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I just contributed my first photo to the Street Meme database: a stencil of a smiling Gary Coleman captioned "Gary vs Giant," spotted on a Jersey City lamppost. Enlarged versions of the image are here. I guess a review is pending whether mine is a true first sighting of this meme, or whether it should properly be categorized as a related meme, submeme, or subsequent sighting of an original meme. There are only 100 pics in the database and I saw no other Garys. There may be legitimate doctrinal disputes as to whether (a) all stencils of Gary are considered one meme, (b) "Gary vs Giant" is the meme, or (c) (highly unlikely) that the style and caption of this image are close enough to the powerhouse Andre the Giant meme to subsume it within that meme. Of course my vote would be for (a), making my sighting very weighty and prestigious indeed.
The image in the previous post is a "virtual" version of a series I did in the early to mid-'90s, of acrylic and gouache molecules painted on giant, taped together sheets of doodled-on, throwaway paper. I did quite a few of these pieces (detail of one above--full sized one in progress below) before moving to New York and getting minimalist religion.
I mean, I like the ability of avowedly maximalist work to upset people. Collectors prefer elegant black and white abstractions that fade into the background, and the bad kid in me wants to make something they'll totally hate. And these are bad--there are a lot of degraded, half-finished pin-up girl drawings you can't see in the scanned polaroid, and bug-eyed caricatures, just the worst stuff. I'm compelled to do this kind of work (still) but once it's finished and I step back and look at it, I sometimes wish I hadn't.
My Loop Collection. The following are looped fragments of pop and electronic music I've been collecting. They could be karaoke or mashup fodder, or minimal art pieces suitable for playing in a gallery on a jukebox knocked off from Sol LeWitt. More will be added as I come across suitable material. Credits are withheld to discourage art-hating lawyerbots. Any or all will be removed at the least hint of trouble.
The Techno Loop [mp3 removed]
The Proto-Trance Loop [mp3 removed]
The Psychedelic Rock Loop [mp3 removed]
The decapitation of Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia brings together two recent themes of this weblog: beheading by Islamic militants and mowing down Arabs from the sky in Apache helicopters. According to this ABC news story, Johnson "worked on Apache attack helicopter systems for Lockheed Martin." While his death is horrible and deplorable, so are the sophisticated weapons the United States uses to turn Arabs into bloody piles of hamburger, in the course of our unprovoked war. Graphic photos purportedly documenting the Johnson killing are here: the big sword in one image looks more plausible than the knife used in Berg video. These thoughts and links are offered not to be flip or titillating but because we really need to be thinking about this stuff instead of Laci and Kobe. Interesting that this Talking Points Memo discussion of al-Qaeda violence in Saudi Arabia never mentions Johnson's occupation.
This pic just popped up on a new site called Street Memes, which tracks graffiti and other street art. "Toynbee Idea in Movie '2001': Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter" is an oldie but goody; I've seen it in black in white and color. This one's from Chicago but there are/were several in midtown New York. According to this page (one of many if you google the phrase) they've been spotted in a host of North and South American cities. There seems to be some debate whether the "Toynbee" is the historian Arnold Toynbee, who wrote of bodily resurrection as one of the ways a civilization deals with the fact of death, or a reference to Ray Bradbury's science fiction tale "The Toynbee Convector," about a time traveler who comes back with a wondrous vision of the future. More likely it's the former, a simple statement of the religious underpinnings of the Kubrick/Clarke film. The slogan always makes me think, though, of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld novels, where everyone who ever lived on earth is resurrected somewhere along the banks of enormously long, planet-girdling river. I don't know who's behind the slogan but I smile whenever I see it.
Adrien75's Chickadoo Chronicles: A Listener's Diary
[This post was extensively rewritten; the new version is here.]
Sidney Blumenthal in Salon: "As we made our way in the receiving line from the East Room, I noticed that the Georgia O'Keeffe painting that Hillary had hung, the first and only 20th century work of modern art in the White House, was gone. In its place was a nostalgic scene of the Old West."