Monday, April 18, 2011

This Modern World: A Modest Proposal + Soylent Green = the Medicare-gutting budget of Paul Ryan

Some conservative pundits and blogs have tried to spin the draconian, Medicare-gutting budget of Congressman Paul Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin) as somehow "courageous". As an antidote to this GOP duckspeak, Tom Tomorrow borrows from A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift's satirical essay from 1729, which suggests that the Irish eat their own children, and also from the 1973 dystopian sci-fi film classic, Soylent Green.

"To pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, I believe we should euthanize the elderly and then process them into tasty snack crackers, the profits from which can be used to finance further tax cuts for the wealthy."


April 14, 2011.
During the Congressional budget hearings, Representative Joseph Crowley (Democrat - NY) offered a brilliant recapitulation of Bob Dylan's silent cue card performance of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" in the D.A. Pennebaker documentary Don't Look Back. How better to show utter contempt for standard issue Republican complacency?

Copyright News: Unfair Use of "Road to Nowhere" in Political Campaign Prompts Settlement/Apology to David Byrne/Talking Heads

Richard Prince is not the only downtown New York artist who has been party to a recent copyright/intellectual property litigation. But unlike Prince - who was on the losing end of a decision (currently under appeal) regarding the fair use of photographs appropriated in his "Canal Zone" paintings - Talking Heads frontman David Byrne favorably settled a lawsuit in which he was the aggrieved party for the unlicensed use of the song "Road to Nowhere" in a political campaign.

As reported in the Orlando Sentinel:

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has settled a lawsuit filed by Talking Heads singer David Byrne after Crist used one of the group's songs without permission in a campaign ad last year, both parties confirmed Monday.

Terms of the settlement were not released, but it included a recorded apology by Crist that was posted on YouTube Monday afternoon. Byrne had sued Crist for $1 million for using the song "Road to Nowhere" in a YouTube video attacking Marco Rubio, one of the governor's opponents in the U.S. Senate race.

Crist said Monday that he was pleased with the terms of the settlement and that Byrne "couldn't have been a better guy" when they met last week to mediate the case...

In a statement Monday, Byrne said he was shocked to discover that the unauthorized use of songs for political ads is "pretty rampant."

"It turns out I am one of the few artists who has the bucks and [guts] to challenge such usage. I'm feeling very manly after my trip to Tampa!" Byrne's statement said. "Other artists may actually have the anger but not want to take the time and risk the legal bills. I am lucky that I can do that. Anyway, my hope is that by standing up to this practice maybe it can be made to be a less common option, or better yet an option that is never taken in the future."

Rob Pruitt's Andy Monument: The One We Deserve?

Finish feels too platinum elegiac pure not trashy tin foil speed freak glitz of Factory

(my Tweet!/slkaplan about an hour ago)

Thursday, March 31, 2011. 2:42 pm. I always preferred early Warhol - Soup Cans, Most Wanted, Elvis, Marilyn, Electric Chair, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Nico and Edie and the Velvets and Ultra Violet, Gerard and Brigid Polk, Empire, Blow Job, Lonesome Cowboys, Superstars, Ondine, Billy Name, all night amphetamine 47th Street Factory Warhol - to later, more domesticated incarnations.

There was certainly a great Union Square, Max's Kansas City, Interview Magazine stretch through the 70s, even while the celebrity silkscreens were being turned out en masse. But Pruitt's version is just a bit too staid. It conforms, is a sign of the times. Union Square is now a yuppie paradise, not the wild, dope ridden enclave it was back in the 70s. Is this the Andy it now deserves, an Andy for 2011?



Several reviewers have pointed out that the "Andy Monument" sculpture seems a bit ungainly, that the posture is stiff, the placement of the head on the neck not quite right, the sports jacket and skinny pants anachronistically sourced from contemporary downtown hipster iconography, the face itself thin, squished and not recognizably Warhol. Pruitt has indicated that the statue, from the neck down, was modeled off a collector friend, Andy Stillpass, who has a "similar body type", and Greg Allen has noted that Pruitt might be pranking us, once again, with a tale of two Andys.

But beyond these considerations of shallow, brittle cleverness, of coy adoptions and the recycling of art world scuttlebutt in the conception of the piece, which was apparently researched down to its ostentatious "period" props - the Bloomingdale's Medium Brown Bag and Polaroid SX-70 - is an unfortunate joyless inertia. Warhol was a notorious voyeur with a fey, affectless overlay of "That's so great". He was also a compulsive collector, an asexual aesthete and - at least at the beginning of his career - a symbol of NYC gay street punk and camp and sneer. Little of this frisson is transmitted in this bloodless bit of hagiography, which - as noted at the top - reveals its overall cluelessness by opting for an Olympian, platinum, chromed finish which all too readily forgets the funky, crinkled tin foil origins of Andy's Factory.

Every age brings its own conventions to the fusty old genre of heroic public statuary, but if Pruitt's "Andy Monument" shows us anything about our contemporary moment, it's the reflection of a shopping mecca overlaid on the unruly urban grid, the zing of consumerist bling and a heedless, headlong attention deficit disorder which has been fully substituted for circumspection and wisdom. In this sense, it is undoubtedly the Andy that Pruitt and the Public Art Fund think we deserve.

Hyperallergic has come up with a delicious spoof which claims that the Andy Monument is actually a statue of Rob Storr, and that Rob Pruitt harbors an unrequited passion for the former MoMA curator and director of the Venice Biennale who is now Dean of the Yale University School of Art.

One anonymous source close to Pruitt said that the artist has long had a burning desire to be embraced by the married Yalie prof, and explains that the artist often stays up all night flipping through Storr’s books, reading up on his elegant theories about art and culture... This revelation would explain why Pruitt’s chrome-surfaced statue doesn’t really look much like famed Pop artist Andy Warhol and perhaps show why this very “personal” project probably shouldn’t have left Pruitt’s studio.

If not for the sheer fact of the statue hardly resembling Warhol, such a risible conjecture might never have been entertained. But after close study, I have drawn my own very different conclusions. Pruitt is apparently a Star Wars fan, and the statue, with the simple substitution of chrome for gold finish, is a dead ringer for that fussy diplomatic robot, C3PO.

The force is strong in you, young Warhola.

And really, why stop there?

We're off to see the Warhol, the Wonderful Warhol of Oz.