Old-school ’70s punk shock tactics are so widespread in today’s art world that they have lost any resonance. As a result, twee paintings like Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Constable’s Hay Wain now appear mesmerizing, mysterious, and wildly transgressive. And, as Camille Paglia brilliantly argues in her must-read new book, Glittering Images, this torrent of penises, elephant dung, and smut has not served the broader interests of art. By providing fuel for the Rush Limbaugh-ish prejudice that the art world is full of people who are shoving yams up their bums and doing horrid things to the Virgin Mary, art has, quoting Camille again, “allowed itself to be defined in the public eye as an arrogant, insular fraternity with frivolous tastes and debased standards.” As a result, the funding of school and civic arts programs has screeched to a halt and “American schoolchildren are paying the price for the art world’s delusional sense of entitlement.”
Indeed. I was particularly amused by one link in the article that brought me to an installation that - alas - is ending today and I simply haven't the time to rush to MOMA in New York to view it in all its glory. Called "Meta-Monumental Garage Sale" it is . . . a garage sale.
For her first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York–based artist Martha Rosler presents her work Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, a large-scale version of the classic American garage sale, in which Museum visitors can browse and buy second-hand goods organized, displayed, and sold by the artist. The installation fills MoMA’s Marron Atrium with strange and everyday objects donated by the artist, MoMA staff, and the general public, creating a lively space for exchange between Rosler and her customers as they haggle over prices. If customers agree, they may be photographed with their purchases. The project also includes a newspaper and an active website.
Martha Rosler is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of her generation, one whose artistic practice, teaching, and writing continue to influence succeeding generations. Rosler makes “art about the commonplace, art that illuminates social life,” examining the everyday by means of photography, performance, video, and installation.
Now looky here - those who know me also know that for years I was La Reina de la Segunda - the Queen of the Rummage Sale - at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, CA, during its annual fiesta. I, too, created a space in the parish hall where "visitors can browse and buy second-hand goods organized, displayed, and sold." In fact, my art had a greater reach than Martha here, because in MY installation, I created "a lively space for exchange between [me] and [my] customers as [we] haggle over prices" - in both English y tambien en espanol! THAT's multiculturalism, baby!
|Holy crap, it even resembles the parish hall!|
Rosler invited the public to donate items to the Meta-Monumental Garage Sale—clothes, books, records, toys, bric-a-brac, costume jewelry, art works, odd items, mementos, and whatever items, large or small, that strike one’s fancy.
I must suggest to Fr. Ed, St. Joseph's administrator, that he is taking the wrong approach. Tickets to MOMA are $25 for adults. He needs to advertise among the intelligentsia of Southern California that for, oh, say, $10, they can view "multicultural ephemera" in a "sacred space" while contemplating "art naif" - the kids' projects from St. Joseph School - and experiencing a "nascent olfaction" (because the cleanser the maintenance guy uses for the bathrooms in the parish hall is pretty darn strong) that allows them to explore una segunda as a metaphor for a "transitory, moveable populace."
What a steal!