Plug: S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome--these kids today and their band names, why back in my day...oh, yeah, whoops) from Athens, GA, is playing at Capone's in Brooklyn tonight, 221 N. 9th, betw. Driggs and Roebling. If you can't make it, check out some of their music at the myspace link above. Punkoid sound featuring overdriven keyboards (with bass, drums and enraged vocals), as opposed to the dreaded ubiquitous g***tar.

- tom moody 3-16-2006 12:39 am

" opposed to the dreaded ubiquitous g***tar."

Hey, and I heard somebody say that painting is dead, too.

Just let me hear some of that
Rock And Roll Music,
Any old way you choose it;
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it,
Any old time you use it...
- chrissashley 3-16-2006 6:20 pm

Painting is dead, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. An art form that defines itself in terms of a gelatinous substance--circling the wagons against other, non-gelatinous forms of communication--is most certainly bankrupt.

It does nothing for itself being the cargo cult of the super-rich who are trying to stop the clock on a modernity they themselves promote in their ruthless commercial lives.

And who says an art form as simplistic as "rock" is supposed to be some kind of timeless proposition? Fifty years, that's about enough of the advanced stages of recycling.
- tom moody 3-16-2006 6:59 pm

because of electric guitars, rock and roll will never die and new forms of abstraction will keep paintings head above water (for ever!). my modernist 2 cents.
- bill 3-16-2006 7:29 pm

further that 70's show will remain on tv in reruns for at least 50 years.

ok ill put it different. it took the full 1st half of the 20th c to shed its victorian garb. the last breath was the wide lapels (that co habitated with modernist jeans and t shirts) of the fifties. The jeans and ts locked its place in during the 60's and 70's. that trope is now secure and will last throughout gen z lifespan. It will take (and eventually it will happen) a complete environmental revolution to get us up to the future/modern food-pill and full time spandex (or stretch hemp) lifestyle.
- bill 3-16-2006 7:43 pm

For the record, I am not advocating "the future/modern food-pill and full time spandex (or stretch hemp) lifestyle." Just living in the (artistic) present, which includes lots of interesting non-rock sounds and non-gelatinous art.
- tom moody 3-16-2006 7:54 pm

Everything new will be old someday. Everything old will be recycled by someone in some way. Some things need to die, like, uh... the death penalty!

But I think there is plenty of room in the world for all kinds of experiences, painted and not, digital and analogue, acoustic and electronic. The battle over the death and life of specific media like painting and rock music occurs in the marketplace- who's in and who isn't, who gets shown and collected and written about and who doesn't, who is the latest, hottest band.

We all want our piece of the pie, sure, but ultimately the best reasons to do something creative don't include issues of turf. I want it all, as long as it's "good," whatever that might mean.

In particular I like painted abstraction; I can't worry myself that 75% of flat work shown in galleries are either illustration-like work on paper or photo-based--now is the time and place for that work, apparently, based on the market and who runs and participates in it. I like bluegrass, and that form is being very much kept alive by lots of regular people with day jobs playing strings attached to wood boxes because they enjoy the form and the community. I am happy that I can see and hear variety. I really don't want any form to die, I just want anything "good" to have its venue.
- chrisashley (guest) 3-16-2006 8:54 pm

"The battle over the death and life of specific media like painting and rock music occurs in the marketplace"

Disagree--it's artists who decide when the show's over.

Lots of people keep lots of old art forms on life support after they've lost all vital connection to a consuming public. How nice.

They can have periodic revivals--again, how nice.

I would rather be using present-day tools. If I have to choose reasons to be obscure, that's a better one.

I used to be part of the painting cult. Moving to New York showed me precisely how un-vital it is--a bunch of end game strategies and hoarding "special," "secret" techniques.

Essentially you're participating in a pagan mystery cult with links to the distant past. Concentrating on the old rule book is a way to avoid the present.

Technology is allowing us to re-write the rule book. Not in a faux-futurist way, but using the tools at hand. That's the process I want to participate in.
- tom moody 3-16-2006 9:24 pm

Nice tune, very eerie & ominous, cool gif too.
On recycling of objects or ideas :
One person's Trash is another person's Religion - in 1984 I was in Papua New Guinea, 8 hours by truck into the jungle mountains, suddenly there was a "cargo cult spirit house" off the side of the dirt road. We got out & talked to the villagers, after a while they said we could look inside their temple for 1 Kina (about a dollar). It was really cool, almost 3 stories tall, triangular building, made from logs etc, huge scary monster face on front. Inside, there was a very old ornate carved tree trunk "totem pole" (more cool scary faces) that had been covered with Chinese-made tuna-fish can labels in the more recent past, as an act of sympathetic magic to get more tuna-fish cans from the cargo-gods or something like that. On the altar next to the tuna-pole they had a bunch of miscellaneous garbage left there by U.S. soldiers after WW2 - soldier helmets, old broken field radio parts, and stuff like that. Cargo-cult prophecy states that someday there will be an apocalyptic event in which (among other things) lots of tourists bring money, jam boxes, Sony Walkmen, canned food, and just about anything else made in a factory. These village people that we spoke with also had an 'airstrip', a partially cleared stumpy area that went careening at a frightening angle down the side of the mountain. When the apocalyptic event occurs, airplanes full of goods and tourists will come land there and give the cargo to the villagers.
Actually, these people were not expecting to see us & seemed very surprised... I think some of them thought the apocalyptic event was unfolding right then and that we were fulfilling their prophecy.
They would have loved to have an electric guitar & would have probably enshrined it on their altar.
- Thor Johnson (guest) 3-16-2006 9:51 pm

"Disagree--it's artists who decide when the show's over."

I see your point, but don't exactly agree. Artists typically don't decide who is in or out of the show (the larger marketplace). Sure, you got your alternative spaces and all, but that's not the market, and even alt spaces have their own economy. If you're saying that artists decide by providing or denying the availability of products, then yeah, but there is lots of work that never had its moment- it wasn't seen because there isn't a market to give it to a larger audience. And by larger audience I don't mean a popular audience, I mean simply an informed, interested audience.

"I would rather be using present-day tools."

You often talk about the tools you are using but even these aren't even present day- MS Paint, regular printer paper, linen tape, animated GIFs. I like your work a lot, Tom, and have a high regard for what you're doing- I've said so here and elsewhere- so please don't take this as any kind of criticism, but what exactly are present-day tools? Is that what makes any kind of art more valid, the fact that it was made on a computer rather than someone sitting on a porch playing a mandolin?

"Essentially you're participating in a pagan mystery cult with links to the distant past. Concentrating on the old rule book is a way to avoid the present."

The rule book hasn't been finished.

I'm getting a feeling that this discussion is about turf, something like, "Those painters have had the limelight long enough, and they're old and done with; it's time for the new kids to rule because there's only so much wall space in the Big City." (I don't mean to sound snotty, it's just a way of saying what I think I'm perceiving.) I'm just saying I'm for lots of anything good, that I'm not looking for a hierarchy of new over old, and that lots of forms are still viable, whether it's painting and rock or opera and poetry. They live or fade away when they're no longer useful to people. It's not the form, it's how it's used.
- chrisashley (guest) 3-16-2006 9:58 pm

Good story, Thor--cross cultural misunderstandings are an excellent way out of creative cul de sacs!

Sorry I moved the tune and GIFs--they are now here.

Chris and I posted simultaneously. I have to go to the post office.
- tom moody 3-16-2006 10:01 pm

excellent. since toms at the post office, ill continue. i still think of most visual work as formal painting permutations. toms gifs and chriss online work are still branches and improvements on painting. they take advantage of techno leg ups. they have not and will not kill off painting. merely improve the painting milieu. just as the moog didnt kill off or replace string sections. idea and content still have primacy over material. the critical and consumer sectors of the art industry have picked up something from the fashion world and that is premature obsolescence. not just a short attention span, but a fast paced growth market which is necessary to support the art economy and its dependents. in fashion one might be forced to throw out their (perfectly fine) maxi when middi's came in. sadly, in painting pop could drive an abstract expressionist to suicide.
- bill 3-16-2006 11:11 pm

Right--and I'm being careful not to couch my preferences in terms of progress, the new superseding the old, "killing off painting," or the "validity" of a medium.
When I say painting is dead, I mean in terms of providing interesting problems to solve, especially with the bottomless wealth of (creative) problems brought to us by these new gizmos dropped in our laps.
"Should I use rabbit skin glue?" vs "What does compression do to this picture?"

- tom moody 3-16-2006 11:58 pm

Man, I'm out of it to day; not "You often talk about the tools you are using aren't even present day" but "You often talk about the tools you are using but even these aren't even present day." But nevermind. I just think the visual arts-however you want to define what that-are full of problems to solve, no matter the technology.

Thanks Bill, thanks Tom. Other duties call.
- chrisashley (guest) 3-17-2006 12:49 am

Fixed. I'll have the last word and say I think you know what I meant by present day.
- tom moody 3-17-2006 1:15 am

All right, as the gracious host, you can have the last word.

Now Tom, let me tell you about this new sable brush I just got...
- chrisashley (guest) 3-17-2006 2:51 am

I'm not that gracious, and I'm going to have another last word.
You said:
"But I think there is plenty of room in the world for all kinds of experiences..."
"I just think the visual arts...are full of problems to solve, no matter the technology."
These are greeting card sentiments. If you're going to defend painting, defend it!
- tom moody 3-17-2006 7:32 pm

IMHO, guitars have their place alongside synths, accordions and saxophones. They're just tools, no different than MS Paintbrush or oil paint and canvas. If anything, synths have become just as ubiquitous nowadays, although certainly not on American MTV or popular radio. Go to Europe, however, and it's a different story. I will certainly agree that the myth of the guitar-slinging rock&roll anti-hero is certainly past its prime. Of course, I'll say the same thing about the pretty-boy DJs whose faces are on all the European music mags. It's the celebrity worship and elevation of artist over art that really bothers me.

As an aside, the vast majority of that prefab guitar rock that currently befouls our airwaves is constructed and edited largely using computers and software now. Just as Ben Folds famously said, "...some producer with computers fixes all my shitty tracks".
- G.K. Wicker (guest) 3-18-2006 11:03 pm

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