Saturday, September 06, 2008

According to IT: "The idea is to identify the common rhetorical and stylistic tropes of your favourite bloggers and ask them to write a post in which they get taken away, thus revealing the pure truth of their writing. Possibly. All posts must be at least 200 words."

I was tagged by Carl, who demanded "no electronica, no confessions, no cats, no reasonableness", so here are my at least 200 words:

I won't tell you the name of the fucking stupid exhibition that's thankfully about to end at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It's a name that obliquely references something Carl's dumb-ass "dogmeme" guidelines prohibit me from referencing -
obliquely or otherwise. This may already be one oblique reference too far but so what? Get off my fucking back already, it was just an oblique reference!

Oblique! Fucking!! Reference!!!

Anyway, it seems that the dick-wads and ass monkeys at the VAG hit upon quite the money-spinning scheme for this summer: essentially an exhibition of geek culture, taking in comics, video games and animation. After all, your average nerd will have not only a decent amount of disposable income but also a foolhardy willingness to actually dispose of this income on anything that falls within the general remit of geek culture.

Additionally, regular folk have recently shown a strong willingness to vicariously indulge in geekiness of various kinds, just so long as they don't actually have to - you know - buy an actual comic book or anything. Cunts! The VAG's sickeningly cynical marketing bullshit played heavily upon this tendency, accentuating the freak factor involved to a skin-crawling degree.

As if this horrifying marketing campaign would not be enough to thoroughly crush our spirits, the VAG added insult to injury by throwing the actual exhibition together in an insultingly cavalier fashion. For example, absolutely no attempt was made to logicaly connect the different media involved or make them work together.

The English-language comics and "graphic novels" section (that term was used in quotes throughout the exhibition) concentrated exclusively on indie/underground cartooning. If any attention had been given to mainstream American comics, it might have made more sense to put comic book art in the same exhibition as stills from video games. But it's hard for all but the most ignorant of fuckheads to see any link between Chris Ware and "Grand Theft Auto".

The real drag was that, among all this ignorantly thrown-together clutter, lay some real gems. Perhaps the most moving pieces of all were original production drawings from Windsor McCay's massively seminal cartoon "Gertie the Dinosaur". Interesting that McCay was included for "Gertie..." while the equally influential "Little Nemo in Slumberland" was ignored entirely. Doubtless the curators felt the unfortunate period racism that blighted "Nemo" would make patrons uncomfortable. And we wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable while we were taking their money now, would we? Not in an art gallery, nooo...

You fucking bastards.

I'm only going to tag three people. I tag...

Expressway to My Skull: No music I've never heard of, no Byron Coley-isms, no uploads

Tower of Sleep: No indie rock, no Vancouver, no moustaches

Updateable Mixtape: No hyperlinks, no embedded media, no Internet whatsoever

I know that these limitations have more to do with subject matter and layout than writing style but so what? I'm feeling unreasonable!


Anonymous said...



C O said...

Funny- I did a 2000 word review of Krazy! coming up in the new issue of Border Crossings. I had to be reasonable, but the extra 1800 words comes in handy.

Comus on repeat while I think of a topic.

Biggie Samuels said...

A lot of the work on display was fantastic and it was great to see it. Seeing Alison Bechdel's original pages for Fun Home, for example, was extremely moving. But as an exhibition, it was dogshit. And as a marketing campaign, it was a massive insult to me personally. The lack of care evident in the way the whole thing was thrown together constituted a substantial kick in the teeth for artists as precise and intellectually focussed as Bechdel, Ware etc.

C O said...

Oh yeah.
The show was ok in some ways ---Atelier Bow-Wow's layout of the first floor, the Anime wing being a Caligari-esque walk through an otaku's brain---but the 2nd floor seemed tacked on, and No Ghost Just a Shell was epic fail.

Marketing? Well, yeah- the institution needs the annual touristey cash-cow exhibit (See: Massive Change, Monet to Dali) to facilitate the exhibition of more interesting contemporary work...

Biggie Samuels said...

Once I got past the comics and "graphics novels" (those quote marks!) sections I found it pretty hard to maintain my interest. It was almost like the curators had given up trying to find anything decent and just thrown together a bunch of crap to fill up the rest of the space. That is not to say the work itself was crap but the way totally unrelated work was juxtaposed from section-to-section made it really hard to get into a good gallery groove and actually concentrate. Every time something actually caught my attention (Christian Marclay, Raymond Pettibon) it was like a slap in the face. Which - BTW - is exactly what those money-grubbers at the VAG deserve.