Werner Herzog on Wrestlemania and Anna Nicole Smith

6 Sep

The audience totally thought he was joking. “All of a sudden the deformity itself becomes the chosen ideal. But I keep saying, do not avert your eyes from it.”


“For decades wrestlers would perform their characters at all times in public to preserve the illusion”

25 Mar

Dorky bald emotion, just out there whanging around. That is the core of pro wrestling. It shields itself from total purity of expression, of course, protects itself with over-enunciation and chewing-the-scenery facial expressions, with the strobe lights and costumes and intricate dramas recounted by the announcers — yet it outs itself by the physical fact of bodies doing crazy things to each other in front of an audience. Men (sometimes women, but come on, usually men) work cooperatively to build STORIES in an environment where competition is fake and ultimately irrelevant.

The audience, the fans, often seem to understand and accept that the fights are scripted, but don’t want to bring the idea into direct sunlight. Talking openly about the fakeness means either that you hate wrestling or you’re dumb. Pro wrestling used to treat fans like marks to milk for $$$, like the circus once did, like any occupation that operates in a reality substantially different from that of its customers. But pro wrestling is analogous to following a soap opera, or any long-running TV show for that matter. The heroes and the villains know their roles, and their roles are more important than whether they appear to win or lose. The performers sacrifice to meet those expectations, and over the course of many matches, they guarantee the audience justice. A pro wrestling fan has more emotional security than any sports fan, so is both less and more invested in the game. The whole thing seems vulnerable and sincere to a degree that is almost breathtaking. I don’t understand how it sustains itself without getting crushed by outside pressure.

If straight women were lumped into one “community” as often as gay men are, a community with “our” own icons who speak to “our” inclinations and sensibilities from across the void, I would want pro wrestling to be our Judy Garland/Madonna/Mariah Carey. Camp that somehow directly expresses what we feel we are, without actually coming from us or even being meant for us. It would be silly to start acting as though any one concept of “femaleness” is universal, but pro wrestling is a pretty direct and profound translation of my own experience of being a woman. Bodies force themselves into every story anyway, so just invite them in, recognize them, give them some love and understanding. At the same time, “people play games” “in life” and so on, but who says games aren’t stimulating. Set about with a playful spirit, they are fun. Real and fake TOGETHER til the end of time.

Eric Yahnker

29 Jan

Eric Yahnker is one of my favorites. His work turns pop culture absurdities on themselves, sneaking really intense provocation into images that are instantly accessible via their being funny. He has an exhibition, Cracks of Dawn, up right now at Kunsthalle L.A. and it is so good.

This used to be a class blog, but now it’s going to be a regular blog?

11 Jan

We’ll see.


22 Nov

These rocks are successful. They are great at what they do. They are well-established in the community of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. It is okay to go up to them and touch them. They will probably accept you.

Obama’s Weekly Video Addresses Becoming Increasingly Avant-Garde

13 Nov

This article from the Onion is about a thousand years old in internet time, but it is still hilarious.

I think ArtFagCity posted it a few days ago, but I can’t find the link.

Rachel Lachowicz

12 Nov

Rachel Lachowicz, Shoshana Wayne Gallery installation, 2010.

Art21 had a great post this week about sculptor Rachel Lachowicz and whether it’s possible to make an abstract piece of art that addresses femininity. In the 90s, Lachowicz remade abstract art done by men, except with materials that are traditionally associated with women. She redid Richard Serra’s lead-plate sculpture One Ton Prop using lipstick and wax and titled it Sarah, for instance. Art21 asks, “Could the clean, seemingly masculine clarity of minimalist sculpture be something a woman working in the 90s could occupy while still being honest about her own position in the world?”

Lachowicz’s current exhibition at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica also mixes abstraction with questions of femininity, and seems to say yes, it can be done honestly. My favorite sculpture here is the one made out of pink soap (top left). Art21 compares it to a Happening by our man Allan Kaprow called Fluids, in which a room is built from bricks of ice and melts in a few days.

Supposedly, the soap smells really good, and that makes you want to touch it. So it’s aesthetically pleasing to more than just the eye. Lachowicz cites Mary Cassatt’s cheesy warm pink paintings as inspiration — Cassatt painted the stereotypes she was expected to live in the 19th century. Abstraction highlights visuality, and Lachowicz balances it with other ways that art can be appreciated.