Here’s a new pixel painting that I started working on for the series A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle. It shows an image from 1950 of Gordon Basel lying beaten on the ground by fellow auto workers for refusing to admit whether he was or wasn’t a communist. The image is particularly brutal and echoes the paranoia of 1950’s McCarthyism which aimed to root out communism and destroy the unions and their ability to protect the middle class. This also paved the way for neoliberalism and the inevitable rise of the corporate elite which has plagued the American democratic process ever since. Interestingly I found this image in the book The Fifties and couldn’t find an image of it on the internet.
Monthly Archives: March 2014
A History of Progress, Violence and the Modern Spectacle: Crusade Against Communism, Sock Then Ask (Basil Gordon Being Beaten For Refusing To Tell Fellow Auto Workers Whether He Was A Communist, July 1950
Here’s a good Mike Kelley quote that I found about art and entertainment.
I truly believe in the difference between art and life because I think art is political and thus it has to be symbolically separated from daily life otherwise it has no meaning. That’s why I disagree with (Alan) Kaprow because I think the less you separate life and art it doesn’t imply conscious motivation and thus it doesn’t imply will and thus it doesn’t imply resistance. And art is the only arena left in American culture in which difference is tolerated. I mean, I don’t even think it exists in politics, so I really think it’s the last vestigial. What scares me about contemporary art is the merging of it with the entertainment industry because once the entertainment industry can produce fake resistance then you don’t have a real resistance. So I’m against the idea of art being subsumed either by the political sphere or into the entertainment sphere. I think it has to be a separate social entity.
Here’s a small sculpture that I made last week called Elevator Pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second short summary of who you are and what you do that you’re supposed to be able to rattle off to someone at a moments notice in order to impress and elicit interest. The title actually comes from a misunderstanding; I heard a friend mention it in a podcast and for a brief second thought he meant the sound frequency of an elevator. This particular sculpture is a 4″x4″ piece of balsa wood that I painted with Future Living Project white. I painted the underside a bright orange and elevated it with a small spacer to create the illusion of a glowing light underneath. It’s actually hard to see and I originally wanted the space underneath to be smaller but the effect didn’t work so I raised it a little bit. This particular image has been altered to enhance the orange glow. I did this by isolating the shadow underneath, shifting it’s color to orange, saturating it and then adding it back into the original image. I usually photograph my sculptures on a grey backdrop but for this one I had to use white paper in order to come anywhere close to achieving an orange glow.
Here’s a small sculpture that I made at the beginning of February called Useless Machine. I made it out of 1/8″ balsa wood by first cutting two 1/4″x 5″ strips and spray soaking them with Windex which has ammonia in it and breaks down the cell walls for easy bending. After repeatedly bending them I clamped them to a bottle and let them dry overnight. In the morning I unclamped them and glued the two sides together. After it finished drying I sanded it, wood-filled it and sanded it again before painting it.
“They are useless because unlike other machines they do not produce goods for material consumption, they do not eliminate labour, nor do they increase capital.”
The design for the sculpture comes from Dieter Rams‘ design for a record platter cover. I originally wanted 3 rings but, after doing some experiments, found that it would be impossible to get them to look the way that I want them to.