ASRL / PERPETUAL 2014
 
The Sartorialist Celebrates Man Ray's Contributions to Bondage Fashion
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 08-06-11

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Calling this fashion season's dabbling in BDSM regalia a "perfect storm" of mainstream-meets-subversive, the Sartorialist has put out a photo-slide show documenting the influence of fetish culture on high style (and perhaps the reverse.)

Among some of the most provocative entries are Man Ray's still powerful images of bound and submissive women, including a classical greek nude armless and roped tightly. If they'd wanted to be a bit less literal, the Sartorialist could have perhaps gone with his "Domaine de Sade" series.

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Marjorie Perloff: Endgame and the "End of Art"
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 08-05-11
Charles Bernstein

A bit ago, I posted a selection from Arthur Danto’s “The Physical Disenfranchisement of Art” in which he elucidated upon his conception for the “end of art.”  In her book, Radical Artifice, Marjorie Perloff continues in the vein of his initial investigation.  She calls upon John Cage, Marcel Broodthaers, and Charles Bernstein for her investigation at the beginning of her first chapter, “Avant-Garde or Endgame?”


“But what about ‘the end of philosophy’?  The ‘end of criticism’?  Wouldn’t these endgames have to follow ‘the end of art’?  In conversation with John Cage in 1988, I posed the question: ‘What do you think of the current view that innovation is no longer possible, that indeed the avant-garde is dead?’  Cage reflected a minute and said with a smile, ‘Even them?’  A similar point was made by Marcel Broodthaers in a gallery publication:

    The aim of all art is commercial.
    My aim is equally commercial.
    The aim of criticism is just as commercial.
    Guardian of myself and of others,
    I do not know truly who to kick.

Touche.  Criticism is not somewhere outside and beyond the ‘great arc of disintegration and decay’ within which we live: if art undergoes the commodification of ‘late capitalism,’ so, inevitably, does critical theory.  Or perhaps, as I prefer to think, the parameters can be redefined.  In a recent essay on postmodernism for the Socialist Review, Charles Bernstein writes:

We can act: we are not trapped in the postmodern condition if we are willing to differentiate between works of art that suggest new ways of conceiving of our present world and those that seek rather to debunk any possibilities for meaning.  To do this, one has to be able to distinguish between, on the one hand, a fragmentation that attempts to valorize the concept of a free-floating signifier unbound to social significance… and, on the other, a fragmentation that reflects a conception of meaning as prevented by conventional narration and so uses this junction as a method of tapping into other possibilities available within language.  Failure to make distinctions is similar to failing to distinguish between youth gangs, pacifist anarchists, Weatherpeople, anti-Sandinista contras, Salvadoran guerrillas, Islamic terrorists, or US state terrorists.  Perhaps all these groups are responding to the “same” stage of multi-national capitalism.  But the crucial point is that the responses cannot be understood as the same, unified as various interrelated ‘symptoms’ of late capitalism.  Nor are the ‘dormant’ practices the exemplary ones that tell the ‘whole’ story."

 

 

From: Marjorie Perloff, “Avant-Garde or Endgame” in Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 14.

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Thing/Thought: Fluxus at MOMA
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 08-04-11
Willem de Ridder. European Mail-order Warehouse/Fluxshop. Winter 1964-65. photo: Wim van der Linden/MAI. The Museum of Modern Art
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Recently we covered the exhibition of editions at the Gallery Perrotin in Paris, which featured catalogs, multiples, and posters, by Takashi Murakami, Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp. The issue came up then as to whether and how the artist-signed reproductions, manufactured series, and microcosmic miniatures (like the Box en Valise, kits which held small versions of Duchamp's entire ouevre),  can be vehicles for the democratization of art or simply more efficient means of commodity production and distribution, or both...

The September-January Fluxus exibition at MOMA, "Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions," (mostly derived from the museum's tremendous 2009 haul of work from that movement), provides fresh grist for that debate. It showcases Fluxus 'zines, photography, musical scores, scripts for performances, sometimes stored in Box en Valise-style kits (and indeed Fluxus surely got this idea from grandaddy Duchamp.) None of the Fluxus artists have quite the iconic profile of Duchamp, Murakami or Beuys (partly because their ideology tended to shun individualism). This tends to make their claims to populism seem a priori more plausible, though perhaps the facility of this judgment should be questioned.

 In any case, witty, sardonic, serious, irreverent, quasi-metaphysical, avowedly ephemeral, strangely persistent Fluxus is a train always worth riding on for at least a while. A further glimpse into MOMA's cache will be a welcome development for the fall.

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Annals of the Surreal
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 08-03-11

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"Lilliputia, the MIdget City: If dreamland is a laboratory for Manhattan, Midget City is a laboratory for Dreamland. Three hundred midgets who had been scattered across the continent as attractions at World's Fairs are offered a permanent experimental community here, 'a bit of old Nuremberg m the fifteenth century.' Since the scale of Midget City is half the scale of the real world, the cost of building this cardboard utopia is, at least theoretically, quartered, so that extravagant architectural effects can be tested cheaply. The midgets of Dreamland have their own parliament, their own beach complete with midget lifeguard and "a miniature Midget City Fire Department responding [every hour] to a false alarm -effective reminder of man's existential futility."

"But the true spectacle of Midget City is social experimentation. Within the walls of the midget capital, the laws of conventional morality are systematically ignored, a fact advertised to attract visitors. Promiscuity, homosexuality, nymphomania and so on are encouraged and flaunted: marriages collapse almost as soon as they are celebrated; 80 percent of newborn babies are illegitimate. To increase the frisson induced by this organized anarchy, the midgets are showered with aristocratic titles, highlighting the gap between implied and actual behavior. Midget City represents the institutionalization of misbehavior, a continuing vicarious experience for a society preparing to shed the remnants of Victorianism."

-- Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York

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On Anamorphosis
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 08-02-11

"Distortion may lend itself...to all the paranoiac ambiguities, and every possible use has been made of it, from Arcimboldi to Salvador Dali. I will go so far as to say that this fascination complements what geometral researches into perspective allow to escape from vision. How is it that nobody has ever thought of connecting this with...the effect of an erection? Imagine a tattoo traced on the sexual organ ad hoc in the state of repose and assuming its, if I may say so, developed form in another state." --Jacques Lacan, "Of the Gaze," The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.

"Ennet House alumnus and volunteer counselor Calvin Thrust is quietly rumored to have on the shaft of his formerly professional porn-cartridge- performer's Unit a tattoo that displays the magiscule initials CT when the Unit is flaccid and the full name CALVIN THRUST when hyperemic." --David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

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