Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Architecture of Lust

A girl in Berlin stumbled accross a designer on day last July, while making her way to dance class through Mitte. The designer was Marlies Dekkers, the girl was me, and the love was true and star-crossed. I mention my obsession because Marlies Dekkers's stores hold their bi-annual sale starting Jan. 2nd, and perhaps someone more fortunate than broke me will profit from this. They've got no boutique in New York (well, good for them.) There is one in Bangkok, and when I go there in just under a month I may look in...

I'll throw no more empty words at you until I've embedded the visual feast: and Prudes Beware...this is a lingerie fashion show, after all.

And the year before...

I like her insistence on clean geometry, angles, against lady-curves. I like her sense of humor - the double-gartered stockings. I like how well her stuff fits me. I like her riffs - this past summer was japanese rope bondage, and her current winter collection has fun with adam & eve.

Why, Marlies? Why did you get it so right, when so many other lingerie 'designers' get it so wrong? You make the simplest straps and lines such revelations - simply by venturing beyond the narrow, narrow palatte of the undergarment shapes we're taught to expect. But arousal comes from surprise, and fascination, and I think Frau Dekkers appeals to the intellect as much as to the blood...and that's what gets us going: the puzzle of the human body.

(The climate in the city: large lazy snowflakes just gave way to sun.)
UP NEXT: How Brecht's Epic Theater anticipates and lauds the hyperlink...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Starving Artist's Cookbook

video project 1986-1991 by Paul Lamarre and Melissa P. Wolf

Food is most replicable and arguably most consumable in its video form. What good thinking that these fine folk got down to it back in the late '80s, and documented the nitty-gritty fats-soluble basics of eating on a genius budget.

Thanks to Lamarre and Wolf, we can watch artists from John Cage to John Sex cooking for themselves in their natural, East Village environments...and savor the historical, political, and of course aesthetic implications of these meals. Here's a better-worded excerpt from their own summary...

"The intent of The STARVING ARTISTS' COOKBOOK and VIDEO SERIES was to capture the end of an era—the artist's lifestyle as exemplified by what he/she cooked and ate. It was clear to us that there was a breakdown of the art community in New York with the privatization of the art world and the birth of the "art star"—we wanted to catch on tape the other side of this story. As artists ourselves we were in direct contact with a diverse group of artists which had connections going back to the fifties—that golden era of the New York art world...While expounding on the artists' relationship between art and life, THE STARVING ARTISTS' COOKBOOK is also a portrait series on the artist in society; and a video documentation of the socialeconomic condition of the arts community in downtown New York and internationally."

It has been my privileged to bear witness to the tail end of Manhattan gentrification and the collapse of NY's artistic community while growing up in the city. I walked alone quite late along E. 6th Street two nights ago, from the Bowery to Avenue C...the only sense of menace came from cabs and overpriced vegan bakeries. I know the artistic community here has found districts for itself in the far north tip of Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx...but the locus of the city has become the playground of the rich. A splintering of a group is a loss. Transportation becomes difficult, and even classic-to-the-point-of-staid New York artists like choreographer Paul Taylor and his company have been ousted from old Manhattan real-estate, and set adrift.

I know this Cookbook dishes on an economic art-world shift of a slightly different nature, but it falls very close to my personal grudge.

And Art being what it is nowadays, I can't even afford the book record of this project, which I'd dearly love to own: FOOD SEX ART: STARVING ARTISTS COOKBOOK, available for a paltry
$272.94 used from Amazon.

Well. I'll just have to go off and make some FOOD SEX ART of my own.

Begin at the Beginning

Manifestos certainly used to be popular. The blogs of yesteryear? So, not to tread too un-carefully upon already well-trod territory, I'll just open this book at random...and here we've got it: "Second Manifesto of Surrealism."

"Surrealism, although a special part of its function is to examine with a critical eye the notions of reality and unreality, reason and irrationality, reflection and impulse, knowledge and "fatal" ignorance, usefulness and uselessness, is analogous at least in one respect with historical materialism in that it too tends to take as its point of departure the "colossal abortion" of the Hegelian system."

That should do it. I'm sure that anything I might have said, have begun to say, considered saying and then stopped shortly, or wrote and deleted before posting, must somehow be contained in that impressive sentence of André Breton's.

In fact, why write anything further?

It's so clearly all been said. And done. And regretted in the morning.

No reason. Personal practice. Speaking of which, tonight I was surprised on Houston Street (along with five or six hundred other innocent New Yorkers) by a parade of Chabad vans, blinking menorahs strapped to roofs, running red lights across Broadway and blasting music out their windows. Must have been the annual Channukah road race.