Monthly Archives: July 2008

Kicked

A postscript:

The standard lifespan for a blog clocks in at about two years, and that puts me as falling just below average, which is where I am most comfortable. When I started Gloss in late 2006 it was with the intention of meditating on two conflicting pet theories:

1. Media can only be descriptive of culture, not prescriptive.

2. Television is here to prepare us for the experience of death. Recent depictions of the afterlife in movies and elsewhere show our posthumous consciousness as an extended channel surfing. So what TV resembles most closely is ancient religion. Its function is closer to the pyramids than it is to film, which is oneiric.

Both theories were almost always brushed aside for short-lived buzz memes and political minutiae. I apologize.

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Hev Knows Miz: Moz

For the burgeoning sub-genre of Smiths lyrics stuck on a wall please consider Jonathan Hernández‘s ‘Heaven knows I’m miserable now’, installed in 2001 at the home of kurimanzutto’s gallerists in Mexico City, an urban center that has been very kind to both Morrissey and contemporary art over the past decade. This time the letters are built from mirrors and accompanied in the show by a mixtape, featuring songs by the Smiths and others:

“The songs take us through the wide range of sensations produced by love: mystery, passion, deceit, seduction, catharsis, emptiness. The CD case design alludes to the ejaculation that Duchamp sent to his Brazilian lover. Behind the barrage of love’s social and artistic paraphernalia lies a single spurt of sperm, an orgasm, physiological satisfaction, coupling, reproduction. Everything else is an illusion, fantasies that make us suffer.”

A review of the show is archived at ArtNexus

Here-wise, Hernández was featured in Unmonumental at the New Museum and recently had his first U.S. solo show at MC Kunst in Los Angeles.

Criticism

So while I was away the Internet was talking about the widespread firing of arts and movie critics from our nation’s papers, and the situation that puts us in. It may be a general coincidence that the death of criticism, for economic reasons, follows so closely after the death of theory (in this case, supposedly, for non-economic reasons.) It certainly is a personal coincidence that I was catching up on this while belatedly reading Omnivore’s Dilemma. So my thoughts processed like this:

It is only natural that criticism’s defenders are critics. It is much like this week’s letter in defense of corn syrup, penned by Corn Refiners Association president Audrae Erickson. But exactly what are the readers consuming, and what will they lose if criticism disappears? At its most refined, criticism after theory takes a work of art and processes it until it emerges, just to pick a random example, as a vehicle for discussion of Marxist struggle. Now that piece of criticism can be really satisfying, but not everyone is going to believe those ingredients were there in the original. Which is to say that criticism is a value-added. It is something new, and artificial. It is corn syrup, chicken mcnuggets—the same nutrition in higher density.

So life after criticism, if what the papers say is right, will probably see a go-organic or return-to-natural movement, which I guess would mean taking in our movies and music raw and un-pre-criticized. Or it could be a return of artistic locavores—more “Fugazi fucking rock because they’re from DC!” and less “José González fucking rocks because he’s from everywhere!” It would be hard for me to say what effect any of these developments would have on the triumph of global capitalism.

Fact: Corn syrup is the best!