Steve Aishman Photography
Discussions of contemporary art and photography.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Sunday, August 01, 2010
A Report from the PhantomZone: Hong Kong Movie Review
The Aishman's review a movie in Hong Kong
Saturday, July 17, 2010
A Special Report from the Phantom Zone : Summer Movie Issue
Thursday, July 01, 2010
A Report from the Phantom Zone
Confessions of an Art Nerd
Throughout my life I have been called a nerd.
This has always been fine for me because I am a nerd. In fact I am multiple types of nerd.
To make things a worse, I seem to live in a perpetual state of Nerd Rage.
Statements that have sent me into nerd rage:
"Greedo shoots first." (SW nerd)
"Selig should overturn Joyce's call to give Galarraga the perfect game." (Sports nerd: not considered a type of nerd by many, but should be classified with other nerds.)
"Mac servers are now more stable than UNIX servers." (Tech nerd)
"Dio didn't invent the "devil horns" hand gesture, it was Motley Crue."(Metal nerd)
"The 1969 Mustang's engine is as well built as the '69 Charger's." (Car Nerd: again, not considered a type of nerd by many, but should be classified with other nerds.)
"Tasha Yar died for no reason." (Star Trek nerd)
"Pine is fine for most furniture needs."( Carpentry nerd.)
"Gimli was just there for comic effect." (Middle Earth nerd)
"Granule fertilizer works as well as liquid fertilizer." (Gardening nerd.)
"The Silver Line can get you to the Airport as fast as the T."(Boston nerd)
"X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a pretty good movie." (X-nerd)
"Baldessari Sing's Lewitt" has proven to be more influential than "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art." (Art nerd)
For some reason, very few people admit to being art nerds. I once called someone and art nerd and she was truly offended.
"I'm not a nerd, I'm a curator." she replied.
"Yeah, I pretty sure that's just someone who is a paid to be an art nerd." I said.
I have witnessed far more nerd rage over art than Star Wars.
I have seen two people, both in thousand dollar Gucci shoes, yelling at each other at an opening that Damien Hirst is crap (the strange thing is that they agreed with each other, just the extent to which he is crap!) I have seen two art historians almost come to blows over whether or not Hill and Adamson's calotypes of the village of New Haven in 1843 should be considered documentary work.
An opening is nothing more than a meeting of art nerds.
The Venice Biennale is the art nerd version of Comic-Con.
Big Red is New England's art nerd forum.
If you have any example of art nerd rage, please list them in the comments below.
"Baldessari Sing's Lewitt"
Han shoots first
Monday, May 17, 2010
A Report from the Phantom Zone
Some texts I or my friends have received during or after art openings.
In no particular order.
1)This work is so bad. This wine is so bad. So many reasons to puke tonight. I'm going to puke tonight. Just puked.
2)Opening's warming up, a tranny just got here...
3)Artist statement is hippie crap all "harnessing positive energy". Fuck positive energy. I choose drinking instead
4)is your mom at the gallery?
5)Ha. Yes. I ditched the openings. I'm at a strip club. I'm the barack obama of strip clubs
6)Why'd you bring her here? Your girlfriend is such a south jersey whore
7)I hate your face. I heard we made out
8) you never wrote back on my facebook wall
9) I quit. all artists suck. signing up for eharmony. Don't judge
10) Fucking hipsters really piss me off man. They are just such punk as bitches, all of them. Oh, and fuck Ed Hardy too.
11) That's just how i roll, and this dress she is wearing is dirty and needs to get pulled over her head.
12)Can't get out of the opening. Every time I try to leave, I have to say bye to someone else for like a 5 min. conversation.
13) yo i stole a wine glass from the party next door but i spilled wine on my hundo dolla shirt
14) this art is predicting the future and apparently in the future we'll all be gay
15)I mean a good dj is a huge turn on
16) your dad is the best wingman ever
17)you dirty dirty liar I like the way you twitter
18) we're facebook friends in real life
19) You'd love this place it's beautiful. Plus these people smell like garlic
20) Needless to say when I told my parents they loved me less
21) Homeslice needs to figure out he's so 2006
22) So I'm looking at this sculpture and some guy came up looks at my boots and goes, "you should've got the boots with the fur"
23) WTF is with this opening? We are surrounded by old people. Heavens waiting room for sure.
24) I'm so fucking centered right now
25) I'm gunna smoke cigs today. I feel like I'm in that powerful and gritty mood which requires them
26) she has a tiny mouth but huuuge vocal chords
27) I took shrooms and thc before coming out, but its okay i'm surrounded by freaks
28) I only want to know people that are dynamic intelligent and totally insane
29) Those kids are glorified dude-bros. It's banal.
30) More tranny stories later!
31) Why do girls always cry in front of galleries? Are they having an exestensial crisis at the gallery?
32) I wish I could punch you in the face.
33) if you dont talk to me in person you cant text me
34) You're mentally unstable and I would hate to be you
35) Ppl just aren't as funny as we are
36) the sham wow guy got arrested for beating up a hooker.
37) It's not a performance piece. Its a bunch of hippies dancing in front of a stobe light. For ten dollars I could have gone to the strip club and at least had a lap dance
38) Youre a pretentious asshole and im not sure who you think you are. Get the hell over yourself and the self righteous culture snob image because its pretty obnoxious.
39) This gallery smells like vodka and shame
40) remember facepaint boy? turns out it stains. aaaand i have it all over my face and neck.
41) i'm pretty confident that i watched a woman making love to a german shepherd.
42) Ha. No worries! So loud here &god I love drag queens! How does it happen, the congealing?
43) Real busy. everything is packed. thats why we ended up at the strip club
44) I'd rather drink alone in my closet than hang out with that artist
45) that chick doesn't look like she's put anything in her mouth for weeks other than his dick.
46) Cool, I just put that together. I didn't know if using a tie-died sub machinegun was too crazy
47) A big part of growing up is learning how to tastefully stare at women
48) No one appreciates an amoeba in a balloon hat.
49) I wish my penis had an off switch
50) I'm pounding a vodka drink as we speak to make her interesting
51) I hate you but I'm not in hate with you
52) Drawing on your hand and calling it art is crap!
53) Well I thought that next 8 ball would either kill us or turn us into Gods
54) she asked me if the dress made her look fat, i told her no - the fat made her look fat.
55) im ready to get crazy and take my wig off
56) Any chance you got 3000 bucks on you?
57) someone just threw a dead crab at me
58) it was nice. we just kind of hung out. she didnt even mention the farting incident.
59) Holy cold harsh reality of bad art batman
60) It really wasn't that bad. Well, it was pretty bad, but only in 3 second bursts.
See more texts from last night here
Do you have some texts from art openings that you'd like to share? Add them to the comment section:
The Sham Wow Guy:
A Brian Berman Furry Photo
Sunday, April 25, 2010
A Report from the PhantomZone
The Budget Biennial
By Steve Aishman April 25, 2010
JP Morgan is where Jesus saves. Sometimes
I buy RH Quaytman’s work and the rest
of the Whitney. It’s not for sale. No sound
to hear in this grab ass scene. Gary’s so broke
he buys pot by the pound. I’m Rihanna’s rebound.
That's not my gun? The Bruce High Quality
Foundation is not God’s own creation.
The Museum is broke! We’re shakin’
in shit! There’s no architecture to see
in Frecon. Hell, I eat paint like Bacon.
It was love at first sight, so I looked again.
Art is for shoppin’, we poppin’ champagne.
This show is a joke, this show is on crack.
When you spend more, you’ll earn more cashback.
Charles Ray is chokin’. It's intoxication!
Don’t give a damn ‘bout my bad reputation.
Francesco Bonami can’t find the new,
so when I drink, I drink Mtn Dew.
Suzan Frecon, embodiment of red (soforouge), 2009.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
A Report from the Phantom Zone
While on a hike in the deep woods of Brooklyn, I found some split open trash bags with paper pouring out. Covered in dried blood and with multiple missing pages, I saw it was a journal/tactical notebook/garbage. Here is some of the reconstructed text as far as I could assemble it:
Modernist Painting and the Undead Plague
By Dr. Hide and Mr. Greenberg
Modernism includes more than art, literature and zombies. By now it covers almost the whole of what is truly alive in our culture and with the recent resurgence of walking dead; most of what is undead in our culture as well. It happens, however, to be very much of a historical novelty as most of civilization is now in full decay due to the rapid speed at which the plague is spreading. Western civilization is not the first civilization to turn around and question its own foundations, but in a desperate attempt to understand how things could have gone so wrong, Western civilization is the one that has gone furthest in doing so. I identify Modernism with the intensification, almost the exacerbation, of this self-critical tendency that began with the philosopher Kant. Because he was the first to criticize the means itself of criticism, I conceive of Kant as, the first real Modernist and either the first zombie killer or in fact, as some have surmised, the patient zero of the zombie plague that currently threats all of civilization.
The essence of both Modernism and the solution to the zombie plague lies, as I see it, in the use of characteristic methods of undead extermination to criticize the discipline of zombie killing itself, not in order to subvert it but in order to entrench it more firmly in its area of death dealing competence. Kant used logic to establish the limits of logic, and while he withdrew much from its old jurisdiction, logic was left all the more secure in what there remained to it. However, history has now shown that Kant himself was blissfully unaware of the true power his incantations held and only generations later when Kant’s words were twisted and perverted by mystics like Schopenhauer and Sorcerer Supreme Nietzsche did the undead throngs begin to erupt in numbers to great to be stopped.
How can we forget “The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of the Undead” were Nietzsche wrote:
“The extraordinary courage and wisdom of Kant and Schopenhauer have succeeded in gaining the most difficult victory, the victory over the optimism concealed in the essence of logic—an optimism that is the basis of our culture.”
It was soon after Nietzsche’s declaration of the victory over optimism, the reports of walking dead in the local paper rose from a few occasional sightings that were frequently confused with people who were simply depressed or feeling ill; to the full blown plague of undead we now have to deal with on a daily basis. (Where they have come from is still not known, but the fact that their appearance so closely matches with the writings of Nietzsche who maintains a quasi-mystical control over the mindless zombies from beyond the grave, cannot be coincidental.)
The self-criticism of Modernism grows out of, but is not the same thing as, the criticism of the Enlightenment (The Enlightenment is the name historians have given to time directly preceding our Modern, zombie-plagued era when lycanthropes ruled the world through brutal, feral force. It was brave French revolutionaries who discovered that the only way to effectively kill the shape-shifting monarchy was to cut of their heads while they were in human form. Many revolutionaries fell before the claws of Louis XVI and his she-wolf bride Marie-Antoinette before the cursed family found their heads beneath the guillotine.) The Enlightenment criticized the ruling werewolf clans from the outside, the way criticism in its accepted sense does; Modernism has no choice but to criticize from the inside because most of society is now part of the zombie plague we are in fact trying to eradicate. It seems natural that this new kind of criticism should have appeared first in philosophy since most of the first zombies were philosophers who fell prey to their own dark magics, but as the 18th century wore on, it entered many other fields. A more rational justification had begun to be demanded of every formal social activity, and Kantian self-criticism began infecting and turning every other discipline.
[Pages too covered in blood to be read]
Zombie hunting in its latest phase has not abandoned the notion that zombies can be turned back into functioning human beings. What both Modernist painting and the art of zombie killing have abandoned in principle is the representation of the kind of space that recognizable objects or the undead can inhabit. To achieve autonomy, culling the undead has had above all to divest itself of everything it might share with normalized society that seeks to care for its sick and weak. The plague can not be turned back by trying to help those that have been turned and are now mindlessly undead, but must instead rely on the retrenching in the essence of the art of zombie killing set forth by those French that ended the age of “Enlightenment”: beheading. The undead are easily tricked, confused, trapped, hacked up, stabbed, lit on fire, and otherwise mangled, but only beheading truly represents the “pure” essence of zombie killing.
[Pages too shredded to be read]
I want to take this chance to correct an error, one of interpretation and not of fact. Many readers, though by no means all, seem to have taken the 'rationale' of Modernist art outlined here as representing a position adopted by the writer himself that is, that what he describes he also advocates. This may be a fault of the writing or the rhetoric. Nevertheless, a close reading of what he writes will find nothing at all to indicate that he subscribes to, believes in, the things that he adumbrates. I in no way am implying that anyone’s head should be cut off. The writer is trying to account in part for how most of the very best art of zombie killing of the last hundred-odd years came about, but he's not implying that that's how it had to come about, much less that that's how the best art still has to come about. The philosopher or art historian who can envision me -- or anyone at all -- arriving at such violent judgments in this way reads shockingly more into himself or herself than into my article.
Jackson Pollock shortly before being eaten by a Zombie wedding party.
Blood splatters on paper
Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Green Silver), ca. 1949. on Paper
Clement Greenberg's original "Modernist Painting" 1960 from which this was mashed up with zombie nonsense.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
A Report from the Phantom Zone: Art Dubai
It’s a 13-hour flight to Dubai.
Not the kind of travel to be taken lightly but worth it for the experience of Art Dubai. For visitors like me, Art Dubai represents more than the other fairs like the Armory Show or Miami Basel because the fair was the best excuse I could come up with to visit the Middle East. Like all art fairs, Art Dubai was primarily focused on sales, however, there was a consolidated effort by the fair to extend beyond the walls of the fair itself in order to become an entire art world event representing the region as a whole. Proof of this was in the number of the auxiliary programs, the many parallel events in the city that were directly supported by the fair, and the “Global Art Forum” lecture series that made the fair feel less like a sales driven event and more like an all encompassing cultural event. Art Dubai fully supported the Al Bastakiya Art Fair, the one official fringe art fair, by running a bus between the fairs and encouraging all visitors to spend time at both fairs. Art Dubai even ran programs in other cities like tours of the Sharjah Museum, or programs in Doha. The fair fully supported the START program, a Middle East based program that helps orphans, refugees and street children in the MENASA (Middle East North Africa South Asia) region, through creative development. While at the fair, I participated in one of START’s programs and helped introduce local autistic children to art-making and the fair itself.
While the fair is not in charge of what any individual gallery chooses to show, there were some excellent pieces on display. Some of the highlights included El Anatsui’s “In the World But Don't Know the World” piece at London’s October Gallery booth. El Anatsui’s metal sculpture made from tens of thousands of bottle-tops that evoked sublime awe at its sheer enormity while also provoking a dialog about the cultural, social and economic histories of West Africa.
By far, the most provoking and stimulating piece at Art Dubai was created by the winner of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, Kader Attia and his curator Laurie Farrell. The Abraaj Capital Art Prize provides $1 million dollars in funding to three curator/artist pairs from MENASA to produce unique pieces for Art Dubai. Algerian born artist Kader Attia and curator Laurie Farrell produced “History of a Myth: Le Petit Dome du Rocher” which is an installation based in deep understanding of history and philosophy. In the piece, the viewer enters a darkened room to see a live camera feed projecting a sculpture of a bolt and nuts enlarged many times its size. The projection of the sculpture evokes the architecture of the Dome of the Rock and in so doing refers to Arab-Muslim history and all of the complexity of issues that surround representations of that history. The most amazing part of the installation is that it is an installation that cannot be accurately described in words, but a viewer must be in the room itself to feel the piece. Throughout the installation, there is a gentle breeze and sounds of nature that are subtly vibrating the sculpture and thus the projection as well. Kader Attia’s piece provides a peaceful space of contemplation where the viewer can mediate on the myriad of issues surrounding historical, architectural, political or aesthetic interpretations. The piece is simultaneously peaceful and provocative, troubling and soothing, pensive and visceral. Creating a piece that refuses to fit into any preconceived binary is definitely a piece that should not be missed.
Next year’s Art Dubai fair should be even bigger and more comprehensive than this years and is definitely worth 13 hour flight.
History of a Myth: The Small Dome of the Rock, 2010
© Photo: Alexzandra Chandler
Courtesy of Abraaj Capital Art Prize
"In the World, But Don’t Know the World?”, 2009.
Aluminium and copper wire, 5.6 x 10 metres
Video of Steve Aishman at the VIP Patron's Preview of Art Dubai