October 24, 2007

Not By A Long Shot

by The Tears Of Things

This started out as a reply to a persistent droning firefly without no light that's been bumping ineptly around, but then it got more general. In the comments to the last posting, a blurb writer for the Phoenix New Times left a short quote-comment that got Catherine and I talking toward a long fruitful reply, way past the dimbulb commenter, and this is how it came out, distilled and summarized:

To JP:

Less suffering and better treatment for us all is among my goals.

That's you, writing to us, back on October 10. If you really believe that, why do you continue to plague us with your pseudo-intellectual elliptical crap? [The reader will have to look up the comment. We don't even want to copy it.] It would treat us with more respect and less suffering, that's for sure. And we believe that Catherine told you "so long," many days ago. Yet here you are, ignoring the admonition, with nothing to say, just as before.

If you're so concerned about heartlessness and evil, you should direct your finger-wagging nattering pseudo-moralizing at some of your bosses and colleagues at Phoenix New Times, including Amy Silvernman, Rick Barrs, Stephen Lemons, and the literal Fat Cats themselves, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Scumballs all, in our experience. But God forbid you bite those hands. Instead, you supinely write smileyface boilerplate blurbs for your masters --don't make waves-- cash your checks, and come after us, who are without doubt --and, in this cultural climate, with pride-- the most ostracized, friendless, outsider couple in this Valley in fifty years or more.

Everybody gets a pass but us. Every artist who celebrates misogyny or stinkiness or grinning death or cartoonish stupidity gets kudos and exhibitions and recognition and money. We're a different kind of artist, and we've wised up, and we get the way the angle is played, and you, whoever you are, are not the first to try to jab us with it.

Look above, fool. You don't even mention The Blessing Room. It's a real idea. You think we should give precedence to your quote --you didn't write it, after all, did you?-- over our beautiful, elegiac concept? Look inside, fool. It isn't a joke. Yet you skate right over it. What does that say about you, and those you serve? Let us save you the trouble of thinking: you're nothing much at all.

Your quote says, with tiresome repetition, that we should take it and take it and take it, and never be bitter or angry or sorrowful because then it might lead to evil, you shallow Julie Peterson who has probably never even had a life yet.

We don't take it.

We're done taking it.

We've been done taking it for four years.

And we're not done not taking it.

Not by a long shot.

In case y'all haven't noticed --which you have, to each other but not to us-- we've been dishing it out for over four years. Just last week, for the first time, we mentioned the "revered" print publisher Joe Segura, who has been around town for at least twenty-five years, and has had half that long to build up a big fat internet profile. Yet with our first mention, we climb near the top of his Google pages. If you bracket his name in quotation marks, for example, out of 1,550 citations, we're number 9. And we're not just there to gratuitously jab a thumb in his eye; we're there to point out his hypocrisy and his need to change his ways. Oh, yes, we do believe in black and white; we do believe in making value judgements. You know who we are. Oh yes, we're nobodies. Just ignore us. Go your way, sinking lower in the stink. But . . .

We're not done dishing it out.

No, not by a long shot.

Get used to it, you wankers.

Is this the best you've got?

Posted by Jerome at 05:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

The Inglis Proclamation II: The Blessing Room

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Color Plan of The Blessing Room, Oriented to True North. © 2007 by King & du Bois.

Ring them bells, St. Catherine, from the top of the room;
Ring them from the fortress for the lilies that bloom.
Oh, the lines are long, and the fighting is strong,
And they're breaking down the distance between right and wrong.

--Bob Dylan, 1989

by The Tears Of Things

We have noted with both amusement and disappointment that repeat visitors from the Heard Museum, The Smithsonian Institution and the local university --which have driven our sitemeter reading average up by minutes from where it was before-- these visitors make no comments about their reason for visiting-- the Loser Tribe piece and the Partnership for Innovation postings, respectively. And who are those happyheads from Happy Jack? Word's getting around, but not back to us. Cell phones chirp throughout the town in a circling chorus like trees full of gossiping starlings, but not for us.

Too bad for all. We would welcome a constructive conversation about, oh, to begin with, authenticity in making art, followed by a serious exploration of the importance of spirituality in art practice, the reality of evil, reverse racism, and building up the distance between right and wrong. And how about developing a consensus against misogyny? For starters. But in our dreams, for now.

For now, we bear witness to what we see, and testify to what we'd like to see. And everybody's got a problem with that. But it's their problem, idnit? Still, to soothe the nerves, to heal the soul, and to keep the local low-level sniggering evil away, we often burn sage, and savor its singular smoke --pungent and greasy, but not heavy at all, and seeming to change its tang, in turn, into earth, air, fire and water, again and again, smelling like what you'd smell at the throat of an eagle's neck if he'd let you get that close, the world condensed and fused into furry pale green leaves.

Sage . . . . On October 17, 2004 --over three years ago; has it really been that long?-- we published a sardonic piece about an imaginary art action inspired by a real anti-Satanic proclamation established by the Mayor and City Council of Inglis, Florida in 2002. One of our ideas was to combine the Proclamation with a burning Sage Censer bolted to the top of a van, which we would drive around the downtown Phoenix arts district, tossing rolled-up versions of the Proclamation at various venues, while the healing sage smoke would spread over all and bring them back to their senses.

It was a joke, obviously --we laughed, anyway-- but it had a painfully sincere heart. We really will stand up to evil, to rise above the miasma of the current culture, to reach for and celebrate the best within ourselves, and we don't think it's a sin to expect the same of others, especially in such testing times. So recently we got to (re)thinking about the whole concept again. It was also interesting technically: finding a way to combine the sage smoke with copies of the Proclamation, to soak the Proclamation in sage smoke. And we needed a more efficient way to distribute the good news. We thought. We brooded. We thought, What if we turned the notion inside out? What if, instead of taking the sage/Proclamation to the people, you bring the people to the blessing? What if . . . ?

* * * * *

The Inglis Proclamation II: The Blessing Room

The Blessing Room is a freestanding rectangular enclosed structure twenty feet on a side and ten feet high, with four seven-foot by five-foot open doorways centered on each side. It is designed to be used outside. Each doorway has a directional letter --N,E,W,S-- mounted above it, inside and out, and the Room is sited according to those cardinal points. The Room has a slightly peaked, four-sloped roof topped with a large black iron functional weathervane in the shape of a wingspread bald eagle which seems to hover above the scene. The Room is completely modular, made of fireproof thermoplastic, and rests on a hydraulic platform which can be raised, bisected, wheeled, and towed away after the Room performs its function.

The color scheme reproduced above is painted on the floor, ceiling, and roof of the Room, connected by the corresponding vertical bands painted on the walls, inside and out. The effect should be bright, sharp, hopeful, balanced, and life-affirming. In the center of the ceiling, below four circles cut in the cardinal points, hangs a ceiling fan with five large wooden blades carved into the shapes of eagle feathers. In the center of the floor, standing thirty inches high, is a shallow steel censer five feet in diameter, which can be equipped with either propane and pumice or real coals; a grill lays above this layout, and sage bundles are piled liberally all over the censer, sending up thick clouds of its smoke. Seven black electric fans are mounted on the edge of the censer, evenly spaced beginning at True North, randomly rotating about their bases, distributing sage smoke all around. Combined with the fan above, the effect sends smoke to the walls and out the doors. On the floor ringing the censer stand eight black aluminium buckets filled with colored sand corresponding to the colors on the floor. Nature sounds --birds, animals, the sounds of the four elements-- are continually piped in and looped from hidden speakers.

On each wall, at even intervals flanking the doorways, are mounted clear molded plastic paper holders, ten to a wall, each of which holds a bundle of Proclamations.

And here is the key point:

Visitors are invited to spend as much time as they want in the Room --they can even meditate up against the wall under chosen colors-- then take a sage-soaked Proclamation back as a blessing to their neighborhood. In this way, from whatever venue --outside The Heard or the Phoenix Art Museum, vacant ground downtown, SMoCA, dozens of possibilities-- visitors can seed goodness in an unpredictable but beautiful spreading of blessings from the central spawn of the Blessing Room.

The Room is supervised by the Sage Tender, who usually sits on a wooden chest at the South position, halfway between the doorway and the censer. The chest holds more sage bundles, more copies of the Proclamation, and small fire extinguishers. The Sage Tender holds a long oak rod with a grip device at the end to place and shift sage bundles. He or she regularly tends the censer, and replenishes the paper holders, and keeps the peace.

The Blessing Room should ideally be used four times a year, on the equinoxes and solstices. (A reasonable length of time for the blessed burning would be six to eight hours, either beginning at sunset or bracketing midnight, depending on the venue.) In these times, though, we could use blessings as often as we come across them, shouldn't we?

And this one is not a joke, it is a serious proposal.

Posted by Jerome at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 12, 2007

The Loser Tribe

You gotta face your face when the race fad fades. --JdB

by Jerome du Bois

[PREFACE: Back in December 2006 I followed Catherine, herself responding to a spirit of healing, to the Heard Museum downtown, for our first visit in many years. We were so enchanted, strengthened, and healed by everything except the so-called "contemporary art" exhibits that we returned three more times in the next month or so. We felt flanked by allies, alive and dead, allies who honored the holiness of the inventive human hand, allies against the dead hand of irony. We took hundreds of digital photographs, and Catherine spent a month writing up the first part of a two-part piece celebrating a venue free of irony and full of beauty, expertise, spirituality, talent, and respect for hard work, the human heart, human suffering, and imagination; Heard and Soul, it was called.

Ultimately, she decided to drop the definitive encompassing posting after Steve Yazzie rode in on his littleboy gocart, and she realized that the adminstration was setting up an equivalence between, say, "Life in a Cold Place" and Yazzie's escapades, or more relevantly, maybe, between Yazzie and the patriotic artists just down the hall from the main entrance. She worked for weeks on profusely illustrated, gushing reviews of Life in a Cold Place, the moccassin exhibit, and all the traditional galleries. But what with Yazzie, and Hector Ruiz and others, she thought, Why should I go to bat for these people? It's all the same to them. If they want to draw a level line between the crippled crudities of Hector Ruiz and the polished, proud panache of Peter Lind's 2002 Inuit hat, or Pootoogook Jaw's stone musician, created with a nail while in jail. . . . So Catherine scrapped it all. Now we have an extensive photo archive of a lot of the deep real stuff on display down there. At least that much can be said of Heard and Soul. . . .

And now, a necessary exercise in cultural pathology. Necessary to my peace of mind, anyway. If you saw a bunch of people spit in someone's face--your friend, the human being-- what would you do?]

Joe Baker seems determined to drive the Heard Museum's reputation right into the dry dusty ground of pomo-contempo art, plodding through this desert on the old grey mare of Indian identity even while denying that that's the nag he's riding. Catherine and I have already seen a couple of his curatorial efforts. This time he gets fifteen mixed-race-but-ya-gotta-be-part-Indian artists to collaborate with him on a series of extended insults to mature adult intelligence. That certainly doesn't make them unique on the art scene, local or national, but . . . I'll say it flat out: most of these artists wouldn't have art careers, or at least they wouldn't be in Baker's Rolodex, if they weren't part Indian. And back off, boogaloo, with the racist tag. What's at stake are true values --the value one places on qualities like excellence, expertise through training, and on respect --for oneself, for the history of art, for human dignity itself. Above all, what's at stake is the cost of life. If you feel that life is but a joke --as Joe Baker and these fifteen artists seem to feel-- then this gig is for you.

And let me give you the lowdown on the way Baker and Co. deal the racist three-card-monte: you'd think they can't have it both ways, but they do, at least with the crowd they've shucked down there. Consider the turgid title of the exhibition:

Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World

Let's take apart that strangulator and examine its components. "Remix" comes from early DJ culture --appropriation and sampling-- and the crucial element in those actions was respect for the original. Tip your brim, pay your respects, and don't distort the original beyond recognition. Nothing like that here. In fact, these artists insult Native American cultures from jump city, from the get-go. In fact, they insult everybody else except abject self-hating losers like them. I'll give details below.

"New Modernities" is either redundant or parodic. What would "old modernities" be? Or do you have to buy the catalog to find out? Not really; it's the oldest advertiser's trick ever: put "new" in your pitch, if not in your product. We spent our twenty bucks elsewhere.

"Post-Indian World." Here's where they want it both ways. They don't want to be stereotyped and "marginalized" as Indian artists, but they don't ever want you to forget that they're Indian artists. (Most especially on grant applications, hmmm?) Even today they will exploit a nonexistent racial barrier. Here's a quote from Joe Baker in a squib from a local rag:

“Why are indigenous artists not allowed to celebrate the present as other artists do? Why do we require of Native artists a myth or fantasy, an iconography?”

"Not allowed?" "Require"? And who is this "we" he speaks of? The white racist male hegemony monster of yore? Well, that's a straw man that doesn't exist. Any artist of any ethnicity can do anything nowadays, more's the pity, and exploit their bloodlines with mercenary grins, and Joe Baker damn well knows it. I'm surprised he isn't falling asleep in the middle of his tiresome monologue by now, so many times has he dragged this dead horse onto the Heard Museum stage, or any open mike he can find.

Hey, Loser Tribe, make up your minds: are you Indians, or Post-Indians, or Post-Non-Indians? Artists of Mixed Color? The Beige Ones? While you're ruminatiing, let's take a closer look at what you want to pawn off as art.

Anna Tsouhlarakis (of "Navajo/Greek heritage," we somehow need to know), provides the most appropriate example of the overall awfulness of what we are expected to endure.

She made a video called "Let's Dance," and you can't miss it, if you follow the music around the west, then north hallways, from the main atrium exhibition space. Projected on the wall, in a standard medium full-frame shot, you see two women, with too much fry bread in their pasts, on some gravelly rural area with green trees in the background --Skowhegan School in Maine, it turns out-- dressed for doing laundry in wrinkled t-shirts and sweat pants, flopping about like two beached whales to different ethnic musics --Irish jigs, Voodoo songs, with nearly no sync between their moves and the rhythm . . . and when we turned the corner they were just getting into "Respect," sung by Aretha Franklin, and Catherine stood there, compliantly composing herself, as promised. (But she whispered, "I see they really mean Neo-Respect"). This song is an angry call to defend female dignity, being a classic feminist anthem and battle cry. And here it was, being trashed by a feckless fool who has no music in her head, and who seemed not to care one tiny bit about the meaning behind the words. My God, I'm thinking, how many ways can you insult the whole human race with this international sampling of bellyflopping? Aren't there some Native American tribes who have carried forward intricate, strictly regulated dance moves and elaborate costumes, analogous to Navajo sand paintings? Anna T. spits on them, too.

To make this video she, like Steve Yazzi, got some residency thing going in Skowhagen --all the governmental privileges "allowed" Native Americans I simply don't have to hand right now, sorry-- so there she is in Maine and she has to do something to justify hanging out and being creative, being an artist.

She comes up with the idea of learning different dance moves before the camera. Oh! stop the gotdamn presses, originality is here! Like that hasn't be enacted by every parent and kid since the invention of 8mm film. So there the poor viewer stands for endless minutes, if he or she is a fool that is, while two fat women who couldn't even bother to dress up for the camera flounder their way through the riffs --without embarrassment, without even bothering to change their clothes between numbers. (Catherine says, "If they don't want their Fancy Dance dresses, I'll take them.")

And everybody signed off on it. They think it's great. They're proud of it. They even displayed it prominently in the front of the two rooms devoted to the exhibition. (The second room, on the other side of the educational rotunda, features three more videos --all snoozeworthy.)

Do I really have to list the insults in this thing? One I mention is that she takes the two oldest poetics of the human race --music and dance-- and grinds them down flat as piki. She honors nothing, sneers at beauty, and spits on all the trial and effort that evolved into, for example, the dancing, bobbing, spinning top of the Irish jig. It's not that she's blind or deaf or even stupid. She thinks she's doing just fine jamming together this whatever, rolling out of bed and right into the camera frame, start the music, flop flop flop. And we are supposed to not only accept this laziness as art, we are expected to stand obediently before it while it runs through its paces. It's beyond insulting.

We followed the vinyl line on the floor to the other exhibition room. By the way, I didn't take notes, so I don't have all the titles and media squared away, and I won't be covering every artwork. You're welcome. Nobody's paying me for writing this --I wasn't even going to, but it gnawed at me-- so you take what you get; I know what we saw.

Steve Yazzie's piece looks like a waterbed, a black frame mounted on a white platform, with a "quilt" of square-trimmed plastic hubcaps on top. At the headboard is mounted an active GPS screen of some kind. There's a long description of the piece, which we ignored. Oh, yeah, a ceiling-mounted projector beams some kind of images down onto the hubcaps. What does it mean? Should we have tried to figure it out on its terms? Here's what Yazzie said about it:

"I've come to terms with being in the middle and being mixed race," he said. "That's what my work for 'Remix' is all about."

I was going to guess that. The curators put this piece on the cover of the catalog. The glam factor? Clearly, Yazzie is being groomed, he's being positioned. But that doesn't make him any less of an egotistic weenie.

Forget the waterbed for a minute. One of the few virtues of Richard Nilsen's otherwise spaced-out preview of the show is that he did have access to the catalog, which the Heard probably sent to him gratis. (Poor man. What a difficult job he has.) Maybe he even talked to Yazzie in person, but the preview makes no distinction between the two, hence "spaced-out." In the preview we read this:

Yazzie, who just returned from London, says he has joined a new collective, called "Post Commodity," with Cherokee artist Kade Twist and video artist Nathan Young (Pawnee/Delaware/Kiowa).

"We went to the Czech Republic," Yazzie said, "and it was an interesting experience. We were near the border with Austria and doing an installation in a small village that had to do with border issues, like that the ones we have here with Mexican immigration and how the Tohono O'odham nation (straddles) the border in southern Arizona."

Questions of immigration and borders aren't just a U.S. issue, but something that resonates around the world.

Earlier in the article, we read this:

"We're looking for international exposure," Yazzie said, "so I don't think Santa Fe is going to work for me."

Yeah? Well, Steve, you sipping chocolate and nibbling sacher torte in Europe and calling it art isn't going to work for me. There aren't any political border issues between Austria and the Czech Republic. They're both members of the European Union. Citizens of both nations, and twenty-some others, are zipping back and forth every day, no problem. So your installation was both cosmetic and artificial, and all about the perfumed stink of Continental cachet. You should have been honest and called it a vacation.

It would have been a lot more real, a lot more challenging and even transgressive for you and your two buddies to foreground your installation in the other place you mentioned (you remember the Other, don't you, brother?): the borders between the US, the Tohono O'odham, and Mexico. A complicated firecracker nexus of three nations. Of course, it would have been hot and dirty and dangerous, with not a single good restaurant in a fifty-mile radius, and you three amigos would have probably got your asses handed to you by coyotes hustling illegals. . . . I picture you trying to explain to them that you're making Art, man! Ah, but it's just a dream. . . .

If I had the time and inclination I could tease out the contradictory threads between "international exposure" and "Post Commodity," but I won't, except to say their "collective" would be better named "Fort Commodity."

A sculpture near Yazzie's waterbed shows floating semitransparent animal forms, created from layering clear packing tape over taxidermy blanks and then removing the blanks. The artist, whoever it was, jammed and stacked the forms together so that they vaguely resemble smoky clouds rising from a campfire. Only there's no campfire --the artist should have stolen a fake one from Kade Twist-- and he or she shows no respect at all for animals. I'm long past any romantic stereotype of Indians showing any respect for Nature or its glorious abundance. They're just people, and this person takes a bad idea from Bruce Nauman and makes it worse. If he or she was trying to make smoke animals, ghost riders up into the sky, they failed miserably.

Catherine and I have great respect for signs, symbols, letters and other graphic forms; such concerns dominate both of our backgrounds. So, from the tiny photo in the paper, we were looking forward to Bernard Williams's floor-to-ceiling wall of black cutouts. Until we saw them, and saw how crudely, rudely, and haphazardly he or his crew jigsawed them out and threw them together. The horizontal lines separating the rows are made of tape, not even strip molding. Hell, the lazy bugger(s) didn't even paint the edges of the lousy cutouts. It could have been beautiful, in more careful and caring hands; the black shapes could have popped from the wall like shadows with their eyes open. But not here . . .

We peeked into the videos for about thirty seconds each. Somebody endless paddling a canoe towards you (is that Post-Indian?). Kade Twist's one-word projections, no artificial leg this time. Empty pretension. Yah yah yah. Comments: The most confirmed channel-changing couch potato knows far more about video --about how to catch a viewer's interest-- than these clumsy clods. But maybe it's more malicious than that. These artists must know that the ad people behind Geico and Sprint ("Bob, your shoe's untied") can think rings around and under and over them. These artists just haven't got the chops to compete. So, as with "Let's Dance," they don't even have to dare to be stupid, it's the norm, and the viewer is sentenced to endure whatever boring, ugly, or downright disgusting thing the artist comes up with. The mystery to me is why there aren't more money people who turn to the artists after seeing stuff like this and say, "Why do you make this crap?"

Finally, though we've covered Hector Ruiz before, it was mainly about his sculptures. In conversation, Catherine made some strong points I'd like to share about his two big prints for this show, by comparing them to some of the work of Germaine Arnaktauyok, which was nearby, under the same roof, but galaxies beyond his work in soul, talent, dedication, technique, and subject matter. Work like "Rough Ice," "Waiting In Silence," and "When There Is No Light." These stone prints cannot possibly be considered "traditional" or even "aboriginal," since Germaine's ancestors didn't do this kind of art. But many of their descendants still do live the way depicted in these prints. The waiting, the hunting, the dogs running . . . it's happening now. This art is thoroughly contemporary, and the artist can bring, out of stone, living wind, the various textures of snow, the difference between starlight and moonlight, and the subtle granular gradations of darkness.

Hector Ruiz just fills his space with whatever's on his mind in the crudest way possible; his stuff looks a lot like a lot of neoprimitives, even dead fools like Basquiat. His faces are made out of slashes, as if he wants to deface the world. "He's just an angry baby. He hasn't developed his art since he was four years old," was Catherine's judgment. "He hasn't bothered. It's hokey-folky tourist schlock." She's right, though the catalog tries to fob it off as "concerned with border images."

Well, why should he bother with beauty or excellence? Neither he, nor Yazzie, nor anybody we saw in this exhibition, walks in those paths. But look where their paths have led them: respectability, cachet, careers, money.

Why should they care about working your fingers down to the bone in the name of a transcendental truth? They laugh at you when you talk like that. But we're still going to talk like that.

Posted by Jerome at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 08, 2007

OL' EL'

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Nature Photography © 2007 by Catnerine King. Do not reproduce in any form.

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October 06, 2007

Morning Sun

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Fashion Photography © 2007 Jerome du Bois


. . . and your hair is all undone . . .
when the morning sun has come.

Posted by Jerome at 09:15 AM | TrackBack

October 02, 2007

Not To Be

by Jerome du Bois

Readers may have noticed, in our blunted correspondence with Dwight Walth, that he attaches a loud little template blurb at the end of every email, in caps:

THE ARTS MEAN BUSINESS IN PHOENIX!

Cleary the work of some PR genius. But it gave me the idea to add our own signature of departure to the outgoing emails, which Catherine appropriated from the evil Islamists:

WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.

We don't need the exclamation point.

So I used that when I sent out final emails about our Creative Capital / Partnership For Innovation piece to seven more members of said Partnership, most of whom also work at The Arizona Commission on the Arts. These people:

Gregory Sale, now back at ASU in some capacity (perhaps his career strategy is modeled on the yo-yo); Claire West (now at Ballet Arizona); Robert Booker (the Big Man at the Commission); Christopher Burawa; Casey Blake; Jill Tsukayama; and SMoCA's Susan Krane. As well as a final wave to Dwight Walth. All sent out last week, and the reader can guess the number of responses.

Zero.

But before the usual bozos begin their braying about how we're nobody and nobody cares and nobody reads us and what do you expect, the other readers, the readers who care about high standards for art and a positive image for humanity, might want to reflect on this refusal to engage in any debate about art and its official support.

Yes, my original piece was angry: I swore, and I called people names. Well? Grow up, you big babies. You don't want to know what people have called us for the last four years, with wearying consistency. I'm willing and ready to back up my epithets. Operators? Damn right. Operators are always looking out for their own narrow angle, and never for a greater good, or even any good at all unless it coincides with their interest, which is always the yoked pair of advancement and security. They bandy about the word initiative as if they had some, but it should turn to ashes in their mouths. All they do is try to think up new ways to skim public money (lottery, casinos), and gull the affluent to voluntarily create "arts support" organizations so they can dun the legislature for art money. You follow? Operators.

As I explained in the first piece, neither Catherine nor I had any notion for the longest time that the CC and the PFI had trashed us peremptorily in a single sentence. Well, I was going to take care of that in a short posting, but after I read the published report the piece opened up so that it wasn't about us. Instead, it raised the question:

Do the arts suffer in quality if they depend on public support?

And a related one:

Do art-school artists deserve public support just because they're art-school graduates?

And finally:

Do the arts suffer due to the uniformly abject and antihuman educational bent of teachers in arts institutions?

We still haven't got any answers from anybody about these questions.

All the officials have ignored us, but the commenters have focused on us. Actually, these outriders seemed obsessed with convincing us that we are nothing and nobody and everybody knows it. Wait--huh?

I began this piece yesterday morning, and that's when I wrote

the usual bozos begin their braying about how we're nobody and nobody cares and nobody reads us and what do you expect

--and lo and behold, last night we get a comment that expresses exactly that. You can read it in the last posting; I don't feel like copying it. The person --a pop-culture blurb writer for the Phoenix New Times-- ignores everything we've written in the last four postings on these questions and these people, and just goes on about how pathetic we are and how nobody agrees with us. Catherine said it best:

The belief that one can find the right words to open another heart is a forlorn one. Noble, but it's never gonna happen. It doesn't work that way. Haven't I written about this before? If there is anyone out there who believes that if only they could craft their statement the right way, custom-tailoring it to the specific learning styles of each and every individual . . . You need to be very carefull with how you spend your energy. And heed my warning: these unscrupulous characters would turn your desire to communicate and understand and use it against you.

Catherine also writes:

And you're going to have to stand up for yourself, because there won't be anyone else, except your significant other if you're blessed like me, to object to your shoddy treatment, but this in no way means you're wrong. It's the culture.

The blurb writer reveals her real agenda when she writes:

Whether you're mistaken is beside the point.

Because she doesn't give a damn about reason or policy or art, or standards or quality or dignity. That would require thinking on her part, and that's far beyond her capacity. She just wants to make sure that we know we're unpopular in this town.

You think she might be a little late to the venue? As if we don't already know that many arts people in this town wish we would just shut up and go away; further, they wish we just weren't here. But wishing won't make it so; it's not to be. That Lemonhead creep at the New Times actually wrote something about us "daring to show our faces in public." I'd like to see that fat ass try to stop us.

We've been running around this town long before these big fat babies were even born, and we'll keep on doing so for the foreseeable future, if the gods be willing. And we will not be silenced.

Posted by Jerome at 08:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Old Bell

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Nature Photography by Catherine King. Do not reproduce in any form.

Posted by Jerome at 04:39 AM | TrackBack