Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The circulation of extreme metal identities about financialized culture is nothing surprising (as if any identity resists circulation…). These identities have been parasited by capital since their inception: Thurston Moore's bootleg 7" capturing Venom's stage-banter being a first-wave example of this, ossifying a highly circulated joke-tape among america's hardcore punk circles––the recording was made by a Black Flag crony when the band opened up for Venom in '86––into a saleable piece of wax for Moore's boutique "indie" label, Ecstatic Peace. Harmony Korine's use of Mystifier and Nifelheim as a score for his Dogpatch cum mondo-fashion ad, Gummo, is a prime example of the second wave, oedipally reprimanding all soon-to-be Vice readers for not matching their Darkthrone tees and homemade Slayer tattoos with red & black flannel or ironic mustaches. Furthermore that the identities associated with metal can be traced to the origin of KISS's merchandising empire goes to show how available such a subjective posture is to consumer docility and the agency of abject accumulation (merch hoarders, etc.).
So what happens when someone whose identity hinges on the cathexis with such consumer tropes decides to make contemporary art? Well, the last few decades brought us a taste in the guise of Matthew Barney. But now we are provided with a full-on feast thanks to Lionel Maunz's current show at Bureau, "Wail Eternal Scorn of Geologic." That I mentioned Barney is no coincidence, Maunz draws heavily from Barney's output as a sculptor and draughtsman, yet inauspiciously avoids the abject-baiting performativity that is the core of Barney's lionized practice. Instead, Maunz's sculptural work comes across like stage dressings for a concert (excuse me, "ritual") where even the scheduled acts don't even show up, sculptures that make one wish more people had taken to heart Michael Fried's foreswearings against theatricality.
The drawings fare better, perhaps solely on the merit that their physical encroachment on reality is limited to the virtual surfaces of the picture-plane. A mix of the mystical hoo-haw not only of Barney but also of wackos like Paul Laffoley or Stanislav Szukalski with the refined pencilwork of plagarized-by-Quorthon illustrator, Jos A. Smith. Within these works Maunz more convincingly illustrates the corporeal mysteries that are the emotional core of most "extreme" culture, offering the viewer schematic prompts to "Fornicate the Pyramid of Being" or that "Paradise lies in the shadow of swords," or no doubt other carnal mysteries to ambiguously seize.
Yet it is these very corporeal obsessions of extreme metal, the dasein of the mortuary, that provide it with a self-aware agency in the face of limitless capital; that the ecstatic limit of mortal life is offered as a bitter riposte to Empire's enforced paradise of self. For a cultural knowledge that began within the logic of consumer goods whose preordained obsolescence effects an inevitable death (picture if you will a cheap product gaining sentience only to remark, "only death is real") upon their objective livelihood, being asked to "Fornicate the Pyramid of Being" isn't a half-bad notion.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Josh Kline, Stuff, 2010, Mixed Media
At the confluence of tenuously held real estate, fractured subjectivities, and contaminated wares one finds the recent group show at White Columns. No need to go into the details, all the moes who read this blog know it all anyway... So where to really start then? The collective vibe is thick but the butter is weak, especially when it replaces canvases—oh soap :(... In all frankness it feels like walking into a party where several good friends are lost in social haze rich with snooze, people droning off about celebrities you don't care about, food no one eats, viral vids, career outlook, etc. No, I don't want a cocktail; no, I don't read New York Magazine; no, I grew up without electricity. The chicanery of appropriated banality fails to cease being pulled from its quotidian mores, rather the dullness of lower manhattan's street commerce finds itself dumped into the flabby sac of air that epitomizes the lugubrity particular to new york's non-for-profits. Might as well buy a house in bergen county and get on with your ever-constricting Weltschmertz. Here I wrote you a poem:
Your youth is over
wasted on these wildless streets
woe is you even though you
will say woe is me.
Yes I'm the bitter dick,
ye olde Ragged Dick
savoring plastic water
tossed from a party window.
Hark! From that end of the spectrum,
do I swallow?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
while we here at AO are slowly warming up to the idea of publishing art criticism about less obvious targets, the tired, formless faces of the subhumans dragging tired repressed facebook bodies in the streets of the metropolis and the accumulation of increasingly decadent forms of cultural blasphemies reminds us that the finest dish one finds when out for free thrills on a Thursday night at the New Museum is not dumplings or void discursivity—although one surely finds a lot of that—it is PURE HATRED. There is nothing like the NuMu to stir up and actualize deeply held heartfelt monarchist convictions...
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Digging into the still unsettled soil of the 1990's, Algus pulls out another corpse for display. Is it a martyr or just a bad painter? or both ;-) From AO's recent on-site investigation we have concluded that, for reasons that escape us, no one cares. Is there a lacking alchemical essence, No solve et coagula that heats the seat of so many doe-eyed art critics? Yet what's on view is certainly worthy a glance. Most notably for its inverted take on art's lingering monographic obsessions as Hohn––himself facing the reaper's sickle––imagines gerhard richter's early death so as to piss on the old fart's heteronormative grave. The intricate Nachträglichkeit of being German has never before been so felt (or maybe it has, but only by Annette Schwarz), praise god, hail satan!
Hohn's frank statements, sometimes painted atop an "anal" wash or backdrop, elicit a train of connotations and ponderings; it's not hard to finish the punch line, follow the trail of urine and dook into whipsy hazes of knowing ineptitude. These works demand to be taken as a collection of ironic one-liners, despite all appearances of this work falling in line with recent Teutons' adorable criticality. They are total performative acts of painterly sacriledge, of singing heavy metal like a "faggot", of sodomizing aristocrats with a sunday painter's easel. An aptitude of cultivated insensitivity, shamelessly diving headlong into overdetermined painterly rough trades, as in Tan Enamel, 1993, a large canvas from a series in which abstraction is equated with abjection, where these works' alchemy is lead into gold but gold into excrement. Hohn's staged blasphemes of painted desecration and belligerent commentary both swap the painter's studio for a body whose sickness is an outrage––figuring a painting that is an explicit act of protest against the hegemonic valuations of a politically indifferent elite; confronting the viewer with the hazards of art and its miraculous potential––an alchemy created by the adversarial coupling of its basest material.