Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Harry Potter of the Street Art Vanguard Has Taken Me Down A Notch

Uh oh!
The Situationists and the Graffiti kids are at war in New York City!

I'm excited and I am totally siding with the Situationists on this one - in theory. But not the part where they are literally throwing explosives into galleries where graff artists are getting shows.

The NY Times reporter seems a bit offended and accuse the new Situationists of looking like Harry Potter and being unfocused, arguing that there is nothing wrong with artists making money. That's fine, but he then acts like Guy Debord shares his opinion. Guy Debord does not share that opinion, Guy Debord slept on couches until he was like 103. Still, I enjoyed this paragraph, if only because Situationists never really make it to the NY Times these days:
"Guy Debord, the Situationist writer and spokesman who, before he died in 1994, couldn’t resist responding to anybody who barely mentioned him, would no doubt be exercised by this latest invocation of his legacy. A Situationist in Paris did once dress up as a Dominican priest and read an anti-theist tract to a baffled congregation at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. In Copenhagen, in the ’60s, members of a group calling itself the Movement for a Scandinavian Bauhaus Situationniste were suspected by the police of being responsible for the decapitation of "The Little Mermaid," the city’s famous symbol, and absconding with the head. Still, Situationist pranks were pointedly political. Across nearly half a century of random art world mischief, they seem almost scientific in their focus, by comparison with young people who toss stink bombs at gallery openings or splash paint on street art."

Maybe the intention is nice, but I suppose stink bombs aren't exactly revolutionary, either. There is a situationist trick - adopted by hipsters in regard to music and 14-year olds in regard to everything - where you find something your friends think is cool, then declare it co-opted by the bourgeois. Well, maybe that's not the words they're using, but you know what I mean.

I discovered that I can never fully embrace the rejection of bourgeois art simply because I like pretty things too much.

(Image: Cover, The Situationist Times #6, Bramsen et Georges Clot, Paris 1967)

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