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The Democratic Leadership Council--the pro-corporate, pro-war wing of the Democrats that helped bring us Bill Clinton, has been busy lately trying to disassociate itself from Michael Moore and the rest of us who oppose Bush's wars. Of course the antiwar position is the sane position and the idea of US Empire Forever basically nuts, but for the sake of argument let's say we and Moore are extremists. The Republicans won in 2004 by embracing their extremist elements (and cheating): the corporate hotel porno-pushers cynically worked hand in hand with religious fundamentalists. The Democratic corporatists repeatedly fail because they can't do that. This is probably because the Moore wing's critique of the overall corporate program is more devastatingly effective than the fundies', who don't have such a critique because they haven't figured out who their real enemies are--they think gays and abortion are the problem.
And for trolls who think we're endorsing Stalin here, "corporate" or "corporatists" refers to crony capitalists, missile mongers, and sundry multinationals gaming the system against the greater interests of the larger number of US citizens, as well as exploiting labor at home and abroad. And not everything about the DLC is bad--check out this anti-Bush statement by its policy director Ed Kilgore.
Pixar's latest The Incredibles is incredibly derivative but exhilirating. Here's just a few borrowings: society outlaws and shuns masked adventurers (Alan Moore's Watchmen); second-rate series sidekick grows up to be demonic villain (Alan Moore's Miracleman); villain has private tropical island fortress (Bond films); high speed chase through the trees (Return of the Jedi)--etc. etc. I thought I'd given up on rubbery skinned Pixar universe after Nemo but the helming of Iron Giant director Brad Bird brought me back; he's a terrific visual storyteller even when you know every...single...thing...that's...going...to...happen. And I realize the filmgoing demographic demands "family values" but the working Dad, childraising Mom, 2.5 kids in a 50s suburban tract home is an impossible (or undesirable) ideal for so many people today it's irritating that Disney keeps pounding it in as a "norm." Where's grandma, or stepdad? Not to be too much of a grouch, though, because it's genuinely uplifting watching the beat-down kids getting to finally use their "powers," no matter how well adjusted and normal (i.e. privileged) they are.
Banks Violette at Team, 2004
Michael Phelan at Andrew Kreps, 1997
The point here being not that there's plagiarism but two emotional workings of a very similar Minimalist theme. Both artists use polyurethane-coated planks of foam, skeletal piping and fluorescents--Phelan to evoke a Valley-boy world of swimming pools and tanning booths and Violette the drums, Stygian caverns, and concert stages of black metal (or black metal by way of Berlin?). Institutions have no memory so I appointed myself.
UPDATE: I need a new screen and/or computer. Just noticed on someone else's machine that the Phelan detail had spots all over it. (Mostly) fixed now.
I Can Crawl Again (in Chelsea)
Jacco Olivier, MARIANNE BOESKY, 535 West 22nd Street, 2nd Floor, November 13–December 11. William Kentridge meets LeRoy Neiman meets the Discovery Channel. Small animated paintings projected from thigh-high plinths directly onto the wall. This is what Donald Moffett tried and failed to do--make lush, moving, painterly paintings. Will someone buy one of these and burn a DVD for me?
Daniel Lefcourt, TAXTER & SPENGEMANN, 504 W. 22nd Street, November 19–December 18. Paintings of lumps of coal on pristine, high-commodity linen. Jet black juicy paint crosshatched with strokes as if from the Zen master's rake. Unrelenting Germanic rigor. Ponderous titles based on books of philosophy.
Martha Rosler, GORNEY BRAVIN + LEE, 534 West 26th Street, November 01–January 30. Extending Richard Hamilton's "What makes today's homes..." collage to feminism and antiwar themes. Lots of hot babes posing nude, working in the kitchen, mowing lawns in stretch pants. Biting wit occasionally goes overboard and gets too obvious with war dead juxtaposed over suburban interiors. The best are the Austin Powers era ones.
Art Battle: Richard Kern vs. Lily van der Stokker, FEATURE INC., 530 West 25th Street, October 23–December 11. Kern's photobooks of hot downtown babes are possibly the most thumbed, greasiest items at the midtown Virgin Megastore. Here he's not as skanky, perhaps reflecting the modifying influence of van der Stokker's gaily colored wall-hugging daybed sculptures, which hold the line for permanent presexuality.
I enjoyed blogger Michael J. Totten's photo tour of Libya (hat tip to Dennis). Totten captures the bleak Soviet-style architecture in Tripoli, vanishing Berber dwellings in the Saharan outback, and some beautifully-preserved Roman buildings, all framed against the empty desert landscape--in fact, there are hardly any people in the photos so the country looks weirdly depopulated. Of course, Ghaddafy has his heroic picture everywhere, which Totten mercilessly ridicules. But wait, isn't Moammar a good guy now that Bush's aggressive warmaking convinced him to "turn in his nukes"? Thankfully we don't have a Libya-esque, state-sponsored cult of personality in this country.
Whoops, well, I'm sure this billboard in Florida paid for by the Bush-backing Clear Channel radio chain is a fluke.
Loop Collection Updated.
Techno Loop [mp3 removed]
Proto-Trance Loop [mp3 removed]
Psychedelic Rock Loop [mp3 removed]
P0rn Loop [mp3 removed]