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Marlene Dietrich and Scarlett Johansson are the same person.
March 29, 2009 9:24 AM   Subscribe

The smell of Scarlet Johansson is art.[slyt]
posted by geos (114 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some NSFW in there.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is awful.
posted by sweetkid at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2009


Joaquin Phoenix just gets nuttier and nuttier.
posted by Optamystic at 9:33 AM on March 29, 2009 [12 favorites]


..will somebody please shut him the hell up?
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:33 AM on March 29, 2009


Terrible stuff.

I'm sure Johnathan Meese will be huge.
posted by dydecker at 9:34 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, I was cracking up at the amazing satire all trough that shit... and then it's not satire???

And here I was thinking that guy from Tao of Steve fakes a ridiculous German accent.
posted by dgaicun at 9:39 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


i think i can get used to post-irony.
posted by geos at 9:40 AM on March 29, 2009


I mean COME ON, the heil Hitler salutes on the fucking bouncy ball. No, fuck you, this IS a lost sketch from Mr. Show.
posted by dgaicun at 9:42 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


If he can get art people to pay him to play around with construction paper, good for him. But willful childishness doesn't make a German guy talking about "dictatorship" while giving Nazi salutes any less of a dick.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:42 AM on March 29, 2009


This is awful. But funny. It's a funny kind of awful. But I don't want to admit that because the creator is likely to claim that as praise that I don't want to give.

This is a funny kind of awful that I don't want to recognize, stated as hatefully and strongly as you wish to interpret it. Unless you're the creator. Then it's just awful, stated hatefully.
posted by Science! at 9:49 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who would really enjoy this? Isn't the market for irony severely depressed?
posted by amtho at 9:49 AM on March 29, 2009


Where have I seen this before? ... Oh yeah.
posted by Relay at 9:51 AM on March 29, 2009


I'm in a place where nobody else is.

That's a feature not a bug, dude.
posted by Science! at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oedipus
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did he just say that I'm a small thing in a big soup?

Fuck him!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:56 AM on March 29, 2009


Cries out, nay SCREAMS out, for the batshitinsane tag.
posted by netbros at 9:57 AM on March 29, 2009


Cries out, nay SCREAMS out, for the batshitinsane tag.

but it's not. it's a very calculated pose.
posted by geos at 10:00 AM on March 29, 2009


This post cares nothing about you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on March 29, 2009


Wait, I thought Scarlett Johanssen was the damned sexy nazi mind-controlled from original person Scarlett Galabekian last name, who has nothing with acting career, surname Galabekian, who is a very nice, most important - CHRISTIAN young lady.

How can she also be Marlene Dietrich? Unless Scarlett Galabekian is also a clone from Marlene Dietrich.

Or was I the only one who got that particular spam?
posted by jacquilynne at 10:06 AM on March 29, 2009


“I like radical things like pornography, military items, religious stuff, manifestos, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, all these major figures, I need them around me”.

The art of Jonathan Meese - coming soon to a Hot Topic store near you!
posted by naju at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2009


Cries out, nay SCREAMS out, for the batshitinsane tag.

but it's not. it's a very calculated pose.


No me. Not him. After watching that.
posted by netbros at 10:12 AM on March 29, 2009


My guidance counselor thought I should focus on courses that would prepare me for a career as a cult leader, but the hours they have to put in are insane, and while I think I would be suited to be a ranting street person, the position simply does not pay enough, so I decided to be a performance artist instead.
posted by ND¢ at 10:14 AM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Just think, he was paid money to take big craps all over, to purposefully obfuscate any attempts to understand actuality.
posted by Max Power at 10:16 AM on March 29, 2009


Marlene Dietrich and Scarlett Johansson are the same person.

I shared some classes in high school with a girl who, in retrospect, looked exactly like Scarlett Johansson. The first time I ever really noticed Scarlett Johansson was in Lost in Translation, which came out a few years after we graduated. For the first few minutes of that movie I was convinced that that girl from art class had smartly changed her unpronounceable name and become famous.

And also that I had just seen her ass in sheer underpants, projected twenty feet tall.

But then I remembered Ghost World. But then I remembered that Ghost World had also come out after I'd last seen her. So I still wasn't really sure for a good long while.

Facebook says that it's not her, though. Apparently, instead of moving to Hollywood and changing her name, she married that guy who worked at the Wendy's with a friend of mine . . . and changed her name.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:27 AM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I liked it. Before you get all pissy, isn't art the proper forum for pretentiousness? This might not be your cup of tea, but two quotes come to mind:

"The first purpose of art is to affect a pose. What the second purpose is, no one has yet found out." -Todd Haynes

"With rock and roll, you should always be trying to get away with something." -Will Sheff

Granted, those are two kinda pretentious artists talking, but there's a point. In the end, I think it would be a good time to check out one of this guy's installations on a sunny afternoon. He'd be unbearable to share a beer with, though.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:35 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think he's prescribed the same "medication" that Werner Herzog had to take after he met Kinski for the first time.
posted by oonh at 10:44 AM on March 29, 2009


"it's an instinct, zat it came from Juh-munny..."

"you can zmell it in Berlin, you can zmell it in Japan..."

This is a brilliant self parody, and if it's not, well... it's all the same, isn't it? It doesn't even matter.

He'd be unbearable to share a beer with, though.

Actually, I've drunk beers in the company of Germans not all that different from this guy. It's not unbearable. Especially if you know you're heading for the next gig in Italy, the next day.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:46 AM on March 29, 2009


"I like radical things like pornography, military items, religious stuff, manifestos, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, all these major figures, I need them around me."

The art of Jonathan Meese - coming soon to a Hot Topic store near you!


The problem with this response is that it's completely clear that at least part of what Meese is doing is a critique of the kitschification and fetishization of these symbols. In other words, he's precisely commenting on what Hot Topic represents - on what our kids are playing with, decking themselves out in. When he plays with a toy gun, he's not playing with just the gun as symbol, he's playing with the fact of toy-as-gun. Ditto for the sacred, dictatorship, revolution, women's bodies, values of all kinds (artistic and otherwise) - that these things -are made- toys. And he's not just saying that's good, or that's bad. He's playing with that. He's raising it as an issue. And it's a kind of attraction-repulsion embrace. It's really quite complex what he's doing.

And don't think that he isn't completely self-aware about fulfilling some stereotype of the artist either. Really, he's Borat-ing himself (or Bruno-ing) himself earnestly. It'd be like if Sacha Baron Cohen did himself as Sacha Baron Cohen the comedian/performer conceiving of Bruno.

To point your finger and go "That guy's so ridiculous!" is, well, it's kind of the kneejerk numbskull thing to say - and Meese fully expects a lot of people to say it. It's like the people who go to Borat movies and never get beyond the level of "Gosh! I sure do think it's funny to make fun of foreigners! Foreigners are so dumb! Sacha Baron Cohen gets my prejudice!"

Of course, these same people will now say, "Oh yeah? Well, if what Meese doing is so all-fired complex and fancy, then why didn't he just come out and say what he was doing? Because unless he talks like a good bourgeois scientist or bureaucrat, I refuse to believe he's saying anything of value at all!" And the answer, I'm sorry to say, is precisely to make a rorschach test for people who are incapable of seeing the layers of what he's at. It's precisely to assault you and make you feel uncomfortable and expose you and make you go "I hate what he's doing. What he's doing is silly. Stop it. Get it away!" This is what jesters do. They lure you in with the appearance of foolishness, of abjection, but when you least expect it, they skewer you, and all of a sudden the question of who the fool is becomes completely inverted.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


I poop art. Art is poop. Poop is art. It smells like Scarlett Johansson. I smell it, taste it, breathe it, live it. Life is art. Life is poop. Hitler is art. The universe is art. Marlene Dietrich farted art. What is art? Pure metabolism!
posted by mrducts at 11:06 AM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dieses ist Kunst, die ich tue. schauen Sie
posted by nola at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2009


...the layers of what he's at.

Ooooh, like an onion. Deeeeeeep.

They lure you in with the appearance of foolishness, of abjection, but when you least expect it, they skewer you, and all of a sudden the question of who the fool is becomes completely inverted.

Yeah yeah, sure sure. Thing is Jonathan ain't luring me in, and he sure as hell ain't skewering me, neither. Critique, ok, shmitique, whatever. But, hey, I'm not hatin' on him. I just think everything he's saying and doing is really pretty easy. As Tom Regan said in Miller's Crossing: it ain't complicated.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:12 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


it ain't complicated

It's a comforting thought.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:13 AM on March 29, 2009


Tief .
posted by Jikido at 11:14 AM on March 29, 2009


It's a comforting thought.

Yeah, well, there aren't many of those in this world, so I guess I'll just stick with it.

Of course, you know better. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:17 AM on March 29, 2009


dgaicun: "I mean COME ON, the heil Hitler salutes on the fucking bouncy ball. No, fuck you, this IS a lost sketch from Mr. Show."

dgaicun nails it.

That was an impressively sustained 'statement' of mostly meaningless non sequiturs-- I'd probably get bored with myself rather quickly. I think I'll give it a try:

Art is a potato. When you remove it from the oven, baked, it is a revolution. Potato/art is a fountain, but the water is truly us. And youth is just the beginning of old age. Aging is art. Do we not all age? Thus, we are all artists. Art is not a meritocracy; it is the fiber glass of your car door. I get paid to mow the grass. I get paid to plant the flowers. I get paid to tend to the garden. You see, the grass is really your expectations; the flowers your genitalia; the garden is an actual garden. Bob Ross had freaky wet sex with Satan. His show is really the most inspirational thing I've never seen before. Doesn't the idea of opposite day just blow your mind? I like to have the kind of fun that involves not fun things... things like money; things like waffles and anklets for wrists; like stroganoff for vegans. Pornography is our only real currency. Blatantly, we finish our. Children are adults, while adults are Nazi sympathizers. Lindsay Lohan is a preeminent theologist and if she has taught us nothing, she has taught us that talking about art is both art and not art; both god and not god; both a hot pocket and a world class hotel. Art has dreamt every night of Lohan for a week straight, keeping a journal, trying to decode the symbolism, sussing out each Joycean epiphany. Then Art twitters about gym class warfare and the Grey Lady has a field day. Fuck symbolism—gently, for the rest of time. Is an elbow a symbol? Is a vagina a symbol? Is a cymbal a symbol? Ding ding ding. Are these questions really statements? No, but they make good filler. A B C Demons alphabetize the syntax-and-spend sentences meted out by each governmental talent agency. I'm not sure how I wound up here. They come to see me speak of Cosby. I say the darndest things.

Ghost.


Dad?

Yeah, that gets boring rather quickly.
posted by defenestration at 11:17 AM on March 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Is a cymbal a symbol? Ding ding ding.

This drummer applauds you. And I think you are every bit as deserving of all the Grant Money that Jonathan Meese has ever received, if any.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:27 AM on March 29, 2009


macross city flaneur, is there a club for those of us who totally got it (because, you know, we've like read Foucault and Barthes and Deleuze and shit), but don't really care anymore? Or do all of us who dislike this just "not get" his "daring" resurrection of lame, mid-80s postmodern ironic self-critique?

This doesn't feel like "satire" at all. It feels like a self-congratulatory in-joke for an art world that has been eating itself for decades -- and somehow still think it's chuckle-worthy.

Grumble, grumble. And he oughtn't to've compared Lenin to Hitler and Stalin.
posted by ford and the prefects at 11:31 AM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


This drummer applauds you. And I think you are every bit as deserving of all the Grant Money that Jonathan Meese has ever received, if any.

Thanks flapjax. Could you smell it in Japan?
posted by defenestration at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2009


Is there a "Herzog-ey" tag? Cause we needs one.
posted by rusty at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2009


Yeah, man. It even cut through the smell of natto, and that's saying something!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2009


Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.
posted by vorpal bunny at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


The art of Jonathan Meese - coming soon to a Hot Topic store near you!

The problem with this response is that it's completely clear that at least part of what Meese is doing is a critique of the kitschification and fetishization of these symbols.


My response was in itself a critique of the critique of the kitschification and fetishization of these symbols. I was luring you in with the appearance of foolishness!
posted by naju at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


And he oughtn't to've compared Lenin to Hitler and Stalin.

Big truth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:45 AM on March 29, 2009


kitschification ... symbols ... women's bodies ... a good bourgeois ... a rorschach ... to assault you and make you feel uncomfortable and expose you ... skewer you ... completely inverted.

BINGO!
posted by Bookhouse at 11:49 AM on March 29, 2009


I shared some classes in high school with a girl who, in retrospect, looked exactly like Scarlett Johansson. The first time I ever really noticed Scarlett Johansson was in Lost in Translation, which came out a few years after we graduated. For the first few minutes of that movie I was convinced that that girl from art class had smartly changed her unpronounceable name and become famous.

Man, I once took an Computer Engineering class with a girl who looked exactly like Charlize Theron. I mean, not just her appearance, but even her manner of speaking and facial tics were the same as Theron's. When I saw the movie The Italian Job I was like "Whoa, that girl looks just like ... !".

Also, the last time I talked to her she was working as a CIA Analyst.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on March 29, 2009


His work is significant only to the degree that I, WallStreet1929, have gazed upon it. And, having done that, and now having finished that, without intention, nor inclination to repeat gazing or viewing of any type, it is now at an end and without a future. I declare it so.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 12:16 PM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was luring you in with the appearance of foolishness!

macross city flaneur, is there a club for those of us who totally got it (because, you know, we've like read Foucault and Barthes and Deleuze and shit), but don't really care anymore? Or do all of us who dislike this just "not get" his "daring" resurrection of lame, mid-80s postmodern ironic self-critique?

But you weren't luring me in with the appearance of foolishness. You were just being foolish. These things aren't equal, and everyone's understanding of everything is not equal. And in some way it is about privileged groups. Groups of all kinds speak to themselves, and it is threatening not to "get it". "Oh, you Japs! With your ching-chongy words! Do I have to be in a little Jap club to get what your funny "words" mean? Is that it? Do you think by speaking this silly little so-called "language", you will keep me out of your "culture"? To hell with you. I declare what you say meaningless, and your motives for saying it completely suspect! That's my right! Because I'm angry!"

There are signs and cues and messages in Meese's work that weren't in your post, naju. There just are. The fact that you, or even most people, do not see or understand those signs is not evidence that they don't exist. I know it seems logical to you to think otherwise, but it simply isn't so.

Be mindful. A hostile response to ambiguity and apparent meaninglessness is not unusual. It's as predictable and ancient as culture itself. Speech, or signs, that do not -mean- for us, but nonetheless appear to -mean- for someone - well, it's some of the most threatening stuff in the world.

We seek release from this threat because it's so excruciating. We beg these messages/messngers: please, either tell us what you mean or allow us to declare you meaningless. We cannot stand the tension of acknowledging you as meaningful yet not knowing definitively what you mean.

But part of what the artist represents is precisely the cultivation of this ability. To endure the ambiguity of meaning. Yet, it's hardly the special preserve of artists. It's the self-same ability that diplomats, or visitors to any foreign country, have. It's the self-same ability that allowed cultures to tolerate pluralism in the first place. But make no mistake - the supposed "rigor" of the impulse to demand that art abandon ambiguity and foolishness and "in-jokes" is simply a mask for the age-old brute response to all "others". And yes, if you read some "Foucault" "and shit", you might have a better sense of this.
posted by macross city flaneur at 12:31 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


But you weren't luring me in with the appearance of foolishness. You were just being foolish.

You've just inverted yourself, jester.

"Oh, you Japs! With your ching-chongy words!"

No, no, macross. It's the Chinese who have the ching-chongy words. Get it straight.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


You've just inverted yourself, jester.

No, I haven't. Because I explicitly stipulate that Meese is not just being foolish, but rather playing in a complex way with the ambiguity of his own foolishness. This is a sprung trap only for someone who assumes otherwise.
posted by macross city flaneur at 12:41 PM on March 29, 2009


I got yer sprung trap right here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I may not know art, but I know I would like someone to fart in his general direction.
posted by digsrus at 12:43 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our post-irony society needs more cowbell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2009


I cringe every time I see this guy. Not because he's weird. It's because, if I were an artist, I could easily out-weird him in seconds. Any of us could.

Shit, shoulda become an artist.
posted by fungible at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2009


Be mindful. A hostile response to ambiguity and apparent meaninglessness is not unusual. It's as predictable and ancient as culture itself. Speech, or signs, that do not -mean- for us, but nonetheless appear to -mean- for someone - well, it's some of the most threatening stuff in the world.



Aha macross city flaneur!

So you actually enjoyed Synecdoche, New York, right?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:53 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised he didn't ask us to touch his monkey. His conversation has grown tiresome. Now is the time on MetaFilter when we dance!
posted by mattdidthat at 12:54 PM on March 29, 2009


Artistically ambiggened translation of macross city flanuer's post:

macross city flanuer has declared War on perceived Xena-foes in favor of post/self-grad. analogy sects, that masturfuly invert and subvert by going in the out. When you get to the bottom of things, things can get dirty. Although the symbols in each deck are old, the way he sees it, those who bet the loudest are often ignorant to the leveling. Perhaps he has a hit point. Ostensibly, these bored games contain Clues, naju; frankfurtly, you've hanged yourself in the kitschen. Just because you don't know what's in that envelope, doesn't mean it's empty! Read die manual, dude.
posted by defenestration at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed Synecdoche NY. Don't you dare compare Charlie Kaufman to this guy.
posted by fungible at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


... if I were an artist, I could easily out-weird him in seconds.

what a weird idea.
posted by geos at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2009


masturfully
EDIT feature, plz?

posted by defenestration at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2009


BTW, macross, for someone who's line of reasoning is predicated on getting it, how the hell did you not get that naju was joking with critique of self-critique statement? And what a gauche (and ineffective) analogy with the—ugh—"ching chong" thing.

Also, it occurs to me that you are, in essence, describing what could be construed as intellectual, well-read, artistic trolling, no?
posted by defenestration at 1:15 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I loved it. I am ready to give my life for the dictatorship of art.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2009


It's more ambigious than you think, though, Meatbomb. It's actually a dicktatership.
posted by defenestration at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


has declared War
Xena-foes
anal
a hit point
Clue
Read die manual, dude.

Yeah, that gets boring rather quickly.


I like the way you incorporate the Meesian topoi of play and porn and guns and gamesmanship. You don't seem bored to me. Not yet.
posted by macross city flaneur at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2009


Oh why won't he stop talking? Nothing he says means anything.
posted by gallois at 1:31 PM on March 29, 2009


the Meesian topoi!
posted by dydecker at 1:32 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked him. I have no idea what he's doing but I think I'd like to hang out with him for a while.
posted by lysistrata at 1:37 PM on March 29, 2009


I enjoyed Synecdoche NY. Don't you dare compare Charlie Kaufman to this guy.


I think I just did, fungible.
And I like dares:)

(I'm half kidding...)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2009


Actually I quite liked it. Oh yes, I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


BTW, macross, for someone who's line of reasoning is predicated on getting it, how the hell did you not get that naju was joking with critique of self-critique statement? And what a gauche (and ineffective) analogy with the—ugh—"ching chong" thing.

Also, it occurs to me that you are, in essence, describing what could be construed as intellectual, well-read, artistic trolling, no?


Jokes can, and often do, score rhetorical points. I disagreed with the point naju was making, and I used the bluntness of the race/culture analogy because the pattern of uncritical contempt and self-satisfaction expressed in the comments thus far seemed to me to map precisely to the methods/attitudes of ethnic hatred. There were accusations of meaninglessness, foolishness; there was name-calling; there was a great deal of barely suppressed, but unacknowledged, anger masquerading as playfulness and superiority.

As to your last question, I'm not sure if you're asking whether I think what Meese is doing is a form of trolling, but I'll assume so. Off the top of my head, I guess I would say that my instinct is to resist that description (because trolling itself is a complex thing), but that yes, artists almost always provoke someone (when and how the cultures they inhabit allow for it), and that is a good thing. Euripides was a provocateur. Raphael was a provocateur. Jonathan Swift was a provocateur. Rodin was a provocateur. Brecht was a provocateur. Warhol was a provocateur.

However, if that's all I thought Meese was doing, I would find him less interesting than I do. It's the specific content of his work combined with precisely his performance of his role as artist that I find interesting. He points to a kind of global infantilisation that resonates with the fears of a lot of dystopian depictions of the future - and yet he embraces it as a liberation. He's also working with certain questions of art as cathartic experience. I think it is a very good question whether a mock Nazi salute is disgusting or liberating, for whom, how, when? It reminds me of the "too soon" question after 9-11. What exactly, is the process by which symbols are/can be appropriated to facilitate healing/communication? How does our kitsch culture inflect/distort that process? I really do genuinely believe there is a lot going on in Meese's work that is very relevant to the present moment. I do not, as some on this site have indicated, think that Meese is rehashing the past. I think he's doing something that is very fresh, valuable, and interesting.
posted by macross city flaneur at 1:53 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't really get this, although I can sort of see how "not getting" may be the issue here, ie the intimidation of a hermetic field full of potent meanings prescribed by specialists is the thing at stake. Maybe this is what macross is saying. And in that sense, there are several phrases that the artist keeps on parroting, the idea of art as some sort of total salvation through revolution, the autonomy of art as completely separate from anything useful or recognisable, the idea of an objective world that persists indifferently to what people do; these are all recognisably "art insider" beliefs I think, sustained by very specialist articulations and receptions of the concepts in a field protected by all sorts of privileges (and in that sense the defenestration babel fish is missing the point here).

If I understand macross correctly, meese isn't propagating these concepts in earnest, but is deliberately invoking them in pulp form as a critique against them. Our recognition of their degradation reflects our complicity in the conceptual stasis. But if this is what's happening I still don't think it's very good or even very relevant (which is not to say articulations of nihilism aren't necessary), because this irony doesn't reveal any sort of way out (I don't think the inescapable abjection of meaninglessness is what meese is going on about (also, hasn't this been done before already? like, a lot?)), it just allows you the temporary satisfaction of reflecting on the privilege of your understanding itself before you go back to the little autonomous art world. Then again, maybe I've just been skewered!
posted by doobiedoo at 2:07 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do not find this video excruciating, boring or terribly interesting as it simply lacks that kind of power. I don't acknowledge the work as particularly meaningfull, so I am not filled with a tension to resolve it. Bookhouse's summary of macross city flaneur -kitschification ... symbols ... women's bodies ... a good bourgeois ... a rorschach ... to assault you and make you feel uncomfortable and expose you ... skewer you ... completely inverted. and the comment that impulse to demand that art abandon ambiguity and foolishness and "in-jokes" is simply a mask for the age-old brute response to all "others" make rather grand assumptions about this work, and my reaction to it.

The most generous thing I can say about it is that perhaps the message isn't suited for this medium, and I am not the audience. That said, my impression of the work is that it is quite impoverished, and that my primary reactions to it is not to the content at all, but the fact that it exists. I am jealous that this individual enjoys what appears to be a higher standard of living than my own. My secondary reaction is that it raises questions about the motivations of the wealthy patrons who actually funding these adventures. Perhaps it's a lark, like my friend who plans on putting a giant cross in his yard.

The otherness that threatens me is certainly not found in this work, and it great to see people discussing art seriously, I just don't think this work merits even this amount of attention. I'm off to get groceries to feed my body now. If you look real close I've hidden beautiful art in there.
posted by zenon at 2:18 PM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


there are several phrases that the artist keeps on parroting, the idea of art as some sort of total salvation through revolution, the autonomy of art as completely separate from anything useful or recognisable, the idea of an objective world that persists indifferently to what people do; these are all recognisably "art insider" beliefs I think

meese isn't propagating these concepts in earnest, but is deliberately invoking them in pulp form as a critique against them

This is an interesting reading. I would have to see a lot more of Meese's work to determine exactly how much of it I agree with and how far. But I do think it's a mistake to take what he's doing as purely and transparently ironic, or purely a critique of the hermeticism of the art world. There is an evolving appreciation of pop in the art world and a whole set of questions there - even a sense of the need to engage more/differently with the "outside". Also, the idea of the indifference of the natural world is very contentious in the art world and not necessarily typical. There seems to be a vogue for the idea of the indifference and monstrosity of the world that is relatively recent. In my experience, it's actually been revived primarily through an interest in, for example, H.P. Lovecraft's work, along with certain surrealist appropriations of the octopus image. Thus, the fact that Meese plays with an octopus/tentacles/cthulhu puppets is participating in that.
posted by macross city flaneur at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2009


"Well, it all looks like bollocks, so it must be worth something."
posted by applemeat at 2:22 PM on March 29, 2009


"The biggest possible revolution will come from revolution, not from human beings."
How can you argue with that?
posted by crazylegs at 2:23 PM on March 29, 2009


I didn't completely miss the point, doobiedoo. It's just that, by the time it got to me, it was already dulled. Admittedly, instead of attempting to sharpen it, I decided to poke and prod each reader with the point's now-approximation, knowing damn well it wouldn't really draw any blood. If you look up thread, I was parodying his statement, not the art. You could say I gave tiousness to Meese's face. My babbling—damn, defenestration babel fish would have been a better username—was a derail, true. And you're right macross. Apparently I'm not bored yet. Heh.

Speaking of derailing, have you ever derailed a train with your penis? Mr. Show segue, go! I think dgaicun's comparison to Mr. Show was apt, in that a lot of their sketches jibe with these (very valid) interpretations of Meese's artistic intent. Their endgame was more obvious and unambiguous, though, as they were unabashedly going for the laugh.
posted by defenestration at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2009


make rather grand assumptions about this work, and my reaction to it.

I did not make any assumptions about your reaction to this work - I couldn't have - because you did not post about it. Nor did I make any unusual assumptions about the work or the people on this thread. What I did was respond to the disjunction between my own response to the work and the response that I saw.

Again, someone who is working from a different position of information than you can often appear to make "assumptions" that are based on experience, information, and understanding.

But now that you have responded, zenon, I can see that your feelings about Bookhouse's bingo board reveal that you are threatened by certain cultures of knowledge of which you vaguely disapprove but aren't quite sure why other than the fact that you don't understand them. And so, my critique actually applies to you quite as well as many other people on this thread. Because a glib response like Bookhouse's is a kind of "don't bother me, I like my prejudices" duck and not representative of a serious desire to engage on the issues at stake.
posted by macross city flaneur at 2:30 PM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


as one of the spirited defenders of crank sturgeon, i can get behind macross city flaneur's defense of this as serious and worthy of critical appraisal. but golly, it just didn't do it for me. maybe because i find the symbols he plays with to be too easy targets. but more likely because it simply doesn't suit my taste (although, apparently, a grown man making hideous, electronically distorted noise in a prawn-hat and a vacuum cleaner hose attached to his penis does). anyway, i'm with you, m.c.f. this is for real. and snarking, while remaining a valid response, isn't an especially thoughtful response. additional shout out to defenstration's spoof, which is brilliant in its own right. i love you all and you all smell like myrna loy.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:31 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, what zenon said.
posted by defenestration at 2:32 PM on March 29, 2009


Speaking of custom black Adidas tracksuit wardrobes, let's play no one's favorite game: Jonathan Meese or Jonathon Davis?

A) Meese or Davis?

B) Meese or Davis?

C) Meese or Davis?

D) Meese or Davis?

E) Meese or Davis?


BONUS ROUND!!!: Jonathan Meese or Tom Green?

F) Meese or Green?

G) Meese or Green?




ƃ(ƃ ɯ(ɟ ɯ(ǝ p(p p(ɔ ɯ(q ɯ(ɐ
posted by dgaicun at 2:41 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


macross city flaneur: "But now that you have responded, zenon, I can see that your feelings about Bookhouse's bingo board reveal that you are threatened by certain cultures of knowledge of which you vaguely disapprove but aren't quite sure why other than the fact that you don't understand them. And so, my critique actually applies to you quite as well as many other people on this thread. Because a glib response like Bookhouse's is a kind of "don't bother me, I like my prejudices" duck and not representative of a serious desire to engage on the issues at stake."

I'm still not sure I get the prejudice against art from ignorance as a parallel to xenophobia against other cultures argument, macross. I'm actually quite pleased that you are taking the time to spell out your thoughts on all of this—I appreciate that. Could you clarify? Cultures form language and share experiences automatically and out of necessity. Sure, when someone gives the ol' horse laugh to another culture's actions without first knowing what the fuck what it's all about, they are being ignorant and shortsighted. The difference is, art culture is not the same type of culture as the Japanese, to use your example. It is constructed—and deconstructed—out of something much closer to choice. This is where your analogy and argument breaks down, for me.
posted by defenestration at 2:48 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


dgaicun:

More proof that art imitates (both intentional and unintentional) comedy imitates art?

The Simpsons did it first?
posted by defenestration at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2009


Honestly, I'm kinda bummed he did the rolling-around-on-a-big-bouncy-ball thing first. I had an idea for a stand-up comedy routine based on one gimmick: I'd deliver a decent but unremarkable set of cliched jokes while flopping around and rolling on a big bouncy ball, never calling attention to my ridiculous physical actions.

Oh well, next time I smoke pot I'll come up with something even more ridiculous.
posted by defenestration at 3:03 PM on March 29, 2009


Because a glib response like Bookhouse's is a kind of "don't bother me, I like my prejudices" duck

Coming from someone defending Meese, I'll take "glib" as a complement.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:11 PM on March 29, 2009


If he inspires someone to masturbate to that picture of Scarlett Johansson in the sweater and kneesocks, is that art?

... speaking hypothetically, of course.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:18 PM on March 29, 2009


Holy moly I am surprised that people have got elaborate theories about this guy and are talking about him in impenetrable art-speak, and even getting all huffy if you say you're not into what he does. As if you've violated the laws of good taste. You'd think he was a famous artist or something.

Oh hang on. I get it. It turns out Johnathan Meese is a famous artist. He's had showings at the Volksbuhne and the Tate in London, and people have been wringing hands over his appropriation of the Nazi salute and Wagner and discussing what it all means.

This is amazing to me - not the art itself, but that someone would gett paid a lot of money and get famous for behaving exactly like one of those guys who drinks too much at your party and won't go home and ends up sleeping in your bathtub.
posted by dydecker at 3:26 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


wow. thanks for that, dydecker. i kind of liked that one. the original post didn't do much for me, but that one was pretty cool.
posted by barrett caulk at 3:32 PM on March 29, 2009


Doing the sieg heil, singing the Beatles, and having a wank while running round in circles

Dude is multitalented!
posted by dydecker at 3:41 PM on March 29, 2009


I've never seen mr show before, but I just checked out the audition clip on youtube and I like his style, I can unambiguously thank meese for that at least. I probably jumped the gun in saying his work was all about "getting it", and therefore skewering art world autonomy, but then I completely took the bait that was dangling in this thread's discussion. I guess I had that in mind when I was listening to his statement/interview, defenestration, and that's why your tiousness supplement didn't seem super apropos, I mean they both circle around similar things, about one abstraction for every two celebrities / collection of natural objects, and ways of addressing people, slightly run on emphaticness, but I think meese's cliches deal in pretty worn out sentiments, rather than the randomness of gibberish.

It probably speaks more to my reception anxiety than to the art that I totally did not think "kitsch" or "global infantilisation" when I was watching the video, and I think macross's question about how to approach sacred things or objects of adulation in a culture of kitsch is a good one and something that meese might be dealing with....if I have the energy to watch his videos again (and that's definitely not being dealt with by mr. show, tom greene or etc.), failing that someone can buy me a ticket to the next biennale and we can hash out the funtimes revolution in between the furtive snarking.
posted by doobiedoo at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2009


Y'know, sometimes it seems like art is just too subjective for its own good.
posted by graventy at 3:54 PM on March 29, 2009


Want to get over your cultural ignorance? Volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter.

Fretting over how much Hot Topic marketing cynicism your kid is exposed to? Take them to the beach.

All this fuss and bother and vocabulary for a long walk to nowhere in particular. All those props and slogans and time spent. That whole video had as much cultural commentary as a flock of pigeons startled off a bench. Two minutes of silly flapping, and it's over.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:13 PM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Artist need constraints to make something beautiful. Give some wanker "carte blanche" and you'll have excrement stains everywhere.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:45 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, dydecker's descriptions and links seem to offer pretty good, accidental support for what macross says about global infantilisation, which I would translate to be, what happens when the world is 4chan? Imagine that the lurid promiscuity of stock sublime/profane crap that circulates as brief moments of titillation or relief is all that we now know of history and culture, not world war 2 and the persecution of jews, but simply a sieg heil or a penis painted on hitler's face, not the beatles, but a chorus, over and over again, from the tate modern link, nothing about cultural practices of foreign countries, only the most banal icons, only the most recognisable stereotypes, only the most melodramatic sentiments...the complete fragmentation of a previously coherent understanding into its juiciest, constituent parts, recirculated on the tubes for japes, 4chan as performance art. I still don't know if I like it.
posted by doobiedoo at 5:03 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's more ambigious than you think, though, Meatbomb. It's actually a dicktatership.

I'm not sure this is the right thread for in jokes.
posted by delmoi at 6:31 PM on March 29, 2009


I totally get it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:42 PM on March 29, 2009


I'm not sure this is the right thread for in jokes.

I dunno, somehow I feel like this thread has introduced me to a new in joke.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:43 PM on March 29, 2009


Martyrdom for the dictatorship of art is an in joke.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:34 PM on March 29, 2009


Jonathan Meese would go down marvellously at Shunt in London.

I honestly honestly thought it was a Big Train style joke at first, but he's real. This is like that woman who fellates a microphone as performance art.
posted by 6am at 3:57 AM on March 30, 2009


...I should add that it is also brilliant because it's actually real.
posted by 6am at 3:58 AM on March 30, 2009


The Simpsons did it first?

Meh-bee you all ah homo-sech-shoo-uhls too!
posted by gompa at 7:00 AM on March 30, 2009


he's precisely commenting on what Hot Topic represents

Can we just remove the idea of 'commenting' from all art criticism? Please? What's the comment? What is the content of this supposed communication? Because intentional obfuscation is the enemy of communication, and the comment seems to be a single long beep indicitave of no brain activity.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:04 AM on March 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Exactly, lumpenprole - commenting doesn't DO ANYTHING. Nothing changes from "commenting". "Getting it" doesn't DO ANYTHING. "Not getting it" doesn't DO ANYTHING.

It's self-satisfactory masturbatory prattle. If you want your art to challenge norms, create new paradigms, trigger some sort of new realization in the viewer, it has to be clear enough and pointed enough for the point you're trying to articulate to come through.

Or put another way, you can't run your car on peanut butter and expect it's going to move because you're sitting there on the hood talking pointedly on the "comment" your car is making on oil consumption in America.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 2:27 PM on March 30, 2009


This HAS to be parody/satire. I don't care what his wiki page says, it's clearly parody/satire. There is just no way this is not parody/satire. Please tell me this is parody/satire. Please?
posted by ornate insect at 5:55 PM on March 30, 2009


I've been googling "Jonathan Meese parody" and "Jonathan Meese satire" and "Jonathan Meese Andy Kauffman," and although I've yet to find anything that suggests his "work" is in fact a parody of performance art, I think it almost certainly is. First of all, his German accent just seems off, and secondly, contemporary Germans are not really obsessed with Marlene Dietrich at all: that part just screams parody. My gut tells me this is an Andy Kauffman meets Joseph Beuys kind of hoax, but I admit there is a very small part of me that fears it's not parody.
posted by ornate insect at 6:10 PM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is the content of this supposed communication? Because intentional obfuscation is the enemy of communication, and the comment seems to be a single long beep indicative of no brain activity.

This HAS to be parody/satire. I don't care what his wiki page says, it's clearly parody/satire. There is just no way this is not parody/satire. Please tell me this is parody/satire. Please?

My gut tells me this is an Andy Kauffman meets Joseph Beuys kind of hoax, but I admit there is a very small part of me that fears it's not parody.

It's self-satisfactory masturbatory prattle.

I would agree that my use of the term "comment" was highly inadequate, but not because Meese's work falls below some threshold of effect because it lacks "information". On the contrary, the levelling effect of the demand for "information" - for absolute idealized clarity - is precisely the issue in question. Art is not advertising. It's not a blog post. It's not data. It's not "clear". It vastly exceeds simple "messaging". It works on us affectively, bodily, animalistically - on all possible levels. It is not to-be-decoded.

Might I suggest that all the anger being expressed towards Meese, all the "fear" that this is not a parody, all the effort to place it in the category of hoax or not-hoax - these things testify precisely to the sophistication of what Meese is doing. I hesitate to do this, because it wraps things up far too neatly. But isn't it possible that his work points to a world full of "self-satisfactory masturbatory prattle", of "no brain activity", of self-indulgent children who are incapable of taking the world seriously. And not simply as an indictment, but as a question. Because I think there is a genuine level on which Meese wants to embrace this childishness.

I mean, think of the recently released Resident Evil 5, wherein the players go to Africa to assassinate zombies "infected" with disease, as an entertainment. The kids (and adults) who play this game - most of them have no awareness or interest in the plight of suffering Africans. It's a non-issue for them. Go read Destructoid, and that's what they'll tell you. Resident Evil 5 is not a hoax. It's not parody. It's absolutely dull, absolutely divested from any meaning its images or experiences might summon, any emotions they might provoke. But for many many Europeans and Americans, this is entertainment. It's "fun". Our escape is Africa's horror show. HIV/ebola/rape playground funtime. This is the world of experiences that Meese's work confronts. In fact, Meese's work provokes precisely the kind of response in me that many absurd Japanese video games do - when they do mash-ups of western cultural modes/themes/images/symbols that have no western logic. It's because their Japanese designers have no investment in the context that produced the imagery they're making use of. Precisely because they are so divested, those Japanese games are not parodic. They can't be, because to parody something, you have to be invested in it. Yet they can often seem parodic, because that is the only register on which we are prepared to confront so much absurdity.

And the fact that anime/manga is so popular in the west testifies that we have a hunger to consume this kind of radical decontextualization of everything at all times. It corresponds to the affective response we are left with by our hypermediated culture. We can no longer respond to our own past, our own symbols, our own culture. It's all too mangaled to be of use to us anymore.

I don't mean to be trite, but when so many people react so strongly to an artist, I can't help but think he's held up some kind of mirror.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:19 PM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, key to this interpretation is that America has done more than any other country to give this decontextualized, mediated experience to the world. While we encounter it in Japanese reinterpretations of Disney, pulp adventures, and science fiction, the world has encountered it mostly through American cinema.

Imagine what it's like to see your country depicted over and over again through American eyes, through Hollywood eyes, and you have some inkling of the absurd foundations that makes a German artists like Meese possible. Hogan's Heroes. The Great Escape. Schindler's List. Valkyrie. You come to understand that you don't own your own past, your own culture. America does. You have to take the Germany America gives you. The Nazis belong to America too. So do good germans and suffering jews. They negotiate the terms, not Germans.

Anyway, I think it's important to recognize that while our hypermediated dullness is global now, and not just an American export, it has a historically American cast. We gave the world our ignorance, our escapist, cut-up, stereotypical numbness - and now the world has a taste for it.
posted by macross city flaneur at 11:34 PM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Macross, your two comments directly above are very eloquently worded and your points are well taken. I agree, to a great extent, with the spirit of them. I don't happen to think you're especially correct in attributing to this particular artist the kind of depth and vision you seem to think he possesses, but, well, so what, right? Whatever floats you boat. He seems to speak to you, and that's a good thing, I reckon.

But, concerning this part of your comment:

"when so many people react so strongly to an artist, I can't help but think he's held up some kind of mirror."

For the record, I never reacted strongly to this artist. I said that I thought what he was doing was easy and not especially interesting, and none of the things you've said in your lengthy comments defending him (or attempting to "explain" him to us culturally deficient peasants) have changed my mind.

And plus, isn't art supposed to be a hammer, not a mirror? ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:19 AM on March 31, 2009


Well, I think Meese understand perfectly well what his Nazi salutes mean, and it's got nothing to do with bad American WWII movies. Occam's Razor says the reason he's saluting all over the place is because he's out to shock people, - I assure you he understands very well the sensitivity of a German playing Nazi.

For that move alone, he's earned his place in the pantheon of dicks.

BTW not all art is meaningless appropriation, dullness and confusing absurdity - the worst things in the media might be but that's really no reason to seek it out or champion art that contributes to it.
posted by dydecker at 12:19 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


And plus, isn't art supposed to be a hammer, not a mirror?

Art is supposed to be an infinitely regressing fart joke that smells like Scarlett Johansen.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:23 AM on March 31, 2009


Why, Meatbomb, I think you're onto something there. Have you considered a career in Grant Writing?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:35 AM on March 31, 2009


It is/isn't parody, and Macross isn't/is in on it. But that's fine. Macross wins, Meese wins, the full spectrum of people who have seen this clip and formed any kind of opinion win. It is also one of the reasons why I tend to avoid art conversations with people who get excited about this kind of art.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 7:35 AM on March 31, 2009


Bullshit. It just adds to the cognitive background noise and is one more thing that confuses children and small animals.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:39 AM on March 31, 2009


You say that like it's a bad thing, burhanistan.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:21 AM on March 31, 2009


A hundred dollars says this guy is a parody, and that he's not even German. Watch the clip again: his "stream of consciousness" about the grass, about Tokyo, China, I mean this is parody: nobody talks like that, not even the most pretentious performance artist one could imagine. It's a hoax. And that's not me reacting "strongly" to the work, it's just me observing his words and gestures, which are too histrionic and silly by half.
posted by ornate insect at 9:39 AM on March 31, 2009


Macross, your two comments directly above are very eloquently worded and your points are well taken. I agree, to a great extent, with the spirit of them. I don't happen to think you're especially correct in attributing to this particular artist the kind of depth and vision you seem to think he possesses, but, well, so what, right? Whatever floats you boat. He seems to speak to you, and that's a good thing, I reckon.

But, concerning this part of your comment:

"when so many people react so strongly to an artist, I can't help but think he's held up some kind of mirror."

For the record, I never reacted strongly to this artist. I said that I thought what he was doing was easy and not especially interesting, and none of the things you've said in your lengthy comments defending him (or attempting to "explain" him to us culturally deficient peasants) have changed my mind.


This actually says quite nicely what I failed to say due to my own snideness. Macross, I apologize for being snippy towards you.

But to elaborate on flapjax' point above, my irritation doesn't come from this guy pushing any of my own personal buttons, except my button that gets pushed when I think about how avant garde art didn't used to feel so tired and, frankly, "retro."
posted by Bookhouse at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2009


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