Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Some Say Porn, Some Say Erotica

"Erotica. (noun) literature or art dealing with sexual love."
"Pornography. (noun) obscene literature, art, or photography, esp. that having little or no artistic merit."

I quote this dictionary -the one I've had in my studio since 1969. It is unabridged, the Random House Dictionary of English Language copyrighted as early as 1966. Mine was the 1969 edition.

Art galleries and art museums shun the 'P' word-use the 'E' word sparingly, if at all. They must have read this dictionary -and others published since. Maybe their definitions are the result of taking some kind a consensus as to what their colloquial meanings, their usages are. But as an artist, I've had to disrespectfully take a different tack, disagree as to what is art and what is obscene and pornographical.

What do linguists know about art as 'Art', or 'love' and 'sexual love' and whether having sex with or without love, its depiction, representation is or not 'obscene', pornographic? How metaphysical as to the meaning connecting to a referent has their thinking gone? How have they substantiated it? Investigated it?

They called Alfred Kinsey (who did investigate,) his published work was called obscene.

Oh well.

Even pornographers can respectfully disagree as to the degree in which 'Erotica' can nudge 'Pornography' and vice versa.
You do get Erotical Pornography in a lot of fashion magazines: i.e., what I would consider as a bit soft-'pornish'.

And how can you just say flat out "Obscene" when what is perceived by people vary so? Varies from one person to the next, one neighbor to the next, one Democrat to the next, one Republican, and so on. I can go on and cite differences among Orthodox Jews among themselves, Reform Jews among themselves, Hassidics etc. -as to what is and is not....

My art has been about this from the beginning. Making art and my being an artist, in my house was utterly taboo, impermissible, undesirable. ' So I had not far to travel when I ran away from home to ask myself: Can my art be 'Art' with a capital 'A' if it is about 'the impermissible', 'the taboo'? Making it about my horniness was most definitely not 'ART'!

'Sexuality' (not romantic sexuality), but about sex as sex and not especially about what my parents and family called love was at the crux of it. And it was not about anything I'd show in art school. My teachers wouldn't have thought I was heading in the right direction.

What makes it 'Artistic?' Disregarding the subject matter, WAS my work 'Artistic?' As Hamlet once spoke it, "that is the question!"

Maybe there is a lot of art out there in gallery and museum land that started out being regarded as a bit 'controversial' -was at one time or another not acceptable.... The people in charge didn't quite see it as realio-trulio being what they called artistic. Well not in the way they allowed themselves to accept it. And as I recall from my art appreciation text books, it happened sort of that kind of way. They had this Salon de Refuses in Paris back in the late 1800s and the very top guys whose works are today at the Met couldn't get their works shown. Had to exhibit their works at the Salon de Refuses -meaning more or less in this 'roomful of the rejected' stuff no one would recognize asl art.

And so I think to myself, even when my porn gets to be a bit OK, just a teensy bit artish, maybe even a bit less porn, I'll get me a show, be reviewed. Will anyone own up to it, admit that his was art-at-times-being-'porn' when it was? I dunno.

If they were to use any word at all it would have to be 'erotica'. Ha Ha. That would be missing the point entirely.

Recently there was this gallery in Chelsea showed this celebrity artist naked and in coitus...A self portrait him and his latest sweetie (or maybe it was his wife) posed like statues in this arcadian garden setting. They use the 'E' word for this... even when any damned fool looking at it can see it isn't made for us not to without some snickering.

I kid you not. Not 'kidding'. I'm said to be far too humorless to have done this 'Art-As-Porn)' for these so many years (since the late sixties) were I not 'serious'.

More later. Much 'later', or maybe 'sooner'. It is how I define those words.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Genes & Memes / Blogging -Har Har! (laughter)

I read a lot. Always have. I do it these days in the dark hours before dawn. I wake up and head to the john..(this being the 2nd, maybe the 3rd time)... go back, lie down, shut my eyes. I savor the part of the dream I'd interrupted, attempt emptying my mind so I'd get a smidgen more sleep.

Failing that, I am sitting here at my Powerbook G4, assemble, put together strands -pearls that pop into my head, words, mostly...
"Shame' "Anger" "Guilt",

ART and PORN are Memes. The other words denote states of being, states such as one doesn't even need to be conscious of. I came across this word MEME in a 'Sciences' magazine. I found it in my doctor's office. It's a kind of idea. Very special, the idea that is -once you get its full meaning it changes you. You become a different person. The guy whose article it was, was saying that memes get passed along, We teach memes to our children, we should be teaching memes in school,,, And, like DNA, like genes in the cells of our bodies, memes are passed along from generation to generation.

Porn and Art are memes.

When I was in my middle forties, the word 'Art', the word 'Pornography' were defined as to have meanings that were mutually exclusionary -contradictory. Where you had Art, you could not have Porn. Where you are making porn, no way could you be also making Art.

I didn't like that supposition -that 'definition' given then as to those two words. I beleived that is the artist making art who denotes what art is and what is not Art. My thinking then was "The artist is the source. He's The Man." My thinking was a page out of Marcel DuChamp's book. I wanted to make real art and also realio-trulio pornography. Besides, as my work progressed, I did make pornography! And I came face to face actualizing my drawings as works of relio-trulio Art with a captial A. Those meanings I was supposedly meant to be guided by didn't happen, didn't really work in my own case.

So "Porn,' (the meme of it) and Art (and that meme) were redefined for me. And my work was the offer of my evidence as to it contradicting the veracity of those dictionaries and those writers who held forth on what was art and pornography.

I see 'my Art-as-Porn works and my Porn-as-Art works documenting, giving evidence as to those attributes contained in what is today percieved as Porn and Art. I fully realize that this is still very controversial.

ART / PORN can be subject for controversy and argumentation even as is 'EVOLUTION' and 'CREATIONISM'. Both are offered up as memes of diverse points of view. 'God' (whatever one's religion is) is that kind of meme.

Memes, Genes: We can learn them or ignore them. Memes we acquire, genes we are born with, we inherit biologically. Our very singularities - uniquenesses -our individualities are both outcomes of the genes we are born with AND the memes we we choose to process/learn/interact with. Our DNAs and our notions as to what is 'common sense' (the zeitgeist) is who and what we are, become...

In this here and now BLOGGING is itself another manifestation of the meme. The blogsite, and all this technology that makes accessible our memes to those of us who who are literate enough to get at it. There are those of us who choose to be computer literate and then there are others, who by choice or by deprivations as per their circumstances, do not. Ah well.
(I smile but do not laugh. It isn't funny.)

When I first opened this site, it was by chance, (or maybe not) -by serendipity I chose 'artasidentity' as the name for this blogsite. I wasn't at all thinking about 'memes' or 'genes'. There were other words I associated with the making of my 'Porn and Art'. And it wasn't 'LUST!'
There were other words: '
None in and of themselves being memes. They connote feeling states, emotions, touch on my own, but are ones that can be said to be 'Universal', ones all of us know and share.

What do we make of our traumas? Who do we become?

Do we make art or pornography?
Become thieves?
Commit terrorist acts?
Run for political office?
Become bankers, marry for money?
Plan and build low income housing?
Volunteer in a soup kitchen?

Har! Har! (I'M LAUGHING)
to be cont'd.

Maybe I'll go on ranting, go further as to memes -memes that are cliches, stereotypes, myths.... and so on.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pedagogical Drawings / One

It is the wee hours of the morning (4:00AM) and I am posting what I hope will be the first of a series of assorted jpgs of my collages and drawings. I actually select them at random. Serendipity has its way of doing my work better than I could. The first jpg is of a collage. The original is a drawing I've cut out, but never actually pasted down. I sleeved it inside a 3 ring page protector. When I turn the pages it get jostled. I nearly always 'straighten it' out when I come to look at it. It is to say, I am exercising my prerogative as its author. I 'know' it is 'right' even if it never is exactly where I'd put it originally.

I call the set 'The Androgyne' -the motif being androgyny. This is one of my sci-fi fantasies. This one describes one in which 'masculins' have sex. They are not 'men'. Not 'gay' or 'bisexual' as we think of men's sexuality, but creatures in a future world where there are no men or women. These folk undergo gender shifts / changes that result from their having sex. The encounters are adversarial and about hierarchy. In the image above, we see my red haired hero in full regalia, a 'masculin'. In the other drawings in that set, I depict him in a kind of sexual combat, I show him full breasted, having voluptuously pendulous breasts! My drawing were for my eyes only, and intended by me to shock its audience.

The title to this 'Red Rover' and the style I use in the lettering originated decades ago. I made a lot of full page tableaus
(8 1/2 X 11 inches) in my store bought black drawing books. All were very raunchy, intentionally prurient. What is seen is the milieu without the in-your-face specifics. A reminiscence.

It is a double page spread in a smaller drawing book. The image on the left has the marker colors from the verso side (the drawing pictured above) is on the previous page. Here, I start my drawing on a page that has the color prior to my making the drawing. 'Red Rover' is a drawing that starts with pen and is afterward colored. I do not know of anyone who works at making drawings back to back in this way.

Below are two marker colored drawings. The first is a copier print, the second is a pen drawing.

It is all improvisation. I never know when I put pen or marker down what exactly will come of it. When and if I get a gallery to show this, I'd display it at eye level, sandwiched between sheets of glass so that the viewer can walk around it and see both front and back. It is a single sheet of paper. A single sheet, not two sheets back to back!

My hope is to accrue a collection of 'Pedagogical Drawings' articles and by posting them at this site stir the pot -get some discourse going. Your commenting would be most welcome and appreciated.