Archive for the 'mustaches' Category

Martin Parr/Kitsch Culture

September 20, 2009

Ran across this blog about Martin Parr…

The post is about an exhibit in Paris that shows the photography of Parr alongside objects he has collected.  Some of Parr’s work explores tourism so the link here between kitsch and tourism is strong.  I am very interested in his personal postcard collection, as I have one of those myself.  I think this idea is a great one.  Show source material along with work.  Especially when the source material is as fantastic as the Hussein watch of Parr’s.


First Discussion: Ironic Mustaches, Teenage Angst and “What is the historic meaning of Quaint?!”

September 20, 2009

I think the first discussion was great, despite our cramped quarters on Julia’s office floor.  Thanks Julia for letting us invade your space.  The idea was suggested to move our discussion to the new coffee shop on University Avenue.  Caffeine does go well with conversation and I love coffee!

Thanks Jenn, Julia, Andrew and Charlie for discussing the readings with me.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

This week we discussed Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” and the introduction and first three chapters of Harris’ book.  We didn’t get around to talking about the Cuteness chapter of Harris, but we did delve into the ideas of Quaintness and Coolness.  I think it is a challenging exercise to think of artists that fit each of these aesthetics.  Jenn suggested that Karen Kilimnik’s work fits into the camp category and I agree.  I also think that Hernan Bas is another contender for the camp aesthetic.  We talked about the similarities of Kilmnik and Bas in our Painting/Drawing Seminar with Ron.  It is hard for me to think of any other artists that I would put into the aesthetic of camp.  It has to be someone that looks to the past, favors the extravagant and is sincere in what they do.  Andrew suggested the CoBrA artists fit into the camp category.  I will have to do more research on their ideas, but I think aesthetically that they do.

I think that our discussion of coolness was the most exciting to me.  Andrew questioned how the hipster culture fits into the idea of cool, and we discussed poverty chic, goth culture, and the ironic mustache.

Oh Harris, you have proved to us that we are all united in consumerism and it is useless to struggle against it!  (I’m really kidding, but also totally serious!)

I think the Harris book is so important for us to read in conjunction with this discussion because it gets to the essence of kitsch.  When we get to our other book, it will be more revolving around the history of kitsch, but with Harris we are in the right now.  Why do we do what we do?  Why are some images and aesthetics powerful to us?  What is the real urban cultural mythology that is embedded in everything around us?  As artists we can not pretend that we are not surrounded and influenced by consumer culture.  We can no longer believe the myth that it is separate from us.

The discussion involving quaintness seemed to be the most disturbing to all of us.  This is the lowest of the lows in the aesthetics hierarchy.  This is Cracker Barrel.  Julia brought up the fact that she questions the usage of the word quaint and looked up its many meanings.  It is derived from a very ancient term for female genitals.  What?!!!?  I wonder if Daniel Harris knows about this?  I agree that the term quaint is not exactly what I would call this aesthetic.  I never really thought of quaintness as being a bad thing…just of it being reminiscent and nostalgic.  I think that we will have to unpack this idea of quaintness further.  This is truly confounding.

According to Harris…Quaintness is…Cracker Barrel, Renaissance Fairs, new appliances made to look old, clutter, country coziness…

There are many levels to quaintness.

We were unsure over whether Civil War re-enactments were quaint.  We will have to come back to that.  I look forward to our further discussions.

Civil War Re-Enactment Meets Ironic Mustache

Civil War Re-Enactment Meets Ironic Mustache