Symmetrics (music credits anyone? Possibly Ravi Shankar?)
I don’t think I’ve mentioned American experimental filmmakerStan Vanderbeek (1927 – 1984) on this blog. Today, I found his Symmetrics of 1972 on YouTube. Vanderbeek is one of those artists I discovered in the post-internet days. Before the advent of YouTube this usually meant reading about him only, apart from the occasional still one might find on the net, such as this very nice one.
Derrick May’s “It is what it is” is a composition first published in 1988 on Detroit recording label Transmat. Derrick May was my hero in the early 1990s but after his collaborations with System 7 (if you’d care to track down this material, only go for the Derrick May/Steve Hillage collaborations) he basically stopped making music.
No-Stop City, Interior Landscape, 1969 by Archizoom Associati
It was American experimental musician Rhys Chatham who first pointed out that the energy of art is always equal (except in periods of extreme hardship such as famine and war, where production tapers off), but has at the same time the tendency to displace itself. In music for example, the energy in the 1950s was in rock and roll, in the 1980s it was to be found in house music and techno.
I had remembered Badiou but had almost forgotten Enzensberger, but last weekend at the used book store De Slegte I bought a Dutch translation of Enzensberger’s Einzelheiten, and was very much taken by his analysis of the concept avant-garde in his essay The Aporias of the Avant-Garde.
Aporias, published in 1962 in Germany, is one of the first essays that preached the “death of the avant-garde” which has been celebrated since the advent of postmodernism. It features good analyses too of Lukacs petty defense of literary realism and stimulating reflections on the absurdity of some critics’ grouping of individual artists into art movements, especially in cases such as expressionist literature (no writer has ever called himself expressionist).
On a general level it provides excellent etymological and semantic analyses of the term avant-garde.
Nazi Germany disapproved of contemporary German art movements such as Expressionism and Dada and on July 19, 1937 it opened the travelling exhibition in the Haus der Kunst in Munich, consisting of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art, to inflame public opinion against modernity and Judaism. The cover the 1937 guide book (illustration top) features a sculpture of unknown origin. It could be Polynesian or any other tribal art work, please help me out here.
The sculpture clearly links modern art with primitivism.
This exhibition is also a perfect illustration of the beneficial side-effects of censorship. Beneficial in the sense that any attempt at banning works of art, books or other cultural artifacts results in an aide to discerning culturati to seek out these artifacts with zeal. Such has been the case with Video Nasties, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (the Catholic Index) and the Degenerate Art expo mentioned above.
I once again repeat my question to you, dear reader: what is the origin of the statue depicted in the picture above. I thank you beforehand for a reply.