Wednesday, April 04, 2007

talking to a naco about great art

art with nacos
I had someone tell me the other day that this is a one way conversation. Incidentally, "naco" might translate from the mexican to something like "trash" as a noun, or "tacky" as an adjective. Tacky is a bit more fair. The concept really comes into play when someone from a humble background tries to assert themself, or drives a louder car badly. There are correspondences to the "red-neck" jokes of some years ago in the country to the north. Nacos are about 90% of the Mexican population and 90% of Mexicans will deny being naco. As that last link notes, the term can seem extremely offensive, with perhaps a racial overtone. I use it cause I think it is ridiculous.

Because of circumstances, history, strength of the cutlure, whatever, just about everyone in Mexico has a voice and can speak for themselves. Mexico is not twisted by mind-warping racism like up north, so you get to hear a lot of opinions. I heard a friend say not long ago that he can go to the most lamest, working-classest, country style drunken party, with utter naco riff-raff. But towards the end of the evening everyone is singing 200 year old songs. Some of them might be crying, but everyone knows this song was written for a soldier during one of the intervenciones, and they will probably even know which one. I think there were technically three and maybe four ?

The point is, in Mexico, Mexico is something that nearly everyone shares and loves and discusses. You have to move pretty far up the socio-economic scale before you meet people who will really condemn aspects of brash commercialism, too many billboards and what-not. Otherwise, it is just Mexico.

And that same attitude allows everyone to express what they like and don't like. There is very little of the utter dismissal, none of the fly-over states' macho art-less-ness. And there seems to be a general acceptance that art is something good to talk about, that it is involved with taste, which is for some reason desparately lacking, and for that same reason, it is ill-understood. And this same person, (it would be supremely rude to call anyone a naco here, but how many have i talked to?) will hope that we are agreement. We probably are. Surealism, for whatever reason, has still not released it's hold on the working class imagination.

Then I think of trying to talk to the internationalist set (all 14 of them) about what it is they're into... success, public relations, museum shows, gallery tours. They don't like anything and are enthusiastic only about lifestyle things... cocaine and going to europe. And it seems to me much easier to discuss hanging a painting so it looks good with the guy holding a hammer than the dumb bitch on the phone with her travel agent. I am largely convinced that the guy holding the hammer understands it far better too. It is just a freaking painting and if he likes it he will say.

I wonder, though, if my conversations are one-way. Actual art establishment people won't usually speak to me, unless we are introduced for personal reasons in personal circumstances. They don't seem at all interested in art or the experience of it. They seem to think it is some monolith that is beyond their control. Like, "The Public Finance Insurance Industry" or something. "How to solve it's problems" By Tracy Artsuckowsky. Yale, 2004, PhD. There is nothing like an informed, interested, curious working class up there, is there ?

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