What a week! I shall present the following brief paragraph highlighting the events of January 6. Then back to the work of art and the (non)striving for eternity in the present moment:
On January 6, thousands of uptight imbeciles came to a rally in Washington D.C., where hundreds broke off to violently storm the Capitol building. A police officer got killed, some lady got shot in the neck, some dude tasered himself to death, and everyone inside committed sedition against the United States. A Republican U.S. President, several Senators, and many Congresspeople inspired the sedition after weeks of spouting social media lies about election fraud. The President will be impeached on Wednesday (hurry up), while the political fate of the conspiring Senators and Congresspeople have yet to be determined. Flogging would be cool, but I realize that delusional philosopher artists rarely get what they desire, (and always what they deserve). Either way, it don’t look so peaches and cream for the fibbing lawmakers(breakers). I look forward to their pretend scowls and trembling inner turmoil.
For now, Trump and his ding dong army of sycophants are defeated. So let’s turn down the Internet and turn off the TV. Pour yourself a drink, pull the covers up and read along with me this week’s Friday Freeflow.
Here is a painting meeting the deadline for Christie’s line-up tonight at auction. I was barely given notice, reseiving the request at dinner and tasked with a proofed image by midnight. Still, I remained steadfast, kept sober, and while painting, found the time to cook dinner, wash the dishes, sift the cat litter, help my daughter with math homework, listen to her presentation on aerobic respiration, and joke with her about boys. Phew!
Anyway, Christie’s called this morning and asked me to set up last night’s painting on-line—by request of their eBay pal Pierre Omidyar. He wants in on this high-end poker game of art. Well, I won’t argue. I need Christies because America says I can be a millionaire too, just once before I die.
I listed on eBay: David Geffen Egging On Ghanan Painters to Drown Themselves in Lake Volta. No reserve bid either. I am told that the billionaires will be scouting this one tonight. Especially Eli Broad, who would love to get one more jab at that “flighty Geffen” and win a high bid. They say my piece competes on a level with photographs by Cindy Sherman. The timing is right. Most of the billionaire sex perverts are tired of buying up her feminist politics.
Christie’s provides a prerecorded explanation of her piece on their website. They deliver better than God could if promised a 40% cut of the predicted million bucks. Those consummate Christie’s pros know right where to put the cotton in the nasal passage of the narrator too, to give his voice that special “you want to believe I am not screwing you, but know of course that I am, and with a large pipe” sound.
Here is my criticism, as deep as time will allow:
It is what it is.
This means that every student of art history who makes a post-grad living authenticating charlatans like Sherman needs these silly schoolyard billionaires more than air and not much less than water. An iron lung could keep them breathing, but liquids need to flow. Without David Geffen’s complete worship of abstract money, abstract power, and more abstract money and power, all enablers are reduced to the likes of me and my comrades, the struggling Ghanan painters. In my painting (above and in grayscale unfortunately) you can see them drowning in Lake Volta, where Christie’s, Cindy Sherman, David Geffen, and Eli Broad have poured in enough acid avarice to toxify the lake and burn the skin off them while sinking. They laugh, laugh, laugh while artists of every society, metaphorically flail and fall alone, grasping to futile hopes of saving themselves. No longer are there comrades of art getting together in cafes to discuss the brutality of Imperialism, the wonder of color, the joy of living. No more George Grosz type, dressing up like a wealthy industrialist loathing the upper class with a mad bitterness that infects his consumptive friends with born again, youthful vitality, and a playful desire to piss on the money hoarders.
Today, posers like Banksy post money-making ideas on Instagram, to tease stupid billionaires with clever genius (and get rich while doing it). Self-made? Hardly. A dues paying member of the working class artist guild? In his dreams. Rather just another air conditioned Caucasian puppet man entertaining the boredom of boring billionaires.
So the Cindy Sherman photograph... What is its true worth? Well, a good marker would be for Cindy to enter her piece into the Lakeside Statewide Juried Art Exhibition this spring at the Oswego Art Association. She needs to send in a digital image by early February, and there is no guarantee of acceptance into the gallery. But if she’s lucky, I mean really lucky (for no photograph has ever won Best of Show), she will take home a $300 cash award and get a write-up in the local shopper. She can set an asking price of $900,000, and Bill the gallery director will dutifully mark it, (a few visitors on opening night will assume she’s just “pulling a Ron Throop” who usually does the opposite and sets a ridiculously low price for inspired work). Her tastefully framed photograph will hang there nearly thermostatically controlled while Oswego’s final winter winds blow, blow, and blowwww. Sadly, no one at the art association can afford her creepy “girl before she gets ravaged” photograph. There aren’t any billionaires in town. Last year our first multimillionaire broke a world record doing chin-ups in his weight room. So there isn’t any taste in Oswego either. Her best bet at that price is to seek an exclusive non-existent agent to the Fortune 500 players and cross her fingers. More likely, she can pick it up in April and begin dreaming of herself as an accomplished local arteest.
Christie’s expects a million dollars for a photograph.
I can hear the grisly screams from Ghanan painters.
And you may begin bidding on the my piece... Now!
This week during Impeachment crime time, I began working toward my cub scout Wolf badge.
Rosie’s Bike is Like a Blue Heaven to Ride on
Envy is a dead place
too damned once you’ve been there
It’s like a very deep hole, too quiet,
maybe an echo,
not a kind one though,
and that’s it
A man sitting in a chair
every single similar night after night,
so many nights
knows about envy and its hole
It carried him to his chair
and kept him
and hated him
and made him copy ghosts
Fools have a room for envy
but it’s big and bright
and things like the weather change it
A brilliant autumn’s day can be orange and yellow
and there might be something blue
It could be a lake,
for it’s so unlike a hole
that only a fool understands
he is on top of the world—
the tippy top
where coins are silver
and everyone you pass
and bringing wine home in paper bags
Everyone is rich and couples are behaving like bunnies
Who can tend to a fire
and read and write
and take time to make waffles
without an iron?
Fools even tie their shoes in love with something
Recently Charles Thomson, quiet painter from north London, posted a link to a review in The Sunday Times, about a painting exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, a millionaire’s mansion of speculative art stuff. I wish I could find it so you could imagine yourself a painter being reviewed by Waldemar Januszcak, the crafty, narcissistic, professional art critic and misanthrope. And, you might feel the pain empathetically, as I did, for other painters an ocean away, and cringe at the flippant arrogance of this poser aiming to please his non-creative betters (the Times editors) during their morning pastries and tea.
I refuse to sully my good taste and break down any critic’s article into an argument. Waldemar Januszczak is just another critic who does not make art. A well-oiled bearing in the propaganda machine, to help the sickly skepticism of bloated westerners continue to run like clockwork. Waldemar looks at art, like any person does, and writes about it cruelly for a paycheck.
I won’t counter his subjectivity with my own, however, I will make the effort to relegate his type A vanity to the most feared and dangerous monster lair in any creative person’s make-believe world.
What does Waldemar do for a career? He writes about other people’s creativity and path to self-realization. In his most recent content rant for a newspaper seeking print ads from any prostituting organization that pays, he mocked the career choice of some painters because they did not live up to his highly subjective worldly view of art.
He searched for confirmation of his opinion at Saatchi Gallery, sent by a newspaper editorial board of non-painting millionaires to critique the aesthetic choices of a non-painting art collecting millionaire, Charles Saatchi.
And finally (although I wish several more strikes were allowed in this game), Waldemar’s mum and dad raised him to be a sadist.
A few rhetorical questions to follow, all with the answer of “no”...
Can a non-painting person ever catch even a chance glimpse into the creative impulses and results of a stranger who paints? Does the latter work a lifetime seeking opinion from strangers whom he or she does not like or love? Can posers like Waldemar reach the freedom of self liberation that so many humble and sensitive human beings on earth strive for? And finally, will an unhappy art critic love art enough to discontinue a professional life spent in mockery of those who seek freedom through art?
Waldemar is an adult counterpart of the six-year-old child who bullied me in the schoolyard. Every day, Brad Davies would find me before the bell rang, to declare it time for my morning punch. Brad was big and scary. I don’t think he had any boxing training—just another nasty, spoiled child set up against a kid who appeared weaker because he knew how to be kind. I just wanted to get it over with. After keeling over, I felt freed to finish the day any way I liked. Brad was just a nuisance, like a bath or bowel movement, to whatever private adventures my 6 year old passion would seek.
I should mention that because of Brad, and the many other bullies to follow, I became a staunch protector and champion of the underdog. Reading Waldemar’s frightened distrust of painters and especially his wrong knowledge of their painting processes, just turned my visceral reactionary nodules up to high and hot red.
I wish instead of outright mocking their works of art, he congratulated the artists awarded an exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. They finally, after all these years, got their shot at dishwasher salary success. Would not the Times’ subscribers have been better served if Waldemar championed the lucky painter’s wonderful breakthroughs—an especially rare occurrence in an art world grossly distorted by an upper echelon of frauds (i.e. corporate billionaires)? As a learned art critic, surely he must understand the humiliation, both public and private, that is daily suffered by human beings who “put themselves out there”? Waldemar would get this, right? I mean, with his extensive training in art history, he at least got a B in Private Struggle 101, yes?
Waldemar Januszczak is a non-creative bully, a sadist, like little Brad Davies. I picture him as a brother in some college fraternity practically hazing to death hopeful initiates. In art history class he snickers to his dumb buddies during the lecture on van Gogh. “What a loser!” he says. I suspect, had he an art critic’s freelance opportunity in 1880, Waldemar would have published a loaded pistol of criticism about van Gogh, calling out the poor man to quit painting and avoid all that unnecessary suffering.
My wife and I discussed Waldemar’s article. She didn’t want me to be too hard on him. She’s a very pretty woman, and as a young girl did not suffer a daily Brad Davies’ gut punch. Nor has she has ever been insulted in a workaday world of mutual politeness. I have to educate her on the manner of a cruel world and those art critics who seek to undo much that healthy expression has to offer, in order to protect their own professional relevance.
I have very strong opinions, but unlike Waldemar, I am not a public twit. And, I can admit to all and sundry that I am an artist who doesn’t even like art very much. Likewise, as an artist I can promise you, and I’ll stake my “career” success on it, that Waldemar, not only does not like art, but he is determined to punch it in the gut until it cries. His betters, who sell everything from recycled toenail clippers, to highly absorbent paper towels, would not have it any other way. They have an agenda. A world of artists would make for absolutely rotten consumers of the trite and inane. Millionaires of no creativity, and their viable army of sycophant soldiers like Waldemar, subsist to make creative people question their own powers of creation. They keep good people guessing while the sad people buy more useless crap to make the dumb millionaires even richer. Owners of The Sunday Times not excluded.
It will end someday when masses of humanity cease to put faith into the media trolls of planet earth. Top down media is dying. The people have gotten smart to the old time censoring of realities. Likewise a million trolls die every second on the Internet. For Waldemar to remain relevant, he’ll have to paint a picture someday and have it hang in a parlor at a party, or uploaded and criticized in cyberspace. Like the Stuckists do every day. Meanwhile he remains an art gossip, anyone’s mother or brother, with a subjective opinion about none of his business.
Lastly, during that same conversation, my wife agreed that I would continue to paint, even if I remained a dishwasher sharing the rent with other dishwashers for a flat on skid row. Every day, day after day, I would practice my art. To know if Waldemar can be a valuable tool to criticize artists who paint for reasons other than getting paid, we should ask if he would continue his career if nobody gave him two pence of a shit.
Ha! The sadist without encouragement. Brad Davies ran home and cried into his pillow.
Artists of earth know very well that Waldemar is a coward. He would know it too if he dared some day to make his own oeuvre of paintings and show them to his friends and some strangers. I shall take my wife’s advice, and be nice. May the art critic live a long, satisfied, myopic life, and die alone and soon forgotten even by his grandchildren. To the Saatchi painters he criticized for receiving career changing attention on a late autumn day, I give you all the following advice and encouragement:
Just keep painting. Because even if you’re a total ass like Waldemar Januszczak, at least the progeny of your line will remember you for as long as it takes plastic or oil to disintegrate.
¡Viva la Stuckism!
Aeon Magazine, Brought to You By Money
A friend of mine linked an article published in Aeon Magazine entitled “Is It OK To Make Art?: If You Express Your Creativity While Other People Go Hungry, You’re Probably Not Making the World a Better Place”. It argues partially for Effective Altruism, an activist movement to lighten world human and animal suffering. Please read it if you have the time. I have neither the patience nor kindness to deal with the upper crust when they get all highfalutin with another save the world guilt-arrogance complex.
The most sure fire way for an effective altruist to do good for others is immediate suicide, a hidden one, so no resources are used to humanely dispose of the body. Feed the worms so the soil is enriched and the next tree grows to suck in enough CO2 to offset the altruist’s lifelong Pringle® intake (He’s had 343,242 up to last count). The effective altruist has an argument: Make a lot money and donate 10% to a “good” cause. Otherwise you are bad, because money is good. It got us antibiotics, global warming and nuclear weapons. Artists are poor, that means uselessly narcissistic I guess, and wholly uninterested in securing potable water to millions of suffering human beings. That’s right. Because of well-fed Western artists, children in Africa suffer terrible diseases. How dare those painters subsist on rice and beans when they can go corporate and sell toothpaste for Proctor and Gamble®. Who do they think they are having all of that self-degradation fun for themselves? Everyone knows that in the West, the ends always justify the means. Become a high paid software engineer, and quit your day-longing, aspiring ceramist. You suck at giving. What debauchery, making pitchers and pots! Go back to college and study whatever subject will catalyze your carbon belching. Then donate 10% of your profits to non-profits helping the poor, (after covering the high salaries of administrative positions). Apply for work at Lockheed Martin®. Help develop a program to better drone angry poor families out of the way so Joe Merck researcher can walk freely through the rainforest without a poison dart aimed at his ass.
My God, now the dandys want to take away the poor man’s happiest joys—art! Why? Because it doesn’t feed enough children in Somalia, or as the article smartly put it, “de-worm them”. I read the article, felt a prick of shame, and then wrote back to my friend, “Thank goodness I’m a misanthrope”. And boy am I! Western high standard of living! Did it ever occur to these effective altruists (AKA: over-educated elitist gobs) that families in Somalia might not want to have their children de-wormed? Or, okay, “de-worm us,” they say, “but get your dirty electricity out of our faces!” Maybe the poor third-worlders don’t want another pallet of Western medicine dropped on their reserva-I mean, villages. Maybe their idea of childhood disease is similar to one felt by a mama black bear and her cubs. Maybe death is life and vice-versa. Maybe not. Maybe families would rather starve than live the Western life of constipated ennui birthing more effective altruists to fly all over the earth thinking funny money is savior for everyone. Maybe not. Maybe I am way off.
Maybe third-worlders prefer worms as an unhappy but necessary alternative to Western type 2 diabetes, asthma, heart disease, stroke, obesity, hypertension, cancer, alcoholism, street drug addiction, pharmaceutical drug addiction, suicidal and homicidal tendencies, gout, depression, and E.A.D. (effective altruist disease), to name a few Western lovelies we shall receive for making all of that glorious money in order to cover the guilt of our social dysfunction.
Making creative, dreamy people guilty for doing art. Must be a CIA initiative. Yes, the CIA. Why not? It’s undisclosed multi-billion dollar budget alone could feed and de-worm the world, and at the same time terrorize less people wearing loincloths. Maybe the effective altruists can find courage to lambaste the secret killers, or make enough dreamy artist-folks focus their creative attention on “shame art” to eliminate the secret killer society once and for all. Imagine all of that money freed up for the benefit of degraded non-Western society. A better plan I think than telling Western poor people with paintbrushes and a pot of beans soaking on the stove that they just think too highly of themselves to do any good for the world. They should feel bad for having a flush toilet and a nearby reservoir of chemical water to hydrate themselves. They love to have the ear of those Western killers though—politicians, jingoes, judges, Presidents of Western nations, the latter who literally have overnight power to de-worm unhappy children with intestinal ache. But do they wield it? No. Why? Because their love of power never encompasses a duty of healing suffering children. Probably the only people outside of the tremendous brain trust of the effective altruists who would ever call on a leader to feed the world, are the artists. So the solution presented by the altruist, using the faultless logic of the elitist, is to guilt the artists (the lower caste) into seeking gobs and gobs of money, in order to feed an already monstrously arrogant Western machine on the brink of extinction.
Finally, for the love of the suffering hordes of humanity, how much does this de-worming medicine cost? Are the effective altruists citing retail, wholesale, or the bare bones investment to manufacture one pill to free a child of her tummy cramps, while demanding that painters stop painting to save the world? They are aware, yes, holed up in their peaceful suburban think tank, that one year’s profits from several leading pharmaceutical companies could probably de-worm, feed, clothe and educate collegiately all the poor children of the world? That maybe the capitalist-fascist system that awards company heads at GlaxoSmithKline® the wealth of Croesus is what actually kills innocent babies across every wasteland on earth? Maybe a future altruist bio-chemist like Alexander Fleming is who children of the world need, and not a hapless painter who has been known to acquire in a lifetime not much more money than a penny fountain at the zoo. Maybe this new age Fleming could also be trained to go all commando, kidnap a Big Pharma CEO, and torture him politely once for every dollar he hoards for himself and other stinking gut rot members of the good ole boy’s club.
Medicine and food is available and can be distributed. At my state fair the National Guard® had an exhibit proudly displaying its crowd control grenade launcher. Two hundred explosives released in one second at politically incorrect crowds. Upon detonation each mini-bomb sent super sharp shrapnel to finish the job if the concussion and burning didn’t mutilate all the bystanders first. How much does the typical effective altruist think one of these machines cost Western society? I mean, above the bottom line of another painter’s “pretty picture”? We need to make a profit here, remember? That’s right. I can become a soldier. There. Now that’s some regular pay. And 10% of that is 100% more than I have ever profited by creative effort. What a narcissistic tool I have been! I could be operating a drone in Nevada, one to annihilate the next Somalian wedding party. At least then I’d be doing my part as a human being— acting on a guilt pledge to feed the hungry, and giving up another useless painting to have lunch with the great altruist thinkers of the world.
I have a solution, even if it develops into a parallel dystopian future the altruists advocate with their “ends justify the means” trash talk. It is this: Eliminate the distributor, whether it be armies or pharmacies, and kick an altruist where it hurts for being such a god damn sissy to power. We know who is guilty.
And it’s never ever the poor; no matter how rich they are.