tom moody

tom moody's weblog
(2001 - 2007) (2004 - )

2001-2007 archive

main site


digital media tree (or "home" below)

RSS / validator

BLOG in gallery / AFC / artCal / furtherfield on BLOG

room sized animated GIFs / pics

geeks in the gallery / 2 / 3

fuzzy logic

and/or gallery / pics / 2

rhizome interview / illustrated

ny arts interview / illustrated

visit my cubicle

blogging & the arts panel

my dorkbot talk / notes

infinite fill show




coalition casualties

civilian casualties

iraq today / older

mccain defends bush's iraq strategy

eyebeam reBlog


tyndall report

aron namenwirth

bloggy / artCal

james wagner

what really happened


cory arcangel / at

juan cole

a a attanasio

three rivers online

unknown news



edward b. rackley

travelers diagram at

atomic cinema


cpb::softinfo :: blog


paper rad / info

nastynets now

the memory hole

de palma a la mod

aaron in japan


chris ashley




9/11 timeline

tedg on film

art is for the people


jim woodring

stephen hendee

steve gilliard

mellon writes again


adrien75 / 757


WFMU's Beware of the Blog

travis hallenbeck

paul slocum

guthrie lonergan / at

tom moody

View current page
...more recent posts

My recent post on Artforum's bestowing of "new artist" status twice to the same person (in 1992 and again 12 years later) led to some unfortunate bashing of the magazine out in bloggerland. One writer told me in an email that he hadn't read anything good in AF since its September 2002 piece on Robert Ryman. This challenged me to look through a stack of 'forums since that date and find good, or at least provocative, articles. What follows is the first in an on-again off-again series discussing what I found. The posts won't always be "positive" (the one below isn't) but the idea is to have a discussion as opposed to just popping off.

January 2003 issue. (Yes, I know this was a year ago.) Philip Nobel's cover story on a Pierre Huyghe-curated exhibition gives the reader much to react to, even though the piece isn't critical enough by half. Huyghe and collaborator Phillipe Parreno purchased the rights to the Japanimation character Annlee (below, left) from "Kworks, a Japanese clearinghouse" for such things, and then a group of artist friends riffed on this piece of readily-available intellectual property. Nobel accurately describes the little girl Annlee as "sad," but then takes a critical kamikaze dive and declares her a metaphor for the Japanese themselves, citing Takashi Murakami's morose thesis: "Behind the flashy titillation of anime lies the shadow of Japan's defeat in the Pacific war. The world of anime is the world of impotence." Right, as we see in the enterprising Japanese space program in Wings of Honneamise, the bickering-but-always-successful robot-pilot cops in Patlabor, the ebullient gender comedy in Ranma 1/2... Anime isn't just Grave of the Fireflies but tell that to an American critic looking for a hook. (For the record, Huyghe thinks Nobel's interpretation of the project overromanticizes it. "We bought a virgin," Huyghe says, sounding like one of those cold, cold Euro-operators in Olivier Assayas' Demonlover.)

According to Nobel, Huyghe "slightly redrew" the character (see two computer images above right), which is true if "slightly redrawing" means removing her pupils, tilting her eyes the opposite way, giving her a perm, stripping off her clothes, and turning her into a robot ET. Huyghe then asked 14 artists to interpret this "open source Annlee" for a group show that traveled to major museums. Once he created the "freeware" prototype, the artists were stuck drawing her that way, that is, like his digital puppet and not the Kworks original (Nobel refers to the show's "many identical video avatars"). So what's the purpose of buying the brand, bringing the "empty sign" to life through multiple interpretations, and then transferring the copyright back to the character, as Huyghe supposedly did, if you're going to make the brand unrecognizable before the interpretation process even starts? The work has a superficial frisson of commodity art but fails as a meme-propagating business model, parodistic or otherwise. It's the sort of high-concept exercise that gives museum curators goosebumps, but based on the reproductions and Nobel's description I'd say it flopped. And now Huyghe "owns" the idea in the copyright office of artist opinion so no one else can ever do it again, not that they should.

This abstract "Annlee" wallpaper by M/M Paris, sorry for the grainy scan, is great, though:

- tom moody 1-15-2004 7:35 pm [link] [4 comments]