Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 439625 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2009, 03:26:10 am »

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/artworld/2009/02/23/090223craw_artworld_schjeldahl?currentPage=all

The Art World
Hope And Glory
A Shepard Fairey moment.
by Peter Schjeldahl
February 23, 2009



A wall of Fairey’s street posters.

It was only about a year ago, though it feels like half a lifetime, that Shepard Fairey created the most efficacious American political illustration since “Uncle Sam Wants You”: the Obama “Hope” poster. In innumerable variants, the craning, intent, elegant mien of the candidate engulfed the planet. I won’t forget coming across it, last summer, stencilled on a sidewalk of a hamlet in the upper Catskills, where cell phones don’t work and most people, if they vote at all, vote Republican. Underfoot, the small, tidy image organized its rustic environs as a frame for itself, like Wallace Stevens’s jar in Tennessee. I was delighted, as an Obama supporter. But I was a trifle disturbed, too, by the intrusion on a tranquil—and, it suddenly proved, defenseless—reality of weathered houses amid humpback mountains. The result was strident and mystical, yanking my mind into a placeless jet stream of abstract associations. It exploited a familiar graphic device—exalted and refined by Andy Warhol—of polarizing photographs into solid darks and blank lights, thus rendering volumetric subjects dead flat. Mentally restoring those splotches to rounded substance makes us feel clever, on the important condition that the subject excites us enough to elicit the effort. The reward with Fairey’s picture was a thrill of concerted purpose, guarded against fatuity by coolly candid deliberation. The effect is that of epic poetry in an everyday tongue.

A “Hope” poster hangs alongside about two hundred and fifty slick and, for the most part, far more resistible works in a Fairey retrospective, his first, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, in Boston. The thirty-nine-year-old Fairey, a Los Angeles-based street artist, graphic designer, and entrepreneur, was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where his father is a doctor. At fourteen, Fairey, a budding rascal, started decorating skateboards and T-shirts. He graduated from the technically rigorous Rhode Island School of Design with a bachelor’s degree in illustration, in 1992. While a student in Providence, he took to applying gnomic stickers and posters, without permission, to buildings and signs. The signature image of his street work is the cartooned face of the wrestler Andre the Giant (André René Roussimoff, who died in 1993, and is fondly remembered for his role in the 1987 film “The Princess Bride”), accompanied at first by the wacky caption “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” and later by “Obey Giant” or, simply, “Obey.” Lyrically paranoid, the motif was inspired by the artist’s reading of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984”—a connection that looped back to the source last year when Penguin U.K. reissued those books with new cover designs, by Fairey. Fairey’s street work popularized a going fashion for academic deconstruction, with pretensions to exposing the malign operations of mass culture. Hip rather than populist, the Andre campaign projects an audience dumb enough to fall for media manipulation while smart enough to absorb a critique of it. And, of course, it’s vandalism—in the vein of urban graffiti—invading environments whose inhabitants, for all any artist knows, might value them just as they are. Boston’s I.C.A. has condoned a citywide smattering of street art by Fairey, as an extension of the show. That makes sense. So does the decision of the Boston police to arrest him for it, on his way to the show’s opening.

Fairey has run into a similarly predictable legal snarl with the “Hope” poster, having lifted the image from an Associated Press photograph. The original shows Obama seated at a dais (next to George Clooney) at the National Press Club, in 2006, and attending to a speaker who stands outside the frame, to his left. Knowing this rather deflates the mystery of an expression that has suggested, to some, a visionary surveying the future. Obama listens, merely, with a grimly amused concentration that may be explained by the identity of the speaker, the conservative Senator Sam Brownback, of Kansas. Anyhow, with the A.P. seeking compensation for copyright infringement, the artist has sued for a judicial ruling of fair use. This audacious counterattack aside, the general issue is an old story of our litigious republic. Appropriative artists, including David Salle, Jeff Koons, and Richard Prince, have been sued at intervals since Campbell’s soup went after Warhol, in 1962 (but then thought better of it).

As an art maven, I’m for granting artists blanket liberty to play with any existing image. I also realize that it is not going to happen, and I’m bored by the kerfuffle’s rote recurrence, with its all but scripted lines for plaintiff and defendant alike. It is of a piece with Fairey’s energetic but unoriginal enterprise involving a repertoire of well-worn provocations—imitations of Soviet agitprop on shopping bags designed for Saks, to cite one example. Warhol sublimely commodified images of Mao and the hammer and sickle four decades ago, in keeping with an ambition—to infuse subjects and tones of common culture with powers of high art—that has not grown old. Warhol’s revelatory games with the cognitive dissonance between art and commerce have galvanized artists in every generation since. But you can stretch a frisson just so many times before it goes limp. Like the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who included a Louis Vuitton boutique in his Los Angeles retrospective, Fairey reverses a revolution achieved by Warhol, along with Roy Lichtenstein. He embraces a trend in what the critic Dave Hickey has called “pop masquerading as art, as opposed to art masquerading as pop.”

The aesthetics of Fairey’s Boston show are formulaic, but they exercise immediate power. He is a terrific designer. His screenprints on paper, canvas, plastic, and metal, from found photographs and illustrations—publicity portraits, vintage advertising and propaganda, historical icons (Patty Hearst with a machine gun), satirically altered cash and stock certificates—deploy a standard palette of acrid red, yellowish white, and black. (The red, white, and blue of “Hope” were an ad-hoc departure.) Often, the images are overlaid on printed or collaged grounds of wallpaperlike pattern or fragments of newspaper pages, which impart a palimpsestic texture and a flavor of antiquity. Fairey’s stylistic borrowings from Russian Revolutionary, Soviet, and W.P.A. propaganda are often remarked upon, but borrowedness itself—studied anachronism—is his mode of seduction. His style’s old-timey charm, however, is not inexhaustible. That leaves the inherent attraction of his subjects and of his selection of ready-made images to represent them. These include, besides mainstream heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Muhammad Ali, Che, Fidel, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, generic freedom fighters, and “revolutionary women.” Punks abound: Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop. Let George W. Bush pictured as a vampire exemplify the calibre of Fairey’s many satirical japes.

Fairey has said that the real message behind his work is “Question everything.” I question the I.C.A. director Jill Medvedow’s claim, in the show’s catalogue, that Fairey pursues a “quest to challenge the status quo and disrupt our sense of complacency through his art.” What isn’t status quo about political rage? And have you met anyone not heavily medicated who strikes you as complacent lately? The retrospective is dated on arrival. Oddly, Fairey’s splendid tour de force for Obama anticipated a new national mood, of serious-minded pragmatism, which makes ideological extremes seem sort of quaint. I found myself regarding the show as strangely wholesome, like a vaccine that defeats the virus it imitates. It’s as if Fairey meant to ridicule rebellion. I’m not sure he knows what he meant, beyond wanting to get a rise out of people. But if he did know—that is, if he were a better artist—he probably could not have helped change the world with one magically ambiguous picture. ♦


Related Links
Slide Show: A portfolio of images by Shepard Fairey.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/2009/02/23/slideshow_090223_shepardfairey

And as posted in the 'Obama Art' thread:
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,30120.260.html
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2009, 03:51:21 pm »
I like that turn of phrase, "a budding rascal."  ;D

OK, since George Clooney was seated next to the future president when the iconic photo was taken, I wonder if someone will now parody Fairey by substituting Clooney for the President?  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2009, 06:13:55 pm »




I like that turn of phrase, "a budding rascal."  ;D

OK, since George Clooney was seated next to the future president when the iconic photo was taken, I wonder if someone will now parody Fairey by substituting Clooney for the President?  ;D






The Budding Rascal


Three cuties!! (am I wrong??)





The CBS videotape of the Press Conference:
U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.,
and George Clooney
National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1553673n


http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,30120.180.html
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Meryl

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2009, 07:54:24 pm »
OK, since George Clooney was seated next to the future president when the iconic photo was taken, I wonder if someone will now parody Fairey by substituting Clooney for the President?  ;D

Here y' go.  :)

Ich bin ein Brokie...

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2009, 08:07:53 pm »
Here y' go.  :)


Good grief!  :o  That didn't take long!  :laugh:

Not to mention. ...

The Feb. 23 New Yorker arrived in today's mail. The inside front cover is a parody with Bill Maher, and the word "Help!" advertizing his HBO show.

Shepherd Fairey is cute.  ::)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2009, 08:52:19 pm »


http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=punim



1.  punim   

A yiddish word for face, or more specifically a cute face.

Oy, look at the punim on that one! 

 ;D
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2009, 10:19:05 am »

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=punim



1.  punim   

A yiddish word for face, or more specifically a cute face.

Oy, look at the punim on that one! 

 ;D


Punim, indeed!  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2009, 02:57:09 pm »

Also poster in the 'Obama Art' thread--
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,30120.260.html

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/02/23/090223sh_shouts_mccall

Our President’s New BlackBerry
by Bruce McCall
February 23, 2009




1. Oath-of-Office Interactive Memory Game.

2. Press to delete announcements of new Iraq self-government start date.

3. Press to play prerecorded “Love to, but this term’s no good” response to Senator McCain lunch request.

4. Tap to get today’s White Sox 2009 astrological chart.

5. Push for hourly update on Michelle clothing expenditures.

6. Alarm flashes if Malia and Sasha are jumping on Lincoln’s bed.

7. Push to get Rahm Emanuel’s Wisecrack of the Day.

8. Push to set automatic “Line no longer in service” response to incoming Hillary calls.

9. Press to activate simulated busy signal on incoming Caroline Kennedy calls.

10. Push to reset automatic cigarette-break reminder buzzer.

11. Tap once to activate C.I.A. briefing. Tap twice to activate C.I.A.-briefing lie detector.

12. Press to activate simulated nuclear alert ten minutes after Vice-President Biden enters Oval Office.

13. Automatic alert beeps if Al Gore is within one mile of White House.

14. Press to divert incoming Bill calls to Hillary’s number.

15. Press for Mensa chat line.

16. Mute button for twenty-four-hour live CongressCam.

17. Press for Illinois Attorney General’s office Crisis Hot Line.

18. Push once to add another ten billion dollars to bailout plan.

19. Press to refresh current Cabinet roster.
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2009, 03:03:40 pm »

Also poster in the 'Obama Art' thread--
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,30120.260.html


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/02/23/090223fa_fact_mayer

A Reporter at Large
The Hard Cases
Will Obama institute a new kind of preventive detention for terrorist suspects?
by Jane Mayer
February 23, 2009



“We don’t own the problem,” Greg Craig,
the White House counsel, says.
“But we’ll be held accountable for
how we handle this.”
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2009, 02:13:26 am »


http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2009/02/david-brooks-is.html



Semi-regular thoughts on foreign affairs, politics, and books, from George Packer.

February 24, 2009
Conservatives Take on Obama


David Brooks is going to be one of the best critics the Obama Administration will have, because his reservations and attacks are based on a world view that’s not only viable and thoughtful but almost always proved right: the view that we human beings overrate our ability to solve problems through the application of reason. The return of liberals to power has driven Brooks back down to his philosophical roots in Burkean caution toward rapid change based on abstract principles (he had lost touch with this inner self during the early Bush years, especially around the invasion of Iraq). Today’s column http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/opinion/24brooks.html?_r=1 is just one of many recent examples, prompted by the fact that the Obama White House is taking on massive challenges in the economy, housing, banking, health care, energy, and education—all at once. It is, Brooks writes, “the biggest political experiment of our lifetimes.” Obama should do what Bush never did and make sure he talks to a critic like Brooks at least once every few months.

In one sense, the Administration is bound to disappoint, and Brooks’s “epistemological skepticism” is bound to be vindicated. If the test for Obama is whether “highly trained government experts are capable of quickly designing and executing top-down transformational change,” what are the chances that in a year or two Brooks will have to admit he was wrong? History never produces such clear outcomes. The results of government attempts to deal with huge systemic crises, like the ones we face today, are always dissatisfying, especially in the short-term, and leave most of the old problems unsolved. Brooks’s standard is so high that it sets liberalism up for certain failure.

Here’s the test Brooks should set: will Obama’s efforts lead to worse than the alternatives? Will they be worse than his predecessor’s? The conservative approach to economic and social policy, as refined to ideological purity under Bush, is to get government out of the way, trust free markets, and let chronic problems fester until they turn into disasters. The results are all around us (one example among hundreds: the failure of the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street). Brooks pits a rigid, abstraction-loving liberalism against a wise, experience-loving conservatism. But recent American history has shown the truth to be closer to the opposite. We are where we are because the ruling conservative ideology of the past few decades refused to face facts, like the effect of private insurance on health-care costs, or the effect of deregulation on investment banking. Facts drove the Republicans out of power. And judging from their response to Obama’s first month in office, facts are very hard things to face in politics.

Obama isn’t trying to remake America’s economy and society out of ideological hubris. He’s initiating sweeping changes because he inherited a set of interrelated emergencies that require swift, decisive action. There’s an instructive example for both Brooks and Obama’s supporters to bear in mind: Herbert Hoover became President with the sterling reputation of a practical man, an engineer and businessman who had succeeded at everything in his life. When the Depression began, he took what he assumed to be practical steps to ameliorate it. But, as Richard Hofstadter observed in The American Political Tradition,  “What ruined Hoover’s public career was not a sudden failure of personal capacity but the collapse of the world that had produced him and shaped his philosophy…Because, on his postulates, his program should have been successful, he went on talking as though it were, and the less his ideas worked, the more defiantly he advocated them.”

This is an apt description of the current attitude of John McCain, Eric Cantor, and Bobby Jindal. Like Hoover, they cannot fathom the failure of their philosophy, so they cling to it and insist that it has all the answers while the country drowns. Conservatism, pace  Brooks, is no more likely to be clear-eyed and critical-minded than liberalism. Any set of ideas can harden into ideological certainty, especially when it’s been in power for a long time. Obama’s emphasis on government intervention could become as calcified and resistant to facts as the Republican Party’s free-market conservatism is now. If or when it does, Obama will need to hear from Brooks all the more. But for the moment, Obama is necessarily experimenting in the face of disaster much like the President who followed Hoover.

Unfortunately, Brooks’s fair-minded critique is rare on the right. Most conservative critics of Obama’s first month are not hoping to be proved wrong, as Brooks says he is. Far from it: their dice were loaded from the start. Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove, Peter Wehner, and others have already concluded that Obama is a failure, even as they pretend to reserve final judgment. Given the amount of wrongheadedness and damage pundits like these have inflicted on the country in its recent history, the decent thing for them to have done is say nothing for at least six months. They might even have learned something.

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"