This week: Live from Miami, well it was broadcast live at the time, whatever, anyways, Sharon Louden!!
Sharon M. LoudenÂ graduated with a BFA from theÂ School of the Art Institute of ChicagoÂ and an MFA fromÂ Yale University, School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Louden’s work is held in major public and private collections including the Neuberger Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.
Louden was commissioned by theÂ Weisman Art MuseumÂ to make a site-specific work in dialogue with Frank Gehry’s new additions to the museum. EntitledÂ Merge, thisÂ solo exhibitionÂ consisted of over 350,000 units of aluminum extending over a 3,000 square foot space and was on view from October 2011 through May 2012.Â This pieceÂ was then reconfigured and permanently installed in Oak Hall at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT and completed in January, 2013.
RecentÂ exhibitions include aÂ solo exhibition ofÂ new work includingÂ Community (the animation that premiered at the National Gallery of Art), as well a site-specific installation, painting, drawing and sculpture atÂ Morgan Lehman GalleryÂ in New York in October through November, 2013. Currently on view is Â a solo exhibition of Louden’s paintingsÂ and drawings atÂ Beta Pictoris/Maus Contemporary ArtÂ in Birmingham, Alabama, which will run through February 16, 2014.
Sharon LoudenÂ has taught for more than 20 years since graduating from Yale in 1991. Her teaching experience includes studio and professional practice classes to students of all levels in colleges and universities throughout the United States. Colleges and universities at which she has lectured and taught include: Kansas City Art Institute, College of Saint Rose, Massachusetts College of Art, Vanderbilt University and Maryland Institute College of Art. Sharon currently teaches at theÂ NewÂ YorkÂ Academy of ArtÂ in New York City. Last summer, Sharon taught experimental drawing and collageÂ in theÂ School of Art at Chautuaqua InstitutionÂ in Chautauqua, New York.
In addition to teaching at theÂ New York Academy of Art, Sharon also conducts a popularÂ Lecture SeriesÂ where she interviews luminaries and exceptional individuals in the art world and from afar.
AÂ book tourÂ started onÂ November 2, 2013 which includes SharonÂ Louden and other contributors visitingÂ cities across the United States and in Europe through 2015.Â Highlights include an event in theÂ Salon atÂ the Art Basel Miami Beach Art FairÂ this past December, 2013 as well as aÂ discussion and book event at the 92nd St Y in New YorkÂ and a panel discussion at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC in January, 2014. For more information on the book tour, please clickhere.
In addition, she continues to conductÂ GlowtownÂ workshops in schools and not-for-profit organizations across the country. Louden is also active on boards and committees of various not-for-profit art organizations and volunteers her time to artists to further their careers.
Sharon is a full-time practicing, professional artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Amelia PelÃ¡ez’s Havana Hilton Hotel mural, ca. 1957. Cuban Heritage Collection, University of Miami Libraries.
Travelogue: Three Cities, Three Retrospectives
Beyond the stuffed animal selfies at PS1, LACMA and PAMM
Itâ€™s been a wild winter break, but Whatâ€™s the T? is back in Chicago in time for dibs season and motivated by the artists brave enough to exhibit in the tundra. For those of you holed up in your apartment licking the radiator for warmth (like I am), hereâ€™s a recap of some shows outside of the snow globe.â€¨
Closing next Sunday, February 2nd (with a performance by Kim Gordon), is the exhibition that’s been blowing up my feed since it opened at PS1 in October of 2013. Mike Kelley’s retrospective is a 40,000 square foot sprawling colossus of an exhibition. Although I could have lived without the seemingly endless rooms of Kandors (a reference to the miniaturized capital city of Superman’s rival Brianiac) on the first floor, the exhibition impressively filled the sprawling school house and gave me a new appreciation for the artist.
Birdhouses by Mike Kelley at PS1.
Never before in my life have I seen so many swastikas and phallus and felt pretty ok about the whole thing. Arguably the greatest mindfuck in the entire exhibition (taking up an entire floor, the cacophonous a/v installation Day is Done was a close second), Pay for Your Pleasure, a corridor of large portrait paintings and quotations from famous intellectuals effectively complicated the relationship between violence and creativity. By the time I reached the end of the corridor I had completely lost the ability to tell right from wrong.
Kelley’s banners in the hallway at PS1.
The oft-posted Deodorized Central Mass With Satellites was among the least interesting rooms (also the one with the longest line). Watching people pose in front of the hulking mass of leftover toys, I wondered how Kelley himself might have felt about powerful installation’s transmutation into a selfie photo-op. I did pop a huge boner for the dysfunctional birdhouses and the artist’s drawings of his own name. Most disappointing though was PS1’s lack of snacks. The M. Wells Dinette conceptual Mike Kelley menu was admirable, but would it kill PS1 to sell a girl a croissant or fruit cup? I traveled all the way to Queens for this.
Mike Kelley at PS1.
Thankfully, we missed the Turrell retrospective at the Gug (heard the lines were unbearable even if the hole was amazing) in favor of seeing the exhibition in full splendor at LACMA. Apparently the artist, an LA native, made moves to stem the line issue by limiting the amount of guests allowed through the exhibition each day (and no photos allowed!). By the time my party of 5 arrived at LACMA , the $25 exhibition was completely sold out for the day. It was only through the loophole of student membership and my lovely friend, Conor Fields, that I was even able to see the exhibition. The antidote to the packed Kelley exhibition, my first glimpse of Afrum (White), the exemplary white cube that is the first of many light installations, was as religious an art experience as I’ve ever felt.
#today in (art) history
Carrie Mae Weems, The Assassination of Medger, Malcom, and Martin, 2008. Archival pigment print, 61 x 51 inches. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Other works, such as “Bullwinkle,” a modest projection in the shape of an antique television screen, featured plaques helpfully suggesting minimal viewing times to aid visitors in experiencing the desired effects of Turrell’s complex combinations of light and color. Guests moved leisurely through the exhibition. The immersive installations were smartly punctuated with wall-based work, such as the artistâ€™s delicate aqua-tint etchings and hologram series. Despite the 20 minute wait, the paramount moment of the exhibition was Breathing Light (2013), a absorptive environment that mindfucks you in an entirely angle than Kelley’s Pay for Your Pleasure. Heats of eight are invited to take their shoes off, don booties, and spend five minutes in the space which features rounded walls and a deeply saturated bath of LED light that slowly gradients between red and blue. Shout out to the world’s best docent, Rikki Williams, for doing an impeccable job at keeping the antsy visitors to Breathing Light in check (and for letting me stay an extra minute).
LA’s other most famous dude, Frank Ghery, also deserves a shoutout for the unbelievably well designed Calder exhibition in the same building as Breathing Light and the other (reservation only) large-scale immersive Turrell spaces. Having seen a couple of attempts of shoving a bunch of mobiles and stabiles into a large room (including the MCA’s most recent attempt), I can truthfully say I’ve never seen a better presentation of the artists work. Ghery’s specially built pedestals wind around the gallery and create niches that isolate and accommodate each piece. His specially designed walls and plinths allow the viewer to see the delicate balance present in individual works instead of a mess of primary colored circles and wires hanging everywhere.
You’re okay too, Wei Wei.
Not to be outdone by other major metropolitan areas massive surveys of mostly male work, the Perez Museum of Art Miami (still known to me as the Miami Art Museum) opened it doors in December with an inaugural retrospective by Ai Wei Wei. While the exhibition has a few highlights, I found the smaller retrospective of works by little known Cuban modernist, Amelia PelÃ¡ez, to be a far more compelling and apt exhibition for the brand new bayside contemporary art museum.
Painting by PelÃ¡ez at PAMM.
I thought the inclusion of the furniture was a little much, but I loved the objects made by PelÃ¡ez herself. Her ceramic work epitomizes the bright colors and modern, bold markings of her still-life paintings on shapely vases and cups. I would take the espresso set. The show was thoughtfully put together and I was delighted to learn of the artistâ€™s life and work. Now I just wish I could go back in time to Cuba and see her Havana Hilton Hotel mural.
Back in Chicago, Iâ€™m waiting on my invite for what will be either the awesomest or worstest retrospective in Chicago history: David Bowie Is. Stay tuned.
Header image features Breathing Light, 2013, by James Turrell at LACMA.
Still from Faith Wildingâ€™s â€œWaitingâ€ performance as seen in the 1974 film â€œWomanhouseâ€ by Johanna Demetrakas, (1974, USA, 47 min.) (courtesy of Johanna Demetrakas and Three Walls Gallery).
The Weekly debuts with hilarious email chain. Sunday was a big day for Chicago poet, Anthony Opal. Not only did he trudge through the snow to talk drama with Sofia Leiby at Devening Projects, he also launched The Weekly with some “Revolutionary Interactive Storytelling” by the very entertaining and all around solid dude, Fred Sasaki. Enjoy.
Kind of like the 12 days of Christmas, but with more drugs
Time for the annual pilgrimage of sun seeking art enthusiasts and their accompanying art advisors, handlers and the like to the city of Miami Beach. The fairs are numerous, spilling over onto the sand and the mainland. This year, my eighth year watching my hometown transform into an art circus, I decided to let the wind blow me where it may. As long as youâ€™re doing something it canâ€™t be that bad. In this special edition of Whatâ€™s the T? weâ€™re serving recap realness and some Miami T for Chicagoâ€™s inquiring minds and wannabe snowbirds alike.
Tuesday, December 3
Woke up to the news that Miami B-listers Christian Slater and his girlfriend, Brittany Lopez, tied the knot on Monday. We heard that Slater courted Lopez at her former job at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. Basel Tov!
Why wait until the weekend to party? Even though the â€œbig fair,â€ at the convention center doesnâ€™t open until Wednesday, there are just not enough party hours in the day. By the time we saw Locust Projectâ€™s exhibition by Nicholas Hlobo in their main space and Frances Trombly in the project room it was time. So we begin. Tuesday night marked the opening of Design Miami, the sister fair to Art Basel in Miami as well as in Switzerland.
Design Miami’s sandy tent
Always a classy, champagneâ€™d out affair, this year was no different. It was a pleasure to see Chicago design galleries, Volume (showing Jonathan Munecke) and Casati Gallery (showing David Salkin). Trending this year at DM were lamps that look like floating jars, gigantic sand hills, e-cigs (which appeared to be trending everywhere, I think itâ€™s New Yorkâ€™s fault). In attendance were a number of notables, including 2016 Olympic sailing hopeful, Sarah Newberry and artist, Emmett Moore; another celebrity here; Primary Projectsâ€™ Nick Cindric and Robins Collection Curator and Director of Cultural Programming for the Design District, Tiffany Chestler; Bleeding Palmâ€™s Ronnie Riviera (who made a hilarious Basel Death Clock Site); and Locust Projectâ€™s Amanda Sanfilippo with artist, Justin Long. We even ran into our favorites, LVL3â€™s Vincent Uribe and Anna Mort, dressed impeccably as always.
Bleeding Palmâ€™s Ronnie Riviera
Sarah Newberry & Emmett Moore
Tiffany Chestler & Nick Cindric
Amanda Sanfilippo & Justin Long
Itâ€™s imperative at Basel to never to stop moving and as our party guru says, always leave the party before it gets old, so before too long we were off the island and en route to the Rubell Collectionâ€™s annual shindig at their museum caliber space in Wynwood. Unsurprisingly, the Rubellâ€™s used the occasion (as they do every year) to feature their daughter, Jennifer Rubellâ€™s, excessive food â€œinstallations.â€ One year it was a wall of old fashioned doughnuts, then there was the year with the honey falling out of the sky.
So much egg custard.
This year, Jennifer busted out none other than the tiny-pie seesaw. A monstrously long but narrow white table, completely covered in miniature egg custard pies, slowing moved up and down, while waiters brought around bite sized versions of every other desert option possible on silver platters. There was, of course, a copious amount of alcohol (if youâ€™re paying for drinks during ABMB then something is wrong), Perrier (totes trending and in three flavors), macaroni and cheese in martini glasses (donâ€™t ask me), and fried rice in takeout containers. The party was totally banging, but the tiny custard pies were awful. Among the many illustrious guests were Siebren Versteeg and his new gallerist, Miamiâ€™s Brook Dorsch; artists, Patricia Hernandez and Christina Farah.
Patricia Hernandez & Christina Farah
Kizzy, Dorsch & Versteeg
On our way out we couldnâ€™t resist stopping at the old Perrotin space down the street from the Rubells, The house/ gallery, now Galerie Eva Presenhuber, is simply gorgâ€”classic design and a super sweet back yard, but the party was lame and we werenâ€™t really feeling it.
Disappointed by the quality of the pie and weary of mixing vodka and sugary deserts, it was time for a cheeseburger interlude before moving onto the last stop of the night, Rat Bastardâ€™s fifth annual Anti-Art Becomes Art Show at the only British pub in all of Little Haiti, Churchillâ€™s. We finally got a chance to see Chris Corsano, the wunderkind solo percussionist hailing from Massachusetts.
Chris Corsano at Churchills
In the list of things I wish I made it to but couldnâ€™t was the TM Sisterâ€™s beachside performance at the Untitled fair on Monday and Tuesday night. Also not spotted was Kevin Arrow, though we kept seeing his Kenny Scarf paint-bombed Honda Element driving through Little Haiti.
Wednesday, December 4
Another day, another art â€œexperience.â€ We ditched the vernissage (sorry Sly) for the opening of Autumn Caseyâ€™s new curatorial venture, Space Mountain, right next to GucciVitton in North Miami. Being a NMB girl myself, I couldnâ€™t be more excited that great galleries are moving north. Space Mountainâ€™s first show, Big Deal, featured 12 ladies and a drag queen, all born in Miami. Needless to say, it was a big deal. Loved the zebra corner piece by Renata Rojo and the drawn over coasters by Beatriz Monteavaro. We spotted the Hartmannâ€™s; and Miami It-girls, Serena Dominguez and Sarah Attias working it in overalls, side boob and Pikachu really hard. Outside the exhibition there was a serendipitous pop-up bar serving seasonal gourmet cocktails with cider and lattes.
Work by Renata Rojo. Photo by Autumn Casey
Serena Dominguez and Sarah Attias
After some chill times and good vibes at Space Mountain it was time to head to Mana Wynwood for the Kendrick Lamar with Miami fave and all around sweetheart DJ, DZA. After much confusion and a bunch of naked ladies painted by Vanessa Beecroft and Kanye West (Iâ€™ll save you the suspense, Yeezus was a no-show), we found ourselves on a couch in the VIP section popping bottles and waiting for Kendrick. Waiting for Lamar took for-ev-er. Though the event started around 9 or 10 PM, Kendrick Lamar didnâ€™t grace the stage until almost two in the morning. The only thing that made the waiting bearable was DZAâ€™s super danceable sets in between each set.
If we did anything after Kendrick Lamar, it probably shouldnâ€™t be repeated here anyway.
Header image is a detail of Vincent Uribe’s Basel Arm.
Thursday already? NADA VIP opening was obvi a must. Itâ€™s the only fair worth going to, in my opinion. The booths were looking fresh as always and the Midwest was repping hard with great booths from Scott Reederâ€™s American Apparel shirts in the lobby to Shane Campbell, our boys at the Green Gallery, and Midway Contemporary Art from Minneapolis. Locust Projects, Miamiâ€™s premiere non-profit gallery space had a booth right next to Midway with items priced to sell, including an edition of hip art historical hats from artist and yacht boy, Justin Long.
David Lewis MIA
Booths with no art were definitely trending at NADA. One booth just featured a copy machine spitting out invitations for another exhibition and we heard gallerist David Lewisâ€™ sickness led to his empty booth, featuring an advertisement and email address. As far as booths that actually had art inside of them go: NYCâ€™s The Hole booth was only half unpacked, with burned work by Kaspar Sonne and gigantic pours by Holton Rower suspended inside of plywood shipping crates. We were also stoked to see those sweet little Alain Biltereyst we loved at Devening on view with Jack Hanley gallery. John Rippenhoff at Green tipped us off to the mini XYZ collective booth, where we about died over the purple eggs and collages by soshiro matsubara.
Anya Kielar at Rachel Uffner
Anya Kielarâ€™s large scale screen prints at Rachel Uffnerâ€™s booth looked like cyanotypes and were just gorgeous. Could have lived without the gigantic beer cooler piece that everyone seemed to love, but I am still regretting not pouring myself a pina colada at San Juanâ€™s Roberto Paradise Gallery, who were also showing work by Jose Lerma and Tyson Reeder. Lermaâ€™s mirrors were irresistible to Luis Gispert as well, we ran into the artist checking out the booth. Another Miami native, I was also stoked to see his work at Rhonaâ€™s booth in the main fair.
Juni Figueroa at Roberto Paradise
Luis Gispert in front of Jose Lerma’s work at Roberto Paradise
Also spotted! Dan Gunn, but not that Dan Gunn, and a super preggers Lisa Cooley. She was really working that bump!
They knew about the real Dan Gunn. Were not amused.
Hugo Montoya in the bass car.
By the time I mad it outside to the deep bass van outside of the fair I was ready to move on. Though the booths looked awesome, we were disappointed at the lack of chill on-going pool party outside. Just one medianoche from downstairs and we were out.
Nailed it, Chris.
The official PAMM opening took place to much fanfare and back rubbing from the Miami community. Itâ€™s as if no one even noticed that the museum is still a construction site. Later that night Cop City Chill Pillars, great band and old friends from West Palm, played at Churchills to a small yet enthusiastic crowd.
Cop City Chill Pillars
Friday, December 6
Friday morning is made for collector brunches. Some pastries at the Craig Robins collection followed by the best coffee at the de la Cruz Collection building. Oh, and I guess the art was OK, too. As per usual, the Miami collectors were ping-ponging off each other, with both collections prominently featuring Sterling Ruby and Wade Guyton. We were also surprised to see some new stuff, like Hugh Scott-Douglas (who at the ripe age of 25 was all over Basel and NADA) and a massive Rob Pruitt installation on the third floor of the de la Cruz.
Rob Pruitt faces at the de la Cruz Collection
Rich people and their handlers abounded. Weâ€™re pretty sure we spotted Klaus Biesenbach chatting it up with the fiery Rosa de la Cruz through an impressive Dan Colen basketball backboard sculpture.
Biesenbach through the Dan Colen.
After sneaking in a quick lunch at Michaelâ€™s Genuine (where we saw many of the collectors getting turned away by the 2 hr wait), it was back to the beach for some lounging at the Mondrianâ€™s Friends with You pool installation on the bay. By the time we saw the sun setting under FWYâ€™s gigantic inflatables we were ready for what was yet to come.
Friends with you at the Mondrian.
Sunset at the Mondrian.
Youth Code at Gramps.
In a scene out of a sleezy Miami Vice episode, we slinked into the Kettle One/ Gigiâ€™s party in Wynwood using just a name in order to pregrame for the Youth Code show at Gramps. Not only was the LA duo pretty hot, their set was awesome and way under appreciated by the too cool crowd at Gramps. Right after the YC set we bounced back to Churchills just in time to catch Wolf Eyes at Andrew McLeesâ€™ Look Alive two day music fest. The crowd was super NYC and super enthusiastic, though I thought the Wolf Eyes set was incredibly boring. Why are they famous again?
Saturday, December 7
Saturday already!? We were almost at the finish line. Whatâ€™s the T? spent Saturday getting back to our roots at the Bad at Sports bathroom recording booth. We jumped on the mic with Duncan McKenzie, Brian Andrews, Patricia Maloney during their interview of Miamiâ€™s the end/ SPRING BREAKâ€™s Patricia Hernandez and Domingto Castillo. We mostly talked about boats, German cinema and 9/11. If it sounds confusing, thatâ€™s because it was. Without Richard Holland around there was no one to keep the jokes on schedule. Iâ€™m looking forward to hearing the cacophony posted on the podcast.
Domingo Castillo eating a banana with b@s
Otherwise, we thought the Dimensions Variable booth, featuring work by Frances Trombly and Martin Oppel amongst others was maybe the only thing worth seeing at PULSE aside from the chill hammocks outside of the Ice Palace.
Work by Frances Trombly.
Work by Martin Oppel.
Dimensions Variable booth at Pulse.
After wrapping up the interview, we headed to the #followmeto (have you seen this thing? Itâ€™s ridiculous!) party at The Versace Mansion. Yes, that Versace Mansion. Shout out to our girl Linling at Inside Hook for hooking it up. The party was awesome and someone even jumped in the heavily mosaicked pool before the night was over! It was totally tripped out.
Since we were already on the beach, we decided to hit up Sandbar for the NADA party. Usually a choice against our better judgment, the Fade to Mind takeover was pretty rad. We ran into our Midway Contemporary pal, Nathan Coutts, along with most of the other NADA exhibitors and too many NYC snowbirds to count. More than anywhere else I had been last week, this party was on the internet. Check out born-to-blog Adam Katzmanâ€™s piece in the Miami New Times about the evening.
Loathe to let the evening end before 5AM, we made our way over to a warehouse on 71st street to catch Jelly, a star-studded trio featuring the Kerr brothers and Rainer Davies. As soon as we got there ran into Bhakti Baxter taking a disco nap and as soon as the show was over we had to turn in too.
Sunday, December 8
We survived all the way until Sunday! We took our sweet time waking up and heading down to the convention center in order to say our final goodbyes to ABMB. Not really giving a fuck about the convention center, we checked out a few of the booths that we knew would be sweet (Rhonaâ€™s, Metro Pictures, Two Palms, Hauser & Wirth, Blum & Poe, etc). Mostly, we were there for the NOVA section, featuring galleries like Spinello Projects (which we heard sold out) and 80M2 Livia Benavides from Lima, Peru.
Too many first names: Hugh Scott Douglas at Blum & Poe
Work by Luis Gispert at Rhona Hoffman
Walking through the fair we saw a bunch of art handlers we knew ready to pounce when the public finally left, but we also ran into old friend and Curious City producer, Logan Jaffe with her sisters, Hunter and Chandler. Hot ladies with dude names? Yes please. We also wanted to check out the â€œpop-upâ€ bar by Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher in between booths N26 and 27. The bar, Paradise Working Title, was staging Club Nutz on Saturday afternoon with Brian Cooper and members of the audience trying to make stiff Basel goers laugh. Artist, Malcom Stuart, was on the mic ripping a few as well. There was also a stripping magician and blood. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m gonna say.
The Jaffe Sisters. So lindos!
Club Nutz at ABMB.
Jim Drain inside Paradise Working Title on Sunday.
After the fair and some sushi on Lincoln Road, we headed over to the misleadingly titled Babes of Bushwick party on Collins Ave. They called it â€œPool Party,â€ yet there was no pool. Very disappointing. I thought the Sandbar party was on the internet, but this party was the internet proper. Still a good time though and we ran into some choice Miamianâ€™s and our generous SF B@S bureau. We also ogled over our new BFF Malcom Stuartâ€™s collection for Joyrich. Seriously, though.
Malcom Stuart’s collection for Joyrich.
With just a couple of hours of Basel remaining we headed back to the mainland and Gramps for the tail end of the Black Cobra BBQ. Straight from the Gramps to Miami International Airport and back into the tundra. Hello Chicago.
Shout out to Radz for picking out the two biggest trends of Basel: #ecigs and #purses. Thanks Miami!
Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers has been quite the buzz of late. To quote SF filmaker/friend/artist, T. Siddle:
Did a double feature of Stoker and Spring Breakers yesterday. Stoker is very very good, I’m not convinced by Spring Breakers (though I liked all the neon and the hideous beach font it used for titles). My experience of the latter was somewhat hampered by the elderly man sitting behind me who made pornographic grunts whenever a semi-naked woman was on screen.
There are lots and lots and lots of half-naked women in this movie, so a grunt per visible breast would be distracting indeed. I also saw Spring Breakers recently, also during a double feature. We went Spring Breakers first, then Olympus Has Fallen. Surprisingly, I liked the first. I thought I would hate it, because I tend to dislike excuses to show naked girls for the sake of showing naked girls. I read about how anti-feminist it was, how exploitative. How the female leads were shallow and hard to differentiate. And yet I was surprised. Korine’s movie is all of those things â€” however I would argue everyone in this movie is exploited and exploiting, everything is shallow and everything is a product of a corrupt, late capitalist culture. The leading ladies are not liberated in a positive way, necessarily, but they have learned to be so hard and material, so soulless in a way, that they fulfill the very requirements of their image and then go beyond that image to exploit and manipulate and murder. Korine uses so much nudity it becomes boring â€” yes! â€” blending a vaccuous (and I’d say also American) desire to “find oneself” in pleasure and abundance, that offers this compelling, albeit gross, portrait of class (perhaps more than anything else) and gender.
It probably could have been shorter, and I think it’s a little too pretty for its own good â€” as a portrait of corruption, maybe there shouldn’t have been so many breathtaking moments (the Tiqqun-ish Young-Girls dancing in pink unicorn ski masks, pink bathings suits, dayglo sneakers and carrying artillery rifles as drug dealer James Franco plays a former-Mousekateer Brittany Spear’s song on a white piano) but. At least it exploits the rotten-ness of Vice Spring Break â€” drawing the narrative to an ethical nightmare that is almost lost in the mood of the moment. Blood is spilled in Tarantino proportions, feeling far more hopeless, more pathetic â€” if only because these main female protagonists (two of them as child stars, the third being Korine’s wife) seem to be on an unconcious gender-revenge mission: as though they are simply products (or surfaces) of a culture, not self-reflecting members. These girls have developed a steel-hearted strategy of care-less-ness. And maybe that’s a zeitgeist at the moment â€” consider Sofia Coppolo’s new movie about teenage girl robbers:
Spring Breakers felt like a kind of indictment against the American Dream that gave itself so that it’s youth could have any and all possibilities at its beer-guzzling feet, Olympus Has Fallen became such a freak show of propaganda (the White House is under siege and the President’s son is hiding in its halls as his father is held hostage by evil captors below ground). We walked out after 30 minutes of blood soaked not-ironic-enough patriotism. What I’d like to do is splice those two films together, to show the one myth on one side, (of priviledged youth in a commerically marketed Rumspringa excercising its American-ness),and on the other the myth of America’s need to defend itself from an evil Non-American.
Jeffrey Sconce wrote a great review about the film on his blog, Ludicdespair:
In a fair world, or at least one less crippled by stupidity and mediocrity, James Franco’s “Look at my shit” speech from Spring Breakers (2013) would be one of the scenes featured in the Academy’s “Best Picture” clip-reel at next year’s Oscars. Just imagine how amazing it would be to see Ron Howard, Ryan Gosling, or some other safely bankable Hollywood functionary forced to take the stage and read an Academy staff writer’s impression of what Spring Breakers is about:
“In a chilling performance, James Franco captures the essence of evil as he seduces four young girls into a life of crime…” “James Franco is terrifying as the local crime kingpin who turns an innocent rite of passage into a nightmarish ordeal.”
All of this would be bullshit, of course, but probably as close as Hollywood could come to getting a moralistic bead on this movie’s unapologetic nihilism. But it would all be worth it to see the lights in the Kodak theater go dark so that TV America could witness the corn-rowed, grill-bedazzled “Alien” (James Franco) inventorying the contents of his sick St. Pete bedroom:
This is the fuckin’ American dream. This is my fuckin’ dream, y’all!
All this sheeyit! Look at my sheeyit!
I got â€¦ I got SHORTS! Every fuckin’ color.
I got designer T-shirts!
I got gold bullets. Motherfuckin’ VAM-pires.
I got Scarface. On repeat. SCARFACE ON REPEAT. Constant, y’all!
…This will never happen, of course, because Hollywood will be too busy auto-fellating itself with the historical import, social relevance, and quality competence of another Lincoln or Argo. Meanwhile, Harmony Korine’s sublimely ugly and mean-spirited takedown of American awesomeness will likely go unnoticed, a film that in its own way says, “yeah, Lincoln was a great guy for passing the 13th Amendment and Argo is the story of some very heroic patriots, but in the end, nothing could stop America’s manifestly obscene destiny to become a nightmare of beer funnels, breast implants, blow, and Skrillex. (read more)