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‘Chinese Rocks’: Members of MC5, Blondie, and Replacements pay tribute to the Heartbreakers


 
As much as any band could, the Heartbreakers both aesthetically and individually personified the bridge between proto-punk and punk rock. They coalesced in 1975, when New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan joined forces with Richard Hell, who’d just left Television. The quartet was completed a few months later with the addition of guitarist/vocalist Walter Lure.

The next year, their best-documented lineup was formed when Hell was replaced by Billy Rath (Hell would go on to form a namesake band, and it’s easy to wonder if he didn’t do that to make it difficult to oust him from a THIRD epochally crucial group), and this version of the Heartbreakers would record their lone album, L.A.M.F. (Like a Mother Fucker), which was one of punk’s great letdowns. A terrible mix buried confident performances of fine songs, and the shittiness of the record prompted Nolan to quit the band.

That album has been remixed and remastered a fair few times, and it contains some of punk’s earliest enduring anthems, like “Born to Lose” and “Chinese Rocks.” That latter song was eventually performed by the Ramones on their 1980 LP End of the Century under the title “Chinese Rock,” and the song is partly noteworthy for a years-long dispute over exactly who wrote it. It’s long been accepted that the song was a collaboration to some degree between Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone, a reality reflected in the End of the Century credits. But on the original pressing of L.A.M.F., Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan are credited as songwriters—a credit that’s absent from the many subsequent reissues. If that claimed writing credit was an attempted money-grab, karma for that larceny was pretty instant—L.A.M.F. didn’t really generate all that much money at first. According to Dee Dee Ramone in his memoir Lobotomy:

For a while dope was called “Chinese Rock” in New York. When you would walk around the Lower East Side people would smirk at one another on the sidewalk and let you know with hand signals that they have the Chinese Rock. It was supposed to be good luck if someone had rocks. I must’ve had a lot of luck.

Jerry Nolan and Johnny Thunders used to call me quite frequently. Jerry would come over to my place and pick me up and then we would go cop some dope. The Heartbreakers we’re just getting together with John, Jerry and Richard Hell. I guess those guys were all dope fiends then… Richard Hell had mentioned to me that he was going to write a song better than Lou Reed’s “Heroin,” so I took his idea and wrote Chinese rocks in Deborah Harry’s apartment that night.

I wrote the song about Jerry calling me up to come over and go cop. The line “My girlfriend’s crying in the shower stall” was about Connie, and the shower was at Arturo Vega’s loft. The intro to the song was the same kind of stuff I had put in songs like “Commando” and the chorus of “53rd and 3rd.” I wrote those songs before “Chinese Rocks” and the Ramones had already performed and recorded these tunes.

When Jerry was over at my place one day, we did some dope and then I played him my song, and he took it with him to a Heartbreakers rehearsal. When Leee Childers started managing them them and got them a record deal, “Chinese Rocks” was their first single off L.A.M.F. …but the credits are false. Johnny Thunders ranked on me for fourteen years, trying to make out like he wrote the song. What a low-life maneuver by those guys! By then, I was really too fucked up to care.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.21.2017
02:09 pm
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‘Taxi!’: There’s a ‘sexy’ New York City cab drivers calendar for 2018
11.21.2017
10:09 am
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NYC cab drivers have released their calendar for 2018. Now in its fifth year, the New York Taxi Drivers Calendar features another bunch of hardworking, hunky, and glamorous cabbies photographed in a variety of sexy and amusing poses which should guarantee a smile—if not a lift—throughout the year.

The calendar is a charity project devised by Philip Kirkman and Shannon McLaughlin. All profits from sales go to the University Settlement (“America’s oldest settlement house”) in New York City, which serves “over 30,000 immigrant and working individuals and families every year with basic services like quality education, housing, recreation and wellness opportunities, and literacy programs. immigrant families through education.” Each calendar costs $14.99. Order yours here.
 
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More friendly cab drivers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.21.2017
10:09 am
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Prehistoric cheesecake: A look at the curvaceous cavewomen of B-movie cinema
11.21.2017
08:44 am
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An iconic shot of actress Raquel Welch as a cavewoman in the 1966 film ‘One Million Years B.C.’
 
If my research regarding the long history of actresses playing cavewomen in films is correct, it is likely that actress and Ziegfeld Follies girl Cecile Arnold was the first woman to play a prehistoric chick in Charlie Chaplin’s 1914 silent film, His Prehistoric Past. Decades later, however, movie-goers would be treated to a vast array of like-themed films such as One Million B.C. (1940); Prehistoric Women (1950); One Million Years B.C. (starring the Raquel Welch in 1966); Hammer’s smashing 1967 remake of Prehistoric Women; the bonkers Italian film, When Women Had Tails (1970); and another stone-age hit from Hammer, Creatures the World Forgot (1971). 

I must be honest—I’m very fond of pictorial-style posts, and this one may be my favorite of all that I’ve done here on Dangerous Minds. And that is because the Internet was exceedingly generous when it came to revealing images of vintage, risky-looking cinematic cavewomen. Photos of Hammer girls Edina Ronay and Caroline Munro, actress Martine Beswick, Barbara Bach (the wife of Beatle Ringo Starr), and the enchanting Norwegian actress Julie Ege—are all featured in this post. Over 30 images of sexy fictional cavewomen follow—most of which are NSFW due to the skimpy attire. You’re welcome
 

Actor Charlie Chaplin surrounded by a few of his cavewomen (and a not so sleepy caveman) in the 1914 film, ‘His Prehistoric Past.’
 

Actress Edina Ronay in the 1967 “Hammer Glamour” remake of ‘Prehistoric Women.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.21.2017
08:44 am
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Austin Osman Spare: Weird occult illustrations from ‘A Book of Satyrs’
11.21.2017
08:34 am
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In 1907, the artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare published his second volume of illustrations, A Book of Satyrs—or rather satires. Spare believed the word “satire” was derived from the Greek “satyr” as this was how “satire” had been once written in English hence his use of the word. As his biographer Phil Baker noted:

Spare liked the old spelling because the word evoked the goat-legged animal men, suggestive of lust, who pranced their way through the work of Beardsley and the 1890’s in general, overlapping with the era’s neo-pagan cult of Pan.

Spare was the teenage wunderkind whose work had been prominently exhibited in the British Section of the St. Louis Exposition and at the Paris International Exhibition in 1903. This led to some critics hailing Spare as “a genius” and describing him as the major hope for British art. A Book of Satyrs consisted of a series of “satirical pictures”—“The Church,” “Existence,” “Quakery,” “Intemperance,” “Fashion,” “The Connoisseur,” “Politics,” “The Beauty Doctor,” and “Officialism,”—framed by three other drawings—“Introduction,” “Advertisement and the Stock Size,” and “General Allegory.” The book allowed Spare to showcase his talent as he broke away from the influence of artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Ricketts, and George Frederic Watts to forge his very own distinctive style of illustration. As Baker also notes:

Spare’s career was dogged by comparisons to Beardsley, and some of his earlier black and white work does have a Beardsleyish air, but the drawings of A Book of Satyrs is very different: Beardsley’s pictures are relatively easy to copy, because the genius has already gone into simplified design, whereas copying the obsessional penwork in A Book of Satyrs would be so much work as hardly worth the trouble.

The drawings were a critique of Victorian/Edwardian values—where money and power were all. The illustrations also marked Spare’s growing interest in spiritualism and the occult as writer Paul Newman notes:

Spare’s existence was a claustrophobic tunnel of self-exploration. And he did not think of the satyrs and spirits he drew as fantasies but as records of those he encountered in his daily life. “These beings,” a critic wrote, “live…in their horned horror in the drab streets south of London Bridge. The ribaldry and coarse revelry of the slums is due to the influence of these beings of the Borderland, [Spare] believes.”

Not long after the publication of A Book of Satyrs, Spare had an exhibition of work at the Bruton Gallery, 13 Bruton Street in London’s West End. Here he met Aleister Crowley, who introduced himself as the “Viceregent of God upon Earth.” Crowley pronounced Spare as a kindred spirit who (like Crowley) was a “messenger fo the divine.” It was the start of a brief but intense relationship (most probably sexual) that led Spare further into the world of the occult. Yet, as his involvement with the occult grew, his success as an artist faltered.

Recently, a friend sent me a present of a limited edition set of Spare’s illustrations for A Book of Satyrs that was published as a series of thirteen postcards—including the illustration “Pleasure” from the second edition—which I thought I’d share with you. A copy of the whole book can be viewed here.
 
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‘Pleasure.’
 
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‘Introduction.’
 
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‘The Church.’
 
More strange illustrations by AOS, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.21.2017
08:34 am
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‘Gimme a bitch pie with extra PMS’: Domino’s employees have their very own pizza slang
11.20.2017
10:34 am
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Anyone who has served in the military or spent time in prison can attest that shared miseries will tend to enforce a camaraderie on the poor drudges forced to undergo the experience. When such situations arise it is only natural for the co-sufferers to dream up humorous shared lingo to lighten the emotional load. So prisoners call heroin, meth, or cocaine “papers,” and folks in the military have been known to use the term “shortarm” to mean penis—there’s a sneaky reference to a “shortarm inspection” in the movie M*A*S*H

It might not be directly comparable to prison or the army, but working for Domino’s Pizza might be regarded as a severe trial in its own right—so it should not be too surprising to learn that Domino’s Pizza employees have developed a funny, rude lingo all their own.

In 1996 a woman named Gwen Foss who had been an employee of Domino’s for several years compiled a small glossary of pizza jargon that she had picked up along the way. It was published in Maledicta, a fascinating journal that once billed itself as “the international journal of verbal aggression.”

Her list of terms is full of abbreviations and other terms that Domino’s employees would never use in front of a customer. There’s the “PMS pie,” so called because it features pepperoni, mushrooms, and sausage, and the “bondage pie,” because sausage and mushrooms equals S&M and that adds up to bondage. When you order a pie with extra sauce, know that the employees are calling it either a “blood pie” or a “hemorrhage.” Due to its visual appearance, all the terms for “sausage” relate to dog food: Alpo, Kibbles n’ Bits, Puppy Chow, etc.

Every town has its pizza places, and who knows what terms are used in them, but Domino’s is an unusual breeding ground for pizza slang because of two factors: the speed with which Domino’s employees have to work, a legacy of the famous 30-minute delivery guarantee, and the fact that a large corporation like Domino’s is prone to shuffling employees around geographically, which has the effect of spreading the terms around. As Foss says, “Many of the words they use are commands that are shouted to one another, and the same expressions get moved from store to store because Domino’s shares employees.”

Some of the slang isn’t all that specific to pizza. For example, a customer who can’t remember his or her own address is called a “stoner.” At least it’s true that Domino’s employees encounter more than their fair share of stoners. Then again, a “starver,” a person who denies ever ordering a pizza in the hopes of a discount, surely is a type that Domino’s delivery people are all too familiar with.

Here’s a fuller list of Foss’ Domino’s slang:
 

Alpo: Taken from the dog-food brand and used to describe sausage topping. Other words for sausage include Kibbles n’ Bits, Puppy Chow, dog food and Snausages.

Bitch pie: pizza with PMS (pepperoni, mushroom, sausage).

Blood pie: A pizza with extra sauce. Also called a hemorrhage.

Bondage pie: pizza with S and M (sausage and mushrooms).

Carp: Term for anchovies. Also called guppies, chovies, flippers, penguin food, smellies.

Destroy: To top a pizza with everything, given as a command: “Destroy it!”

Edgar Allan: A slang expression for a pizza with pepperoni (P) and onions (O) - making it a PO pie, as in Edgar Allan Poe.

Flyers and fungus: Expression for a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Pepperoni slices are called “flyers” because they can be thrown like Frisbees.

Free green peppers: a sneeze. From the similarity of slimy green peppers and green nasal mucus.

Green slime: Term for green peppers, coined because they are sometimes inadequately stored. Peppers are also called “mangos” and “seaweed.”

Hawaiian pie: A pizza with ham and pineapple. Other terms for ham are hammer, pig slices, squealers, piggy parts and sliders.

Hot peckers: hot peppers.

Pee on it!: command by the pizza-maker instructing someone on the line to place pepperoni on a pizza.

Placer: A customer who places a hair on a pizza and then complains about it in hopes of getting a discount or a free pizza.

Republican pizza: A pizza with GOP (green peppers, onions, pepperoni).

Screamer: a large juicy chunk of a canned mushroom that emits a high-pitched sound when rubbed on a hot surface.

Screamers and squealers: A pizza with mushrooms and bacon.

Sliced testicles: picture-perfect mushroom slices.

Starver: A customer who orders a pizza, then claims he didn’t order it but will buy it at a discount.

Stoner: A customer who doesn’t know his own address. Taken from “stoned,” as being under the influence of drugs.

Vulture pie: A badly made pizza, suitable only for vultures or for eating by employees.

Zapping zits: popping the bubbles in the crust of a pizza as it cooks.

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Swirling Synths’: The Most Overused Terms In SXSW Band Bios

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.20.2017
10:34 am
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The strange story behind Dirk Bogarde’s arthouse ‘Nazisploitation’ movie ‘The Night Porter’

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The actor Dirk Bogarde was standing outside the Karl Marx-Hof workers’ apartments in Vienna ready to shoot a scene for Liliana Cavani’s film The Night Porter. Bogarde was playing Maximilian Theo Aldorfer, a Nazi SS officer. who had pursued a sadomasochistic relationship with a concentration camp prisoner called Lucia played by Charlotte Rampling. Bogarde was “shit-scared” wearing a black Nazi uniform in public. He wondered how the local citizens would take to his appearance. He had covered his costume with a raincoat while he waited for his cue. It was almost thirty years since the end of the Second World War when the full horror of the Nazis’ depravity had been revealed.

A large crowd gathered to watch the filming. Bogarde waited for the signal to walk across the cobbled, tram-lined street and enter the apartment. The camera turned-over. Bogarde removed his coat to reveal the SS uniform underneath. On seeing his military outfit, the crowd of onlookers cheered and clapped. They sang the “Horst Wessel Song.” Small children ran towards him just to touch the uniform. The old woman, whose apartment they were using in the film, bent down to kiss Bogarde’s gloved hand and said, “It’s the good days again.” Bogarde felt sick.

During the war, Dirk Bogarde had served as an intelligence officer. He was one of the first officers to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where he witnessed the “mountains of dead people” as he walked through the camp and looked inside the huts where there was “tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying ....to do the victory thing. That was the worst.”

After the war, Bogarde became the pin-up of 1950’s British cinema, most notable for his performance as Simon Sparrow in the highly popular series of Doctor.. movies—starting with Doctor in the House in 1954. But Bogarde never wanted to be a matinee idol. He, therefore, decided on a series of controversial film roles starting with Victim in 1961, where he played a gay barrister, at a time when homosexuality was illegal in Britain, who is blackmailed over a sexual relationship with another man. He followed this up with Joseph Losey’s The Servant, then The Mind Benders, John Schlesinger’s Darling, Losey/Harold Pinter’s Accident, Visconti’s films The Damned and Death in Venice.

It was after the five grueling months of filming Death in Venice when the character of Gustav von Aschenbach had so possessed him, that Bogarde he decided on taking a break from movie-making. He returned to his farmhouse in France with his partner and manager Anthony Forwood, where he spent his time gardening and writing and tending to the 400 olive trees on his land. Time-off was great, but as Forwood pointed out one sunny day, Bogarde needed money to keep his home and lifestyle together. He, therefore, decided to go back to making movies.

Unfortunately, because of his critically acclaimed performances in films like The Servant, The Damned, and Death in Venice, the roles Bogarde was offered tended to be “degenerates,” spies, and Nazis. These scripts began to pile up in his basement.

One day, Bogarde was enthralled by a movie about Galileo on television. Though in Italian, he immediately recognized the film as a work of real artistic brilliance and originality. He waited until the end credits rolled so he could find out the name of the director. It was Liliana Cavani. The name was familiar. Cavani had sent him a script which he had deposited in his basement. It was called The Night Porter.

As Bogarde described this script in his biography An Orderly Man:

[T]he first part was fine, the middle a mess, the end a melodramatic mish-mash. Too many characters, too much dialogue, two stories jumbled up together where only one was necessary, but the point was that in the midst of this tumult of pages and words, buried like a nut in chocolate, there was a simple, moving, and exceptionally unusual story; and I liked it.

The story was a dark erotic psychological drama centered around the relationship between an SS officer and a young female prisoner, who meet up twelve years after their first encounter inside a concentration camp. In the film, Max is working as a night porter in a German town where the residents are fellow Nazis hiding from prosecution for war crimes. Lucia’s arrival at the hotel rekindles the sexual relationship with Max while threatening the former Nazis with disclosure. The script may have been a “mish-mash” but Bogarde was attracted to the central relationship between Max and Lucia—more so after he found out Cavani had based her script on actual events.
 
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Read more about the story behind ‘The Night Porter,’ after the jump...
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.20.2017
10:27 am
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Alfred Stieglitz’s artfully intimate portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe (NSFW)
11.20.2017
09:22 am
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Georgia O’Keeffe was going to give up painting ‘cause she couldn’t stand the smell of turpentine. She started teaching instead and doing commercial art and making charcoal drawings that she occasionally showed to friends. In January 1916, one friend passed a bunch of these drawings on to photographer Alfred Stieglitz who thought they were the best things he’d seen. Stieglitz included O’Keeffe’s work in an exhibition at his 291 Gallery in New York. O’Keeffe knew nothing about it until the show was opened and the reviews were in. The reviews were great. O’Keeffe turned up at the gallery to tell Stieglitz off. It was the start of a relationship that lasted thirty years until Stieglitz’s death in 1946.

Stieglitz was a pioneer of photography. He has been described as “perhaps the most important figure in the history of visual arts in America,” which is one helluva reputation. He described taking photographs as a method of seeing straight. It was a way to create “a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” His body of work includes some 2,500 mounted photographs. These, of course, are only the photographs he wanted to be seen. His photographs tended to be artfully constructed and the product of multiple takes. He was a control freak. He was also a hypochondriac.

Old Stieglitz was a 52-year-old married man with a family when he first met young 29-year-old O’Keeffe. She was smitten by another, which made Stieglitz more determined to win her over. He organized an apartment for O’Keeffe to live and work in and paid the rent. He started taking photographs of the young artist. He took pictures of O’Keeffe at work, outside her studio, in close-up, her hands at play, throughout her strong natural iconic beauty. By the 1920s, O’Keeffe was the most recognizable female artist in America. Stieglitz also shot a series of seemingly “intimate” photographs of a naked O’Keeffe which he exhibited in 1921.

These photographs were considered shocking and deeply intimate but they were actually carefully staged and the result of dozens of shots. O’Keeffe said she posed for hours to get the image Stieglitz wanted. These pictures suggested the pair were having an affair. O’Keeffe was apparently mortified that anyone should ever think she was the photographer’s mistress.

Eventually, Stieglitz’s wife caught the pair together. A divorce followed. O’Keeffe and Stieglitz married. Soon, O’Keeffe found Stieglitz’s demands for her time and energy left little for own life and career. She quit New York. Moved to New Mexico and set up her own studio. O’Keeffe spent around six months a year doing her thing. Other lovers came and went. Paintings and photographs were produced, but still, the pair remained married, and O’Keeffe was always ready to be photographed by her husband.
 
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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.20.2017
09:22 am
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‘Charles Manson Superstar’: The underworld Pope is (finally) dead. May he rot in Hell
11.20.2017
09:13 am
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Joe Coleman’s portrait of Charles Manson

Here we are. Near the tail end of such an unsettling and horrific year, at least Charles Manson is dead. One of the nation’s most infamous criminals, Manson’s debated narrative has remained as one of America’s most controversial; that of a psychotic hippie cult leader who directed and guided the gruesome murders of at least seven people. A man who it is claimed single-handedly “ended the Sixties” and whose predicted race war presaged the revival of the white nationalism seen today. After 46 years behind bars, the madman has finally left the building. May he rot in Hell.

It was announced recently that Quentin Tarantino’s next film will focus on the infamous Manson Family murders of 1969. Sorry to spoil the questionably-tactless announcement, but there have been, like, dozens, possibly even hundreds of Manson films already made. Some are dramatizations, others pro-Manson conspiracy theories. My personal favorite is the loopy 1989 documentary titled Charles Manson: Superstar. Created by goofy occultnik Nikolas Schreck (author of The Manson File), Manson’s fragile psyche and fucked-up philosophy is presented through a rare and uncensored stream-of-consciousness interview taped at the San Quentin Penitentiary.

The film begins with an observation of the dates of Tate/Labianca murder dates, August 8-9th, described, in Schreck sprach as having “always been a magnet of savage purification.” Other grim and ironically coincident events that took place on these dates include the atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki, the first national congress of the Klu Klux Klan, the birthdate of the real-life inspiration for Psycho, the resignation of Richard Nixon, and even the opening of Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. Could there be a correlation? Probably not, but just go with it.

One of four on-camera interviews that Manson gave in the 1980s, the 100-minute documentary displays the unfiltered and frankly nonsensical Charles Manson. Physically unbound from his shackles and momentarily free from the glare of the media, Manson attempts to describe his life’s details, his innocence, and his forever existence behind bars. Set to an eerie backing track (featuring several of your cult favorites), and masterfully edited to further enunciate the insanity, Schreck presents a bleak narration of Manson’s role in the world: that of a supposed visionary, a psychotic shaman and even a Satanic demon in human form. Other highlights include footage of a still-standing Barker Ranch, Manson’s attempt to play music on a trashcan, and those uneasy feelings when his underworld Pope ventures a little too close to the awe-struck filmmaker. The presence of actual madness and horror in this documentary is so vivid that it often exudes a level of discomfort similar to a particularly lurid mondo film.
 

 
Although it was rereleased on DVD in 2002, Charles Manson: Superstar has not found much praise outside of the underground due to its, um, strikingly “pro-Manson”  stance. I mean, Schreck does refer to Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s notorious true-crime book Helter Skelter as a work of fiction. What else would you expect from a guy who is best known for his appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s infamously ridiculous 1988 Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground TV special?
 
Watch the spine-tingling 1989 documentary ‘Charles Manson: Superstar’ after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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11.20.2017
09:13 am
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Look at the kitty! Pranksters force milk-lapping footage on unsuspecting Times Square tourists
11.17.2017
09:20 am
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One of the many legacies of the experimental art movements of the middle of the last century has been a heightened tolerance for weird site-specific art nonsense. The Fluxus folks certainly come to mind in that regard, as do the works of artists as varied as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chris Burden, Marina Abramović, Robert Smithson, and Barbara Kruger.

In the 1980s Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, who went by Fischli/Weiss, cornered the market on a certain kind of gentle, homespun art. Their best-known work is probably 1987’s Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), a video in which a sort of Rube Goldberg machine plays itself out, using only the kind of junk one might find in a painter’s studio. That entities such as the Honda Motor Company and OK Go would (many years later) “outdo” the feat doesn’t obscure the droll manner in which they attacked the problem, as well as the fact that they attempted such an idea with zero possibility of the clip ever going viral.

One of their ten precepts for their How to Work Better is “Distinguish Sense from Nonsense,” which is a trickier task than it might first appear. If you’re standing in Times Square, is it “sense” or “nonsense” if one of the massive displays suddenly shows footage of a kittykat lapping up milk, without a tangible product or purpose to be discerned? Well, that depends if you’re a corporate manager or an anarchist, right?
 

 
Fischli and Weiss worked collaboratively for more than three decades until the sad passing of Weiss in 2012. They were outstanding purveyors of nonsense; for instance, they had animal alter egos—a rat and a bear—that they liked to adopt in their artworks.

In 2001 Fischli/Weiss put together a six-minute clip of a cat blithely drinking milk from a saucer, and managed to have it screened in Times Square on “an oversized video screen” (specifically the Times Square Astrovision) for a project called The 59th Minute. The title of the work is Büsi (Kitty); it was actually an excerpt from Fischli/Weiss’ massive 96-hour video installation Untitled (Venice Work), which appeared at the 1995 Venice Biennale (in case you were inclined to think of the duo as lazy). In a statement, Fischli let it be known that “Büsi was not made as a discussion about kitsch. There was just something super-nice about this cat that we were attracted to.”

In a way, this was the “original cat video.”

In February 2016, the project was revived, as the video was shown on approximately 60 screens (!) in Times Square for the last three minutes of every day for a period lasting more than three weeks.

According to the notes that accompany the video:
 

While the lush, high-definition quality of the Büsi video suggests a commercial for a pet product, the lack of a soundtrack, deliberate overexposure, and slapdash framing give the work the look of an amateur video of a family pet. By simply changing the frame of reference, by restaging the commonplace within the landscape of art and/or commerce, Fischli and Weiss make the ordinary seem extraordinary.

 
Catch the video after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.17.2017
09:20 am
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Some Stockholm commuters are irritated by menstruation-themed subway art
11.17.2017
08:46 am
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Anyone who’s ever been to Stockholm has probably gotten at least a taste of the remarkably vibrant artistic concepts that define many of the city’s subway stations. A bunch of the stations are incredibly distinctive––my favorite was the Solna Centrum station on the blue line, executed by Anders Åberg and Karl-Olov Björk in 1975. In that instance, the cavernous, rocky ceilings are painted a deep shade of red, while the walls at each exit are either green or black. (As you wander about the platform, there are plenty of odd, rustic dioramas to hold your attention.) If you Google the subway stations of Stockholm, this is the image you’re most likely to see––it is rather like a vision of hell. Other stations have geometrical patterns or motifs from science, and not all of them are by any means pleasant.

Stockholm continued its tradition of adventurous subway art when it granted a commission to a cartoonist named Liv Strömquist. Americans are most likely to have encountered Strömquist’s work as the cover art for The Knife’s 2013 album Shaking the Habitual, which necessitated the creation of a comic book called “End Extreme Wealth” that portrayed the 1% as culturally impoverished and vermin-esque. 
 

 
In 2014 Strömquist published Kunskapens frukt (Knowledge’s fruit), in which she introduced menstruation as a major theme of her work. This year, after accepting the commission to do art on the subway, Strömquist decided to present the menstruation-themed artwork in an even more public setting. Did been on display at the Slussen station, which services the green and red lines, since late September.

The enlarged felt-pen sketches, which are self-consciously simple in execution, are entirely black and white except for a noticeable streak of red strategically positioned to evoke menstruation. All of the pictures feature women doing things outdoors; only a few of them focus on menstruation. One of the images references Bob Dylan’s song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).”

Not everyone is delighted to be confronted by images of blood-stained womanhood in the subway. The pictures have been criticized for being “disgusting” and “inappropriate”; one blogger, while acknowledging the positive aspects of a franker attitude towards menstruation, stated that she has doubts that “not sure that enormous pictures like this are what I want to be faced with on my daily commute.”

One tweet complained: “It’s not fun explaining to a four-year-old about the red between the legs.” Another read: “It is not enough to get [your period] once a month. Now you will be reminded every time you jump on the subway.”

As Strömquist commented to Sverige Radio:
 

This discussion always comes when I exhibit my art, because it’s a taboo in society and evokes strong emotions. I’ve not commented on the discussion, and it’s not my place to give judgments to my own art. I’m very excited that some people have enjoyed it.

 
“It’s weird that it’s deemed so provocative, considering it’s something that we see all the time,” she explained to the SVT television station. “I have a hard time understanding that.”

One woman who has no problem with the images is the well-known singer Neko Case, who in early October tweeted some of the images, with the message “Yep, these amazing Stockholm subway murals are by Liv Stromquist!” followed by a heart emoticon.
 
See the images after the jump….......
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.17.2017
08:46 am
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