Saturday, September 11, 2010

I call this piece "understanding the human creative impulse from the top down, you fucking turds." Do you like it?

And just like that, it was over! This Tuesday is the LAST EVER punk rock Tuesday at the Risque Café, as I’m moving on to greater things. Come out and feast on the four buck burger, gorge on the cheap tallboys of PBR and Old Style and suffer through shot after shot of four dollar Malort! It’s a bon voyage for the ages folks. I’m gonna miss my peeps up in the Risque Café and all the blurry times there, but we’ve got one last chance to do it up. Are you man enough? Or do you have tits? Either way, come on down. Shit starts at 9 and ends at the end of all things, bro. Ya heard?

Anyway, as promised here’s what I hate: art. Art is so fucking stupid and pretentious and irritating and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of artists and their dumb notions about the importance of whatever they’re shitting out of their minds and onto a page, canvas, stage, piece of tape or sculpture pedestal. It’s indulgent and dumb and there’s nothing inherently worthwhile about art.

Oh, hey now! Wait a minute! Don’t misunderstand me. Art can provide people with very specific and important feelings and notions about the world and themselves, but that’s the product of the people doing the feeling, not the art and DEFINITELY not the artist. Here’s what I mean: I’m a painter. I see an ugly incident in the subway and I go home and I paint this picture of a solid gold bird shitting onto an earth made out of candycanes floating in what looks like a toilet bowl, but upon further examination actually ends up being the top of former UK prime Minister Tony Blair’s head. He’s having tea at Wimbledon with a walrus who’s wearing panties. It’s inspired by the ugly incident I saw on the subway and it’s heralded as a success and it’s shown at in-the-know parties all around the world. People think I’m brilliant. Why?

Okay, let’s assume that people REALLY do think I’m brilliant and it’s not one of those the-emperor-wears-no-clothes scenarios where everyone just thinks something’s SUPPOSED to be brilliant so they fawn over it when really it’s not doing anything viscerally to them at all. Why do they think I’m brilliant? Because when they look at my painting (entitled Galactic Nebluoid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you) it stirs something inside them which comes from that primary emotional palette that makes you kind of have a soul orgasm and really FEEL ALIVE for a second. You look at it and your gut just says “that’s awesome” and beyond that, there’s something more, right? You feel connected to it, like you understand it and it understands you and you don’t feel so alone in the shitty world and even if the sentiment is ugly there’s strength in mutual understanding and peace in not being completely marginalized, even in the margins…Something like that, right?

I mean that’s why we all listen to music, innit? Same thing. The best songs SOUND great, but there’s more to it than just that. It’s the empathy and the connection that’s un-articulatable that makes someone think it IS great. Even in the case of instrumental music this is true. There’s a profound understanding of what we, the listener (consumer) would like to hear (and often more to the point, what we didn’t even know we wanted to hear) and that fosters a deep bond that flows from us to the piece and by extension the artist.

But that’s all complete bullshit. Let’s go back to Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you for a moment, shall we? Sure. I saw an ugly incident in the subway and painted a picture that touched hundreds of thousands of people’s souls, but not for the reasons that I was attempting to articulate. The ugly incident was MY inspiration, whie the painting is THEIR inspiration and the only real currency here in any sort of meaningful sense is that feeling engendered inside individuals when they’re inspired and feel that sense of loving something. The artist is no more a genius than the board that Galactic Nebuloid 6: From Russia With Love p.s. I miss you is painted on, or the guy that pushed his grandma onto the train tracks that inspired the whole thing. That shit is just the inspiration for where the real work takes place, which is inside the people viewing it who can somehow, against all odds and evidence to the contrary, make themselves truly believe if just for a moment that they’re not alone, or that shit will be fine or that there’s a universal understanding at work. So what does this mean? That we’ve got it backwards. The artist isn’t the one creating miracles, the consumer is. THAT’S the fucking truth. Don’t believe me?

Go to a rock show and look around. Who’s having the best time? The artist? No. It’s the crowd. Why? Because they’re the ones making something great happen there, not the other way around. That’s the great fallacy of art. People in the crowd say they admire and respect the artist, when really it’s the songs and really, truly, it’s not even the songs. It’s the feeling inside each person that the songs nurture and stoke up. That’s why there’s no universal truth with art. It’s all what we as consumers carry with us that make something good or bad. That’s why your mom thinks “Gimme Shelter” is the sexiest song of all time and you prefer “Nibble on my Dick (Like A Rat Does Cheese).” Is one of you wrong ? No. YOU’RE the ones infusing those worthless pieces of music with the cultural cache that they require in order for you to love them. Not the artist. And the fact that the artist takes credit for that is kind of absurd.

Art is boring. It all sucks. And there’s no more clear example of this than at an art college. Look around. Everyone’s the same unique individual, taking pictures of the homeless guy’s grizzled wrinkles or the migrant worker’s sad eyes and calloused hands. Here’s someone boldly juxtaposing nature and urban landscapes! Oh look! Someone’s using fecal matter to portray something sacred again right over there next to where the egomaniac is highlighting all her own body flaws through photographic essays and paintings and poetry about her beefy labia and sagging gut and hairy belly button. Wow.

Guess what, assholes? They’ve been doing this shit for thousands of years. There’s nothing new. Here’s a rule of thumb: Do you think you’re doing something new, or even remotely interesting? Then you’ve just not looked around long enough. Things have been so fucking done to death that we’ve even killed the ironic doing-things-to-death-on-purpose movement. I’m not interesting and neither is my art. Say it with me folks, because it’s as true for you as it is for me.

Now, that’s not to say that shit’s not enjoyable. I love tons of songs and paintings and books and I even love a lot of work that’s done by pretentious dicks who think they’re doing god’s work, BUT it seems to me that the best stuff is kind of forged in madness. The best stuff is made by people who say things like “I dunno…I just sort of thought it looked cool/sounded good/felt neat etc.” when asked about their motivations. That is, the people who realize that making art isn’t at all about them and their intention, but rather the work that the consumer does in order to appreciate it. Those folks who seem to be the BEST at art seem to create out of compulsion and simple pragmatic necessity and a need for visceral gratification, rather than those who want to wig out the squares or take things to a bold new place. Coincidentally, those people don’t tend to think of themselves as artists. They’re just guys and gals who do stuff because they want to and they like it (or hate it). And that’s why all artists suck and all art is dumb.
Because the best art isn’t called art and it’s not made by artists. It’s just cool shit that that weird fat chick made in her garage.
And with that, I’m off to paint all the parking meters in my neighborhood like various three stooges characters.
See you fucks later.


Matt said...

it was almost hard to fully soak in the art discussion after starting off with "Last Punk Rock Night Ever." What's the deal?

Anonymous said...

Thank you BSC Saturday Edition for making my visceral reaction in the bathroom that much more relaxing and entertaining this afternoon. Good on ya.

Anonymous said...

I'll take this phrase :

"You look at it and your gut just says “that’s awesome” and beyond that, there’s something more, right? You feel connected to it, like you understand it and it understands you and you don’t feel so alone in the shitty world and even if the sentiment is ugly there’s strength in mutual understanding and peace in not being completely marginalized, even in the margins"

fucking brilliant BK, it is people like you that makes us feel we're not alone.

Candice said...

i just got to chicago and you're leaving risque already?!?!

punkeroni said...

I read your blog every once in a while, so not sure how often you touch upon stuff like this. This post is great, though. Do you study social constructionism at all? If not, I'd definitely recommend looking up works by Kenneth Gergen. Real interesting stuff (if you can stay open-minded).

Ryan said...

Yes! Saturday post ftw.

Sean said...

This comment is uninteresting, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it.

dv05 said...

Does anyone know if this Sundowner song is cover? I wish it was on the new album!

Nick said...

dank purps.

The Swingin' Party said...

Someone spray painted "Imprison Perception" on the side of the art building at my school. That makes no fucking sense.

It's A-me, Martucci said...
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It's A-me, Martucci said...

I liked this entry better when it was the movie art school confidential, but this was ok too

Has anyone else just pictured this candice girl handcrafting a ginormous plaster sculpture of brendo's head; stopping to cry at regular intervals? funny shit

Andrew said...

Dr. Kelly,

I have a question for you. Something has bothered me about punk rock since the day I started listening just over 5 years ago.

What's the deal with all the naval references? You almost can't name a punk rock album which doesn't incorporate sinking ships into one or more of the songs within it. I can't recall ever hearing this being discussed either. It's like some kind of longstanding tradition or industry secret that everyone is afraid to speak of. I don't like secrets and this both bothers and annoys me on several different levels.
Your songs have the references, alkaline trio does, smoke or fire, a wilhelm scream, hot water music, everybody. The lyric is quickly becoming trite and boring for me, and while it presently isn't preventing me from enjoying any songs, I feel like it needs to be justified in some way.

Dave said...

Is sitting in a cubicle and arguing with dipshits on, the phone, considered art?

Diagnosis: Perpetual Niggariasus said...

Wop bop-a loo-bop, a wop-bang-bazy
Watch how I drive whitey's taste buds crazy!...
Walkin through Publix husslin for some snacks
A white soccer mom gently tapped on my back
Asked for assistance finding pickles for burgerz
I said “I make pickles--my pickles are murder!”
Snuck me a jar, said I’d be right back
off came the lid - "Let's improve this snack!"
Upon my return - "Here's yo pickles, ma'am!"
(Da original joose replaced wif my wam-bam!)
A wop bop-a loo-bop, a wop-bang-biss
New improved picklez floatin all in mah piss!

Matt said...

i don't feel like all credit for the value of art can be placed with the consumer. how do you explain artists that have long careers, with many supposed "genius" works? are they just lucky? it's not the emperor-with-no-clothes thing you mentioned in your post, because there are also plenty of one-hit wonders, too.

i think that while you're right on in saying that art has no intrinsic value and that value is created (mostly) by the people who consume it, i feel like there has to be something in the artist, something intangible that the artist him/her/zerself may not even be aware of, that allows him/her/zer to tap into the desires of numbers of people, or be able to translate personal meanings in a universalist way that speaks personally to numbers of people.

basically what i'm saying is that GREAT art DOES take talent and skill and craft, even if it's something the artist can't help, and despite the fact that the consumers create the art's value.

limited nobility said...
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limited nobility said...

a womp ba ba lu bam ba dop lop lard/dis shit a rhymin get outta jail freeee card.I see ya thelonious,i see ya...I agree somewhat with ugly ass andrew about the nautical lyrics but in keeping with the theme and quality of the record i woulda called the new sundowner "out of my depth" with chris sitting in a baby pool as the cover with those goofy nose plug things on.If you have to go that route

Jarret said...

I know you've probably been asked about 10,000 times, and I certainly don't want you to plug yourself if you don't want to, but... Is there any info about the dvd? Crankstrap has seemingly abandoned their facebook and I'm really curious.

Candice said...

they're a bunch of dicks.

It's A-me, Martucci said...

andrew - I consulted my long-deceased grandpa on the naval issue via séance and he offered no insights. But I suspect it's because orgtroll songwriters share a genuine affinity for vintage seaworn battleships and spend as much time aboard them as possible when they're not busy "setting this town on fire"

Nick said...

Olddogs, I really thought you were talking about bellybuttons for a minute there.