One has to wonder at the timing involved in The Andy Warhol Foundation’s latest licensing of the famous 1967 Velvet Underground & Nico banana graphic to toy manufacturers Medicom Toy and popular Japanese urbanwear designers, A Bathing Ape. The trio has partnered to create the the BAPE CAMO BANANA pillow, designed with the legally contested banana graphic as a zip off cover. The pillow is available in three sizes and unzips to reveal A Bathing Ape’s signature green, pink, or blue camo. An indiscrete side seam features both the AWF Andy Signature label and BAPE label.
How to Talk about Art (H2TaA ) has been The Art Machine’s slowly growing manual for those who wish to master artspeak as practiced by art critics, art educators, galleries, dealers, copywriters, and journalists.
Originating with the need to validate and describe artwork which was no longer narrative and which relied more and more heavily on inside jokes and academic references, artspeak has grown into its own with a lexicon that is comprised, not only of tropes and catch phrases, but of technical, scientific, and otherwise borrowed terms which have been adapted to its own needs. “Virtual space”, “gesture” ,”intervention”, “appropriation”: these are all words which used to be safely housed in the worlds of aesthetics, dance, psychology, and legal documents and are now used to create press releases for anything from sculpture to performance to collage.
It is my opinion, that many people who feel they can’t talk about art, much less speak TO it, are actually lacking a background in artspeak. H2TaA seeks to span that educational gap.
I also believe that by studying artspeak, one can pull the mask off artspeak-agents and reveal the mechanizations behind the catalogs and pamphlets, bringing to light an artist’s laziness of imagination, or a curator’s dependance on slang and technique, or the general trade tendency to make excuses for work that is overly subjective (or too academic) to be enjoyable. In brief, an interpretation of wall cards can shed light on all of the unnecessary posturing that has led to the elitist view that contemporary art is somehow beyond the ken of the public when it is, actually, beyond the ken of EVERYONE.
Learning H2TaA is just another way to bring art out of the academic tool box and into the light.
It’s been madness from the start. Hennessy Youngman was chosen by curating guest art photographer Marilyn Minter who has been putting together a series of “Virgin” shows in the Massimilano Gioni / Maurizio Catallan pop-up, Family Business.
Called “Virgins” the shows were intended to feature works by artists who have not yet had solo shows.
But Jayson Musson decided to hand his alter-ego Hennessy’s slot over to any and all artists who wanted to drop stuff off before the show, which he dubbed “It’s a Small Small World.”
This, he thought, would be a gesture of gratitude —a way to “give back” to the arts community that has lent so much love and loyalty to Hennessy and his YouTube series, Art Thoughtz.
But as it turns out, Jayson Musson’s generosity has caused the walk-in-closet sized gallery an epic headache: flooded, as could only have been anticipated, by artwork from adoring fans and artists hungry for some wall time, the gallery was forced, today, to close it’s doors. Family Business had been scheduled to accept work through Sunday but the gallery is now saying that they will not take any work tomorrow.
Meantime, Musson’s NY debut will take place at Postmasters: “Through a Glass Darkly,” will feature Musson’s “BLM” (Black Like Me) posters and a Hennessy Art Thoughtz video. “Through a Glass Darkly also features work by artists Oasa DuVerney, and Julia Kul.
Critic, performer, painter, and lecturer, Jayson Musson has made a splash on YouTube with his alter ego, Hennessy Youngman. In a series he calls ART THOUGHTZ, Youngman sits in an “alabaster alcove” and delivers laugh out loud funny art critical patter to his audience which he addresses as “Internet.”
The videos which pretend to dispense advice to novice artists and lay people, but which contain a meta-level of art (and art world) criticism, have launched him from relative obscurity to courted celebrity. Recently he has been much sought after for lectures and tours at universities and cultural centers.
So it should be no surprise that, having just begun, he is already “giving back.”
Invited by fine art photographer Marilyn Minter to show work at FAMILY BUSINESS (opened in February by Larry Gogosian, Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Gioni) Youngman has turned curator, deciding to open the floodgates and let all of his fans rush on into the sacred white cube.
Any and all who bring work to 520 W. 21ST ST in Chelsea, NY will be in Hennessy’s “IT’S A SMALL, SMALL WORLD” show; no exceptions.
“IT’S MY WAY OF GIVING BACK TO/ AND THANKING THE INTERNET FOR SUPPORTING AND WATCHING MY SHIT.”
Drop Off Dates:
FRIDAY 3/30 – SUNDAY 4/1
Artwork in every media will be accepted and Mr. Hennessy himself will be there to take them from you.
IT’S A SMALL, SMALL WORLD:
OPENING RECEPTION TUESDAY: 4/3 at 6PM.
Following up on the Velvet Underground v The Andy Warhol Foundation story, Hollywood Reporter speculates similarly to The Art Machine that the famed fruit’s copyright may belong to the record label.
Hollywood Reporters’s Eriq Gardner, wondering why the Velvet Underground hasn’t used a more fail-proof strategy of claiming the copyright for themselves (instead of opting to claim trademark protection on an image in the public domain) says,
“According to the facts in record, MGM Records paid both the band and Warhol $3,000 to furnish the image for use on the 1967 album cover. If the record label paid the money as a work-for-hire agreement, the true “author” of the image, under the law, would be the record label. We asked Universal Music Group, the seeming successor to MGM Records, to comment, but so far, we haven’t heard anything.”
It is an interesting speculation and one we may wonder about: is MGM silently planning its own little coup? And, if so, was it inspired by the Velvet’s bold but transparent strategies, or by press speculation about the Warhol graphic being a “work for hire?”
Or, maybe MGM has secret plans prompted by questions from sites like Hollywood Reporter asking them questions about the graphic? How meta would that be?
Congrats to Olek for inadvertently offending readers of Haolam Hacharedi, an orthodox Jewish magazine which pulled issues containing a review of the artist’s latest coup off stands. Apparently when they decided to review Olek’s show at Tony’s Gallery in London, they were unprepared for the photographic contents of Olek’s texty wall weavings which contain intimate messages from the artist’s own mailbox, many of them of a sexual nature.
Isn’t that all men care about? Text, I mean.
Emergency measures were taken as head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London, Rabbi Padwa, knocked out a dictum forbidding sale of the issue.
The Press Release says: “THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART PRESENTS THE FIRST LIVE RETROSPECTIVE OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC PIONEERS KRAFTWERK” and promises “Entire Repertoire of Eight Conceptual Albums Performed Live Over Eight Consecutive Evenings from April 10 to 17.” The evening will be comprised of the albums performed in chronological order along with “elaborate staging” “3D images” and (shiver) “new improvisations.”
In case you’re a nostalgic baby boomer or a young technophile:
Tickets are $25.00 and will go on sale to the public on Wednesday, February 22, at 12:00 p.m., only at MoMAKraftwerkTickets.showclix.com. Space is limited. There is a two-ticket limit per person for the series, with each individual order limited to one transaction. Tickets will be distributed exclusively via will call, with photo ID required.
Recently, reading an article on NewsGrist, a blog that mixes equal parts of arrogance and naiveté, I came upon the usual blah blah about inarticulate artists and the ineffable meaning of their awe inspsiring creations. Add to this a wholesome toot of tired and foggy hot air about Pollock and what did he mean by x,y, or z?
All this wearying nonsense went toward commentary on the Richard Prince case, childishly insisting that Richard Prince’s cocky and deliberately bungling deposition claiming that he meant nothing should simply be ignored while the rest of his deposition, i.e. anything supportive of his fair use claim, should be paid close attention to.
I marvel at this “inarticulate” artist argument— especially as regards Richard Prince, a self named bibliophile who wrote a screenplay and who’s written prose is not only proficient but downright poetic.
The argument that artists would or should need coaching is silly as well. ALL defendants need coaching. EVERYONE who speaks or debates in public has talking points. There is nothing unique to artists that should absolve them of having to make sense.
A fair use defense is not a matter of defending the “ineffable” — we are cultural grown-ups and well beyond such assinine and childish beliefs.
If a defendant wants to claim fair use, they have to prove fair use and that hangs largely, especially in this case, on Transformative use. That’s the way the current practice works.
I happen to think that transformative use is useless anyway: that’s a better argument. Frankly the spirit of copyright law is to preserve the incentive to create. ANd bottom line, these days, that speaks to markets: markets of IDEAS, of INFLUENCE, of ATTRIBUTION, and of MONEY.
So PRACTICE is the issue if you dont’ like coached answers and you don’t like judges mucking about in issues of meaning –practice needs to be changed with regard to transformative use. Remember that transformative use is NOT written into law. Courts can and should pay more mind to market issues and less to “meaning.”
But as things stand, Prince messed up big time by being a cocky inarticulate asshole.
Providing a pivot for the Cariou v Prince case and the only real point of interest no matter what the pundits say, transformative use, instead of the fog-clearing test that it was supposed to be, has become the main particulate in a legal fog of war that has lasted three years now.
Thus far, the dueling Cariou v Prince briefs have added new certainty to my theory that transformative use is a singularly unhelpful notion.