My favorite paragraph of art criticism of the year, just in from Peter Schjeldahl, reporting from Miami:
Mutual intoxications of art and money come and go.... The seventies gave rise to gritty conceptual maneuvers, supported by government and foundation grants, nonprofit institutions, and a few heroically, or masochistically, committed collectors. The nineties were dominated by festivalism: theatrical, often politically attitudinizing installations that were made to order for a spreading circuit of international shows and contemporary museums and Kunsthallen. I disliked the nineties. I knew what all the righteously posturing art was for, but not whom it was for. It invoked a mythical audience, whose supposed assumptions were supposedly challenged. I missed the erotic clarity of commerce—I give you this, you give me that—and was glad when creative spunk started leeching back into unashamedly pleasurable forms. Then came this art-industrial frenzy, which turns mere art lovers into gawking street urchins. Drat.
One of seven dioramas illustrating scenes in the novel My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, created by students of Lowell Elementary in or near Seattle.
"In this scene, Sam has found Bando, man who helps by getting sugar for Sam so that he can make jam. He makes a raft for Sam and visits him. Bando stays with Sam until the school year starts because he is a college English teacher and has to get back to work. Sam calls him Bando because he heard police cars before he found Bando."
George Trow died, I learned in the New Yorker this week. Rik Hertzberg has written a fine and moving piece about Trow, his career at the New Yorker, and his essay-turned-book "Within The Context of No Context." I can't stress this book enough; I wrote about it back in 2005. And the other thing I remember is thinking about telling Kevin about it, and then Kevin opened his bag in Japan or Hong Kong and it was there.
I hadn't known Trow had spent so many years at the New Yorker, so I went back to the DVDs tonight. Herewith, as example and exemplar and just a great piece of crankiness, his Comment from the August 13, 1979, New Yorker.
"Think about Country Time, a powdered lemonadelike product. The coming forward of Country Time has centered on a certain old man and hordes of eager children. Children starved for news of the past. For years, they ignored Grandpa. Tied him up in the barn. Laughed at his silly ways. But now, after reading Foxfire One through Five in their public elementary school, they crowd around, hoping he'll teach them how to make butter with a stick. There is a song, 'Country Time, Country Time,' etc. With this idea: SOmetimes you're real thirsty, blah, blah, blah, and nothing seems to do what you need to have done with your thirst, blah, blah, blah, and what you want is something real that will satisfy your thirst like good old-fashioned lemonade. That's right--the idea behind the Country Time powder-product commercial is that lemonade is a thing of the past. No one can get lemonade anymore. Only some rich people. Most people don't even remember lemonade anymore. Only Grandpa, who has been bound and gagged and dishonored all these years out in the desert, like the decrepit warrior in Star Wars, only Grandpa even remembers what it tastes like.
The rundown is like this: Lemonade died out when the Old Ones lost out to the Invaders. But some people with the knowledge of the Old Ones escaped to Mars, where they made a kind of synthetic lemonade, using materials available on Mars. It was a powder and became popular. In the meantime, life on Earth contracted. Now, in these recent days, adventurers from Mars, sensing our need, have travelled to earth with the powder. When the powder is given to certain of our remaining Old Ones, they are made happy and remember lemonade. The idea is persuasive. It cause you to forget that you can make lemonade any time you want by squeezing some lemons in some water and adding sugar. People don't know. They really don't know that you can make lemonade ay time you want. That's right. Lemonade is still available. Right now. Any time you want. Lemons are everywhere. You can make lemonade right now if you want to. It's great. Lemonade is still totally within our capacities."
ebay seller medic23(sacair) is selling off his models; he says he's been deployed to Afghanistan. Item 130054056438: "You are Bidding on Built Iraqi insurgents, one has been shot in the chest by a shotgun and the other has been captured and shows that he had been thrown in the mud. These guys also come with 2 RPG's, a Sniper Rifle, a bag of Ak-47 magazines, a single ak-47 magazine, and not picture an Ak-47 with an OD sling. these would make a great addition to any OIF diorama these figures are well built but not Professionally built, however i built this little dude with the best of my ability and he turned out pretty good."