Monday, March 29, 2010

perspective on Jersey Shore

"To Gaga, our video-game-playing, social-networking, cell-phone-obsessed culture has made all of us smaller, more normal, less interesting—and, except for odd lightning strikes like the Jersey Shore cast and Conan O’Brien’s anointment of one Twitter fan—famous to no one, after all. "

what a fascinating idea!! I had been wondering, in the back of my mind, why "Jersey Shore" had become the phenomenon it is today. If I understand what the author is saying, all of this communication and networking has exposed all of us as the same as the rest of us. We all watch the same shows and wear the same clothes and read the same blogs. We are globalized. However, when a show like "Jersey Shore" comes along, we have found a group that is truly different! They talk weird! They dress strangely! Their relational drama looks a little different! It's like finding a that group of Japanese soldiers that have been marooned on an island in the South Pacific and still think that WWII is going on. Our culture is fascinated by them.

Lady Gaga

New York Magazine: "How Lady Gaga Became the World's Biggest Pop Star"

"But [Madonna and Lady Gaga] are very different: Madonna hasn’t had a sense of humor about herself since the nineties, where Gaga is all fun and play. At her core, she’s a young art-school student, full of optimism and kindness, childlike wonder at the bubble world."

"But that’s the genius of Gaga: her willingness to be a mutant, a cartoon. She’s got an awesome sense of humor, beaming tiny surreal moments across the world for our pleasure every day—like the gigantic bow made of hair she popped on her head last year. “One day, I said to my creative team, ‘Gaultier did bows, let’s do it in a new way,’ ” she says. “We were going back and forth with ideas, and then I said”—snaps finger—“hair-bow.” She giggles. “We all f-ing died, we died. It never cost a penny, and it looked so brilliant. It’s just one of those things. I’m very arrogant about it.” Her videos are global epiphenomena, like the Tarantino-flavored “Telephone,” with its lesbian prison themes and BeyoncĂ© guest appearance. “Gaga doesn’t care so much about the technical part, but she’s involved in every creative aspect,” says Ă…kerlund. “We just allow ourselves to be very stupid with each other, and then you get ideas like sunglasses made of cigarettes.”"

This is all so wonderfully postmodern. Postmodernism is exactly why Lady Gaga is a different type of pop-star than Madonna. With Madonna (as far as I can tell), people actually thought that she was creating something new. Lady Gaga knows that she will never be able to create something truly original.
This is the same boat that all postmodernists find themselves in. With the advent of the internet, we all know that there are no real new ideas. "Nothing is new under the sun." and all that.
So what's a postmodern pop-star to do? Make it a joke! Create visual jokes that make references and humorous juxtapositions. We can only create something new by taking pieces of old things and reforming them. And, the self-consciousness in this process ("I'm very arrogant about it" - about thinking that she could make something was all Gaultier), being self-conscious about the process of stealing ideas...this is treated with humor. There is nothing worse than claiming originality and being proved wrong.

LOST title sequence, 60s style

Lost vs. Saul Bass from Hexagonall on Vimeo.

from Vulture

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gaston La Touche, "The Pardoning at Brittany"

since i can find NOTHING on this painting or artist, I will make it up. I think this was about some of the revival meetings in the 1700s in Britain, led by the Wesley brothers. Regardless, very pretty and meaningful. Seen at the Art Institute in Chicago.

OK, jk, I just looked it up and found out that Brittany is actually a region in northwest France. Hah, I'm silly!

*thanks for the correction on the name, cole!

Jules-Adolphe Breton, "The Song of the Lark"

Seen at the Art Institute in Chicago. I loved the mood of this painting. Also, I just found out on Breton's wiki site that Willa Cather's novel The Song of the Lark was named after this painting.

Hella Jongerius, "Embroidered Tablecloth, 2000"

Also at the Art Institute of Chicago. I thought this was particularly beautiful and interesting. I was talking with my sister-in-law over Thanksgiving about embroidery, as she uses it often in her art. She said that embroidery is meaningful to her because it cannot be reproduced. What a valuable thing in a world full of easy repetition.

I want to start drawing portraits like Matisse:

"portrait of Borgeat", viewed at the Art Institute of Chicago last week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the avett bros.

My friend Meredith had an extra ticket to the Avett Bros. show in Columbia, MO at the Missouri Theater last Tuesday. It was a terrific show...but don't you think the background looks at little Ed Sullivan Show?

Listen to: the pretty girl series:

Monday, March 1, 2010

this picture

okay, let's discuss this picture. this is a band picture of Via Audio. There are many themes going on here.

First, the most obvious: hipsters in nature. Young-urban-stylish-people-who-identify-with-the-independent-music-scene love nature! Similar themes to this are discussed in the blog/book "Stuff White People Like."

My personal theory on hipsters loving nature is as follows: according to Myers-Briggs, people who like music tend to really like nature too (so that's cool); nature is pretty hip right now - going green, organic food, farming, etc.; it provides a nice extreme contrast to hyper-technologized lives - balance; being urban yet having specialized knowledge of nature-y things can make other urbanites feel bad about their suburban roots (points!).

Second, the hipsters are holding very modern-looking shapes, providing a stark contrast between the shapes and nature. Hipsters love irony. Postmodernism loves 'jokes' like this. In some ways, the contrast between the two things/ideas is absurd, which kind of makes it funny (follow me?). In the current cultural climate, we "know" everything (from the internet), so sophisticated jokes are made when two discordant ideas are referenced next to each other. An example of this is the idea of re-doing Jane Austen books so that they include sea monsters and ninjas. The absurdity is funny, in a postmodern way.

I could go into the symbolism of the hipsters providing the bridge between the shapes and the nature (feet in nature, hands - almost worshiping - the modern shapes), but whatever. I DO think the contrast looks cool. Basically there are so many popular themes going on in the picture that it makes it archetypal (and kind of old, and amusing in its unoriginality).

Third, the outfits. From left to right: first dude, the comic relief of a three-piece Goodwill suit on a twenty-something. With the added touch of the cowboy boots. Cute. Next, the girl...snore. Classic female hipster*. Next dude, same comments as the chick. Last dude, same comments as the first dude.

*I went to one of my first real hipster club events this past weekend. I was gleeful. I loved the music. Most of my joy came from the knowledge that St. Louis is up-to-date enough to have such an event. Yay! However, what made me sad is the same thing I saw at Pitchfork this past summer. Most of the outfits were classic American Apparel hipster. Boring.