Yes, yes, I know I'm about a month late on my update. Profound and profuse apologies. From Larry Flynt to Tom Delay's tint, I hope the wait proves worthwhile.
The fourth anniversary of September 11th came and went with little fanfare. As I predicted on the first anniversary, America is too attention deficit disordered to focus on the same tragedy with the same intensity for longer than a year without resorting to kitsch sentimentality wrapped in consumerism.
This year, the morphing of the twin towers into two pink triangles, titled Agenda, was aimed to explore how, for some, the notion of appropriating iconography of the modern gay movement (which in turn, appropriated the icons from the artistic whimsy of the Third Reich - used as an execution filtering device to designate homosexuals) conjured the same visceral reaction that morphing the towers in swastikas had, which I had done on the second anniversary. (Analysis notwithstanding, the series makes for a damn pretty triptic.)
Things Fall Apart
When Hurricane Rita, some two weeks later hit the Gulf Coast again, George W. Bush went out of his way to create the illusion of compassion that was about as convincing as Pat Buchanan weeping at Yad Vashem. Countless jet fuel-guzzling photo-ops later, the President scored a whopping 2% approval rating among blacks according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Auntie Condi and Uncle Colin, notwithstanding.
In a gifted moment, the President told reporters that his incessant trips to Texas were to enable him to better understand the complicated relationship between state and local officials. This would have been absurd even if he had not been the governor of Texas prior to becoming President, although not surprising. What could he possibly learn if he already was, to coin Harriet Miers, the best governor ever?
>>Things Fall Apart: Full Editorial
>>From Martyr to Wal-Mart: Judith Miller Overview
One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Wintery, splintery, mutiny, scorn,
Hurricanes, floods and base forlorn;
Liar, crony, leaker, duck,
Chicken Shit Chicken Hawks Run Amok.
One Flu East and One Flu West and
One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Mayhem, ahem, Missing Veep
Falling numbers, Losing Sleep
Delay Decay, Dirty Trick
Frist Flap, Wrist Slap, Feeling Sick
The Scandals Feast
On those thought best
And no clue in the cuckoo's nest.
>>One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Full Details
For some it has meant liberation
For some it's a slight irritation
The pink many gripe,
Is a stereotype
Like a flag that defines a whole nation
As annoying as bright rainbow flags
Screaming to all, "We are fags"
The symbols seem dated
Though the queers are still hated
And their girlfriends are still branded hags
The first of the fallen Mike Judge
Was known to enjoy packing fudge
Though loyal and loved
When push came, he was shoved
His gayness a wink and a nudge
>>Agenda: Full Details
Art of Engagement, Jack Rutberg Fine Arts
Major Exhibition in Conjunction with New Book by Art Historian Peter Selz
November 11, 2005 - January 31, 2006
Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles
357 North La Brea Avenue
Opening Reception: Friday, November 11, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. (Reservations required).
Jack Rutberg Fine Arts is presenting an important and timely exhibition, "Art of Engagement," which will officially launch the much anticipated book by renowned art historian, Peter Selz, entitled, "Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond," published by University of California Press. The exhibition opens with a reception and book signing by Selz, co-hosted by UC Press, on Friday, November 11th from 7 to 9:30 PM. The exhibition will extend through January 31, 2006.
>>Jack Rutberg Fine Arts
Big Deal, SOMArts
Visual Aid's 12th Annual
Art sale and fundraiser!
Saturday, November 12, 2005
SOMArts Gallery Main Hall
934 Brannan at Eight in San Francisco
The mission of Visual Aid is to encourage artists with life-threatening illnesses to continue their creative work.
Visual Aid helps produce, present, and preserve the work of professional artists whose careers are challenged because of a life-threatening illness. They serve professional artists from the nine-county Bay Area, providing artists with direct services from art supplies to exhibitions and career development.
They are an amazing organization, and I encourage anyone in San Francisco to attend if possible. Aside from genuinely great deals on art, the work Visual Aid does makes an incredible difference in the lives of the people it serves.
The participating artists for BIG DEAL include a host of nationally and internationally recognized Bay Area artists such as Jim Goldberg, John Arbuckle, Richard Bolingbroke, Teresa Camozzi, Jan Camp, Howie Cherman, Lauren Davies, Sally French, Robin McCloskey, Heather Wilcoxon, Gregg Renfrow, Inez Storer, Wendy Schwartz, Annie Sprinkle, Laurie Wyman-Heron, Minette Lehmann, Jack Fulton, Cynthia Ona Innis, Kathryn Kain, Noah Lang, Jean Conner, David Cannon Dashiell, Beth Yarnelle Edwards, Charles Gute, Kara Maria, James Orlando, Chuck Hobsen, Jan Wurm, J. John Priola, Mari Andrews, Richard Kamler, Ken Leaf, Inez Storer, Amy Trachtenberg, Termeh Dimi Yeghiazarian, anonymous painter from San Quentin Prison and 623 more.
The auction will feature important works of art by such artists as Christopher Brown, Jerome Caja, Ann Veraldi, Binh Danh, Fred Stonehouse, Shaun O'Dell, David King, John J. Priola, Rex Ray, Robin Denevan, David Faulk, Richard Perri, Clinton Fein, Timothy Cummings, Laurie Hogan, Steve Gilbert, Mike Knutson and Tony Fitzpatrick.
Propaganda 2.0, projects:, Los Angeles
Opening Saturday, November 12, 2005
>>The Blue Cube in affiliation with START SOMA: Propaganda 2.0. (www.artbusiness.com)
8 PM - 1 AM
5016 Venice Boulevard (1 blk W. of La Brea)
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Show runs from November 8th - December 2, 2005
John Doffing, who curated this show, first in San Francisco and now in Los Angeles collected propaganda art from all over the world. Most interesting is that it isn't simply a showcase of left wing, anti-war propaganda (as one might expect in San Francisco, especially) but covers a diverse range that is really worth looking at. Bottom line: There is some kick ass stuff, and so if you're in Los Angeles, do yourself a favor.
December 1 - December 4, 2005
Scope Miami is an international art fair that "brings together cutting-edge art and emerging culture. The fairs bring together up-and-coming dealers, curators and artists in a relaxed atmosphere."
News and Stuff...
Exotic Erotic Ball Panel/Larry Flynt
On Friday evening, I had the honor of meeting one of America's more honest and reliable men.
Larry Flynt was presented with a First Amendment Award by San Francisco's Exotic Erotic Ball which took place this weekend at Daly City's Cow Palace. First Amendment Project was tapped to receive money raised by the event, and so I joined Flynt in a QA before a gaggle of press and cameras following the presentation of the award itself by Hustler Honeys.
From seminal cases such as Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell to his most recent expose of the sexual escapades of John Bolton -- the U.N Ambassador Bush was forced to appoint while the Senate was in recess -- Flynt has always used his wealth to expose hypocrisy and challenge the powers that be. And to debunk the myth that masturbation leads to blindness by providing magazines that could arguably reduce overpopulation.
One could endlessly debate the ramifications of pornography, exploitation, objectification and the clashes between sex and religion, but one cannot dismiss the contributions Larry Flynt has made when it comes to freedom of expression, which is more or less what I told San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Joe Garofoli, in an interview a few days ago. And how could one forget the panic he induced at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal when he began digging for dirt on the pious impeachment cheerleaders and found lots of it.
>>Exotic Erotic Ball
In a rare act of promoting something that I had nothing to do with at all, I cannot praise Ballets Russes highly enough. This spectacular documentary by my friends Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller explores the revolutionary twentieth-century dance troupe known as the Ballets Russes from its early beginnings and glamorous rise in Paris and London, where visual art, performance, extraordinary ballet and music were magically intertwined with unparalleled genius, fragile egos and politics to define the pinnacle of artistic sophistication. And then its rise and demise in the United States in the 50's and 60's, exposing Americans to a kinder, gentler art form than to what they were accustomed.
With a treasure trove of archival material unearthed by the filmmakers and rich, memorable interviews with many of the ballet stars still alive, this passionate labor of love honors those that gave their lives and literally their limbs to dance. And yet still serves as a remarkable piece of investigative journalism and historical documentation that affirms the power and promise of documentary filmmaking.
It's well worth seeing, and those of you in San Francisco and New York, make sure you see it, and spread the word. Despite critical acclaim from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and beyond, it still has to compete for screen space with crap movies with big advertizing budgets! Nonetheless, you'll get a lot richer and chances are good you won't die trying.
Freedom of Expression in Times of War
Along with my friend Hanna Regev who, among other things, co-ordinated the program for my Numb & Number exhibition, I will be presenting this one-day seminar through University of California: Berkeley Extension.
Why is political art expressing so little dissent under the current Bush Administration? How does implementation of the Patriot Act impact the arts and artists? When does one's right to remain silent become an order from the government? And what is the cost of free speech?
This all-day symposium explores how creativity, media and the arts are attacked during times of war -- attacks that are frequently hidden under the guise of "national security." A diverse interdisciplinary panel of artists, museum curators and free-speech organizers discuss the limits of freedom of expression in an electronic age and the inevitable erosion of civil liberties in wartime.
Nov. 19: Sat., 10 am - 4 pm
San Francisco: Room 204, South of Market Center, 95 Third St.
>>University of California Berkeley
Execution and Evacuation: Race Against Time
Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed dealt a devastating blow to the Gulf Coast, but not as deadly, disastrous and catastrophic as the blow dealt by inefficiency, mismangement and extraordinary lack of compassion of America's leaders, Republicans and Democrats alike. America failed and the world watched.
My first response, in an open letter to President Bush, Hero Fiddles: Mass Destruction for Real, reflects the horror and anger I felt as I watched people pleading for their lives while nothing was being done to help. I have received a lot of email from it, all of which has been favorable, despite my heavy-handed tone. Seems like a lot of people feel this way. It's not about blame and finger pointing. It's about accountability.
The second editorial, Execution and Evacuation written September 5th, is less raw with emotion, but no more forgiving of those that should have been accountable, but failed. Among other things, it compares the pride Israelis felt after the hostage rescue at Entebbe in 1976 with the shame Americans are feeling in the manner in which our government responded to the devastation wrought by Katrina
And then of course, the Annoy.com cover, Race Against Time which reminds us exactly how urgently things are prioritized when political expediency and family connections color the equation.