � country � "Accoustic Picking 08"
guitars ��acoustic � country � "Accoustic Picking 17"
bass � dark � "Distorted Finger Bass 02"
bass � dark � "Distorted Finger Bass 03"
beats � urban � "RnB Beat 08"
beats � electric � "Club Dance Beat 002"
guitars � electric � "Modern Rock Guitar 09"
guitars � rock/blues � "Spacious Guitar 04"
I don't have the faintest idea what this stuff means in terms of the history of sampling or the future of music. Very puzzling. I do know it helped me out lickety-split when I was stuck for an appropriate and copyright-free soundtrack.
* I made...with help from Miss Teapots Maogosha Pyjor and Jean McKay; camerawork by Carma Livingstone, Paul Hong, and Ben Smith Lea; timely advice from Von Bark and a leg-up from Kristin Lucas of Simulcast.
The first exhibition of Kiss Machine's Girls and Guns touring project opens at the Dorottya Gallery in Budapest, Hungary, on August 10, 2004.
The art show premiered at Forest City Gallery in London, Ontario, and was originally created for the sixth issue of Kiss Machine (http://kissmachine.org/sixth.html), which featured the dual themes of girls and guns. In September, the Girls and Guns show moves to the Lindart Cultural Center in Tirana, Albania, and in October it will be featured at the Videomedija Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Sheila Butler, Nina Czegledy, Michelle Kasprzak, Sally McKay and Paola Poletto (Canada).
Roza El Hassan (Hungary).
Tuesday, August 10 to Saturday, September 4, 2004
Dorottya Gallery (Budapest, Hungary)
Michelle Kasprzak will perform at the opening.
A roundtable discussion will follow, moderated by Emese Suvecz.
The Dorottya Gallery show is supported by the Hungarian National Cultural Fund, the Canadian Embassy, Budapest, the Municipal Government of Budapest and the Nadasdy Foundation.
For further information: http://www.ernstmuzeum.hu/dorottya_a.htm
been absent due to workin' on a video full tilt. It's not done yet. Above still is a sneak preview.
Friends concerned at my ignorance just lent me The Crisis of Criticism a book of essays published in 1998. I found art critic Michael Brenson's "Resisting the Dangerous Journey: The Crisis in Journalistic Criticism" to be touching and affecting. The essay is available online here through the Warhol Foundation.
Brenson's essay was written in 1994-5, around the time that I first started writing about art in Toronto, and around the time that we started plotting to publish a brash and chatty local art magazine. This quote from Brenson reflects exactly the frustration that some of us were feeling here at the time:
"I am sick of people saying in private what they will not say in public, or saying in private the opposite of what they say in public. Part of what I admire in the writings of a public intellectual like Henry Louis Gates Jr. is that there seems to be no real split between what he will say privately and publicly. The institutionalization of private outrage and public silence -- not just regarding criticism but also with regard to so much that matters to art and culture, including the now all-but-official hostility to art and demonization of the artist in America -- has historical associations that are very disturbing to me. So much public silence in the face of so much private unhappiness throughout the art world is a sign of a crisis of moral imagination that is one of the underlying themes of this presentation."Now, almost ten years later, our sassy little art mag is defunct, the YBA Sensation show has come and gone, and this thing we call post-modernism is no longer a distressing novelty but an entrenched frame of reference. At the same time art-types have adopted the internet, brilliant writers of many ilks are publishing criticism hither and yon, and there is more good art criticism by more different types of people than ever before. Yet there seems to be a generalised eruption of sadness and dismay at the loss of a formal art criticism that passes judgement. My question is Huh? wha?... has that criticism actually been lost? Has it not just been added to? It seems to me that judgement is alive and well, that rigour is alive and well, that discourse and guidance and depth of intellectual investigation is fuller and richer than its ever been, with more avenues of accessibility to a broader range of reader. So why the moaning? Sane intelligent people, (Philip Monk, Lane Relyea, Jennifer McMackon?--is this how you feel, J?--and others) clearly are experiencing some sort of loss. It bothers me -- perhaps because I feel complicit in the late nineties shakedown of authority and expertise in artwriting -- that I don't yet understand "what is on the table" (as Tom Moody recently suggested in the comments to an earlier post). What am I missing? Is there something important slipping away, and I'm just too biased to grasp the loss? Nevertheless, irked as I am, I am also determined that the value of criticism is located in attention rather than authority. Brenson makes a beautiful and inspiring call to journalistic critics to take on the "life and death" issues that can arise from art, and I'll end this post with it cause it cheers me up enormously:
"The one response that is impermissible on the network news is doubt; permission to doubt is one of the great gifts of modernism to 20th-century culture. Critics must be willing from time to time not only to wiggle their toes in issues that threaten them, or for which they have no answer, but to plunge into them and learn to swim there. It is impossible at any time for critics who write regularly to avoid mistakes. Making them and being attacked for them mean little or nothing in themselves. What matters is the way critics deal with these mistakes and attacks. What matters is the quality of curiosity, the quality of attentiveness, the quality of concern, the quality of vision, the quality of the experience of art and language. It is also the quality of debate a critic makes available. If the discussions provoked by a critic are at the expense of that critic, so be it. If I say something that unwittingly brings to the surface esthetic or cultural or racial limitations, and my words enable people to become more aware of those limitations, fine. Probably everyone here has a sense of the kind of critic needed to meet the challenges of this moment. Many approaches are, of course, possible. Many different approaches are needed. I am looking for critics who not only love art -- not just one kind of art, art -- but who also love language, and who are also able to keep learning and growing from their mistakes, and from the dialogues they establish with and among their readers and within themselves."