Posts Tagged “Uncategorized”

Les Goodreads Nouvelles

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Black Must Stay in Us
Black must stay in us
A readymade installation titled Original Sin
(National Post, 2 August 2007)
Bonjour.Maybe you’re getting GR through RSS readers and will have already seen this: that I’m going to start updating the website more, rather than continue the process of merely posting what I’ve mailed out. I think I’ll begin to use the email list for weekly or monthly digests and announcements such as this one, but since Goodreads is run using blogging software I might as well use it as a blog. More review-writing perhaps, more frequent posting, and less emailing. That’s the new direction.Also, August 2007 marked the first time I exceeded my allowable bandwidth, resulting in an extra charge to the account. This is entirely because I made the mistake of offering downloadable audio via the podcast. I’m going to keep an eye on this and if it ends up getting out of hand, the podcast feature may come down. In the meantime, donations are always appreciated and you can find a link to do so (via PayPal) on the website as well as the one below. Through PayPal I’ve suggested the extremely reasonable donation of $5, which is less than I paid for my Friday evening pint. If you’d prefer to send an old-fashioned cheque (since I know some of you who do) then email me about it.

Goodreads fell into the unfortunate habit of only emailing out the things that got posted on the web, the result being an interlock between email and posting which caused nothing but delays. I’ve decided to begin posting more frequently to break both this deadlock and the accumulation of a back-log. Besides what I’ve already mentioned, there’s also the fact that the last Goodreads I sent got rejected by Hotmail and Yahoo as spam, and well, there’s no real need to preserve a pre-RSS service when there are excellent RSS interfaces out there (myself, I recommend Google Reader) .

You may be interested to read my thoughts on ‘The Perils of Bad Writing’ on my blog here, which I just posted. But, as to what I sent out this past week, these are below.

Sincerely, Mr. Timothy

This past week I posted the following links:

On Foreign Memes

The Bus Uncle

Drugs I Wait for You!

***PREVED Bear*****

From Metafilter (2006-03-22): “Превед! Russia’s newest internet craze involves a painting called Bear Surprise [NSFW] by New York artist/musician John Lurie. “Превед”, or “preved”, is an intentional misspelling of “privet”, or “hello” in Russian. There’s a month-old Livejournal community dedicated to the meme and even a branded range of condoms. [Via]”

The Rich Bitch of August

(Via Metafiler)

[YouTube Video]

Helmsley’s Dog Gets $12 Million in WillLeona Helmsley’s dog will continue to live an opulent life, and then be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. But two of Helmsley’s grandchildren got nothing from the late luxury hotelier and real estate billionaire’s estate. […]

On Gore Vidal

TRUTH NOW: Interview of Gore Vidal | Linda Sutton

Gore Vidal (1993) | Late Night Live, ABC Radio

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05w31:1 The Matrix of Sensations

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 32 number 1 (The Matrix of Sensations )


The Matrix of Sensations | Donald Kuspit
“I present to you what I think is a radical thesis: that the period of avant-garde painting, which officially began with the so-called color patches of paint in Manet?s Music in the Tuileries Gardens in 1862, and climaxed almost a century later in the dynamic tachisme of European art informale and American modernist painting, was a time of transition from traditional analogue art to postmodern digital art, that is, to an art grounded in codes rather than images. […]The grid of the computer screen is the postmodern realization of the traditional perspective grid that isolated the figure in sacred space. It involves the same universal geometry, with its ideal proportions — refined with great precision — that appears in Renaissance architecture, with its grid-like plans and facades, suggesting that the computer signals a new Renaissance of art-making. Like the Renaissance artist, the digital artist must be a learned craftsman — an artist who has to learn a craft that is at once material and intellectual — at a time when a good deal of art seems craftless and pseudo-intellectual, that is, not rigorously logical inwardly and outwardly. Digital art offers new hope for art at a time when the traditional media seem to have exhausted their potential — however useful they undoubtedly are for individual expression and however socially meaningful they remain — and thus a new way of revitalizing the traditional media.”

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05w29:3 Traffic Engineering

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 29 number 3 (traffic engineering)

Thanks to Matt Crookshank for this Goodreads suggestion – Timothy


Road design? He calls it a revolution | Sarah Lyall
“It was, basically, a bare brick square. But in spite of the apparently anarchical layout, the traffic, a steady stream of trucks, cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, moved along fluidly and easily, as if directed by an invisible conductor. When Monderman, a traffic engineer and the intersection’s proud designer, deliberately failed to check for oncoming traffic before crossing the street, the drivers slowed for him. No one honked or shouted rude words out the window. ‘Who has the right of way?’ he asked rhetorically. ‘I don’t care. People here have to find their own way, negotiate for themselves, use their own brains.'”

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emailed by Timothy on Saturday 23 July 2005 @ 9:12 PM

05w29:1 The Rebel Sell

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 29 number 1 (The Rebel Sell)

First, a friend who was in the audience that evening told me about it, and then I saw the video last December on Big Ideas. I taped it then actually, and as I watched it I thought, I should transcribe this audio for Goodreads. But at the time it didn’t seem practical. Winter passed. Snow fell, we had Christmas and the news of the Tsunami, and then a campaign of white bracelets to end global poverty, especially in Africa. By this time, I’d completed the transcription of another hour of video, that of Michael Ignatieff’s speech last March. So, I knew how to do it. I had the experience. I figured it’d take a couple of days. And when the video was re-broadcast the weekend before last, it was a reminder. Yes, I really should do this. And the process began. It took longer than a couple of days, but what’s the rush? The book has just been published in paperback. And perhaps it’ll be someone’s August reading, supplemented with this great introduction and summary by the authors given last October as part of the University of Toronto Reading Series. – Timothy


The Rebel Sell | Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter
“It may give us pause to consider that while Fight Club was hailed as ‘edgy’ and ‘subversive’ when it appeared in 1999, Rabbit, Run enjoyed enormous commercial success when it was first published?in 1960. If social criticism came with a ‘sell by’ date, this one would have been removed from the shelf a long time ago. The fact that it is still around, and still provokes awe and acclaim, makes one wonder if it is really a criticism or, rather, a piece of modern mythology. What Fight Club and Rabbit, Run present, in a user-friendly fashion, is the critique of mass society, which was developed in the late 1950s in classic works like William Whyte?s The Organization Man (1956), Vance Packard?s The Status Seekers (1959) and Paul Goodman?s Growing up Absurd (1960). The central idea is quite simple. Capitalism requires conformity to function correctly. As a result, the system is based upon a generalized system of repression. Individuals who resist the pressure to conform therefore subvert the system, and aid in its overthrow.”NOTE: introductory article from This Magazine

The Rebel Sell | Andrew Potter and Joseph Heath
“So the desire to conform, this idea that we’re all trying to conform, fails to explain the compulsive nature of consumer behavior, why we keep spending more and more, even though we’re all over extended, even though it doesn’t bring anybody any happiness in the long run. So the question is why do we lay the blame for consumerism on those who are struggling to keep up with the Jones’? Because the fault would actually appear to lie with the Jones’. They’re the ones who started it all, by trying to one-up their neighbors. It’s their desire to stand out from the crowd, to be better than everyone else, that is responsible for ratcheting up consumption standards in their community. In other words, it’s the non-conformists, not the conformists, who are driving consumer spending.”

Branded for life | Andy Beckett
“The Rebel Sell is a brave book. In places it is also unfair, light on evidence and repetitively polemical. But the argument it makes is important and original. Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, both young Canadian academics, think that for nearly half a century critics of capitalism have profoundly misunderstood their enemy. Worse than that, the authors argue, these critics have – sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not – provided modern capitalism with the fuel it runs on. […] To Heath and Potter, the story of capitalism since the 60s is the story of business absorbing so much from the so-called counterculture of that decade and after, and vice versa, that the two effectively merged. By the early 21st century, the counterculture’s governing ideas of rebelliousness and ‘cool’ have become the ‘central ideology’ of consumerism. Wherever you find capitalism at its most vigorous – as in the marketing of sportswear and pop music – a ‘rebel sell’ philosophy is at work. “NOTE: (With a response – scroll down to ‘Brand Recognition’)

The Rebel Sell Official Website | Harper Collins

No logo? Not quite | Andrew Potter
“Here’s an interesting article about some recent polling data debunking the notion that today’s youth (18-24) are a bunch of anti-branding anti-capitalists. In fact, it would appear that this crew is actually less likely than the general population to be willing to spend more on ethically produced goods or environmentally-friendly products.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 19 July 2005 @ 5:27 PM

05w28:1 Four Years Later

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 28 number 1 (four years later)


Mike Harris and the arts | Robert Fulford
“It is a truth universally acknowledged among artists in Toronto that Premier Mike Harris has wrecked the cultural life of Ontario. This opinion must baffle newspaper readers elsewhere in Canada. On the one hand, Ontario artists seem to spend their time accepting prizes, signing big contracts, and bragging about their international success; on the other, they claim they are living in dark times, starved by a mean, vicious government. The consensus in the cultural community is simple: We must live in hope that some day Harris will be defeated so that his successor can bring back the creative policies of the pre-Harris years, when sympathetic governments vigorously encouraged the arts. It happens that this is nonsense, but it is popular nonsense. In some Toronto circles, it is more or less mandatory. Artists holding contrary ideas usually remain silent, to avoid being condemned for heresy. […] We who favour arts funding claim that most artists of all kinds have been subsidized through most of history. True. But that doesn’t mean government decisions determine the health of the arts. When Russians were writing the great novels of the 19th century, the czars were not literary patrons. When the Impressionists in Paris were producing the best paintings of the 19th century, the French government played no part. Canadians spend so much time talking about cultural policy that we think it more important than it is. Government can help, and should, but arts policies and the arts are not the same and often don’t run on parallel tracks. Looking clearly at what has happened to the arts in the Age of Harris might help us to think about these questions with less hysteria and more, uh, common sense. “Article Date, 10 July 2001

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emailed by Timothy on Monday 11 July 2005 @ 11:07 PM

05w27:1 Ideas about God

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 27 number 1 (ideas about God)


On Evolution of God-Seeking Mind | Conrad Montell
“The earliest known products of human imagination appear to express a primordial concern and struggle with thoughts of dying and of death and mortality. I argue that the structures and processes of imagination evolved in that struggle, in response to debilitating anxieties and fearful states that would accompany an incipient awareness of mortality. Imagination evolved to find that which would make the nascent apprehension of death more bearable, to engage in a search for alternative perceptions of death: a search that was beyond the capability of the external senses. I argue that imagination evolved as flight and fight adaptations in response to debilitating fears that paralleled an emerging foreknowledge of death. Imagination, and symbolic language to express its perceptions, would eventually lead to religious behavior and the development of cultural supports. Although highly speculative, my argument draws on recent brain studies, and on anthropology, psychology, and linguistics.”

The Origin of Consciousness … | Wikipedia
“The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976) is a controversial work of popular psychology by Julian Jaynes in which he proposes that consciousness emerged relatively recently in human history. Jaynes asserts that until the times written about in Homer’s Iliad, humans did not have the ‘interior monologue’ that is characteristic of consciousness as most people experience it today. Instead, he argues that something like schizophrenia was the typical human mental state as recently as 3000 years ago. […] Jaynes argues that preconscious humans effectively had a ‘split brain’ which allowed one part of the brain to appear to be ‘speaking’ to another part that listened and obeyed, and that commands that at some point were believed to be issued by ‘gods’–so often recorded in ancient myths, legends and historical accounts–were in fact emanating from individuals’ own minds. Specifically, he hypothesizes that these commands were being issued by a now usually dormant area in the right hemisphere of the brain that corresponds to the location of Wernicke’s area in the left which is believed to be involved in understanding speech. He says, with neurosurgery, these commands can be recreated with electrical stimulation of the area.”

Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind | Julian Jaynes
“But if you take the generally accepted oldest parts of the Iliad and ask, ?Is there evidence of consciousness?? the answer, I think, is no. People are not sitting down and making decisions. No one is. No one is introspecting. No one is even reminiscing. It is a very different kind of world. Then, who makes the decisions? Whenever a significant choice is to be made, a voice comes in telling people what to do. These voices are always and immediately obeyed. These voices are called gods. To me this is the origin of gods. I regard them as auditory hallucinations similar to, although not precisely the same as, the voices heard by Joan of Arc or William Blake. Or similar to the voices that modern schizophrenics hear. Similar perhaps to the voices that some of you may have heard. While it is regarded as a very significant symptom in the diagnosis of schizophrenia, auditory hallucinations also occur in some form at some time in about half the general population (Posey & Losch, 1983). I have also corresponded with or interviewed people who are completely normal in function but who suddenly have a period of hearing extensive verbal hallucinations, usually of a religious sort. Verbal hallucinations are common today, but in early civilization I suggest that they were universal. “PDF File 139 K

E.T. and God | Paul Davies
“The world’s main faiths were all founded in the pre-scientific era, when Earth was widely believed to be at the center of the universe and humankind at the pinnacle of creation. As scientific discoveries have piled up over the past 500 years, our status has been incrementally diminished. First Earth was shown to be just one planet of several orbiting the Sun. Then the solar system itself was relegated to the outer suburbs of the galaxy, and the Sun classified as an insignificant dwarf star among billions. The theory of evolution proposed that human beings occupied just a small branch on a complex evolutionary tree. […] Theologians are used to putting a brave face on such developments. […]Only recently, for example, did the Pope acknowledge that Darwinian evolution is more than just a theory. If SETI succeeds, theologians will not have the luxury of decades of careful deliberation to assess the significance of the discovery. The impact will be instant. […] Suppose, then, that E.T. is far ahead of us not only scientifically and technologically but spiritually, too. Where does that leave mankind’s presumed special relationship with God? This conundrum poses a particular difficulty for Christians, because of the unique nature of the Incarnation. Of all the world’s major religions, Christianity is the most species-specific. Jesus Christ was humanity’s savior and redeemer. He did not die for the dolphins or the gorillas, and certainly not for the proverbial little green men. But what of deeply spiritual aliens? Are they not to be saved? Can we contemplate a universe that contains perhaps a trillion worlds of saintly beings, but in which the only beings eligible for salvation inhabit a planet where murder, rape, and other evils remain rife?”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 05 July 2005 @ 10:33 PM

05w28:2 Darren O'Donell

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 26 number 2 (Darren O’Donnell)

What would a celebration of Canada, (via fireworks and an international rock concert) be without a case of provincialism, as in, ‘oh my gosh, the rest of the world is paying attention to us, and to one of our own’? In this case, Darren O’Donnell, who was recently interviewed by NY Press, and prompting this Darren O’Donnell edition of GR. Because many people on this list know Darren personally, we’re apt to take his talent for granted, so it’s nice to have this perspective available, and it seems worth sharing with those beyond the Canadian borders. – Timothy


Interview with Darren O’Donnell | Kate Crane
“Basically, I think the child/adult dichotomy is false and, ultimately, not healthy. Adulthood and the various layers of personality armour one has to adopt to function as an adult are, for the most part, a performance or a fiction. Adults are, ultimately, very childlike and, conversely, children are actually far more mature than most people are willing to acknowledge. So the children in the book are actually adults?composites of me and a few of my friends. The adults in the book barely exist. […] The one thing we tell children over and over is the virtue of sharing, and yet we live in this place that glorifies wealth, rewards greed, a place where the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow. The adult is a mythical creature, as far as I?m concerned.”

Your Secrets Sleep with Me (Review) | Kate Crane
“This tale holds 101 compressed dramas; the resulting tension is as thick and refractive as DC air in August. Though Your Secrets critiques the global spread of America and the sprouting of police states, at its core the book explores the meaning of self, of our relationships with our bodies, the outside world and one another, down to a cellular level.”

Darren O’Donnell’s Suicide Guide to the City | Timothy Comeau
“One of the first projects of Darren’s I became aware of was The Talking Creature, where he basically got people to meet in Kensington Market’s park and chat. In light of Saul’s arguments, that seems to have been a very Canadian thing to do. And now, with Suicide Site Guide, that Canadian tradition favoring talk over text continues. Because, as I said earlier, the play is like a recited journal it reminds me of the fact that journals are now flourishing as a literary form through blogs.”

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emailed by Timothy on Sunday 03 July 2005 @ 9:01 PM

05w26:1 Cancon

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 26 number 1 (cancon)


The Daves I Know | Alison Gillmor
“David: Then & Now is a photography exhibition that marks increments of time in a very intimate way: by recording the way the passing years are marked onto our bodies. Sponsored by Plug In ICA (Winnipeg’s Institute of Contemporary Art), the public art project features black-and-white before-and-after photos of men named David, placed in bus shelters around the city. In each case, a life-size photograph taken in 1993 is matched with another taken 10 years later. Don’t expect any Fox TV extreme makeovers, though: there is a continuity here that is gently reassuring.”

Doodle Dandies | Sascha Hastings
“Last fall, I wandered into Weird Woods, a show by artist Seth Scriver at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects on Toronto’s trendy Queen West gallery strip. After half an hour of looking at Scriver’s quirky little drawings of bushmen and furry blob creatures, I left with a nagging thought: is this the spawn of the Royal Art Lodge? Now don’t get me wrong – I love the Royal Art Lodge, Canada’s most successful artist collective since General Idea, the Regina Five and, long before them, the Group of Seven. […] Baerwald and Enright feel that a lot of it started back in the early 1980s with American artist Raymond Pettibon, who adopted a comic-book style of art, combining drawings and text that referred equally to pop culture and ‘high’ culture, philosophy and politics. But Pettibon was something of a voice in the wilderness amongst a generation of artists who preferred photography, slick video and vivid Neo-Expressionist paintings. According to Baerwald, it was a new, younger generation of artists who, in an attempt to define themselves in contrast to their elders, revived the somewhat forgotten art of drawing. Mulherin notes that at recent art fairs, she’s seen more and more works on paper, especially by emerging artists showing with younger galleries. She says that Toronto artist Shari Boyle was reluctant to display her drawings for a while precisely because she felt there was too much drawing around.”

Surface Tension | Alec Scott
“Lemieux’s popularity is easy to explain – at least on one level. He painted pretty pictures, ones that aren’t technically difficult to read and feel. He imbues all his pieces, particularly his winterscapes, with a magical luminosity. His subjects are generally accessible: families (remembered from his childhood) wearing their Edwardian Sunday best; unspoiled agricultural landscapes; and nighttime skies hinting (but not too broadly) at the infinite. Even during the post-Pollock 1960s and ’70s, Lemieux remained resolutely on the figurative side of the great figurative-abstract divide – unlike, say, his great friend Paul Emile Borduas. Formally, Lemieux’s compositions are as well balanced as the shots of a skilled amateur photographer. But there’s more to him: if a first glance at his work reveals an orderly prettiness, take two uncovers dark currents swirling under the apparently calm surfaces.”

Painting the Town Red | Megan Williams
“When it’s not even noon on day one of the press preview of the art exhibition at the Venice Biennale and there’s already a massive lineup outside the Canadian pavilion, you know the exhibit inside has struck a chord. Rebecca Belmore’s part-sculpture, part-video installation – aptly named Fountain – is a technologically complex and exquisitely executed piece of art. It begins with a simple, veil-like sheet of water falling across the inside of a darkened room. Slowly, clouds begin to take shape on the water’s surface – the opening images of a two-and-a-half-minute video loop that’s projected onto the liquid from behind. The images change as the camera begins to move across a driftwood-strewn shore and then toward a pile of wood, which bursts thunderously into yellow and orange flames, rendered almost crystalline as they flicker through the waterfall screen. Then, Belmore herself appears, with short-cropped hair, jeans and a sweater, and flails in the shallow water, struggling to fill an old pail. Looking exhausted but resolute, she emerges from the water, plods slowly toward the camera and then hurls the bucket’s contents at the lens; it’s no longer water, now, but blood. Through a downward stream of red, Belmore gazes accusingly out at the viewer.”

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emailed by Timothy on Thursday 30 June 2005 @ 1:00 PM

05w24:2 Body Issues

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 24 number 2 (body issues)


The weird and wonderful dieting advice of Karl Lagerfeld | Amanda Fortini
“Four years ago, when the couturier Karl Lagerfeld dropped 92 pounds in 13 months, a public obsessed with the vicissitudes of celebrity weight took notice. […]Never one to miss a lucrative opportunity, Lagerfeld, who has designed for Chanel since 1983, codified his diet secrets in book form. Since its 2004 publication, The Karl Lagerfeld Diet has sold nearly 200,000 copies in Europe and Asia, and last month it was released in America. Not that you would know. […]Perhaps most alien, and potentially alienating, is the book’s unapologetic emphasis on appearance. Lagerfeld repeatedly states that fashion, specifically the desire to wear the superslim fashions of the aptly named Hedi Slimane (who designs for Dior Homme), motivated him. When discussing their belief in the importance of one’s exterior, Lagerfeld and Houdret, clearly a like-minded pair, don’t mince words. ‘In order to have a place in society,’ Houdret writes, ‘both men and women have to be active, good looking and above all young?and therefore slim.’ Lagerfeld, ever extenuatory, puts it more concisely: ‘A respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul.'”

Beauty and the Beast | Matt Feeney
“It’s a family sitcom tradition that spouses are ill-matched looks-wise, but until recently, the mismatch has usually consisted of a beautiful actress, whose glamour is partly obscured behind the clutter of everyday life, and a comparatively plain actor. Think golden-haired Meredith Baxter Birney and undistinguished Michael Gross on Family Ties or dishy Suzanne Pleshette and the comically featureless Bob Newhart in the original Bob Newhart Show. In these sitcom marriages, the husband was at least shown to compensate for his obvious lack of studliness by being what Tony Soprano would call a good earner?or at the very least a mensch. In the current sitcom lineup, by contrast, several shows pair extremely attractive women, who are often clad in plunging tops and tight jeans suitable for a Maxim photo spread, with TV husbands who are not only not studly, but downright fat, and a couple who are not only not mensches, but are ugly on the inside, too.”

The Big Picture 33 | R.M. Vaughan
“Apart from being a load of goofy (and kinda hot) frat stunt fun, Zits’s restaging of Klein’s experiments resonates with a media-saturated awareness of the male body as both an object and the focus of objectification. The collages are gorgeous representations of conflicted appetites and conflicted self-image. The contrast between the silhouettes left behind by Zits’s models (round and lumpy, like real people) and the pictures of hyper-fit, over groomed men culled from magazines – images of masculinity chosen by men who look nothing like this exaggerated ideal – is both revealing and appalling. There is no small amount of self-hatred, or at least dismorphia, evident in this division between the actual and the desired.”

Navel Gazing | Laura Kipnis
“One problem with this brand of global feminism is how closely it resembles narcissism on a global scale: Women everywhere mirror me. Instead, Ensler should have interviewed a few anthropologists since according to Kulick and Meneley’s Fat, bodily attributes like pot bellies actually have entirely different cross-cultural meanings. Fat connotes very different things in different cultures or in subcultures like fat activism, gay male chubby-chasers, and hip hop. Fat may be a worldwide phenomenon – and increasingly so – but not everyone is neurotic about it, or they’re not neurotic in the same way. Take the chapter by anthropologist Rebecca Popenoe, based on her fieldwork among desert Arabs in Niger. […] In Niger, failing to achieve the prevailing beauty standard isn’t a personal failure; it just means someone has bewitched you, or you have a thin constitution. […] Of course, masculinity has always been afflicted with its own bodily anxieties; it just compensates for them differently (or overcompensates). […]Only feminism-for-dummies defines body pathologies as a female franchise alone, especially since that just buttresses the illusion of masculine invulnerability all over again – traditional femininity via the back door.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 14 June 2005 @ 6:48 PM

05w24:1 John Currin

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Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 24 number 1 (john currin)

All these articles are from late 2003 – Timothy


Defending John Currin | Charlie Finch
“Currin is conservative in the best sense of the world: he seeks to perceive what is authentic within the purview of his bent vision, and what is authentic to Currin is the unclassifiability of desire and the conviction that all life is essentially erotic. Other than Currin’s stated template, Lucius Cranach the Elder, the piece that best approximates Currin’s enduring genius is Vermeer’s Girl in the Red Hat, in which the attenuated red fur of the hat begs to be taken sexually, with permission from its wearer’s smile. This sensuous aspect of Currin’s work drives the politically correct art elite nuts, much as his limpid palette, so reminiscent of Wayne Thiebaud, leads to accusations that John can’t paint.”

Talk of the Town | Mia Fineman
“There are some wildly different ideas about exactly what Currin is up to?New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman sees him as ‘a latter-day Jeff Koons’ trafficking in postmodern irony while Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker finds him a blissfully sincere artist tapping into the timeless values of ‘mystery, sublimity, transcendence.’ But everyone is unanimous about one thing: John Currin can paint.In almost every review, Currin’s technical skill is acknowledged with a kind of breathless wonder. And to be sure, lately he has adopted a suave, Old Master-ish style, rendering the smooth, luminous skin of his nudes with real conviction?a marked departure from the intentionally crude technique of his earlier paintings. But this critical fixation on Currin’s painterly technique raises the question: Why are we so surprised that a successful contemporary painter is good at putting pigment on canvas? “essay continues with an html slide show

Art Market Guide 2003 | Richard Polsky
“Now that Currin’s prices are in the same league as the above artists, you have to ask yourself — who is this painter and what is he doing selling for all this dough? In terms of esthetics, John Currin has surprisingly received universal praise from the art world press. There has been all sorts of talk of how expertly his works are painted, coupled with a lot of psychological nonsense about the human condition. To my eye, all we have here are intentional kitschy, thrift-store portraits of people with exaggeratedly wide eyes. Sure, they’re skillfully painted, but why shouldn’t they be? In this day and age, the art world considers being a good draughtsman and having a command of color and composition to be something remarkable.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 14 June 2005 @ 2:25 PM