Magicality, Irrascible Assholes, and Sorcery
28 May 2010

The world is bleeding and times are strange indeed.  While there seems to be some renewed interest in the Occult spreading through the art world, I am a little freaked out by the believers.  I prefer the idea of magic as a metaphor for the powerful beliefs surrounding the art world, but I don’t think I’m actually channeling Lucifer.  I’m trying to channel you.

Actually, I’m bullshitting you according to Emily Falvey in the new issue of Esse magazine.  Falvey talks about kitsch, bullshit, and Post-Modernism in her really smart article, which tries to explain why bullshitting is a “mode of creativity” that offers a particular kind of freedom for invention.  It’s a tricky article.  Falvey ultimately suggests that the solution to dealing with the end of post-modernism may not to re-think Modernism again, but that “the only way out may be in.”  This is the tricky part, because I agree with her that the critical tropes of post-modernism long ago transcended the reaction to Modernism and have become productive ways of working that aren’t simply ironic reversals.  Post-modernism has gone way past David Salle’s juxtapositions of pop imagery and ab-ex paintings, Schnabel’s shattered plates, or Koons’ floating basketballs.  Now they look comically simple compared to the level of engagement artists have taken with ideas of uncertainty and narrative content, I’m thinking of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle.  He’s an excellent bullshitter, where being right or wrong is not as important as being inventive.  Modernism, in the Greenbergian aesthetic sense, had no room for story, character, or symbolism.

So, I look forward to thinking more about Emily’s essay, but I’ve been too busy bullshitting working on several projects to go any further than my initial reaction here.   Hrag Vartanian recently posted some images from my lecture “Surviving the Art World Using the Art of Sorcery” at the Hyperallergic office.  It was the inaugural lecture in a new series Hrag and his publisher-partner Veken will be presenting.  The lecture was absurd and still-in-development, but that is exactly what Hrag and Veken want to present; works-in-progress,  not just finished projects.  If it felt experimental, well, it was.

I just shipped three new magic composites to Copenhagen for a group show organized by Ryan Schneider at Gallery Poulsen. The show could have been titled Fucktards, Circle Jerk, or Seven Douchebags, but they settled on Irrascible Assholes.  I apologize that we couldn’t find a single female asshole for the show, but I wasn’t curating this one.

“The Irrascible Assholes: New Paintings From New York”

Ryan schneider (US), Tom Sanford (US),  Aaron Johnson (US),

Daniel Heidkamp (US), Van Hanos (US), William Powhida (US)

Jamison Brosseau (US)

Vernissage june 18 from 5 pm – 8 pm
The show runs until july 16, 2010

But I am organizing (I’m not sure what we are doing is curating) a group show at Platform Gallery in Seattle called “Magicality” with Eric Trosko.  The show opens July 1st and includes artists Sarada Rauch, Garric SimonsenKristen Jensen, Jade Townsend, Megan Laborious, David Bates, Baptiste Ibar,  Letha Wilson, Steve Pauley, and more (we are still looking and thinking) whose work suggests an application of or connection with magic.  There are believers and non-believers whose work is deals with questions of how belief and faith create power and value.  I’ll post our statement soon and more detailed information as we conjure it from that nebulous space that is thought.

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