Criptic Critic Conscience and Known for it

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Simon Denny's "The Personal Effects of Kim Dot Com" discussion continued.

Just caught up with your beginnings of a discussion on the Denny show at the Adam... maybe you could tag me so I can find it...

Your ideas are spot on... and the vitriol history from/with Christina Barton = extraordinary.
Recently at Te Papa's talk re the 'collection only show' - "Framing the Museum" Tina and I had a quick chat. I said I thought the endless (read mass produced) images of the many Banks and other items in the KDC/Denny List show - replete with endless logos and cut and pasted together imagery mainly issuing from said Bank's PR/ Advertising - was "a fetishisation and commodification of the fact of the items on the list" Tina responded very defensively "well that's you isn't it" ... end of discussion.

I thought I had made a reasonable and pertinent point, not laced with green eyed envy - simply stated the fact that in adding new elements to the core LIST - it took the purity of the show idea... THE LIST of seized items from KDC's home by NZ authorities - at the behest of the American government via some alledged arm twisting by Hollywood vested interests... simply exposed and highlighted... took it to another place altogether... and yes I agree with you it made product... to sell and to fling around at Venice. Worse was that Denny/ Barton had engaged so called street artists to make mock KDC versions of their art that once adorned KDC's walls... but again they went on with this idea and had them spray over the A1 sized new commodities mentioned above AND in some places all over the walls...

This then comes across as almost desperate... that in not being content with THE LIST itself Denny (et al) had to keep adding more stuff and more stuff... weakening the raw power of the THE LIST.
During Denny's talk (assisted by the new ring in (paid) art adviser Nicky Hager... was that really Hager up there on stage.... saying "I have never written about and know little about KDC" - Yes it was... (another add on when one is not feeling very secure me thinks) I asked Denny "Why is it you are so coy about using the word 'political' in and around this show... when, given the whakapapa of THE LIST, one multi billion dollar (PA) business arm twisting their Government to send in another Government's swat team to do its henchmen-work... how could this be anything other than political.?" Denny had no viable, robust, respect-worthy or plausible answer.

I did commend Denny publicly on his vision to see THE LIST BTW... but really all the facsimiled versions of the contents of THE LIST lower the show to a version of icing over a very fruity cake... so hidden from view and taste by said icing one could hardly recognise the content.

This photocopied LIST contents being art must raise the question... if it is now art... then KDC himself could arguably chopper in and re-buy these made up versions of what was once his stuff. He could then even have his own show of it?!? I find it very odd that neither Denny nor the Adam even began to reach out to KDC... this fact alone reduces the show to a dehumanised, de knackered de politicised gay gordons dance with pre pubescent longing but failing to actually hit their marks.
My take... This show purports to be radical, insightful, cutting edge... but like most PR it will change nothing and leave audiences and art history rather cool. Now I must have a listen to Mark's take/IV with monsieur le Denny.... and thanks for posting and blogging phase one of your views on the show.
  • You and Desi Liversage like this.
  • Wells Tao Icing, that's a great image Barry, and again something I love, it is this slick presentation of this icing as something that is 'good for you' that I am struggling to articulate/ wake from. Will icing ever be able to say 'I'm icing, love me for what I am, but don't be fooled, I'm not a vegetable", not as long as doo gooders like you and me, make these guys cringe. (Not in reality of course, just in our own minds!)
  • Wells Tao I didn't feel that it was important to include actual KDC contact, as that would really blur the line between advertising and propoganda (perhaps making it better, clearer and less spun as socialist or how did Denny put it "critical of wealth, materialism, what art does really well" Really?). Art that bites the hand is stuck in the equation of never being able to be appreciated at the time by the institution that is being paid to translate just such actions for the hand that is attached to the 'body' of society.
    • Barry Thomas There is an angle surely that in simply contacting KDC a non ivory tower humanity would evince itself here. This LIST - is about fucking over a person not a removed, dehumanized ARTifact dressed up to look vaguely radical. There is real deceit in this show... it kind of climbs on the back of someone's actual pain and destruction of him, his home, his so called wealth - an absolutely blunt instrument come in and smashes his 'enterprise'... a deeply personal politic.
    • Wells Tao interesting point, Barry, I was blinded perhaps by my assumed dislike of the rich, my de-humansation of KDC as an 'other', art as the social "feel good' salve rescuing our selves from ourselves, when the image carefully constructed of companies rushing towards and away from endorsing the show and KDC, this is the transaction that speaks for him. Supposedly in his 'rich mans' language, one that Denny acts fluently in. As he would be expected to be, as one who sells equally luxurious goods.
    • Wells Tao
  • Wells Tao I guess what I am enjoying about the show and am thankful for is the opportunity to further see and articulate a line that separates art that purports to do "social cometary" while doing so firmly and invisibly ensconced in the status quo. Ensuring that ultimately there is nothing to 'translate' no 'work' to be done, nothing risked, nothing needing to be understood. Just business as usual.
    • Barry Thomas I suspect this is precisely why I say it will change nothing... the weird thing in 'this line' is the near desperate need for such institutions to - as Mark Amery has pointed out as being "a scrabbling around to catch up" (or words to that extent) with more visceral art happening out in the real world and demonstrably affecting actual change via pretty healthy social and environmental commentary/action... so for me it seem they articulate oligART power via curatorial mechanics to usurp art and artists... of course they don't see it this way but in so doing I think I agree with you that the net result of shows like this is to sit on the sidelines of the facts of the invasion of KDC's life and home and business via Hollywood et al string pulling of NZ Govt. and their Swat team...

      So that gallery and its very close relation - NZ art history (OMG they are the same person!!! how extraordinarily useful) can tick a nice ... almost red... box called radical... but in so doing and in avoiding the actual controversy, blood and guts of the matters (ie. in not being actual artists... or truthful or incisive) they again appear to dance on the periphery - act as icing... the icing of the oligARTs... making their own cake, icing it and then consuming it with any and all they invite to party.
    • Wells Tao If there was a coffin in that argument Barry for me you nailed it.
    • Wells Tao
  • Wells Tao Hopefully by articulating this line, we can encourage the few willing to cross over it. With or without institutions willing to do their job, for someone like me who really enjoys the work, there can be no substitution, can't live off cake and icing. Sure not every work gets there, but it's a worthy goal.
    • Barry Thomas So I'm a little confused are you saying you really enjoy the Denny show ? or the issues it raises? or both???
    • Wells Tao I am enjoying the issues we are raising from it, which of course is thanks to the nastiness of this show and it's curation. My usual stick of perpetuating the dominant discourse (and its culture) by arguing with it, I think is just about rendered mute since we have both become little more than raging heretics. And don't have the money or clout to change that picture.
    • Wells Tao
  • Wells Tao There's some thing enormous in the idea that the avant-garde, or a 'radical' mode of reflection ended with post-modernity and the uber rise of Free Market Capitalism. So neat and tidy how one mode of thought gets 'put away' despite the nature of change as I understand it of change not able to magically cancel certain perceptions, no matter how much it would like too. The existence of Racism, sexism, Capitalism these things have to fight now against a market that has declared these to be "over". I spent a good part of the early 00 arguing with Massey Lecturers over this point.
    • Barry Thomas Racism, sexism: done and dusted??? add ageism, nature fracking and and and... the market seems to have a very stealthy, cunning, camouflaged way of de-knackering these drivers... via advertising, PR, and the creation of media fueled new norms oh and media and its sidekick advertising controlling almost all the discourse over any and everything (out of existence) means that very deeply held beliefs about which way life on this planet is heading, who is heading it etcy etcy are simply advertorialised, avoided or in many instances smashed to death by the clobbering task forces of the right.

      I can scream till I am blue in the balls about ageism in art or Fontera's fucking with our nature but no-one's going to write about it in the press these days... They own the conduit between facts and the people and they are not about to open it up... much like the art institutions... the very places that could inspire huge outpourings of people's art (in the real world) most certainly see in that idea a contestation to their authority so they vote against it and clink their glasses to another great show they are in complete control of... yawnalot.
    • Wells Tao and we are left as its self appointed Knights, of this Yawnalot, galloping around pointing out perfectly ordinary dragons, eating babies, next to other babies eating dragons, while parents sleep before heading back into the fields of toil for their poisoned sun king. Cool we just need a catchy theme and a video and we could call it a day.

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