Saturday, May 08, 2010

Naked Men on Buildings

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.
Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.
Venite all’agile barchetta mia From "Santa Lucia" - Traditional

On hearing that God is sending an angel down to earth -
Jesus: "Father, why don't you send me?
God: "Last time was a disaster." From Mylène Farmer's "Que mon cœur lâche"

A few weeks ago I wrote about my idea for a Pretentiousness Meter.

No I haven't developed it though I still intend to. I think I'll make it only work on Windows, as there is the beginning of a backlash against trendy Apple, ever since Apple started acting snooty.

Snooty with the unfortunate Apple employee who lost the iPhone in a bar. Jon Stewart of the Daily show is incensed. "It wasn't supposed to be this way." he said. "Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto, while commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the f*ck is going on? It is all mixed up. I don't know which end is up anymore. Black is white. Cats are dogs.""

I've revived my interest in my Pretentiousness Meter, not because of iPhoneGate, but because I've had a week of bumping into pretentious people. More than I normally do, that is.

First there's the building supervisor who acts like he's the lord of the manor. He wasn't there before; he must be new. I pass him on my way to my second bus stop in mid-town. There used to be just the uniformed doormen standing under the typical Manhattan stripy awning outside the apartment building, but in the past few months there's a man standing a little away from the doormen, surveying the sidewalk as if it is a rural roadway in Britain before the serfs were freed. His bald head is always carefully combed. The adjective that comes to mind when I see him, is "dapper". As people leave his building he greets them with an English smile, and if they are young and pretty, stares at their legs as they walk on.

I hate him and must think of an alternate route to work.

And if that's not enough, midweek I was watching a show on the arts on "Ovation" and heard for the first time about "Relational Art". Seems I really am behind the times. I'd never heard of this movement. The show was called "Relational Art: Is It an Ism?" and it was all about the philosophy and creations of the Relational Art people. One guy assembled a life-sized model of his kitchen in an art gallery and invited people to cook in his kitchen. Another had part of a wall in a gallery and a pail of white paint with brushes for people to paint the wall, over and over and over ...

Then there's the twelve pajama-clad, rubber booted male figures drinking from chalices, wearing diving helmets who are hanging out in the Palace of the Arts in Budapest.

The creativity of these artists knows no bounds!

Was Yoko Ono a Relational Art person - with her ladder for people to climb up and read a tiny, unimposing "yes", printed on a canvas suspended from the ceiling? Surely she was a woman ahead of her time.

I wonder what course one needs to undertake in order to qualify as a Relationionalist I can't imagine rolling up to an art gallery with a pile of lettuce leaves and a sieve for what those in the know call an "installation". There must be prerequisites. "What-Bizarre-Idea-Can-I-Come-Up-With-Next 101" perhaps.

Another pretentious thing - those trendy supermarkets and coffee shops that instead of Musak or Mylène Farmer or Lady Gaga - play Mario Lanza singing "Santa Lucia", or even Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. I went to one this morning after gym. It's called "The Vinegar Factory". But it could be called anything. "Loaf of Bread" perhaps, or "Bagels R Us".

I'm sick of pretension! I need something down-to-earth, normal, run of the mill. What could I do to satisfy my urge for something very basic, pedestrian even?

I know! I can go and see the naked men on to of buildings in mid-town. There are thirty one of them - life-sized figures by British artist Antony Gormley. Apparently they are all modeled in his likeness. I suspect he is having a sly dig at God. They are perched on top of buildings including the Flat Iron and the Empire State. Babs has found twenty seven of them so I should go see them too.

Yeah, that's what I'll do.

3 comments:

Terry said...

Why can't they have naked girls? Naled girls would be far more relationalist and suit my tastes much better.

Interactive naked girls would be great Relational Art. But then I am sure they already have that somewhere in New York.

Boggy said...

Age has a way of leveling.
But we have our share of 'wazzas' where I live. "I WAS A CEO/CFO/Big Shot etc." But it seems to peak in the mid forties. Some stay pretentious into their fifties, but it trails off like a Bell-curve.
Ignore the bastards. What the hell are they hiding? Their own miserable lives?

Jaded NYer said...

"His bald head is always carefully combed."

What a statement. And carefully clothed in irony. For how many of the human race parade around in such a condition? Too many.

As far as the naked man, why didn't he turn around? Is he shy?

As far as "Relational Art", while I can appreciate an artist's sentiment for wanting to involve their observers, there comes a point where one has to say, have they run out of creativity? Imagination? Who wants to cook in someone else's kitchen? How does this type of "Art" add any value to the human race?

What happened to painting something, singing something, MAKING something,? Reproducing every day life and calling it art like Warhol's soup can (yawn) is just lazy, lackluster, and dull.

But pretentiousness is alive and well in selling these very concepts to the unsuspecting.

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