Saturday, December 19, 2009

Procrastination is an Art Form. Really!

Well. So far I have bought all of two Christmas ornaments and a gift card. There are 6 shopping days left until Christmas, including today, so I have to say, I’m not doing very well.

Not on the Christmas shopping, dummy. On my performance art piece!

As you know, I’m tremendously interested in contemporary art, and especially conceptual art pieces. The concept behind my current work-in-progress is this: procrastination is an art form, and the less one does, the more conceptual and high-falutin’ one’s own life becomes. So if I do nothing at all for Christmas, my non-participation in the cultural and commercial Christmas as it’s observed in the Western world will make an artistic statement about everything having to do with holiday rituals, the ephemeral nature of material objects in 21st century society, and the importance of cultural heritage.

Wait. I finished that Museum Studies dissertation, so why am I still spouting academic claptrap?

No, my non-participation in things of Christmas spirit will simply prove that I am an incredibly slack housewife, who can’t be bothered to put up a tree. Yet.

Unfortunately, Mr D is totally unaware of my very important artistic endeavors. He arrived home from Paris at 3:25 am yesterday morning, after suffering through a 12-hour flight delay caused by Parisian snow. He then woke me from my delicious slumber with his thoughtless blundering about in the dark. Sigh. What can one do? And since then, today, he’s made every mistake in the book. Brought up the tree from the basement, which he’s now puzzling over. Put on Christmas music. Ornament boxes are appearing right and left. He’s trying to scotch my great art plan, and aggravatingly, there’s not even any Scotch involved.

Because frankly, this current artwork of mine cannot be successfully realized if I do not in some way equal the exquisitely poignant Christmas 1996 performance described here. [click here to read] The drama! The passion! The lack of initiative! The selfish slothfulness! The uncaring poor parenting disguised as exhaustion!

Oh heck. I’m afraid the die is cast. I’ll be putting up the Christmas tree this afternoon. Thanks for volunteering to help. Oh, you didn’t? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Typical.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Revelation(s) NSFW

N.B. This might or might not be safe for work, depending on where you work, whether you're American or European, and how you define obscenity.

IMG_9176 kouros torso, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Well, very exciting week here at the ol' blog. We've established the following:

  1. We don't wipe our butts with torn up newspapers over here in Glen Ellyn, unlike those frat boys down in Peoria who do.
  2. We don't sit on our hands when we pee in furrin' terlets.
  3. Instead, we squat to do our business, or we don't do anything at all. (Definitely the most lady-like choice)
  4. Anything else? We don't break mirrors in ladies' bathrooms, we definitely don't touch the genitalia on Greek statues, and we don't post obscene photos to our Flickr accounts. Not ever.
Which brings me to the following point. I put up this photo of the Greek drinking cup -- I think it's called a kylix -- with its phallically enhanced satyr (now decorated with a holiday-themed modesty cap), and within a few minutes, Flickr had censored it.

IMG_9510 satyr plate--holiday, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

So apparently, it's okay to fly halfway round the world to look at Greek vases in situ, or in the flesh, as it were, but if you want to photograph what you saw and share it with all your friends back home, you can just forget it. Because God forbid anyone should see this kind of ancient pornography unless they can pay round-trip airfare to do so. This is why art historians have such a bad reputation. They have all this great stuff lying around, but they selfishly want to keep it all to themselves.

Oddly, all the rest of the "naked men photos" from that batch I uploaded slid through. Or slipped in. Or something. Perhaps because their penises were in the small to normal range? I don't know. It's a good thing Flickr can't read my mind, because then they'd know the extent of my depravity, and my true and lusty intentions in regards to every single one of those photos. I've half a mind to post a nekkid man in every single post on this here blog. That'd show 'em. It's all art, ain't it?

* Oddly, the original photo now seems to be available again. A pity it's so out of focus.

Are you kidding me? We paid rent for THIS dump?

A day in the life... of a frat boy. Produced by my son, a college-going kid majoring in television and video. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy, and proud of his editing skills: look at what he can do with a videocam! Isn't his friend Blaise a stitch? Way to sync the music with the story!

But after the third or fourth viewing, I was like...

Have you EVER seen such a disgusting place to live?

It's no wonder he's living at home again with us. Food's better, and in this house we don't wipe our butts with torn up newspapers. Especially not The Wall Street Journal. Fer cryin' out loud!


This is why you have children... so they can be creative when you're not

I haven't taken the plunge into video yet, so I'm borrowing a short that my son made for his video editing class at college.

So glad we kept all that Playmobil stuff! Yay, Tarquin Junior! I'm going to have him do 50 more of these so I can give them away as Christmas presents. They're no work at all for me, and they don't even have to be wrapped!


Monday, December 7, 2009

People actually DO that?

Years ago, my sister and I were in the ladies, at some God-forsaken highway rest-stop out in South Dakota somewhere. It was after midnight, the lighting was terrible, and I was complaining about the poor quality of the mirror, which was a simple sheet of polished steel. The steel was wavy and kind of scratched, and its dull surface reflected only my general outline, rather than the exceedingly fine details of eyeliner, mascara, and lipgloss.

"What's up with that? Can't the South Dakota highway department afford real glass?" I asked. It was already obvious that they couldn't afford a real proofreader, because the largest toilet stall was labeled "handicaped only."

Stifling giggles, Martha said, "Well, probably people break the glass ones."

"Wait. You mean women? Breaking mirrors?" I was slack-jawed at the thought. Women breaking mirrors in rest-stop bathrooms in the middle of nowhere? How was that possible?

"Well, it could be anyone, really. I mean, guys could come in here in the middle of the night, and have a fight and the mirrors could get broken."

"Wait." My mind was reeling. First women breaking mirrors, vandalizing public property, perhaps even on purpose. Then, men in the ladies room. My God! What was the world coming to? And why had I never considered any of these exciting options for sh** to do in my spare time? Too much time reading Baudelaire and Ionesco for French V, obviously, and not enough time spent dreaming up acts of anarchic violence. Clearly, my bourgeois ordinariness was holding me back.

I hadn't thought about vandalism for years, until my recent trip to Greece. Because apparently, female museum-goers in Greece are just as rowdy and destructive as those South Dakotans.

IMG_9181 kouros head, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Who knew?

At the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, you can gaze on the Mask of Agamemnon...

IMG_9233 mask agamemnon, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and the golden treasures of Mycenae.

IMG_9234 golden ox, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

You can look at Etruscan pottery...

IMG_9174 etruscan pot, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

or you can contemplate statuary.

IMG_9224 horse and boy, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But, after all that, if you need to use the ladies, consider yourself forewarned. This is what you'll find if you go to use the loo at the museum.

IMG_9335 not at the museum, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

The women have torn off all the toilet seats, apparently. Fits of rage over poorly interpreted exhibitions? Blind anger over lack of bargains in the museum shop? Apoplectic fits at the sight of inattentive security personnel?

We will never know. But if you prefer to sit rather than squat, I suggest you use the toilet at your hotel before you go out touring. Because there's not a goddamn toilet seat to be found anywhere in Athens. Hope your quadriceps and hamstrings and glutes are fit, girls. You'll be needing 'em.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Why be an art historian?

Why study art history? Really, such a difficult question to answer. Of course, there's the social and historical importance of art, there's the economic role of the art market and its influence on artists and patrons, and then there's the expression of religious sentiment and values through visual arts media. All fascinating topics, to be sure.

But for me, the main reason to study art history was and continues to be a completely pure aesthetic motivation.

For aren't we all admirers of the exquisite male physique?

dont look back, originally uploaded by chascow.

IMG_9280 greek guys, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Of course we are.

But as we learned from my last post, some people are sensitive about having their picture taken.

IMG_9274_mask, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Great biceps. Sexy slouch.

IMG_9278 not hot, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But as soon as he opens his mouth.... Not so appealing after all. All fantasy evaporates. Shame, really.

It is precisely for this reason that museums were invented. Because at museums, we can contemplate the sublime, in the form of the male figure, and even take photographs of naked men. No clothes on! Whoopee! Even better, these naked men don't talk back. In fact, they can't talk at all. Refreshing, isn't it?

So, yes. Naked men. You've got your old fashioned-y stone guys.

IMG_9184 kouros, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Your more new-fangled-y bronze ones. Although the beard leaves me cold. A bit unkempt-looking. He needs a trimmer for Christmas.

IMG_9192 poseidon, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

You've got what appears to be an ancient cup holder? Or is it a TV stand? Hard to tell. Maybe that's why I only got a "pass" on my dissertation, eh?

IMG_9154 naked cup holder, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

And then there's that decorative plate that will have all your guests chatting at your next Christmas cocktail party. Notice how huge I had to make the sticker. Those Greeks! Always exaggerating.

IMG_9510 satyr plate, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But my favorite thing, as it were, was halfway up the Acropolis, in a small sculpture garden. It's called a stele. I know. Boring, yeah?

IMG_9093 stele at parthenon, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But when you check out the close-up, just below.... Talk about artistic economy of expression! The artist has deconstructed the male figure and reduced it to its single important feature, and voilà,

IMG_9092 stele detail, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

nothing more need be said.