Dec 6, 2012

Powerful artists talk about each other's work, Have nothing to say.

Oblivious to any criticality that the early star-making B+W portraits had, Abramovic describes Cindy Sherman’s work as speaking directly about women, of women.  This thought, heedless that the work routinely depicts women as powerless objects or cliches, reduced to appearance, also (absurdly) neglects that the early B+W work was embodying tropes of cinema’s representation (i.e. Film’s Stills).  That the images reduced to a single frame, without the narcotic reason of story to make the still moment seem ordained, forced a creation of your own narrative. The viewer attended to the elements of the frame that subtly impressed identity onto the women, laying/excising out the implicit and subtle dominating perspective, and how it was formed.  It doppleganged the cliche ridden mass-media/cinema language to present how it was inherently biased and problematic, how it constructed identity.  
I’m being a little reductionist; but,
In enacting this language on itself (herself) the early B+W film stills acknowledged their own powerlessness to be anything but the media image of, it willfully accepted it as its/her subjectivity. Which was sad. To enter it yourself was masochistic, to embarrass and torture your subjectivity. For Abramovich to state that these speak directly to women is not only to say that all media depictions speak directly to women regardless of what is depicted, but particularly those with little interest in portraying women as anything but powerless home-stuck waifs, or symbols of sex. I’m sure it’s nice to know that Marina Abramovic (botox-back-the-sad-eyes art-world powerhouse) too waits by the phone longingly, desperate, powerless, but to speak as if this speaks to all women is almost fatalist, as if it is woman’s destiny to wait by the phone, and I’m pretty sure it was Klaus Biesenbach who declared his love to Abramovic on that stage in front of hundreds.  

It’s hard to know if Abramovich is absolutely clueless when it comes to image, or brilliant foreseer.  Maybe she, having been so ready to reduce herself to image, objectify herself, has realized the fever-dream of the image so encompassing it becomes the real Abramovich. Actors/resses are known to act, but Abramovich states that she is.  This the person who gave us the artist star phenom “the artist is present” in which, yes, the authorial notion of the artist was present, but no human was except for the spectator staring down the weird tabula-rasa hallucination of  person/subjectivity/artist split cum brick wall as body-spectacle disconnect.  You ever tripped on mushrooms and looked in a mirror?  It’s incredibly moving, and has brought more people to tears than Abramovich.  Of course she did it with sobriety, a way that was transmissible, reified or whatever.  And perhaps she has been dealing with this disconnect for a while now, and may have reached a point of some true understanding of human/image I cannot see.
This must be good art because people are crying.

Later, When Sherman became “herself,” became “Cindy Sherman,” it became her. and It became her depiction. She was no longer using media modes of depiction, no longer film’s stills, but her own. When people become the idea of themselves. She entered into the Cindy Sherman means of depicting women.  No longer was this parody at the expense of herself to show how media subtly constructed/dominated people, but was now Sherman enacting her will onto women, depicting them. From media she learned how to construct and deploy identity as domineering, and to enact it on identities.  It was/is now Sherman’s depiction of women as powerless images of themselves, Abramovich may be right about this, but her insistence on this in such admiring terms is unnerving.  

The timeless part of you, is the stereotype of, the hollow idea of.  This is when cliches enacted becomes violence against another's subjectivity.  These people have feelings you know.

Also, Robert Longo, the guy who tries to be an artist, in his "favorite Cindy" goes so far as to actually call the photos “true.”  He also says the photographs “actually have a soul,” which gives me vertigo to think about, and opposes it to fashion photographs which, ostensibly, do not have a soul.  It’s because you believe it he says.

I want to like the CIndy Sherman retrospective, it is in my best interests to do so, but I think it can only be done from this "low" point I am trying to articulate, and definitely obviously not from the celebrity on which every institution tries to buoy it. Buoys like fantastical false air balloons. sick. Why is this allowed to happen? Are we this powerless? Does you feel the way I do? Am I a pretentious asshole?