CAUSE for Concern

Discussion in 'Whatever' started by gatiio, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. gatchabert

    gatchabert Prototype

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    CAUSE for Concern
    It's funny you mentioned customizing AF1 when Nike just announced that you can NikeID a pair of AF1 (of which I looked at just before looking through here).
     
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  2. hellopike

    hellopike S7 Royalty

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    you didn’t ask me, but I agree with the summation you made of gatiio post regarding museum, so I’ll give you my thoughts about the relationship between that and my toy collection.

    my toy collection is just that. A toy collection. Built partially on nostalgia for the toys of my youth, partially on my love of skeletons (I just like them a lot) and an appreciation for the relatively simplicity of soft vinyl toys (which again is nostalgia driven I think).

    These things aren’t art to my eyes. They don’t tell a story, or comment on the human condition… they’re visually appealing, and while some art can be just “visually appealing” not everything that is, is art. Just like all squares are diamonds, but not all diamonds are necessarily squares.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
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  3. gatiio

    gatiio Side Dealer

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    Yup, more or less and in much better words.
    But infuriation would imply I am doing more to correct this wrong than I am, but it gets at it. At least I'm writing it all out, lol. :razz:

    so...
    I am baffled by how much the garbage coming out of the art-toy scene is propped up as if its anything else other than a derivative bore of nostalgia whose only function is to sell mediocre design as art and some of it is ok, just ok character design.

    To your question, I have no relationship between my toy collecting (an affinity for the neo kaiju aesthetic), and art museums. I keep them separate as the work I do in the arts deals with institutional critique, disenfranchisement, and bureaucracy which are things not really the focus of this whole sofubi thing for me. I dislike the relationship being built between museums, the public, and this particular niche of the arts. I see this as disingenuous to what the museum is responsible for and what the public deserves to be told by the "experts".

    Tbh, I think maybe Dehara and thats a stretch, is the only maker that is making work remotely conceptually rigorous and I dont even know to which extent he's actively engaging these ideas Im thinking of in his work.

    How about an analogy? If youre aware of the technicality and knowledge that takes to make great Gospel music to play AT church AND be moving to believers. No matter how much Kanye makes it into a happening or a quasi-religious event, it will continue to fall flat, it might be genius to you and amazing to many, but flat nonetheless since it misses the soul of the space and the energy of those dedicated to that space that make it so. This is why I dislike the taste of anyone that wears bape unironically to be forced onto museums as avant-garde art or even good contemporary art.
     
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  4. Radin

    Radin Toy Prince

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    Look, Kaws is clearly not beyond criticism. However, this article if read and reread and actually dissect it is beyond lazy. Lazy isn't even the right word. It is shallow, uninformed and misinformed.

    I put some quotes below. If we are critiquing Kaws art/toys as garbage then what can we possibly say about this half wit providing "art criticism." You'd get better analysis posting a Kaws pic in the fugliest thread...

    In a world where million dollar canvas are hung with a single brush stroke; where a piece of wood with 200 coats of varnish is placed on it's side; where a urinal is placed upside down and hung on a wall. Context is everything. I'm sorry but "meh" doesn't cut it. Get out of here with that nonsense...

    It may seem like i'm defending Kaws but i'm not. You know what is worse than bad art? Bad art criticism. Further, the blurring of the materialism, art show/shop experience is 100% intentional.

    Some Quotes:

    "Few genres of contemporary art reveal the machinations of this tiresome ouroboros of popular shock to luxury shlock as clearly as graffiti and street art. "

    "He uses shiny materials, scale, and quantity to make his obtuse points."

    "The artist is mining the now feeble legacy of Warhol, who wanted rich people and celebrities to love him, while reinforcing the supremacy of American imperialism and capitalism."

    "Collectors of Kaws don’t want to hear the art sucks, because deep down they know. They don’t want art that challenges them, they want brands and decor that signal their wealth without offering insight."

    "It’s not worth discussing the art in the show itself mostly because it’s all quite interchangeable and unremarkable."
     
  5. nico000

    nico000 Toy Prince

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    I find this discussion super interesting.

    I think what the people here who don't like Kaws or Kaws exhibit feel something similar or parallel to what this article points to https://newint.org/features/2018/11...Hhmkig7MWX8esCdZ9TP9WIYaNY31XlaWmclTONdg1H8uA .

    I'll post here one paragraph that seems particularly relevant here
    While I am agree that the exhibition as it was made, is concerning, there is still something weird for me in the art versus non art idea. Or the idea Kaws doesn't belong in museum. I really like this definition of art: creative expression with aesthetic intent. The idea that art has to stand for anything else than itself is difficult to chew on for me. I love Art Brut and Outsider Art, I think comics is an art form and have trouble imagining why toy making wouldn't be one. And there is something weird in comics as in any type of art form. How come we use the same word for a poorly written and lazy drawn new Spider Man issue and for Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron or Akira or Uzumaki? I don't think 'graphic novel' helps that much. Doesn't do anything to me, same as collectible versus toy. It's missing the entire point.
    While I am also calling my collection a toy collection, it is art by my own definition, and better and more relevant art than most of the thing I see in museums and art galleries. Maybe I m pushing too far... I see in plastic art form something intrinsically punk. Using the least noble material one can imagine, deciding to make toys for adults, it's pretty radical. I can't imagine I am the only to feel that and being attracted by it. It's flirting very close to nostalgia and infantilization, for sure. At its worth it is only the cold abuse of it, at it's best it's a provocative play of those themes. Or something.. I ain't no art critique, I just like toys.

    @Radin I am totally with you, that critique is a clown. I would love for him to join SB and start participating to the fugly thread though. I would listen to him and celebrate what he has to say there.
     
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  6. hellscrape

    hellscrape Comment King

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    If you're talking about toys and "punk" energy, I'd suggest that resin is Rudimentary Peni and sofubi is Blink 182. I like sofubi (a lot) but there's a big financial barrier to play in this league, either as a collector or a toymaker. Resin is almost always DIY labors of love. Although, as with any scene, there's tons of nonsense (Star Wars/Disney garbage, I'm looking at you) to avoid.

    EDIT: bad analogy, I get it. Sofubi has a long-standing history that goes far beyond the modern wares being sold on IG today. But still, I never got how it is "punk."
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
  7. 3wing

    3wing Addicted

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    virgil abloh Was repping nagnagnag on IG today… so, that’s the state of the world I guess…
     
  8. Anti Social Andy

    Anti Social Andy Die-Cast

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    Didn't see your comment before posting in the NNN thread, but yeah . . . SSDD!
     
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  9. gatiio

    gatiio Side Dealer

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    “meh” describes the work to the minutia. I disagree with any dismissal of the points against kaws. Especially the distinction that art in this space can just be there with no other concern for the space and public exposed to it. It is not a good look to think that somehow just by making any art one is immediately allowed license to populate spaces like the museum with the trite and uninspired results of a career around marketing and branding. This is lazy and insidious to the museum as a social actor and If it reads lazy on the part of the critic, it’s probably because the argument tired and tried. If we’re already having to write about these fluff shows then it’s already a lot to do for this low hanging fruit. undeserving, meritless fruit from a tree that grows on nothing else but a perceived sense of clout social media and its users inflate.

    I would say that were missing the forest for the trees here. The issue isnt KAws or KASW's work per se, the issue is KASW work has nothing to do in a contemporary museum of art that respects the rigour of the aesthetics.

    But bear with me as I try to give more context that can illuminate how really sad and boring all of this is to those of us devoted to the understanding of human experience through the arts. Boring in the way you get bummed by Abloh repping NNNs, because you know how that will result on the hobby and the collector base, regardless of exposure. It means nothing other than someone signalling somewhere with no intent.

    If you think this is ok and to be celebrated, then you are also complicit in the disingenuous presentation of this work as good work. Think of the monetization of the self. Consider how every single avenue of human existence is monetized in contemporary life, from the minutes in the day (freelancing) to how much physical output you create (fungible assets). Even conversation, the founding bastion of human relations, is being commodified in the form of podcasts in apps like Clubhouse. So things that just were there for us to indulge in that allowed creativity to exist (idle life, unemployment, boredom), have now become 'spaces' for 'makers' because everything has to be a net sum of capital. So that Music or art or whatever is now a space; art-space, music-space, whatever-space, with defined lines and entry levels and to some extent with hierarchies that allow these spaces to be broken down, assessed, deployed, and consumed. So much so, that the work of someone like KASW gets respect, not because of its street art trajectory or involvement with a movement in NYC or XYZ, nope. It gets respect because the images are readily consumable, immediately understood, and very well framed for the IG lense or social media release. Those are not aesthetic features (if thats your point) nor they are metrics to which art that moves the soul can align with.

    A collaboration is no longer a moment between two artists finding common ground and exploring it together, but rather a forced venture with a safe determined margin on the other end. Movies and shows are disneyfied and put to a group of people that can gauge how profitable it is before they are even considered for production. We are all forced to be living in a constant decay from the fallout of the conservatism of the 80s, a Now where nothing is exciting and everything is neoliberally commodified and understood. It's hell. Everything is a reboot, a mythological set of characters always rehashed and mashed in this one box of culture and thought ad nauseum. At this junction, there isn't much that you or I could make or do that can encompass the ennui-destroying experiences we all crave deep down. It is just how many followers, revenue, or marketability something has. It is how many tags and shoutouts you can get.

    Dont worry, this all connects to the kaws concerns and us, I'm getting to it.

    So now consider the work of KASW and others among him. It is work that reiterates these tracks I have presented. It doesnt challenge or pose questions in the ways the abstract expressionists did or any other conceptually thought out work does. None of the people affiliated are even doing the work of contextualizing KAWS for anyone thats read an intro to art syllabus.

    It doesn't engage its public to make them question 'why' culture is complacent and dependent on influencer content to understand itself, like the article Nico shared. It doesn't even engage itself, resorting to a stylization of memes to make obtuse references that land everywhere and nowhere (like disney stuff). Its all this same content in the images KAWs that puts together cult subject + stylized lines = KASW art. It is a solid formula, but one that leads nowhere. If all is content nowadays (as in content-spaces), what is the form (the environment these spaces inhabit)? and if the form is the traditional media as well as the new media we are engaging in, then we cannot have these forms be the same as they have been before without analysing it in depth and asking ourselves the merit. We will end up with every museum looking like a Kuzama Exhibit; an emtpy spectacle of selfies and self-indulgence.

    It relates to our hobby in that we are aware and acutely so, of the nostalgia and cashgrab this is as a hobby to us. We are aware that these toys and their makers are in this because the making relates to a childhood feeling of playing with the toy and now making it or having your friend make it. It doesnt relate to the general sense and duty of art in the world. That is, to help us understand our place in this environment and how to feel what others might feel alongside us.

    iuno, thanks for coming to the ted talk. I understand not all of us are devoted to this and that there are larger issues in the world to tackle. But if this was as scary as my doompilled ass thinks it is, we wouldnt be seeing these shows get such exposure when there are forensic architecture videos that do more in 5 min to excite the mind than KASW has done in 30odd years or however long hes been blessing us with his design aesthetic.

    As for this statement: "creative expression with aesthetic intent"
    yeah, this is Art. Maybe in the times of the patron model and anything before postminimalism, but now this is as old and boring as the mona lisa. Its art, just not very good contemporary art. You're one step away from being the granny with impressionist paintings and posters, avoiding the circumstances that created those works and just indulging them for their existence. Just enjoying the works of artists during one of the most intense periods of human life reconstruction with zero interest in the social fabric that led to their creation. KASW is up there. The sad part is that the impressionists did know their stuff and had decided ideas behind it. KASW doesnt and most of these grannies dont care to learn it or even challenge it when its presented to them in a comfortable platter and printed on their mugs. Only kasw puts it on a pair of slippers, has skipped go, but cashed all of it, and only cares about its looks. Its Creative expression and aesthetic intent, as you put it.

    Most art critics would probably not have much to say to the fugly thread, its a bunch of sophomoric sculpting with very trite character design. All of it is representationally cringe, 4 legs, a penis, a head, afew skulls here and there and the occasional pus blob, rinse and repeat. If anything, there's an argument about incels somewhere in there, but who wants to spend time thinking or writing about that?

    Everything is political, the world is political and the institutions that are responsible to let us know this are failing us, because somehow they are supposed to be apolitical with artists that dont have much to scratch under their surfaces. The white gesso is very thick.

    As for using the least noble material, et al. There's a whole field of art devoted to that, its called minimalism. It happened 60yrs ago. We cant be still talking about things from 60yrs ago as if they are the current discourse to be had at the level museums need to be conversing. Lets leave that for the 'tired of SW' thread and the new marvel release of another superhero with the same origin story.
     
  10. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Prototype

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    I wanted to pull these three statements out, as I think they really get to the push/pull of life today. Just living day to day is a chore for most of us. Wake, Work, Sleep, Repeat. Doing this is exhausting. Finding meaning in it is even more exhausting. So, in the few hours we have to ourselves we settle into the easy/empty self-indulgences. At the end of the workday the last thing most of us have the energy to do is exam our place in the environment and the feelings of others. And it all stems from our political institutions - institutions whose intent s to keep us tired and complacent.

    I'm reminded of an Oatmeal comic about happiness: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/unhappy

    Happiness is sold to us as the most important thing. Do what makes you happy! It's the rare person who can make money from doing what makes them happy, so the rest of us have to try getting some happiness in between the Work/Sleep cycle. And because we don't have the energy to pursue meaning, happiness = emptiness. Oh the irony! It's the pinnacle of all societal lies, and yet even after recognizing it as a lie it's hard to break the cycle.
     
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  11. JoeMan

    JoeMan Mini Boss

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    I agree, not only is existing hard enough, we are bombarded from all angles with why we are doing it wrong and why our minds need to be reprogrammed to fit the philosophies of every single social/political group out there. Even a corporate job is a chore where they lecture you about why you need a pronoun next to your name and make you take anti-racist training while rich white senior leadership talks about how they are allies. I could really care less about the truth of the world the antifa artist is trying to share, or What profound experience the Brooklynite lifer who wasted 100k to take art classes at Pratt for 4 years is exploring. Or the importance behind the wooden flags the rich white MAGAite who thinks he’s public enemy number 1, is making.
    I didn’t see the kaws show, I’m not planning to. The last time I went to a museum was to see Francis bacon at Moma. I’m just happy collecting meaningless toys because I like the way they look. And I would buy kaws toys too if I liked them. I just don’t really.
     
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  12. kid_miracleman

    kid_miracleman Comment King

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    First and foremost, I just want to say this thread has been overall pretty great. A lot of interesting perspectives, all unique and valid, while being totally respectful of those on the other side, so to speak. Kudos to all here regardless of your position.

    Honestly I think one of the reasons some in the art scene are so anti-KAWS is he effectively helped create an entirely new ecosystem that exists outside of their approval or disapproval. So many in this scene look up to him from a lot of different angles; the street culture that he helped create, how he was able to become massively successful in a parallel art market, the art itself, its balance of exclusivity and availability, how integrated it has become with pop culture in general, whatever. And let's be honest, who would like someone that kills much of their perceived sense of self-worth? Or to say it in the parlance of our times, "haters gonna hate", especially when they try to kill the clout factory of a self-made kaiju-sized hypebeast.

    I respect the Hell out of him even though I have never really liked any of his art. As a general statement I'm supportive of his efforts, but I gotta say the price on his last print series was obscene, something like $1500 each for a series of 10 11" x 14" silkscreened prints that would cost at most $10 to produce and I'm rounding WAY up. That bothered me compared to toys he sells for $260 that probably costs $25 to produce because we're talking about a 10x markup vs 150x+. But hey, I don't collect him so other than the principle of it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  13. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Prototype

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    @gatiio - I just want to clarify for myself that, while you're mentioning KAWS specifically, he's a placeholder for late-20th/early-21st century art at large. Your comments about his work aren't specific to his work, but are focused on him because that's where this conversation started with the article/review that was posted? As I read your words I think they can be applied nearly universally to nearly any contemporary artist the average person moderately interested in art has heard of. That's what my previous "happiness = emptiness" response is regarding - a possible explanation for the lack of deeper meaning in current popular art.

    So I do agree with you regarding the lack of depth in KAWS work - I just want to make sure that when we say "KAWS" we mean "KAWS and nearly every other moderately famous artist working right now" (Juxtapoz, Hirst, Superflat, Koons, etc).

    Specific to KAWS there are two nits I'd like to pick.

    1 - He was acutely aware of art as commodity early in his career. So I think it's disingenuous to say that his work is devoid of message, or that "[h]is saccharine style means nothing, according to him." His original set of Kimpson's (and Chum) paintings were packaged on bubble cards just like the World of Springfield Simpson's toys that had just launched that same year (2000). His original Companion toy was one of the first toys-as-art figures produced (first American perhaps?). And his bus stop posters were done in a way so that his painting could blend in and go unnoticed within an advertisement. At that time his work was a blurring of art and commodity. Twenty years later that might not seem interesting, but to say that there wasn't thought behind it just doesn't sit right. And yeah, maybe it's ground Warhol already covered, but KAWS did it in his own way and for a different audience. Of course I think he's struggled to take that next step as his career progressed - even as a fan, I'm not interested in the current show at the Brooklyn Museum.

    2 - There's been a lot of focus on (the vapidness of) IG and social media being the reason for his success. Sure, it helped spread his reach. But he was popular long before Facebook or Instagram came to dominate our cultural landscape.
     
  14. gazpacho

    gazpacho Comment King

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    That Francis Bacon show at moma was amazing. That’s all…
     
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  15. Biff

    Biff S7 Royalty

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    [​IMG]

    New Francis Bacon toy.
     
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