Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Insect Politics

So in all my pissing and moaning about how no art blew me away last weekend, I was gently reminded of the one artful experience that was especially enlightening, that of witnessing the The Fly at the LA Opera.

I've always wanted to see opera. As I get older (and poorer) my tastes become more and more refined (read: bourgeois) and what challenges me intellectually becomes more and more esoteric and complex. It seems. The world of opera and its rich history was daunting, and I sought some entry way to its grand world. And so it was that on the back of a bus I was driving behind on my way to Secret Headquarters one Saturday did I see an ad for an operatic adaptation of David Cronenberg's The Fly.

After swiftly sharing this information with the only person I knew who had the requisite taste and panache to appreciate such a boldly ridiculous postmodern endeavor, I went broke for this month in the best way possible: I bought opera tickets.

Now, my admiration of Cronenberg and his various cinematic treatises on the betrayal of the flesh are well known (well, to people who, uh, know me). The Fly in particular, having its slick Hollywood finish and effects budget, remains a truly horrific but thoughtful speculation on how we are all, in the end, mere blobs of flesh, fluid, entrails, piss and shit, waiting to fall apart and be disposed of.

So me and my friend, plastic money in tow, sat down among the upper crust and took in this all-new, all-different Fly. Calmly ridiculous at first (no doubt partly due to the way opera sounds in English), it rolled along smoothly and dramatically, and everything had a vaguely anachronistic but considered aesthetic. Self conscious enough to laugh at itself at times (particularly when the acrobat stunt double fucked up his backflip), I found the whole thing a worthy and compelling spectacle. It was like a some kind of live-action European sci-fi cartoon. And at intermission I think I may have found a blended scotch I like.

Anywho, it was fantastic time. And with fantastic company. But now I got a hankerin' for some real opera. Some Italian shit. I don't know what my tastes think I do for a living, but safe to say the LA Opera will be getting a chunk of one my part-time brain whore checks. I think my friend said they're doing Carmen soon (that's French, but close enough). Really. Opera.

800 Page Dick Joke

It' s been a little while. Art season started last weekend, saw some shows. Nothing blew me away....with the possible exception of...

Chinatown. It looked good. Sort of in general. Which makes me happy, because I live downtown. I want downtown to have art I like. Looking back on what everyone had, Michael Lazarus at Sister Gallery wasn't bad. I remember liking Eric Sall's paintings at Acuna-Hansen.

Mark Moore Gallery's 3rd annual Ultrasonic International was up and running. Roberts and Tilton's new space in Culver City opened, but I guess I forgot to walk inside. I was in a mood.

The new show at the Geffen Center is good for some laughs. Good follow up to the Lawrence Weiner show.

If I seem a little bereft of opinions, its probably because I've started teaching again, specifically an Introduction to Art Concepts class (some schools call it 'Art Appreciation), and my mind has been occupied with explaining the basics of what art 'is' to people who have little or no experience with it. This is the kind of fine challenge I relish sinking my teeth into, and, like much of my teaching have taken on the seriousness of it to the point of emotional exhaustion. I love it.

The young people in my class seem to have an aversion to non-representational painting, which interests me deeply, being a painter who loves and appreciates painting of that 'genre'. When I taught 2D Design, by the end, I had most of the students making super-tight Ellsworth Kelley / Theo van Doesburg / Barnett Newman-esque mini-paintings, and they could talk about them. Hmm.....

Besides all that, I finished reading Gravity's Rainbow. I have been making dents in this sprawling tome since December, along with a readers guide that was indispensable. After all of it, I think I can say that I know exactly what Pynchon was doing with GR, and what it is, as whole, and it is this:

Its an 800-page dick joke.

I realized this about 30 pages from the end, and that explanation somehow satisfies a lot of my instincts about the novel, and its overall concerns. Layered, researched, and complicated, yet also juvenile, self-indulgent, and scatological. So I've pretty much committed to reading all of Pynchon's output now, but I must have some lighter reading for the immediate time-being. I began many flings and affairs with other books while I was with GR, and now they will get my full attention. And I've got Daybreak 2250 AD, apparently the first modern post-apocalyptic novel, penned by one Ms. Andre Norton.

Two shows of interest coming up -- Friday, Sept. 19th, my friend Amanda Browder is throwing a show entitled "Um...My Gallery", which I will be taking part in, right here at Raid Projects (602 Moulton Ave, LA 90031). I imagine things will start around 6-ish, hm? Do come.

And, on Saturday, Sept 27th, "Neosapian" at the Cal State LA Fine Art Gallery opens, curated by M-L Flemington. And you are required to attend that as well.

Be sure to check out Bad at Sports, a super art world podcasting destination, for your listening pleasure.