We Had Fun!

Posted: April 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


masterpiece that was once censored on the grounds of obscenity has now set a new auction record.

Sotheby’s has announced that “Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)” (1917) by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, which depicts a naked French woman in repose, will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 14 with an pre-sale estimate in excess of $150 million — the highest estimate placed on an artwork at auction.

Until now, this record was held by Pablo Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” (1955), which had an estimate of $140 million and went on to sell for $179 million. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” which became the world’s most expensive artwork when it sold for $450 million in 2017, had a (relatively) modest estimate of $100 million.

Modigliani first unveiled his series of nudes in 1917 at his first and only solo show, an exhibition at Paris’ Berthe Weill gallery. It’s said that the exhibition was shut down within hours of its opening because a police officer was offended by the models’ pubic hair.

The art exhibition, “Mining the HMNS: An Investigation by The Natural History Museum,” in Houston, Texas, raises the question: “Is the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences a museum, or a PR front for the fossil fuel industry?”

The exhibition is a collaboration between The Natural History Museum, a mobile museum created by Not An Alternative, a Brooklyn based collective engaged in art and activism, and t.e.j.a.s. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services), a community-based activist organization in East Houston.

It is part of the group show, “Shattering the Concrete: Artists, Activists and Instigators,” at Project Row Houses, an arts organization that explores “art’s role in challenging the current political paradigm and fomenting political change,” on display through June 19.

STUDENT: Why are environmental issues so divisive, left/right, currently but seemed to be more nuanced and not as “political” in the 70’s? Or am I romanticizing the past? If is is true, why now? Is it because of a change in education or media? Is money or power at stake more now than previously? With the rise of PACs, are industry priorities being bought or heard more? Do people take the environmental gains that have been accomplished so far for granted?

TEACHER: There’s been a lot of political drift in the two major political parties since the time I was a kid. Though many people might imagine that Republicans and Democrats have existed in their present form since their creation, such has hardly been the case. Regional tendencies have changed as well. For instance, I can still recall when most of the rural South was still Democrat, as that party had, at the time, a strong commitment to agriculture. Meanwhile, Republicans, such as Nixon, showed a strong commitment to centralized government and federal agencies such as the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). I can’t say there is one cause responsible for the shift to our present situation, or one specific moment at which it happened. Nevertheless, the Republican party took a major step toward its current shape through the relentless efforts of Barry Goldwater. You can read about his influence in the excellent scholarship of U of U History professor Bob Goldberg.

While there were considerable differences between the two men, Goldwater clearly paved the way for the success of Ronald Reagan, under whom the Republican party ceased to be a haven for Ivy League elites. It was under Reagan that mainstream “American” and evangelical “Christian” values began to play an increasingly powerful role in national policy. For example, it was during the Reagan years that prominent senators, such as Jesse Helms, began calling for an end to the federal funding of the humanities.

The argument was that the art the government found itself funding was both offensive and unpopular – originated as it did from queer and other marginalized communities. Instead of government-funded ‘pornography’, senators reasoned, we should let the market ‘naturally’ decide what should and shouldn’t be allowed to flourish, or at least survive. As I said elsewhere, this is basically a formula for mediocrity and the preservation of the status quo. Anything questioning or running contrary to mass culture is left to whither and die – often quite literally, as this was the era of the AIDS epidemic. Who needs classical music and jazz on the radio anyway, or any other kind of alternative broadcasting? Shouldn’t we be content with commercial broadcasters such as KBER and X96? In a word: Give the people what to want!

On my way to school today I found myself listening to a Fresh Air (National Public Radio) interview with a renowned writer whose father was left unemployed when Reagan fired, en mass, the entire air-traffic controllers’ union. The overall deregulation of the FAA was supposed to force airlines into competition, motivating them to offer customers better service fewer dollars. I don’t how old one has to be to recognize it, but let me assure you that didn’t work out so well for 99% of us. Free of federal restrictions, airlines in general raised their rates and lowered the quality of the services, and passed the savings on to their chief executives. Most other industries, including and especially the car manufacturers and oil companies, did the same.

If you think back to recent readings, you’ll notice the tremendous rage Douglas Crimp feels toward Reagan and his fellow neo-conservative Republicans. Why all the ire? Because the defunding of the arts has forced museums to seek funding from other sources, and these were primarily major corporations, massive oil and telecommunications corporations, such as AT&T and Exxon.

While it could seem a blessing that these companies stepped in to pick up the government’s slack, Crimp points out how these companies immediately began to use the museums and similar liberal institutions as outlets for their corporate propaganda: The Art of Africa, brought to you by Exxon Mobile, one of the biggest exploiters and polluters of that continent; or, Great [i.e., a-political] Painters of Today, brought to you by AT&T, a massive conglomerate profiting massively from trade deregulation and paid advertising.

If you combine the license given to these corporate interests, with the revival of “Christian” values and apocalyptic thinking, within newly Republican rural America, you soon enough get a political climate which is perfectly suited to the likes of Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, Ryan Zinke, and even Betsy Devos. The Earth is here not to tend, but ruthlessly to exploit. As the ‘prosperity gospel’ now preaches: God loved me so he made me rich! And anything the suggests otherwise should be removed from our public schools.

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos make “U” symbols
with their hands while posing with the Utah Skiing team at the White House.
Art & Activism of the Anthropocene – Panel II

Zaria Forman, Glen Raygorodetsky, and Jeff VanderMeer,
with Amy Brady of Guernica magazine.
New York Society Library

Of all the stupid things you are likely going to do today, I must insist that printing this PDF is not one of them. This portable document format file is anything but portable and calling it a document is, at best, a euphemism. Believe me when I say that I like printing digital artefacts on dead trees as much as the next guy, but this is one PDF that was never meant to make it to meatspace.

Unless, of course, you happen to have a burning desire to coat a square kilometer of the planet with black rectangles. In that case, you should definitely print this 2,568 page PDF.

The PDF in question was unleashed on the world in a tweet by Kenneth Goldsmith, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who teaches classes about how to waste time on the internet, founder of the avant garde repository UbuWeb, and self-described “uncreative writer.” When I spoke to Goldsmith over email, he said he was in the process of printing out the PDF.

Abandon Hope

Posted: April 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

Auguste Rodin
The Gates of Hell (unfinished, 1917)

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

Robert Rauschenberg
Treasury of the Conscience of Man (1970)

Treasury of the conscience of man.
Masterworks collected, protected and
celebrated commonly. Timeless in
concept the museum amasses to
concretize a moment of pride
serving to defend the dreams
and ideal apolitically of mankind
aware and responsive to the
changes, needs and complexities
of current life while keeping
history and love alive.

This is the kind of event that made my college years truly educational and memorable. I hope students will make an effort to attend.

Wat Buddhikaram

3325 W 3800 S, West Valley City, UT 84119

The performances/food will be happening today and tomorrow noon to 4pm

I’ll be performing around 1:00ish both days. I’d ask those who come to dress in nice (modest, no jeans, etc.) clothes and to take their shoes off in the temple.

“This was in our otherwise stately suburban home, where the children and parents had absolutely no overlap — down to different dining rooms and entrances to our home, which came to feel almost like compartments. Or Hell.”

It pains me to say it, but I am a failed artist. “Pains me” because nothing in my life has given me the boundless psychic bliss of making art for tens of hours at a stretch for a decade in my 20s and 30s, doing it every day and always thinking about it, looking for a voice to fit my own time, imagining scenarios of success and failure, feeling my imagined world and the external one merging in things that I was actually making. Now I live on the other side of the critical screen, and all that language beyond words, all that doctor-shamanism of color, structure, and the mysteries of beauty — is gone.

“I’m Against Modern Feminism.” I recently heard a very nice but rather naive young woman make this pronouncement. My immediate thought was, What does that even mean? What kind of feminism are you talking about?

Betty Friedan
Demystifying The Feminine

Gloria Steinem
Women’s Liberation

Angela Davis
Militant Feminism

Catherine McKinnon
Women’s Social Justice

Andrea Dworkin
Sexual Manumition

Kate Millet
The Politics of Sexuality

Toril Moi
Linguistic Constructivist Feminism

Donna Haraway
Post-Humanist Feminism

Judith Butler
Post-Gender Feminism

We’ll try to cover only the first two essays by Rosalind Krauss next Monday. Impossible. But we’ll try anyway. These readings are very dense and difficult. Do the best you can with them. If there’s something you don’t understand, either large or small, just consider it an opportunity to ask a question and help your sagging grade. Have a good weekend. I will see you soon.


Rosalind Krauss is, without visible rival, the most influential American art writer since Clement Greenberg. Together with her colleagues at October, the journal she co-founded, she has played a key role in the introduction of French theory into the American art world. In the 1960s, though first a follower of Greenberg, she was inspired by her readings of French structuralist and post-structuralist materials, revolted against her mentor’s formalism, and developed a succession of radically original styles of art history writing.

Auguste Rodin
The Three Shades (1886)

Untitled (1993)

Playpen (1987)

Image  —  Posted: April 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

You know you’ve reached the acme of academic superstardom (and also that we really do live in a postmodern culture which is officially finished with ‘authenticity’ and ‘originality’) the day people begin producing historical reenactments of your conference talks, and considering these reenactments performance art. “The Motivation of The Sign” was first presented at a 1989 symposium at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, which we see “pastiched” (Fredric Jameson‘s term) below. Such ironic restagings of critical battles in the arts had previously been explored in the work of painter Mark Tansey. But here high theory has finally become melodrama, and Krauss is queen!

Picasso/Braque 1989 – A Theory Installation
Presented by The Jackson Pollock Bar
Directed by Christian Matthiessen

An installed video projection of “Picasso/Braque 1989” appeared at Gallery 400, 1 May 2009—4 July 2009. Installation set constructed by The Project for the New American Century. The text is derived entirely from phrases spoken by the historical figures in question. However, the phrases are derived from many different sources. The conversation below never took place.

Four actors are seated at a panel discussion (from Left to Right): Edward Fry, Yve-Alain Bois, Rosalind Krauss, Leo Steinberg. They are later joined by the voice of Kirk Varnedoe.

Krauss [raising hands in exasperated gesture]: Well, Leo, they can’t just enter the work by walking in. We need a model for how they get instituted within the aesthetic structure. In other words, we can read all of the newspaper clippings in Picasso and Braque’s collages but does that tell us anything whatsoever about them as aesthetic constructions? I think it doesn’t. The newspaper is enormously important, and I want to deal with its importance in relation to the structure of the aesthetic object, the work of art. You can’t just dump meaning onto the work.

Field Trip!

Posted: April 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Dreamdecay put out one of the best albums of the year last year and are INCREDIBLE! Iron Lung put it out so you know the band is fantastic.




No Sun


Tuesday, April 24 at 8 PM – 11 PM
Diabolical Records
238 S Edison St, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

Praising Rosalind Krauss

Posted: April 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

2012 Distinguished Scholar Session
Honors Rosalind Krauss

College Art Association

The 2012 Distinguished Scholar Session, taking place at the 100th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, will honor Rosalind Krauss, University Professor at Columbia University in New York. Yve-Alain Bois of the Institute for Advanced Studies will chair a session, called “The Theoretical Turn,” in which five to six participants—among them Harry Cooper, Jonathan Crary, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and Hal Foster—will explore and celebrate Krauss’s many contributions to the history of art. The Distinguished Scholar Session will be held in Room 515B at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, February 23, 2:30–5:00 PM.

Krauss’s acute observation of twentieth-century art began at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1962. She began writing criticism in 1966, mostly for Artforum, while working on her PhD at Harvard University, which she earned in 1969. MIT Press published an expanded version of her dissertation as Terminal Iron Works: The Sculpture of David Smith in 1971.

Krauss continued writing criticism and generating art-historical essays that challenged steadfast analyses of Auguste Rodin, the Surrealists, and Jackson Pollock, to name a few topics. She joined the Artforum editorial board in the late 1960s and appeared on the masthead as assistant editor from 1971 to 1974. Krauss and her colleague Annette Michelson left the magazine in 1975 to establish the scholarly October, which strove to forge a relationship between contemporary concerns and scholarship, with particular emphases on the history of modernism, its fundamental premises, and the ability of writing to reinvigorate the era. For Krauss and others, October was an opportunity to integrate artists such as Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt into their theoretical convictions and investigative criticism.

(read more)


Professor Rosalind Krauss Receives Honorary Degree from Harvard University

University Professor Rosalind Krauss received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Harvard University at their 360th Commencement on May 26, 2011.

In a voice that is both passionate and precise, conceptual and tactile, Krauss reveals recurring structures of form and meaning that resound across various artistic practices—abstraction, photography, video and performance art—connecting them to each other and their historical context, without conflating their methods or meanings in grand generalizations of aesthetic value. Krauss writes, “What I must acknowledge is not some idea of the world’s perspective but simply my own point of view. One’s own perspective, like one’s own age, is the only orientation one will ever have.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Rosalind Krauss has been the preeminent American art historian to have taught generations of colleagues and students, across the arts and the humanities, to courageously espouse, what she once described as “the paraliterary space”: “the space of debate, quotation, partisanship, betrayal, reconciliation…” We honor Rosalind Krauss for her indomitable spirit and her pioneering work.

–Drew G. Faust, President, Harvard University

“We have here yet another example of [Hilton] Kramer‘s moralizing cultural conservatism disguised as progressive modernism.”

–Douglas Crimp

Roger Kimball
(b. 1953)

Kimball’s Review of Rosalind Krauss’s The Optical Unconscious

Roger Kimball
The Spectator
February 3, 2018

Some students have expressed interest in seeing the essay below. It is OPTIONAL. The essay discusses the discrepancy between the sanitized and popularized Andy Warhol most people recognize, in a way akin to how legal currency and major credit cards are recognized.

At present, Warhol ranks as the one of the most “collectable” artist on earth. Yet the majority of Warhol’s work most museums choose to keep underground, considering it not in keeping with the image of him the public finds agreeable. Consequently, it’s a fun and family-friendly Andy that most of us have come to know and love. Consider, for instance, this cheerful statement.

‘I am so delighted to have Warhol’s work out in the communities throughout the West so that people of all ages can experience these works personally,’ said Jordan Schnitzer, President of Harsch Investment Properties and print collector. ‘He was an icon of his time and these suites act as a powerful mirror for exploring our shared values.’ (UMFA Website)

AGAIN, this article is NOT assigned, but feel free to read it if you’re interested in Pop Art and queer aesthetics and politics. If I were a better teacher I’d probably make it required reading. But I can only do so much in fifteen weeks.

Douglas Crimp
“Getting the Warhol We Deserve”

Social Text, No. 59 (Summer 1999)


Students may also be interested in another take on Andy Warhol, that of Princeton University art historian Hal Foster, author of The First Pop Age.

Hal Foster
“Death In America”
October, No. 71 (Winter 1996)

Andy Warhol
Saturday Disaster (1964)

Children of All Ages!

Posted: April 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


~ “Charles [Eames] was on the board of the Ringling Brothers [Clown] College and often referred to the circus as an example of what design and art should be.”

–Beatriz Colomina, “Surrounded by Screens: The Eames’s Media House”