Featuring a Guest Post by James Pepper Kelly
The following article was originally written for and published by Chicago Artist Writers //Â Editor: Jason Lazarus
Acrostic, original formatting via PDFÂ here. Sources liberally appropriated from the Internet.Â
Walter Benjamin |Â Â At the center of this exhibition is man. Present-day man; a reduced man, therefore, chilled in a chilly environment. Since, however, this is the only one we have, it is in our interest to know him. He is subjected to tests, examinations. What emerges is this: Weird Dude Energy (WDE), a layering of men, a group perspective on masculinity.
Wilde, Oscar | Â Â Â Â But is WDE, as a meme/concept, actually on display in this show, or only in theÂ title and statement? Is GDBD curating a show of WDE, or instead the passion ofÂ oneâ€™s friends? Thereâ€™s crossover, and it may all be equalâ€”those passions are the fascinating things IRL anyway. For me, the highlight was Andrew Mausert-Mooney & Nicholas Wylieâ€™s performance of foot washing, massage, andÂ chantingÂ of â€œPoor Unfortunate Soulsâ€ from The Little Mermaid. It had the dignity of aÂ ceremony, as well as its unreality, and combined the insincereÂ character of aÂ romantic movie with the wit and beauty that make such moviesÂ delightful to us. IsÂ insincerity really such a terrible thing?
Weiner, Anthony | Â Itâ€™s passion thatâ€™s a terrible thing, and letâ€™s just forget about online WDE. Letâ€™sÂ recalculate, letâ€™s talk this show. Now Andrew Doakâ€™s photo: I don’t know whereÂ that photograph came from. I donâ€™t know for sure whatâ€™s in it. Â I donâ€™t know forÂ sure if it was manipulated. And Iâ€™m going to get to the firm bottom of that.
Eagleton, Terry | Â Â Â Donâ€™t know Doak? Itâ€™s a self-portrait as John Belushiâ€™s character in AnimalÂ House, from the artistâ€™s ongoing portraiture project. There are several orphaned pieces in WDE, but Iâ€™ll admit that this one does suffer the most for it. Oli Rodriguezâ€™s photographic portrait integrates well with the other work, evenÂ though it is de-linked from the S&M series itâ€™s part of. The problem is, what weÂ consume now is not objects or events, but our experience of them. We buy anÂ experience like we can pick up a GBDB beer coozie ($2.00 at the opening).
Immanuel, Kant | Â Â Â Sure, thereâ€™s no doubt that all knowledge begins with experience. Thatâ€™s why IÂ bought three. But reading about the Weird Dude Energy Tumblr that was theÂ inspiration for the show, I learned two things on the Hyperallergic comment thread: first, apparently no one reads my books anymore; and second, â€œYoungÂ people’s ideas about whatever is cool can have a conversation with contemporaryÂ art.â€ If you canâ€™t deal with merch and memes, fine, how about Mike Reaâ€™sÂ virtuosic wood installation: jail cell/microphone/and, inevitably, glory hole? OutÂ of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.
Rahm, Emanuel | Â Â Â Fucking retarded. Take your fucking tampon out and tell me what you have toÂ say. Best was Ivan Lozanoâ€™s installation of glowing blue hands on poles. ItÂ reminds me of when I sliced off my finger working at Arbyâ€™s, went swimming in Lake Michigan, and got gangrene. Thatâ€™s when I decided to become king ofÂ Chicago. Lozano fucked up his hand and made some casts based on not beingÂ able to move. Same idea, different goal. You should never let a serious crisis goÂ to waste.
Derrida, Jacques | Â Â Â Can we not talk about biography, please? Stick to the work! Look at how theÂ handsâ€™ blue glow syncs with Zak Arctanderâ€™s red tinted photo of the young man in a Vans cap, shown from his chest up. Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when thatÂ photograph surprises you. Itâ€™s the other’s gaze that wins out and decidesâ€”whichÂ Arctander must be thinking about because look, he made sure the manâ€™s eyes areÂ covered by his cap! Rrose, with your own compromised intuitions, what did youÂ like?
Duchamp, Marcel | Â Â I just likeâ€”breathing. Itâ€™s so necessary that I donâ€™t question it.
Umberto, Eco | Â Â Â Â Â You are odd. Weird, I mean; but then, itâ€™s only petty men who seem normal.Â Didnâ€™t you like Alex Gartelmannâ€™s limp aluminum baseball bat, bent over a wooden peg? A mash-up of your own readymades and an â€˜80s sculptural phallus, a strong piece with good position.
Duchamp, Marcel | Â I donâ€™t believe in art, I believe in artists and the most interesting thing aboutÂ artists is how they live. All this twaddle are pieces of a chess game calledÂ language.
Eco, Umberto | Â Â Â Â Â Perhapsâ€¦. Maybe Iâ€™mâ€”maybe all this is not as wise as it likes to think it is. And if Jacquesâ€™s right about epistemic plurality, is this some eternal zugzwang, asÂ you chess people say? Itâ€™s true that the most interesting letters I receive are from people in the Midwest, people like the lone figure in John Operaâ€™s lovely, desolate Wisconsin landscape. So letâ€™s turn to their official sources instead!
Newcity Art (B. Stabler)| A variety of manly tensions are borne out by the juxtapositions in the group show â€œWeird Dude Energy.â€ In the end, thereâ€™s just nothing that says “competence” like a great curatorial concept enjoyably, even suavely, executed.
Rrose, SÃ©lavy | Â Â Â Â Â Fine, fine. You do have to have an official existence. Intermezzo. One more, back to the living, then the end.
Jason Foumberg | Â Â Â Weird Dude Energy, a concept and an exhibition, probes the unkempt desires ofÂ men. Â You know how guys act when theyâ€™re all together, without womenÂ around? Â This show amplifies that vibe with work from 17 male artists.
You + Yr Friends | Â Â Â _________________________________________________________________________
Sources: Â Walter Benjamin: â€œThe Author as Producerâ€, Reflections. Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray. Weiner, Anthony: â€œGPS Speechâ€ to Springfield Community Church, et al.; Interview with Emily Miller, Washington Times. Eagleton, Terry: How to Read a Poem. Immanuel Kant: â€œIdea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purposeâ€. Rahm Emanuel: Comment on a liberal groupâ€™s concerns about Obamacare, Wall Street Journal; Response to a male staffer, New York magazine; Interview, Wall Street Journal. Derrida, Jacques: There is No â€œOneâ€ Narcissism, Interview with Didier Cahen. Duchamp, Marcel: Line for the character â€œMarcel Duchampâ€, The Mysteries and What’s So Funny, David Gordon (referencing Interview with Jean Antoine, The Art Newspaper); Interview with Jean Antoine, The Art Newspaper. Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose; Duchamp, Marcel: The Writings of Marcel Duchamp; Letter to Jehan Mayoux. Eco, Umberto: Interview with Nigel Farndale, The Daily Telegraph; Interview with Adam Langer, Book magazine. Newcity Art (Bert Stabler): â€œReview: Weird Dude Energy/Heaven Galleryâ€. Rrose SÃ©lavy: Interview with Jean Antoine, The Art Newspaper; Jason Foumberg (Chicago Mag.com): â€œWeird Dude Energy Promises a Freaky Prelude to Fatherâ€™s Dayâ€. You+ Yr Friends: _________________________________.
James Pepper Kelly likes words, images, and the plants in his apartment. He serves as Managing Director of Filter Photo and is studying to be a pataphysicist. For a little while, back in the early â€˜00s, he was really good at Ms. Pac-man.Â
Chicago Artist Writers is a platform that asks young studio artists and art workers to write traditional and experimental criticism that serves under-represented arts programming in Chicago. CAW was founded by Jason Lazarus and Sofia Leiby in 2012. This is our first guest post on Bad at Sports.Â www.chicagoartistwriters.com
I’m fascinated (alas, only from afar) by the Louvre’s Special Guest program and in particular with its use of acclaimed novelists as guest curators. (I’ve posted on this program before, here). The Louvre has featured Toni Morrison in this capacity in the past; right now, the novelist and semiotician Umberto Eco is unveiling a series of exhibitions and other programs relating to the topic of “The Infinity of Lists” which draws upon his book The Vertigo of the List. This, along with an email from one of our readers (hi Elizabeth!), has got me thinking about the relationship between books and museum exhibitions – and in particular about what happens when novels are the inspiration for museum exhibitions – or even for museums themselves. Read more
Even Umberto Eco. I love what the Louvre is doing by signing him on as guest curator (as they have previously done with writer Toni Morrison and composer Pierre Boulez). Eco’s theme for his work at the Louvre is “The List.” For example, he’s organizing a conference on 16th century Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder that looks at how the latter’s peasant subjects make for a kind of visual list. There will also be a performance art piece that draws from lists found in works by Homer, James Joyce, Victor Hugo and Eco’s own oeuvre. I like that they’re using Eco to curate not artworks but institutional programming, which allows him greater reach and play.
J. Crew’s a curator now too. Their online catalog features a new “Designer Collaborations” series, one which promises “a HIGHLY EDITED selection of the top names out there–those who have truly perfected their CRAFT. You shouldn’t have to travel the world to find the very BEST.” Italics and bolded words most certainly NOT MINE.
The New York Times ran an interesting article last week about the attractions that the word “curator” holds for fashion, new media and marketing professionals, but that J. Crew blurb pretty much sums it all up: an offer of selectivity and exclusivity, of authoritative knowledge and insight into what’s considered to be the best that’s out there.
I like the fact that the word ‘curating’ has gone mainstream, although it does seem like most of the marketers who use the term “curate” are confusing its meaning with the idea of list-making, or worse, with personal shopping. Even if that list is meant to be a selective offering of the best whatever-it-is in your field, it’s still just a list of things you’re meant to go out and buy. Curating, as we know, isn’t exactly like that (although Whitney Biennial-type curating sometimes kinda is….). Curating for museum professionals is as much about cultural and historical contextualizing and recontextualizing as it is about discernment or “having a good eye” — a phrase that curators themselves throw around and which I always loathed, mostly because it tended to make me feel self-conscious about my shoes.