Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I wonder, what's the mutual attraction between Murakami and hip-hop artists?
- Like Pharrell, Jay-Z owns some original Murakamis.
- Comparing Damien Hirst on money and death to Jay-Z on money and death=AWESOME: "As in Jay-Z’s music, [Damien] Hirst’s meditations on wealth frequently accompany meditations on mortality. The Hirst pieces Jay-Z gravitates toward are those in which this theme is especially prominent: the diamond skull, which references memento mori, and which Hirst has described as a laugh 'in the face of' death; the spin-art skull paintings...dominate Jay-Z’s 'Blue Magic' video."
- Speaking in a sweeping generalization, does this mean that hip-hop(read:black) artists enjoy contemporary and/or pop art, and folksy/rock(read:white) artists like Fleet Foxes or Deep Purple dig early Netherlandish art?
- This brings us ALMOST back full circle (kinda): Jay-Z references Hirst references memento mori, a motif in Vanitas paintings (oft-associated with Flanders/Netherlands, countries which churned these out about a century or two after Bruegel and Bosch), which "are meant as a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death."
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Exposé of 1935, III. Grandville, or the World Exhibitions
Yes, when all the world from Paris to China
Pays heed to your doctrine, O divine Saint-Simon,
The glorious Golden Age will be reborn.
Rivers will flow with chocolate and tea,
Sheep roasted whole will frisk on the plain,
And sautéed pike will swim in the Seine.
Fricasseed spinach will grow on the ground,
Garnished with crushed fried croutons;
The trees will bring forth apple compotes,
And farmers will harvest boots and coats.
It will snow wine, it will rain chickens,
And ducks cooked with turnips will fall from the sky.
-Langlé and Vanderburch, Louis-Bronze et le Saint-Simonien (Théâtre du Palais-Royal, February 27, 1832)
Each of these three nature-bearing-ready-to-eat-food works presents a different moral: in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, food turns deadly; in Bruegel people become lazy and fat; in the Benjamin quote, having your basic (albeit fancy) nutritional needs met paves the way for commodity fetishism. That is, the next line Benjamin writes after the quote reads: "World exhibitions are places of pilgrimage to the commodity fetish."
Perhaps partly because we today are awash with plentiful fast food options from golden arches to extensive prepackaged frozen foods, all much less delicious-sounding than the gourmet food of Langlé&Vanderburch, we are propelled into the world of fashion, advertisements, and sex sells: "World exhibitions propagate the universe of commodities...Fashion stands in opposition to the organic. It couples the living body to the inorganic world. To the living, it defends the rights of the corpse. The fetishism that succumbs to the sex appeal of the inorganic is its vital nerve. The cult of the commodity presses such fetishism into its service (8)." See also Walter Benjamin, "Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century," in Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings, trans. Edmund Jephcott (New York: Schocken Books, 1986), 151, 152.