Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Poor Generation Y

I have always had a soft spot for these sort of "voice of a generation" pieces. For decades Republican rule insisted that rather than try to have some control, citizens should give up control, and put control into the hands of people who know better. The professional class of Neil Bushes and Jack Abramoffs and Kenneth Lay's were not only supposed to be good at what they do. They were supposed to be professionals at undermining and gaming the system. You can't tax them cause they are just too smart. All in the name of glorious Ronald Reagan, the loving grandfather of their movement.

Now living in Mexico City - everyday confronting the city - the question to me is - what is it we have built? Mexico City has far more public infrastructure investment than cities in the US, but it is always too little. Always playing catch up with a city growing out of control. And far more than Generation Y, there is a vast segment of society here that won't recover from the beating it's received. It's not identical to the beating that Blickstein describes. But it is illustrative.

The heirs of the Reagan Movement live in a world that is devastated by ideological over-run. A world that turned its back on the Western legacy of smart government support of free markets and that opted instead for non-smart government propping up of corrupt government dependent mega-corporations. I have to laugh when I hear how Generation Y is losing it's faith. Afterall, a sullen lack of faith and even a violent renunciation of anything that smacked of faith was what marked the generation before. At least - I've always believed. Generation Y inherited a shitty world - and an Ipod. They'd do well to take a look beyond the shores of their sealed up hermetic American universe to what is actually the state of the Americas.

It's not a place where government can afford to ignore the people piled up on the sidewalks and it's not a place where a generation that had it good can afford to think that government is always best left untended, running on auto-pilot.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On not drawing for a year

Now nature is not at variance with art, nor art with nature; they being both the servants of his providence. Art is the perfection of nature. Were the world now as it was the sixth day, there were yet a chaos. Nature hath made one world, and art another. In brief, all things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.
- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
(sec. 16)Lifted from Giga Quotes

I remember a friend used to write that she would likely become physically ill if she stopped working. I did live through 3 bouts of food poisoning, but on recovering from each session I was clear eyed and ready to live through anything else but the dread of the studio.

It took me about 4 hours to remember something about drawing - something about my drawing. I'm not sure that's the best example of it, but it does come back. One remembers in some physical way the way one remembers doing hard labor... pushing an image through till - when one squints - one can see what one was seeking.

And then I remember that it has to be well-lubricated and almost automatic - just the slightest idea of control and the very serious threat of official power. Official power should be draped in legitimacy, less human and more angelic - more amorphous.

After a year - I remembered that not drawing for a year was just a year listening. That cities are forests and forests are congregations and all congregations are where power meets up to decide if power should continue - or should it simply dissipate.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Party Monster

These days, when asked at dinner parties in New York what kind of paintings I do, I hesitate knowing that somehow God will slip into the conversation and I will never be asked back.

- Marshall Arisman interviewed by Vickie Karp at Huffington.

There's a scene in Party Monster where the venerable James St. James is asked just who were the Club Kids. He nostaligically remembers the period in Manhattan in the aftermath of the death of Andy Warhol when a vacuum opened up in the NYC nightlife and the kids all swarmed in to fill it.

It's a vacuum we're still contending with. Perhaps I am not paraphrasing the scene exactly accurately. I won't be watching the movie again. But maybe the "publicity for publicity's sake" attitude is on it's last legs. The Marshall Arisman illustration is yanked with thanks and gratitude from DetroitArts.