Fashion Art Photography by Jerome du Bois. All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.
[Update 12/03: See our non-review here.]
by Jerome du Bois
I should know bettter by now than to trust anything on Artlink's website, but the announcement said November 28, so we were there on November 28, in Phoenix City Hall, around 1 PM, to be the judge and jury ourselves, and the damned thing wasn't completely set up yet.
Worse, all the work was unattended. That's right. We strolled around the accordion dividers where a few things were mounted already or just leaning there. We saw nobody working. There was a typewritten sheet on a box. We read it. It said that the artists needed to get everything into the Hall by noon.
We looked around. We did some counting. This couldn't be the whole show, could it? No, the artists are probably just late, even though they had couple of extra weeks to figure out how to get downtown with their contribution in time.
Nothing we saw would stand out at the Arizona State Fair, or one of those big white tent sales in Scottsdale. There was a smoothly carved and curvy two-toned wooden triskelion that would have made a nice tie rack --from Haus, maybe; my crucifix is getting crowded. Hmmm. Nobody paying attention. Nobody guarding the work. What, are they noshing at Sticklers? Had I been a different, criminally-inclined person, we could have slipped out the side door with it. Security is at the far end of the hall. When we first entered that impressive building, and strolled up to that big steel counter and asked where the exhibition was, none of the four guys knew. They had to look it up.
We saw a few other things, but I have no attributions since there were no labels, yet. So . . .
A white cloth piece in a metal frame with the fabric squinched around an old b/w photo of an old Chinese person. A snake of pearls. Something about the Boxer Rebellion printed on a plastic strip and quite obviously and clumsily glued to the fabric, which is probably silk --you know, for the Chinese connection. Well? So? Listen up, artist --listen up, judges Carolyn Robbins, John Spiak, Terry Ward-- do you know what is going on in China today? Progress! A million Chinese a year die in industrial accidents; they invented SARS and Avian (and soon Avian/Swine) flu. They're cheating the world by devaluing their currency. This piece, just to hammer it home, has no currency, no relevance, no resonance. It has no handle on the world and, despite its heavy frame, will fly away like a handkerchief when the next real-world-wind comes.
Then we examined a big white horizontal painting covered and cluttered with painted circular typewriter-keys, with letters printed in the middle. It was a palimpsest, with keys overlaying other keys. It was nicely done, and I love letters, which is why this stupid thing made me angry.
I wrote about this back in September, in "The Idiotic Dots of The Whatnots," which began:
I love the very letterforms you read now, reader. The Greco-Roman-derived alphabet, from Avant-Garde to Vedana. When I make art, I often use words, cutting out letters or stamping them or printing them or writing them out or carving them. You may take these enduring forms, these 26 uniquely-grouped inhabitants of the Western World, and, as any teacher knows, you can distort them almost beyond recognition, and yet we recognize them --partly by context, yes, but often just because they're so strong in themselves. I respect them because they have remained fairly stable amid so much instability, and indeed have played their crucial parts in explaining that instability, and so much else besides. They are faithful stewards of meaning, even when the meanings of words change. I love the letters of my native alphabet.
Perhaps I judge too harshly, but . . . if you've got the letters before you, act like a grown-up and make something meaningful of them, instead of behaving like an ignorant child arranging and rearranging the pretty, sturdy forms. I know a lot of art people embrace the meaningless like a reassuring pillow. That's not for me.
And that's about all we saw that was up or that made us pause, and stop. As for the rest . . .
We'll be back.
Styling and Accessories by Catherine King. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.
by Jerome du Bois
Leanne Potts has written a promotional advertisement for local artist Hector Ruiz, clumsily disguising it as a critical art review. She even wags her finger at him a couple of times. Since it's short, I might as well reprint it all and then semi-fisk it. Ms. Potts misses at least two crucial points, each of which undermines her argument.
Hector Ruiz is one of the most talented artists in the city. His visceral woodblock prints, woodcarvings and papier-mâche installations show what life in America in 2005 is like for anyone who isn't a white male. He also runs a gallery in an old auto repair shop on Grand Avenue, where he shows his work and that of talented and relatively unknown comers. It's Phoenix art at its edgiest and most independent.
Elsewhere in the newspaper, in a special section, we learn that Leanne Potts lived in Albuquerque for a while, where Mr. Ruiz's sidewalk-tourist-type woodcarvings are ubiquitous. She doesn't see the connection? And the "Under the White Man's Thumb" theme is bullshit, which we've written about elsewhere.
So it's a surprise --on a number of levels-- to see Ruiz's Chocolate Factory showing work by big-deal New York artists like Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel. They're part of an exhibition called "The Secret Show," and they suck.
Koons and Schnabel are widely regarded as the incarnation of 1980s New York art-world excess. Koons makes meaningless art out of blatantly kitschy material. He once made a life-size ceramic sculpture of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp, Bubbles. Schnabel is known for gluing broken plates to monstrous canvases or pieces of wood. Both sell their work to people with more money than taste.
At the Chocolate Factory, there's a print by Schnabel from a later, non-broken-crockery phase, and one of Koons' Balloon Dogs shrunk to the size of a dinner plate.
Both are awful.
Ruiz is far more talented than either of these poseurs, so what's he doing showing their work? Is this what happens when you get a show at the Heard Museum (currently, Ruiz's work is on display there)? You think you have to kiss up to superstar artists who aren't fit to clean your paintbrushes? Say it isn't so, Hector. We like you just the way you are, an unaffected homie on the PHX art scene.
This is probably a simple matter of money.
Ruiz has bills to pay like the rest of us, and for all the attention paid to First Friday, most of the people making the scene are not buying art. This means gallery owners have to hustle to keep the doors open, the lights on and the Two-Buck Chuck flowing.
A Schnabel sold for a quarter of a million dollars at an art auction a few weeks ago, and a Koons went for a cool million. That tacky Michael Jackson ceramic? It went for $5.6 million back in 1991.
If Ruiz could sell a Koons or a Schnabel to some clueless richie, he could afford to install an air conditioner at his gallery. He could stop worrying about paying his bills and focus on continuing to show some of the best work in the city.
Go see the show. You can see fine work by famed German expressionist George Baselitz and the cool, graffiti-influenced work of Barry McGee. Both work as a chaser to the schlock of Koons and Schnabel. You've seen bad art before, I know, but this is bad art that costs more than a three-bedroom house in Buckeye.
Then buy something from Ruiz, anything, so he won't have to stoop to this swill.
First, we didn't see the show at the Chocolate Factory. And I have no idea why Hector Ruiz mounted it in the first place. But my speculation --well, our speculation, Catherine's and mine-- is that it was a one-off hoot, and Ms. Potts is sadly mistaken if she believes that Mr. Ruiz believed that he would actually sell anything. That wasn't what the show was about. She is thick. And I doubt if even Mr. Ruiz sees the wonderful irony of him underlining the fact that nothing --not even Koons or Baselitz-- can sell on Grand Avenue.
People do not buy Schnabel, Koons, and Baselitz on Grand Avenue. They call up an art dealer in another part of town, or America, and make an appointment in a clean, well-lighted --and air-conditioned-- place of business, at a time of mutual convenience, safety, and also of convenient parking.
Ms. Potts thinks Mr. Ruiz is hard up. Help my poor wittle struggling artist friend. She seems to be unaware that Treg Bradley bought up most of Mr. Ruiz's Heard Museum show. Thirteen pieces. You can bet that's just the beginning of the synergy. The pieces will not reside in Mr. Bradley's home for at least two years, though Mr. Ruiz has already received his payment. The pieces will go on tour. This guy's got some momentum, and we bet he'll have air-conditioning by next summer.
Ms. Potts also seems to be unaware that the works in "The Secret Show" were not for sale. I first read about it in JAVA, which is not online, but this website has helpfully reprinted that article, written by Scott Andrews. (That's where I read about the sale, too.) In part, then:
He [Hector Ruiz] is putting up works owned by three local artists that want to remain anonymous --a different kind of collector. Pieces by luminaries Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons, and George Baselitz will be shown with works by newcomers [?!] Louis [he means Luis] Jimenez, Barry McGee and Espo. Hector is calling the exhibit “The Secret Show.”
So that pretty much flattens the notions behind Ms. Potts whole "review," doesn't it? Perhaps the pieces were for sale, but it doesn't sound like it, does it? Something she could have cleared up with a phone call or an email or a studio visit.
This is sloppy work. Her hand is as crude as that of Mr. Ruiz. She got hold of a very small idea, but an idea nonetheless --rare for these downtown art writers-- so she inflated it. It was completely mistaken, but so what? It was an idea: please don't make Hector Ruiz sell out. A dumb, crude idea. But that's what this city promotes and rewards --a heavy, crude hand-- whether it's blinding, stifling, smothering, or bludgeoning, it doesn't care, it just waves and waves, and says . . . "whatever." In the rusty-saw voice of The Rebarb.
Watch for the swing of its stupid black shadow, anyone out there who values the upright stance, the upward glance, and high standards in art and life.
Not to mention honest art reporting.
Now, to go baste a real turkey . . .
by Jerome du Bois
I read in the New Times local venue guide that the downtown art crew and the Valley poetry crew are banding together at the Paper Heart once again this year to present their silly criticism of commercial culture, apparently unconcerned at their own hypocrisy: that they are steeped in commercial culture themselves, and couldn't put on their shows without it.
Bad X-Mas Pageant. The 20th annual variety show features a thrashing of the holiday season by "a bunch of bummed-out artists." It features "terribly bad skits," plus yearly faves like "A Star Trek Christmas," "Christ Climbed Down," "The Policeman Is Your Friend," and "Rudolph the Tourette Syndrome Reindeer." New this year is "I Hate Tele Tubies." Artists scheduled to participate include Jack Evans, Tracy Thomas, Annie Lopez, Ralph Cordova, Steve Gompf, The Klute, Leslie Barton, TRISH(justtrish), Jeff Falk, Scott Sanders, Peter Petrisko, HAIKU Road, Stef Brewer, and Bill Campana. For mature audiences only. Dec. 3, 8 p.m., $5
Twenty years they've been flogging this thing --who uses "bummed-out" anymore?-- and nobody, until now, has questioned or interrupted their monotologue. The commercialization of Christmas! It's old, old, old.
A more contemporary take might be The Muslim Follies, with a prize for best skit: a forehead-activated prayer rug buzzer. The Follies might include such gems as "The Invisible Burka," "Taqiyya For Granted," "Muslim Women Just Have Bad Hair, That's All," and "Ramadanadingdong."
I'm in a holiday mood.
The Scapegoat, by Catherine King. (2002/2005, in progress. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.) Acrylic and modeling paste on plywood. [Catherine used only mascara brushes as her instruments for creating this artwork. Big detail here.]
by Jerome du Bois
This year marks the 100th anniversary of that persistently pernicious Czarist concoction known as The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, a pestilential black gospel believed as gospel by millions of Muslims worldwide. I don't mean Islamofascist jihadists; I mean the falafel vendor in Cairo, the moneychanger in Damascus, the restaurant owner in Samarra, the machete sharpener in Banda Ache, the imam in Copenhagen, the bookseller in London, the doctor --the high-school teacher --the hookah-bar owner-- in Phoenix, Arizona.
The others who believed and believe The Protocols are statistically irrelevant, though socially significant: Sergei Nilus, the Czarist mystic who first copped the Protocols for a chapter of his book, or Boris Brasol, or George Shanks, the first translators of that poison flower into English. Or Henry Ford, the American Johnny Poisonseed of the Protocols, broadcasting edition after edition for years. And Louis Ray Beam, Jr., American neo-Nazi, evil godfather of "leaderless resistance," and a pioneer of antisemitic BBS systems. I piss on all their graves. (See also many of those featured in Mark Levin's new movie, "The Protocols of Zion.")
In another cultural climate in Phoenix, had we had the support, we would be finishing up by this time our multi-media installation based on the Protocols, which we began in 2002. It had three linked titles:
Strangers To Reason: The Poison Flower: Culprits Of The Protocols
For those interested, make the jump and I'll describe it to you. (And this one we're not giving away. All rights reserved here.)
Back in 2002, we began a large working drawing and collage, based on a winding timeline. This is the copy --vivid and urgent-- we attached to the lower right corner of the drawing in 2002:
IN 2002, MILLIONS BELIEVE A STUPID FORGERY
Make no mistake: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in all of its iterations and variations, is a fraud, a plagarized forgery, a vicious fiction.
The lurid first chapter --a gathering of dark men in a deserted Swiss cemetery in the middle of the night-- for a business meeting-- should have given even the dimmest of wits a clue that we are in fantasyland. But millions of people believe it. See the flags? [Referring to all the national flags in the drawing.]
It doesn't seem to matter that ten dozen articles and at least four books, one just published in 2002, decisively debunk this ridiculous curiosity, or that this debunking began almost as soon as the damned thing was published. Millions of people believe it.
In their heads, in burnt-black rooms in the back of their heads, reason is impotent. A,B, and C don't matter. Lay out all the A-jay, squared-away arguments in the arsenal of logic; sorry, the roar in their heads drowns you out.
The history of the Protocols reveals greasy, heartless aspects of us: humanity has no bottom; hatred obliterates everything; reality is less important than fear.
Most of us will never feel these dark things, much less live them; and for the millions who do, for all you culprits who feed the roar in your heads --including seventeen percent of Americans-- now hear this:
You've burned your ticket. You don't matter anymore --to history, to the human conversation, to the future. Human beings have left you behind. Don't bother trying to catch up.
Then we did research to trace the lineage of The Protocols, making the unearthing and publishing of names paramount. (See The Importance Of Naming Culprits of the Protocols.) Real, actual, individual people invented, promoted, and propagated, and still propagate, this filth. One aspect of our project was to find as many names --publishers, promoters, leaders of student groups, imams, spokespeople for political organizations, authors, lecturers, teachers --the names of persons: the Culprits-- as many as we could collect until 2005.
The names were the core of the piece.
Now, imagine an open, three-walled exhibition space with a ceiling, everything clean and white; wooden floor. The installation has four elements:
1. The Doormats. Copies of the Protocols in many many languages have been taken apart, the pages set side by side, and laminated with clear thick plastic. Each page has a green X on it. These doormats run in a straight path to the center of the room, where they form a circle on the floor. They are meant to be walked on, and in fact there are more doormats lined up against the walls under the other parts of the installation. Arabic, dialects of Arabic, German, English, Japanese . . . every language but Hebrew and Yiddish.
2. The Green Wall, the Woman, and the World. Standing against the far wall is a foot-thick green false wall just slightly smaller than the wall itself. It is pierced by hundreds of holes, 3 to 6 inches in diameter, and covered with black speaker cloth. Voices, sounds, and music emanate from these holes. (Not loudly; one must lean close to each opening. More on these below.)
A green swirl of cast plastic rises from the top of the green wall like smoke, and coalesces on the ceiling into the form of a giant green gowned woman floating near the ceiling at the center of the room. (A 3D model based on Catherine King.) The woman is reaching down with her right hand and grasping the stalk of an ugly, prickly purple flower, whose thousands of tenacious roots overwhelm the Earth, a detailed relief globe suspended in the exact middle of the room, directly over the circle of Doormats. The root system is not random; they divide and divide until tendrils disappear in the exact locations where the Protocols thrive.
3. The Poison Flower. On the left wall is mounted a six-by-twelve foot electronic screen, framed in purple and touch-sensitive. It is basically a sophisticated development of the timeline drawing, showing the snakelike purple stalk (drawn by Catherine King) growing and branching from left to right, from circa 1905 to circa 2005. All the culprits we could find will be named and/or pictured there, at the moment they surfaced as promoters of the Protocols. Press the name for a pop-up window describing the person's part in keeping the Poison Flower alive; links within the window will pop up windows in other parts of the Flower, showing the flow of its poisonous sap.
4. Strangers To Reason. On the opposite wall: Another six-by-twelve foot screen, framed in purple, but not touch-sensitive. This is simply a well-defined outline of a spread-out world map, in muted lavender, magenta, and purple, every known border clean, country names neatly labelled, as one sees in real Situation Rooms.
The screen is connected to a nearby computer-and-printer hookup. The computer's sytem is dedicated to monitoring hundreds of thousands of internet spiders and webbots, each with a single mission or question: Who is talking about the Protocols, when, and where? Chat rooms, blogs, jihadist sites, Aryan sites, anything they can legally intercept. As soon as a robot finds an answer, it sends the data back to the computer, which displays it, the printer prints it on continuous paper, and then the screen lights up with a color-coded dot. All of this in real time, and all being recorded. We anticipate, unfortunately, a lot of activity. Some of the dots will be displayed permanently: a booksite, for example, with the Protocols in its inventory (as, for example, Wal-Mart online was offering, until September 2004.)
Features include the ability to rerun the changing map displays under different conditions, and over selected spans of time. The color-coding refers to various categories of culprit, including anonymous chuckleheads from Skokie and the neo-hajis with their muj on in Paris, as well as imams in mosques in West Virginia and Michigan and on and on . . .
Now, let's track back to the Green Wall and its speakers. As we mentioned, each opening will play a continuous loop (which can be rewound with a button) of many parentheses --snatches, pieces, bits, schmatte-- of Jewish culture from circa 1900 until around 2005. Not just Einstein, Freud, and Marx (or even the Marx Brothers.) We mean everything from Klezmer music, to bits of Poconos comedy, to rabbi's tales, to diary excerpts of wartime survivors, to spoken recreations of articles by Fritz Gerlich and the Poison Kitchen, to testimonies of immigrants, to quotes from Holocaust survivors and Schindlerjuden, to music by the Gershwins, Rogers & Hammerstein, and every Tin Pan Alley Jew we could find. (Henry Ford said that "jazz was a Jewish invention." What a feckless fool. But the Jews can rip it up with the best of the rest. [Update: And when I say schmatte --originally "a rag or worthless thing"-- I certainly don't mean that; I mean ordinary voices, regular people.])
On the adjacent wall, next to The Poison Flower screen, hangs a large photo of the Green Wall, with numbers printed over the various openings, and a master list printed next to it showing what is playing where. Smaller, handheld versions of this piece, for the viewer's convenience, will be available to hand-carry around.
And that about covers our developed version of a crude drawing that began in 2002. Again, this isn't a giveaway idea. This is ours. We want to realize it.
As for Catherine King's Scapegoat, above: Although it applies here, it is part of another so-far-only-imaginary installation called Polytheism, a large section of which would be a looming, haunted room called Mecca's Cave Before Mohammed, filled with at least three hundred and sixty five gods, goddesses, and beings in between.
Ah, the good old days, before Islam ruined the world.
May all the true righteous ones, Jewish or not, who defend the defenseless and the innocent dead, live on, and on, until time without boundaries.
Glowing Embers. Silk chiffon and lace scarf by Catherine King, 2005. Photograph by Jerome du Bois. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.
by Jerome du Bois
In keeping with Phoenix Fashion Week, I present another hand-stitched creation from Catherine King.
"Glowing Embers" is a looong length --we put two worktables together-- of silk chiffon that Catherine dyed orange, and then sandwiched --hand-sewing, and picking up, every stitch-- between two equally long strips of black-rose lace. She then added black lace scallops and fringe at the ends.
I must say its magical; priestess vestments; [Pele's vestments, Catherine interjects;] it's got that touch. It's very thin, but looks spongy, and when you feel it, you expect it to be a little scratchy, with all the cross-hatched lace, but instead it feels . . . orange and spongy.
But nobody touches it except Catherine and I, though thousands will see it soon.
by Jerome du Bois
It's Phoenix Fashion Week in town, and the website of Labelhorde, one of the main sponsors of the event, has been suspended, for the second time in two months. Bad timing. Bad example. Bad management? (Their latest blogspot entry is November 7th.)
The Fashion Ball took place on Saturday, November 12, but no trace of it exists yet on the internet, even though a website devoted to the Week is already in place. The Art Institute of Phoenix, the other main sponsor of the Week, offers degrees in thirteen areas. Of these thirteen, seven are devoted to computers, electronic media, and/or interactivity. (Not to mention Angela Johnson's so-called speciality, Fashion Marketing.) And yet no one has thought to post photos or to create a true blog --dynamically updated, with photos, video, podcasting-- just for the Week.
The same (no)thing happened with Artlink's Wearable Art Auction. I just did another internet search. Nada. Down the rabbit hole. The Artlink discussion forum is now reduced to basically an apartment- and gallery-search bulletin board. Real dynamic. Nothing about the Auction, nor the busted Juried Exhibition, for that matter.
[Update 5:30 PM: the Juried Exhibition will now supposedly take place from November 28 to December 9, at the Phoenix City Hall.]
It's as if, if you weren't there, they don't care. Nothing exists outside their coterie. Now, I know we're not missing much, since nothing --nothing stunning, anyway-- exists inside their coterie. But it's a matter of fashion marketing, idnit?
It will be interesting to see if YES, the Friday Az Republic fashion insert, will cover the Ball and the Week itself. They didn't bother with the Wearable Art Auction, after all.
Catherine looks up from her sewing to say, "For YES not to cover Phoenix Fashion Week would be like Richard Nilsen not covering the last two Arizona Biennials --unthinkable!"
[UPDATE 11/16/05: The Labelhorde site is now up again, with two little windows touting the 3rd Annual Fashion Ball. But the two little windows don't open anywhere: no photos, no summary, no nothing but how great it was. Fashion marketing at its best. Sign us up!
We guess you had to be there.]
by Jerome du Bois
Recent postings, and the Portraits of Catherine, and the rabid reactions to both, prompt further musings. They may wander a little, but the points will be clear.
In a civilized world, clothes count. Even in a world at war --especially in this war, of individualism against collectivist Islamofascism-- we need to respect ourselves, to rise above ourselves, to refine ourselves, to distinguish ourselves from others.
Clothes --what you choose to drape your form with-- are psychological tells, semiotic codes defining degrees of agreement or divergence with a panoply of accepted looks, among many other things. (I once wore a religious habit, everywhere, for almost two years.) Clothes do make the public persona, and the pomo person of today has no discernible public style. It's a t-shirt herd, a khaki krowd of kitsch, a status-war babel of labels, dotted throughout the malls in a blendipeligo of blandness, indistinguishable from the mannequins, who seem to have more gravitas than those who behold them.
We don't look like that. We dress formally. You don't have to be rich to dress well --just smart. (Why pay retail?) It's a matter of choice. And when I posted a picture of Catherine in her newest beautiful dress, her own creation from the first stitch to the last, some local people couldn't let it go by. The envy got vicious. They began a peckin' party, a creep carnival, which just stopped last night, blog willing.
These people really are creeps, with their runny snuffling noses pressed up against the glass trying to come up with the most twisted, demeaning insult, their eyes like dirty fingers digging for details. Or barking at each other like hyenas about what happened to my finger, or what about the scar on my wrist?
All so very beside the point. Here's the lowdown, creeps: you can't handle our glamour. You have the style and lifestyle of naked mole rats, all looking like each other and feeding each other the same old manure. Every succeeding picture in my continuing series of Portraits of Catherine burns your eyes, as it should. No wonder some troll tried to twist the first one, and no surprise that it backfired on a lot of people.
Some of you can't handle the sight of such beauty, confidence, defiance, strength, mystery, glamour, and power --psychological power over every one of your weak wills-- not to mention such a masterly grasp of art and fashion history.
"Fashion and art are in love today," Catherine says. "In this series, we work at the crossroads where these two meet."
We're not the only ones: Yinka Shonibare, Isaac Julien, and Matthew Barney, for three quick examples, all pay close attention to the smallest details of fashion. McDermott and McGough take it about as far as you can, as living portable time machines. We don't go to such extremes --these bland days, we only appear eccentric --and besides, we're all about the future.
The digital net future. Which reminds me to remind viewers that we just point, focus, and click the camera; no jigging around, no Photoshopping, no special lights, no elaborate props. Why would we do that? You're looking at a blooming, ongoing life in natural light. (We are literally Outsider Artists.) We have better things to do than make some geek shutterbug more comfortable. We have lives to live, and we know the limitations of computer resolution. (And we've also seen what passes for so-called art photography --Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmanns, Fischl & Weiss . . .) Plus, we're doing more, here --really using the medium.
Portraits of Catherine is an ongoing digital artwork, extended in space and time for an indefinite period, and includes the postings which collect and will collect around it. As far as we know, nobody else is doing this kind of thing. Except Catherine. Almost two years ago, for several months, she ran a blog called Tin Flame™ --dedicated to unreeling her first-person narratives of the ghostly and the uncanny; narratives featuring embedded photos, pop-ups, and slideshows as one went along. Almost nobody noticed. (Too busy with da comix, maybe.)
When we first conceived the idea of a set of photos of Catherine in her ensembles, we were just going to gang them up in a giant grid and call it Surviving With A Vengeance. Portraits of Catherine extends the idea into four dimensions instead of two; a distinct, and 21st Century, development. Future art now.
(It's easy to reconceive this piece itself, when it's done, back onto a two-dimensional surface, as a large, touch-activated screen, showing all the photos, glowing from behind, and buttons near the ones with narratives, which could be popped-up, read, and then collapsed again.)
We're nobody special. But not long after we met, we developed a reminder to each other:
We should be dead by now.
The lives we had behind us . . . especially Catherine.
There is a long, long list of local people --in Phoenix, in the Valley-- who have, in one way or another, and up until very recently, tried to destroy Catherine King. You know who you are. Look, you sonsofbitches, you bitchesofbitches: IT DIDN'T WORK! Catherine King, now stronger than ever, survives with a vengeance, and keeps growing and developing her body of work, her glamour, and her multiple talents. (At this moment she is hand-sewing "Glowing Embers," a very very long orange (which she dyed herself) silk chiffon scarf, covered on both sides with black lace, and long black fringe on both ends.)
One reason I champion her, and even post the vulnerable photographs, is because, as I have said before, her behavior is worth emulating. This woman is a survivor --but how many survivors land on their feet with a flourish and flute of champagne in their hand? As a human, as a woman, as an American, as an American woman --people in all those categories could learn a lot from the lifelong example of Catherine King, who is stand-up woman all the way. And people will learn if they keep up with the series. (The rest know where their familiar spider holes await.)
We should be dead by now.
But we overcame much. So now, as we live and breathe and work, we will do it all with deep style.
And we won't bend to bullying mediocrity. This thing about my stick in the Phoenix Art Museum was about social control and insurance lawyers. To hell with them both. Those cowboy artists should collaborate on a big bovine bronze longhorn called Cash Cow. Dedicated to Jim Ballinger.
When we went to the Brad Kahlhamer show at SMoCA, and Catherine tried to take a digital snapshot, one of the curlycords stepped in and said it was forbidden; against museum policy. Of course, it's absurd, and absurd to tick off the obvious reasons why. It's about channeling museum visitors into quiet docility --for insurance purposes. They're welcome to that chilly environment.
And by the way, aren't the SMoCA officials worried that Bruce Nauseating's sadistically repetitive Violent Incident might provoke a violent incident? I guess not. Richard Nilsen doesn't worry about it, either. Just step around the blood.
* * * * *
Back to fashion. Often when we go out in the world, complete strangers believe that it's socially permissible to ask us, "Why are you so dressed up? Where are you going? Where have you been?"
They don't reflect that we do not intrude on them with, "Why are you dressed for volleyball in a place of business?"
Or, "Why do you dress like Carrot Top's unstylish brother?"
Or, "I can see you know Dress Barn by heart."
Or, "Why does a grown man wear big baggy shorts?"
We don't ask. We don't have to ask, because we know that they want to hide in perpetual adolescence, among the crowd.
Not us grown-ups. We stand out from the crowd, and we're proud of it. We love to style. We've earned it. And that bugs the daylights out of the clones and drones.
by Jerome du Bois
After the pseudopoet who calls himself something like The Hoot started a creepy stalk of our blog, I've dropped in from time to time.
In recent comments on The Hoot's parasitic pseudo-blog, here's some bozo called bill campana:
hey, jerome, are you reading this? i don't know you from adam but had you not started shitting on the phoenix art community in your blog of tears, we livejournal cretins would not be clicking on the links that lead us into you're dream world.
It is you and the other cretins (thanks for acknowledging your aesthetic-biological status) who embody Wim Delvoye's Cloaca --your dream world. We stand by every single word and photo (of the real world out there, bill) of our criticism of the Phoenix arts community. Nobody has ever refuted a single fact we have posted: Not Kimber Lanning, not Shari Bombeck, not Michael Hudson, not Phil Jones, not Beatrice Moore, not Amy Young, not Wayne Rainey, not nobody. Anytime anybody emails us, it's handwaving. Nothing specific.
We stand for standards. The rest of you, as we have posted, stand for skankiness. Live with it.
i have to say that i've never before seen a hammer used as a veil.
I have to say that you are an uneducated man, bill. If you had any background in art or iconic history --without all the Francophilic coprophagia that followed-- you would see that every portrait of Catherine so far has been as if a series of windows had lined up, down through the halls of time-- not all of them, just selected ones-- selected by Catherine and her access to the Concourse, the Great Heap of Images-- and then presented as a hieratic palimpsest, as in Assyrian and Egyptian art, but also accessing pagan traditions, heraldic coats of arms, the Greek Khouri, Francisco Goya, and fifty years of fashion photography.
You, bill, exemplify the flat-footed, literal, unimaginative crew that accrues around you and The Hoot on this thread, and every thread that descends from that pseudo-blog like clingy spider webs. Why can't you go creep others?
we may be ugly but we don't hide our faces.
You may be ugly. Your call. Does your soul shine, though? We're beautiful, and we don't hide our faces. We stroll, we spin, we rock, we roll, we walk the walk we talk about. We are as free as uncaged birds. We just don't reproduce our faces on the internet. Clear it up any? Of course not.
And I'm not surprised I have to explain the stick thing to dhimmis. (Some dingaling on The Hoot's comments said something about the prohibition of tripods. Apples? Oranges? Anyone?)
As we walked into the Museum the two bruisers were right there to our left, thirty feet away. They saw us. They saw the stick. Are you kidding? Everybody saw us. For three seconds, not much happened but people looking at us as we strolled forward.
We advanced toward the Cowboy Art Show.
Nobody stopped us. Nobody approached us. Nobody called out "Sir, uh, sir--" Nobody said nothing.
We went into the show. (Behind us shuffled an elderly couple, the man leaning occasionally on his cane. All around us, people had their hands free to, say, topple a small marble, or grab a gilted canvas and smash it over a small marble.) Then came the pencil-neck kid with the message:
They had . . . concerns . . . about the . . . uh . . . uhhh . . . d'you need that . . . uh . . . for walking?
People, people, people. It is important not to bend these days. It is important to us to maintain dignity and the high ground. So we left. We made not a ripple. We didn't demand to see Brady Roberts or Jim Ballinger, or even Dennita Sewell, who we do not respect as an arbiter of fashion. Yet this fool The Hoot complains about our behavior.
i'm sorry you can't get along the other kids on the playground.
You silly person, bill. I am fifty-six years old. I am an adult. Your choice of image is telling. You should read deeper into our archives. We do not care a whit about getting along with any of you. We don't want to. Look at yourselves, wallowing in self-humilation and cartoon surrealism and a vampiric network run by power-hungry but bootless boosters like Michael23.
From the beginning, we defended high standards for creating and presenting art. We still do.
But everybody else wants the sideshow. Well, now they've got it. We move on. I'll post a million pictures of my beautiful wife if I want to. We'll kick the ass of the downtown Phoenix art scene as long as it pleases us. And not a single one of you can do a damned thing about it. And that's what makes you seethe.
People like The Hoot and bill campana have to go to cubicle-type jobs, or delivery jobs, where the screwups of others squeeze their shoes, and supervisors determine whether they get paychecks or not. Boo-hoo-hoo. Between those poor wage slaves, and Catherine and I, who are beyond such obligations, who do you think is more free, and who do you think seethes with envy against who?
[Finally: What's that fire on the horizon? Let's see: Wearable Art Auction --NO, that didn't happend-- 9th Annual Juried Art Exhibition --UH,DELAYED-- so could it be . . . bring me my binoculars, darling . . . yes, I see it: Art Detour's kite going down in March 2006. It could be. Could Artlink be doomed? Now, that would be sweet justice.]
oh well, maybe in the next life.
Oh. Sorry, bill, I forgot you were there. You may go now. And, about your next life. You don't want to know about it. Just remember the phrase, "Don't make waves, don't make waves," as you stand knee-deep in the Cloaca Riviera.
Catherine's and my future, in the meantime, will be too glorious for you to behold, and so it is withheld.
UPDATE: And remember, we never asked any of you to come around or comment on our lives or our blog. You, klute, started this with a single nasty remark. I don't care how many people testify to how nice you are. You were nasty to us from the get-go, so don't get all whiny when we respond. Now you kids can go back to your playgrounds and poetry slams. And be sure not to mention a word, as you go, about Artlink's troubles. Vamos bien! Everything's fine!
FINAL UPDATE (11/12/05): For the record, the klute has decided to stop trying to slam us, something he should have thought of before his first stupid comment. And he'll take all his sycophantic trolls along with him. Good riddance. There are important questions about Arizona and art and the future --not to mention fashion-- and we will continue to address them --four more topics he and his crew do their best to avoid. Wankers.
"My very best for those who gave their all."
Flower Arrangement and Photography by Catherine King.
A tribute by Jerome du Bois here.
by Jerome du Bois
We were implicitly ejected from the Phoenix Art Museum today, just as we began to survey the Cowboy Art Show, because I would not surrender my stick. This stick. (Photograph by Catherine King.)
I carry the stick for self-defense, and for style. I have good reasons for both. I face the day well-protected, always, to keep Catherine and I safe and flourishing, as we're doing now; and I'll dress to the nines because I respect myself, because every day is unrepeatable, because I want to keep up with my beautiful wife, and because . . . why not style?
We were three paintings into the cowboy exhibition when this pencil-neck kid comes up and says something about his boss wanting to talk to me about the stick --like, did I need it for walking?
My first impulse, of course, which I suppressed, of course, was to say, "No, but you're going to if you try to take it away from me." I'm just too damned well-bred to be so rude.
We don't make scenes; so we turned around, Catherine in the Cosmic Western outfit you see below --pioneer skirt and all, holding a multicolored, embroidered and sequined, Plains Indians-style clutch-- and myself in long black frock coat, black Western jeans, black vest, and black cowboy boots. The Man From Tombstone. The only color was a purple-and-orange shirt and a striped orange necktie. Our long silver-grey hair flying free. We looked like we stepped out of what one of the paintings on the wall wanted to be.
As we made our way down the short hallway to the exit, two well-dressed bruisers with matching maroon uniforms and curlycords coming out their ears were approaching us. They looked like they could throw a Damien Hirst bronze fifty yards. I said, "We're leaving," as we strolled by them. One guy says, "Have a good day, sir."
We'll have plenty of good days. But after thirty years of visiting the Phoenix Art Museum, you've seen the last of us.
UPDATE: Message for the visiting livejournal cretins: crawl back down into your creepy spidey holes; you really look ugly up here in the light.
Styling by Catherine King. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form. All clothing and accessories and styling by the model.
Styling by Catherine King. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All clothes and accessories supplied by the model. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form unless you want a lot of trouble.
by Jerome du Bois
Our hard drive crashed and we had to take the baby to the computer hospital. Pacing, pacing, pacing; weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Eight days offline, I think; we done wore our elbows down to the bone with worry. But now we're back, in better shape than ever, more secure than ever.
We got a lot done, which we will posting about in the days to come. New art by me, new fashion by Catherine, and articles we have both been working on, about Sn*ff Art (by Catherine) and Islam (by me.) We have held off posting our new New Mango stuff until the Floridians, our main readers of the novel, have all gotten back on their feet from the effects of Wilma. On Friday we'll be posting three new sections, all very street.
We've been working on fashion. We'll be starting a new sidebar called "Portraits of Catherine." The next one in the series will be the post just above this one, "Western Woman In French Jacket." We have three more portraits already web-ready, but we won't post them all at once.
By the way, the hive mind of envy may have realized one of their fever dreams and actually made some kind of public parody of my photographs of Catherine, or of us. Who knows? We got these two deranged emails on November First Friday, while we were offline --with about as much information as a helium heeheehee-- from some dingaling braying like a jackass without a single specific word about who, what, when, where, or how this exhibit existed. Or even if, which we doubt. (We know the why, sadly. These tiny minds going around in their jerky circles . . . Message to chuckleheads: if we don't know about it, it's like the tree, the forest, nobody around --you put it together, geniuses.)
And continuing to speak of fashion, the Wearable Art Auction of 2005, sponsored by Shari Bombeck and Michael The Not-So-Magic Number and the other thumb-fingered flapdoodles at Artlink Phoenix, remains elusive. We cannot find a single image or reference that this highly-touted event ever took place on October 22 at Paper Heart Gallery (which is mum on it). Did it happen? What was the best outfit there? We ask both our friends and enemies. Among the emails we received during our hiatus, not one corrected us, not one directed us. We claim it didn't happen. If it did, show the world the pictures, Artlinkers. We challenge you. Email is open.
Damn! it's great to be back online.