Is this (F)Art?

October 4, 2010 · Print This Article

I got nothing but sillyness for y’all today, sorry. I’ve been working really hard lately, honestly! Which is probably why I’ve found this website, Is it Art or Fart?, so entertaining. It isn’t new or anything (though it’s new to me), but what is new is the fact that the makers of this irreverent yet actually pretty darn smart website have just published a book based on their project, which documents various phenomena they call ‘fart’:

“coincidental moments in everyday life that, when isolated and named by artist, bear uncanny resemblance to art seen in museums and galleries around the globe.”

A stack of records evokes a Dave Muller record painting, the residual matter torn from billboard paste-ups a Mark Bradford drawing, that sort of thing. Apparently, it’s fairly easy to find likenesses to Laura Owens’ work in the world art large.  I don’t get the sense that the people who run this website accept outside submissions, though it would be cool if they did because then there’d be even more fart for us to enjoy.

Is this Art? app

Not quite as clever in concept or execution, but still related to the general idea, is the website Is This Art? which has an accompanying iPhone app. The idea behind this site, which was co-produced by Deeplocal, the Mattress Factory, and NY art blogger C-Monster, is that you take a picture of something that you’re not sure is art but maybe actually is, then submit it and the app renders its verdict. It’s a lark, like so many apps are: funny for a few minutes–and the app is free so what the hell–but it runs via a Magic 8 ball-type interface that spits out one of a predetermined set of answers randomly, so that the same picture submitted twice will get two different answers. While fooling around with the app, I took an iPhone snapshot of this thrift store painting, which received the response ‘My mother would think this is crap, therefore THIS IS ART.’ A picture of my husband’s black crocs, which I suspected would receive an affirmative nod because it could, under certain conditions, be thought of as an update on Van Gogh’s 1887 A Pair of Shoes, received this feedback: ‘This piece is modernist after modernism without being post-modernist, therefore, THIS IS ART.’

I actually think the app might have been right about that one. If nothing else, I’m pretty sure it’s fart.

Vincent van Gogh. A Pair of Shoes. 1887.

C. Ise. A pair of Crocs. 2010.

Ever Love Someone & Have Them Change Into Something Completely Different?

August 27, 2010 · Print This Article

Will Cotton Flan

Will at his best for me, but when the Flan goes bad the relationship isn't far behind it seems. Or the proof is in the pudding.

Ever have an artist that you thought was fun, fresh, interesting and smart? Someone you told all your friends & family about and thought was someone you could be interested in for their entire career? Then they move to a different city, make some money,  get a grant/scholarship, sudden increase in press or some other seemingly innocuous change at the time. Then almost overnight you don’t know that person and the work is not just bad on it’s own but seemingly worse for what it could have been?

I was told years ago for some Jasper Johns was kind of like that in many people’s eyes (being a big fan myself I could kind of see it even though I still enjoyed the later work) but for me that person has always been Will Cotton.

I remember seeing video and photos from one of his first major shows back in 1999 and reading Mark Kostabi’s article in Shout and thinking “I agree with Kostabi on something? This is a new feeling!”. Will’s Candyland Landscapes were unlike anything else being made at that time and were wonderful in their unabashed gluttony, scale, execution & humor. During a time when I had as much angst and gritty somberness/passive aggressive irony as any man could take durring the 90’s I liked this idea of slick, fun and cranked up to 11 sensibility. Hoping like Chuck Close he would disasemble the formula over time into a more non-representational approach and I would get art I would want to do and see without having to do all that blasted hard work lol.

Will Cotton then it seemed to me, spent the summer of 2002 in Giverny, France, where he worked under a residency grant from the Monet Foundation and realized that women have these things called breasts, and they are beautiful and now that he has money the women who own these breasts will sit for him; he never looked back. Almost overnight the landscapes were gone, the witty humor melted and it was cotton-candy sky is the limit on cheesecake. Most recently you will see his latest work as the cover of Katy Perry’s new album Teenage Dream.

In some other dimension of reality Will Cotton would have gone to an Analytical Cubism conference, fallen in love with geometric rhythm and not breasts but who am I kidding, “you gots to pay the bills somehow“.

Will Cotton Katy Perry

In Other News.

  • The Museum of Science and Industry has a PR stunt underway where one person will have the chance to live in the museum 24/7 for a month with full access and receive $10,000. All they have to do is interact with the visitors, blog, tweet and generally promote the institution, not to mention stay sane. Sound great? Well if you do the math, that it’s thirty 16 hour days of confined living; it equates to a 20$ an hour job. I guess it’s not bad but being the unconventional event spokesperson for the museum, near constant walking, no personal internet & sleeping in the U-505 submarine or the coal mine might appeal to some but it looses the shine after a night or two for me. It will be interesting to see who they choose (want to lay odds its not a guy?) and how long it takes for that person to sour. Do I smell Bad at Sports office pool in the making? Some here think it is a great idea so keep reading I will try to keep tabs on this winner and how it goes :) read more here & here
  • Theft of a $55 million Vincent van Gogh painting at the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt prompts talk of increased security. I am sorry but with only seven out of 43 security cameras functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museum’s paintings working adding a baby monitor would constitute increased security? read more here
  • Remember the guy who bought the Ansel Adams negatives for $45 and a few weeks back the grandson of Ansel, Matthew Adams badmouthed them saying something akin to that they were worthless without the hand of the Artist to burn the final image? Well now the trust representing the famed nature photographer filed a lawsuit to halt the sale of prints. read more here
  • Ed Marszewski—editor-publisher of Lumpen, festival host, gallerist, and general Chicago indie art world guy-around-town—has remodeled Kaplan’s Liquors, the Bridgeport bar owned by his mother Maria Marszewski since 1986, and reopened it with the name Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar.

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
960 W 31st Street
Chicago, Illinois 60608