June 30, 2007

intelligent hoodlum

Hard to believe I bought this album 17 years ago. It still sounds terrific and the President still has the same last name. Just re-released this spring with Tragedy's other record in a 2-CD package. A Marly Marl production.

cia family jewels and spies

muttering to myself:
'The CIA 'family jewels' are, among other things, a reminder that the world of terrorist provocateurs and arms peddlers is actually rather small and exceedingly inbred. Maybe that explains the infantile urgency of Cheney's desire to clamp down on captives. The objective is not really to get information from them. The overarching concern is to keep former 'assets' quiet and away from the press. It's what they know about Cheney, the Bushes, Rumsfeld, et al., that keeps them isolated and shorn of due process -- not what they allegedly know about future terrorist activity.'

Well, I don't actually mutter in complete sentences, but that was the gist of it. Paranoia, anger and dismay strike deep while browsing the Spy Museum gift shop, in the old Atlas and Ledroit buildings at 9th and F Streets. Along with dozens of other artists, I had a studio in Atlas-Ledroit way back before the sports complex and steakhouses – i.e., before it became an 'arts district." The street level, occupied now by the spy shop, was a wig store. It was patronized by the transvestite prostitutes that populated the neighborhood and serviced customers of the porno emporiums around the corner. There was also a donut shop I used to like until I saw the proprietor unloading the pastries early one morning on open trays from the filthy trunk of his ancient Pontiac. And a down-at-the-heels florist that might have been a bookmaking operation.

I won't go in the museum proper unless someone pays me to – the whole idea is nauseating. It's particularly galling that years of urban planning have replaced studio space with a tourist trap. Nonetheless, a visiting friend from Gainsville, FL stumbled into the gift shop a few weeks ago and suggested I check it out. It is, in fact, a trip. Mostly, of course, the sensibility is '50's Playboy pipe smoking spy-glamour – a pose that functioned then, just as it does today, to obscure the violence and mendacity of US covert ops, a/k/a state sponsored terrorism. Still, the gift shop isn't entirely one dimensional. Maybe you'll be surprised to see a reputable book on Soviet poster art and current, critical books on Iraq, etc. All that, I guess, functions as deep cover for the salacious, goofy spy stuff. It may also creep you out that you actually like the goofy spy stuff. Born and raised on it, let's face it. (The next time your gift-giving imagination is hobbled by that special someone's inscrutable tastes, we suggest the revolutionary red 'What Would Che Do?' t-shirt (don't look for it on their website which is decidedly tamer than the shop). I'm so confused and
still muttering……..

June 28, 2007

targeting target

The obvious, maddening, difficulty with Target support for the NGA's Jasper Johns show was the explicit identification of the corporation's logo with the painter's imagery. No doubt, it constitutes a real coup in the history of corporate buy-outs of the ostensible authority and legitimacy of art. Maybe we've forfeited earnest outrage because we -- in the business -- don't really believe museums and artists have that kind of moral heft to confer anyway. (For better or worse, the public-at-large still believes.) So, we're stuck with just laughing it off ? It is funny in a pathetic sort of way. But the memo reproduced above from the NGA press packet for the Johns exhibition is over the top. Targeting the Community? That has an unpleasant, ominous ring. Could this be more absurd? Somebody call Hans Haacke ... What's WalMart's likely response? How's "Walling the Community" sound? They missed the boat on Richard Serra's MOMA show ....
(Serra picture from the MOMA website)