Saturday, March 25, 2017

Katajjaq

Charlotte Qamaniq and Kendra Tagoona
20 x 16 inches, oil on reproduction on canvas, 2017
They look like angels, Charlotte Qamaniq and Kendra Tagoona, in their traditional Inuit outfits. They are, however, not the two singers heard on Katajjait on "Hamma" that I found on UbuWeb performed by an anonymous female duet. Katajjaq is a form of throat singing performed as a game by Canadian Inuits, mostly women. The painting is done on a reproduction of a painting situated in what looks like the Mediterranean, the worst kind of commercial art. The piece was produced to fake out the customer. Even though it is a reproduction, someone was hired to, with a clear gel medium, go over the reproduction to give it texture, to make it appear as if it were a real painting. Over the years the colors have faded into blue, as photographic reproductions tend to do. A giveaway is the so called "gallery-wrap" in which the painting continues around the edges. In this reproduction the texture does not continue around the edges, the reproduction of the painting, cropped of course, is flat when goes around the edge. It's a bone of contention, the bane of my teaching at cultural art centers. To my great annoyance a number of teachers teach their students to adopt the 'gallery-wrap." The students learn to lie to their customers for the sake of selling their work. OK, I got that out of the way...so be aware!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Early Japanese Tape Music

Toshiro Mayuzumi
oil on wood, 12 x 12 inches, 2017
Japanese artists and musicians alike were right there at the beginning of new movements that were to shape developments in post-war art. The Japanese experimented early on with performance art (Gutai), conceptual art, and musique concrete. Toshiro Mayuzumi (b. 1929, Yokohama) recorded the first Japanese work for tape music as early as 1953. The collection Early Japanese Tape Music (1953-1956) can be found on UbuWeb. Works for musique concrete, X. Y. Z (1953) opens the collection.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ain't it Strange

Patti Smith
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas, 2017
Ain't it Strange is a song found on Patti Smith's second album Radio Ethiopia from 1976. Parts of the song are heard in Dan Graham's film Rock My Religion. Graham had recorded Patti Smith early on a 16 mm camera. The song is one of the main pieces to support Graham's thesis of a lineage from Shaker rituals to punk rock. "Hand of God I feel the finger. Hand of God I start to whirl."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Throbbing Gristle

Throbbing Gristle
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas paper, 2017
Throbbing Gristle were pioneers of industrial music who formed in Kingston upon Hull (later moving to London) in 1976. They were the performance art group COUM Transmissions before changing their name to Throbbing Gristle and focusing more on music. The group split up in 1981 when Genesis P. Orridge and Peter Christopherson formed Psychic TV and Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter the duo Chris and Cosey. Christopherson went on to form the band Coil with his partner John Balance. There are not many live videos of the band found on YouTube but the performance of Discipline is fantastic. Discipline first appeared on their album 20 Jazz Funk Greats from 1979, the song appears to reference the Nazis in Germany and perhaps the neo-Nazis of the 1970s in Europe. "We need some discipline here, are you listening guys?"

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Backyard and Kubus

Kubu People, Palembang, Sumatra
12 x 16 inches, oil on canvas paper, 2017
A(nother) track from the album (3CD set) Okkulte Stimmen Mediale Musik: Recordings of Unseen Intelligences, 1905-2007. The 1905 in the CD title refers to recordings the German anthropologist Bernard Hagen made in 1905 near Palembang in Sumatra. Two CD features three recordings by Hagen. Two of those are of healing ceremonies by Kubu shamans.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Time (The Revelator)

Gillian Welch
16 x 12 inches, oil on canvas paper, 2017
Time (The Revelator) is the title track of Gillian Welch's second album from 2001.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Matangi

M.I.A.
oil on canvas paper, 16 x 12 inches, 2017
Spring break...a painting a day...they're not getting any more adventurous though. It's a bit kitschy this one I guess, I don't usually do a lot of blending and wiping. Yesterday's painting set the stage and I couldn't help myself continuing that process today. There's always naturalism as to resort to when innovation doesn't appear naturally. They say paintings choose their own path and the painter is a mediator. M.I.A. is yet another musician who had roots in the art education. M.I.A. is however not part of my lecture on art and music that I've been preparing in the last week. The first of M.I.A.'s songs in this years 100 is Matangi from the album with the same title of 2013.

Monday, March 6, 2017

An Art Project

Carrie Brownstein (Sleater Kinney)
16 x 12 inches, oil on canvas paper.
Carrie, played by Carrie Brownstein, gets her purse ripped away from her on the streets of Portland. Her attacker, resembling the artist Ai Wei Wei, explains that the act is work of performance art exploring and challenging ideas of ownership. The scene is the first in a chain of events in which Carrie and co-star Fred (played by Fred Armison) are confronted by ever increasingly nightmarish works of performance art. The final work of performance art shown is when Carrie’s mother tells her that she was conceived as art, a collaboration between her mother and father. A label on the wall reads: “Carrie, penis and vagina, 1974.” Two Asian characters walk in the room. They have just purchased this art work, Carrie screams and runs. The scene is from the third season of Portlandia, a series on IFC (Independent Film Channel).

The scene, combining stereotypes with a profound knowledge of art, is a hilarious parody portraying contemporary performance art. Portlandia is aimed at a well educated urban audience. The effect however, witnessing from the many comments made by viewers on different social media outlets, is that it deepens the schism between art and (the general) audience. The artist stereotypes in the scene, dubbed “It’s an art project,” are reinforced by the audience, who believe the parody is exactly how it is for real.

Carrie Brownstein (b. 1974, Seattle) is a musician, writer and actress known for her groundbreaking work in riot grrrl rock band Sleater Kinney. Co-star in Portlandia Fred Armison (b. 1966, Harrisburg, MS), best known as cast member of Saturday Night Live, also has a history in punk rock. He was drummer for Trenchmouth (1988-1996, Chicago).

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Art Star: The Awkward Relationship Betwen Rock Music and Art.

Karen O (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
Oil on canvas, 16 x 12 inches, 2017.
On Tuesday March 14 at 7:00 PM at the Center for the Arts at Bonita Springs I will host a talk titled The Awkward Relationship Between Rock Music and Art. Featured at the beginning of it is a video of a life performance of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Art Star. Karen O, the singer of the band, has herself a background in the arts and the clip is used as introduction to the anxiety in rock music when it comes to art, especially contemporary art and, even more precisely, the art world. The talk then sketches the history of of rock music, rap, and, most of all, punk music in their attitudes towards art and how it eventually, unintended, simply became art. The location of the Center: 26100 Old 41 Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Adverts (Lipstick Traces)

Berry and Maria van Boekel, The Adverts
20 x 12 inches, oil on canvas.
I pulled out a cassette tape the other day with a recording on it of the cd that accompanies the book Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus. The book is fantastic and the cd even better. Full of British punk, Dada, avant garde, and an odd classic or two, the cd yielded many a top 100 tune. Upon this renewed listening two tracks stood out to me, both by the Adverts. Gary Gilmore's Eyes and One Chord Wonders have stood up well through time, very well indeed.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

To Be A Good Woman

Cat Power
16 x 12 inches, oil on canvas paper, 2017

If any Cat Power song could be considered a hit song it would be To Be A Good Woman. The song comes from You Are Free, my favorite Cat Power album and one of my favorite albums regardless of whoever produced it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A MUSHROOM VEDANTA

María Sabina
Oil on canvas paper, 16 x 12 inches, 2017
More ethnopoetics from Ubuweb: María Sabina is a Mexican Mazatec healer, a shaman, who became a notoriety because of a visit by American ethnomycologist Gordon Wasson who published his experiences in Life magazine in 1956. In the 1960s scores of Westerners flocked to the little village where Sabina was practicing a healing ritual that included the use of magic mushrooms. Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Keith Richards are believed among those seeking audition. Wasson recorded Sabina during one of those nightlong ceremonies in 1956 in the Oaxaca province. Recordings appeared on the Folkways label the following year. The 8:06 minute Mushroom Chant that appears on Ubuweb was made during these sessions.