Summer Session

Summer Session – Team Jolie

For this Summer Session were thinking about celebrity, and today we bring you a video by Berlin-based artist Hannah Black that delves into the ideological battles found within the publics interest in celebrity lives. In Team Jolie, Black plays off the infamous presumed romantic rivalry between actresses Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, reading poetic verses over sections of each actresss face that speak to the aesthetic, political, and personal relations that hypothetically underpin the social positions of either “Team Jolie” or “Team Aniston.” This video was originally uploaded to Vimeo in 2013.

Team Jolie from Hannah Black on Vimeo.

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – Kid Fridge Prince

For this months Summer Session were thinking about celebrity, and the ways in which the ideas and connotations of celebrity impact our lives and our art. Today, we bring you three interwoven stories from our friends at Art Practical by Lindsey Boldt, Anne McGuire, and Steve Orth, who take the late, great Prince as the inspiration and guide for their surreal, collaborative project. This article was originally published April 14, 2016. 

Illustration by Anne McGuire. Courtesy of the Artist.

Illustration by Anne McGuire. Courtesy of the Artist.

Cori woke up depressed. However, Cori didn’t think to call it that. The feeling was familiar, but as far as they were concerned, it had no name. What Cori knew was that their dreams often provided shelter from that feeling and that this morning they had not. They had been sparse and ordinary, just shadows of waking life and no kind of shelter.

It was raining, but this was not a unique event that would set this day apart from others. The rain was not a reflection of Cori’s inner life. It was Washington. Later, when Cori was older and lived somewhere else, they would miss the rain and everyone would think that was funny, but Cori would not.

Lately, the adults had been acting foolish, so the best thing to do was avoid them. After pulling on some barn boots and a raincoat, Cori left the house and headed for the woods. It wasn’t that the woods understood Cori or that they seemed to care; it was their indifference that provided comfort. Maybe a better word for it was unconcern. The woods were unconcerned with the problems of the house. What Cori knew was that after passing a certain fence line, their attention shifted and all that foolishness didn’t matter. It was still there, but quieter.

The cat, Raisins, followed Cori across the field, through the fence into the woods. They often played a game of follow the leader, taking turns picking a path through the trees and underbrush. Today, the cat led Cori further along the fence line than they had been before. No sign announced it, but Cori knew they had crossed into a neighbor’s property. The adults had pointed out the boundaries where one fence met another and warned Cori not to cross there.

Read the full story here.

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – My Grandfather Met Liberace and I’ve Never Been to Burning Man

For this months Summer Session were thinking about celebrity, and today from our sister publication Art Practical we bring you Sean Uyeharas exploration of celebritys affective underpinnings. Uyehara locates the tension between earnestness and irony as perhaps the core dynamic of celebrity experience, with the audience constantly vacillating between these two poles as they consider stories and lives outside of their own. This article was originally published July 9, 2014.

Liberace, hanging out in his front yard.

Liberace, hanging out in his front yard.

As I began to write this, I was informed by my social-media news feed that Miley Cyrus told a drunken Jennifer Lawrence to “get it together” after this year’s Oscar ceremony. I note it because, to my mind, one of the many tropes paraded and wrestled over in the field bordered by art and entertainment is earnestness—or, on the flipside of earnestness, camp and irony. Most readers are keenly aware of the role that irony plays in contemporary artistic practice. If not, one can catch up by reading Salon, which seems to publish an article on sincerity in culture once a week. For example, they grapple with David Foster Wallace and what he really meant when he said that irony is killing culture. So, I won’t go through the historical underpinnings of ironic development (except when convenient to my points later). But the gist at this moment is: How are we supposed to take this? Is there any way to react to Miley Cyrus telling Jennifer Lawrence to get it together at the Oscars other than ironically? And by that I mean we might say, “This headline is no headline. This news is not news,” and so on. Of course one could take it earnestly: “I care about Jennifer Lawrence. I want to know about Miley Cyrus. This is news!” And, while I haven’t done the field research, I am sure that some people do respond earnestly—one-thousand-percent sure, I guess. I have been trained by our culture to suspect that there’s something disturbed in worrying about a potential Jennifer Lawrence drinking problem, but at its core there’s nothing wrong with earnestness itself. I’m totally serious. I guess the real deep thinkers out there can take a stance of earnest irony. I understand that. Everybody wants to be an individual, and I’m just like everyone else in that regard.

Read the rest of the article here.

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – When Rock Star Fantasies Go Too Far

For this Summer Session’s topic of celebrity, we bring you an article by former Daily Serving columnist Catherine Wagley, who explores artistic practices that take specific personages, both real and imagined, as their subject matter. Wagleys piece begins the complex work of mapping out the intersections of fantasy and reality in the face of celebrity, and whats at stake when they overlap. This article was originally written for Art21.org and published on October 25, 2012.

Laura London. "Once Upon A Time... Garage Text," 2012. Color photograph on vinyl stretched on aluminum strainers. Copyright Laura London.

Laura London. Once Upon A Time… Garage Text, 2012; color photograph on vinyl stretched on aluminum strainers. © Laura London.

When photographer Laura London’s show opened at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown last month, it was called Once Upon a Time…Axl Rose Was My Neighbor. By the time it closed on October 20, its title had been cut down to just Once Upon a Time… and all direct reference to Axl Rose, famous for Guns N’ Roses but more so for being his complicated self, excised from the press release. The release nowapologize[d] for the confusion” the first title may have caused.

From the get-go, the show was supposed to occupy that slippery space between truth and fantasy. But Axl Rose’s lawyer didn’t catch the nuance.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – Glenn Ligon on “The Idea of a Black Man”

For this Summer Session we’re thinking about celebrity, and therefore also its opposite: anonymity. Today we bring you a video clip from our friends at SFMOMA of Glenn Ligon on his 1997 exhibition Glenn Ligon: Day of Absence. Here, Ligon presents his subjects as generic figures, their faces turned away from the camera or out of frame, in order to play with the idea of the individual standing in for the whole of a social mass, his work exploring the linkages between personal identity and group identity.

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – Jeff Koons: A Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art

For this month’s Summer Session were thinking about celebrity, and what better contemporary artist to embody this topic than Jeff Koons, for whom celebrity and consumerism are the hallmarks of his most famous pieces? Today we bring you Alex Bigmans review of the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum, which ran June 27–October 19, 2014. Despite Koons infamous reputation for banality, Bigman reminds us that much of his work involves sophisticated critiques of the very bourgeois culture it purportedly celebrates. This article was originally published July 16, 2014.

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988. Porcelain; 42 x 70 1⁄2 x 32 1⁄2 in. (106.7 x 179.1 x 82.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles, 1988; porcelain; 42 x 70 1⁄2 x 32 1⁄2 in. (106.7 x 179.1 x 82.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons.

At the press preview for Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, more than one member of the Whitney Museum’s curatorial staff urged visitors to dispense with “preconceived notions” about Koons and embrace the exhibition as an opportunity to view the artist’s perhaps too-well-known oeuvre with fresh eyes. One of the largest retrospectives the Whitney has ever mounted, Jeff Koons sprawls across three floors in ascending chronological order, lucidly mapping the artist’s career as he progressed from wunderkind art-school grad, to cultural provocateur, to the Mylar man we have known and either loved or hated for past twenty-odd years.

Those who revile Koons often do so on the basis of his later works, like Balloon Dog (or, more recently, Balloon Venus of Willendorf), the production and sale values of which have soared while their meaning has seemingly become ever more surface-deep. Admirers, meanwhile, employ a modernist-inflected rhetoric of materiality and monumentality to elevate this work on much of the same bases. Wall text at the Whitney describes how Cat in a Cradle required Koons to push the limits of a worldwide network of specialist plastic fabricators, suggesting that the work owes the “sense of wonder” it supposedly inspires to this insistence on medium and scale. On similar grounds, New York Times reviewer Roberta Smith hails Play-Doh (1994–2014), a towering mound of brightly colored globs that uncannily resemble the matte tackiness of the titular children’s putty, as an “almost certain masterpiece.” Those who agree with such a statement will be delighted by the playground of huge, shiny, pneumatic-looking things that is the Whitney’s top floor. Those inclined to see Play-Doh as little more than a colossal waste of time and money may find a surprising protagonist two floors down: Koons circa 1985. Believe it or not, Koons’ artistic practice was once pointedly critical and anything but insular. Jeff Koons: A Retrospective is most interesting (and encouraging) when it reminds us of this.

Read the rest of the article here.

Share

Summer Session

Summer Session – Artist Orlan Tries Again to Sue Lady Gaga for Plagiarism

This month our Summer Session is about celebrity, and today we bring you an article by Claire Voon from our friends at Hyperallergic. Voon updates us on artist Orlan’s ongoing lawsuit with Lady Gaga, whom she claims has plagiarized her “theme and aesthetics,” in addition to several of her specific works, in order to generate publicity for her pop career. This article was first published on January 8, 2016.

Left: Orlan, “Bump Load” (2009), mixed media, 170 x 100 x 200 cm (via orlan.eu); right: cover image for Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’

Left: Orlan. Bump Load, 2009; mixed media; 170 x 100 x 200 cm. via orlan.eu. Right: Cover image for Lady Gaga’s album Born This Way.

Two years ago, French artist Orlan sued pop star Lady Gaga in French court for plagiarism over the singer’s cover art for her 2011 album Born this Way and the eponymous, award-winning music video. Now, Orlan is taking the case to New York City, seeking testimony from members of Lady Gaga’s creative team, over whom French courts do not have jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, lawyers representing Orlan filed documents—all publicly available—seeking subpoenas for fashion director Nicola Formichetti and makeup artist Billy Brasfield. The documents order the pair, both responsible for the visuals associated with the album, to appear at a district court on February 12. Known for undergoing multiple sessions of plastic surgery in the name of art, Orlan is claiming that Gaga ripped off two specific pieces, echoing the same alien-like aesthetic the French artist supposedly controls.

“In order to promote her album, Lady Gaga did not hesitate to plagiarize the entire ORLAN universe,” one document reads. “Indeed, the singer ‘Lady Gaga’ not only did not hesitate to copy ORLAN’s theme and aesthetics, but she also infringed upon several of the artist’s famous works without permission to do so.”

Read the entire article here.

Share