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Sep 19 2005

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Maggie

My pal Maggie decants her anguished soul at the Cindy Sherman show. Taking a photograph at a photography opening will, ironically, attract the attention of a douchebag power-drunk art-guard whose job is to prevent photography.

I am returned, my young onions, from St. Louis, intact in most of the important ways. It turns out that my fears of kidnapping were unfounded. No one made the slightest effort to detain me. In fact, the general Twisty-related mood among the locals was something akin to "Oh. So it’s you." The mild turbulence that jostled my departing flight was caused by a collective citywide sigh of "Damn, we thought she’d never leave."

I know this because if they’d really been glad to see me, they wouldn’t have dragged me around to art openings all weekend. I got nothin against art, but man, openings are a kind of persecution. Nevertheless: Cindy Sherman at the Contemporary, Rachel Wilson at Fort Gondo.

Cindy Sherman, you will recall, popularized the late 20th century craze for $10,000 photographs of rubber female body parts. The theme of her current exhibit in St. Louis, however, is anybody’s guess. Visual access to the pictures was impossible due to the dense concentration of thin, white 34-year-old people clotting in front of each piece, where they engaged in the same non-art-related conversations that thin, white 34-year-old people have always clotted in front of art to engage in. I have no doubt that when the paintings at Lascaux were first unveiled at a bison carpaccio reception, the cave-dwellers stood around with their backs to the pictures discussing the best kind of baby seat to buy for a Volvo.

Fortgondo

Hey, let’s start a band! L to R: Snappy dresser and sometime patriarchy-blamer Mark Early; Twisty; rock divo Jason Hutto. We are huddled outside in the gangway at Rachel’s opening, chain-smoking and avoiding the weirdos. Photo by Rachel.

Meanwhile, Rachel Wilson is the nom de shutter of the personage known to readers of this blog as Stingray. Whatever you call her, she is my pal who went down to South America a while ago to photograph rebel uprisings, the results of which she turned into a show. The opening for this show differed sharply from the aforementioned in that (a) it attracted authentic penniless Bohemians, (b) the art didn’t suffer from "mystique", (c) there was hot and cold running wine that didn’t suck and a brick wall against which to lean while gulping it.

But it was still an opening. I honestly don’t know how people go to those things. It’s not like you can make fun of the art, because you never know if the artist is right behind you. I mean, just put the shit up on Flickr and send me the link, already.

The Cindy Sherman show was, by the way, embedded in a larger installation of photography called "Girl Photographers Gone Wild" or some crap. God forbid there should be an exhibit of women artists that fails to stress their funlovin’ girlness.  I mean, you couldn’t call it "Photographs By Deep Thinkers Of Unspecified Gender." How would gallery-goers know by what factor they are supposed to devalue what they see?

30 comments

  1. Finn

    Darn. Wish I could’ve met up while you were here.

  2. Jo

    How I adore you! And I only just met you online!

  3. Josef K

    “I mean, just put the shit up on Flickr and send me the link, already.”

    That’s my quote of the day!

    Canapes, nibbles, amuse-bouches… whatever you call them, I only go to art openings for the food. And to laugh at the caterers’ alarm when they witness my l33t eating skillz.

  4. nina

    Welcome back, dear Twisty!

  5. ae

    I have no doubt that when the paintings at Lascaux were first unveiled at a bison carpaccio reception, the cave-dwellers stood around with their backs to the pictures discussing the best kind of baby seat to buy for a Volvo.

    Bison carpaccio!!! Bwahahahahah!

    Twisty, I missed you.

  6. Emma

    Welcome home, lady.

  7. Mistress

    Willkommen zuruck!

    You’re so cute & smiley & your brain is all hot & sexy– even if your obstreperal lobe is broken, I’d still make out with you.

  8. yami

    Is the blurriness of your otherwise dazzling image in that photo a symptom of your gazoonied obstreperal lobe? Or did you just get devalued by a patriarchy-made camera lens?

  9. Twisty

    Is the blurriness of your otherwise dazzling image in that photo a symptom of your gazoonied obstreperal lobe? Or did you just get devalued by a patriarchy-made camera lens?

    I know! It’s pretty weird that it came out that way, considering we’re all on the same plane. I attribute the bizarro effect to the genius of the photographer.

    Incidentally, my lobes, for those who give a damn, appear to be making a comeback. Yay.

  10. cmc

    As a thin-nish 34-year old white person, I am thrilled to be part of a recognizable community. I will get myself to the clot in front of the art at my nearest opening to find others of my own kind.

  11. Twisty

    As a 34-year-old white person, you need only turn on the TV to be inundated with others of your own kind.

  12. Twisty

    Mistress, quit objectifying me!

  13. Mandos

    Too late! You’re objectified now by Mistress! You’ll now have to climb into a carton with a delivery label.

  14. Kate

    And why are the thin 34 year old white people always tall as well?

    Also, that Cindy Sherman image, very disturbing. My eyes are still smarting somewhat. They didn’t show us those pictures in art class at high school.

  15. alphabitch

    ” … How would gallery-goers know by what factor they are supposed to devalue what they see?”

    Jesus, Twisty, even this recently post obstreperal lobe failure your obstreperousness glows in the fucking dark.

    So glad you’re back.

  16. ae

    Re: de-valueing the “girls”‘s efforts, this is so f*cking right on, I can’t stand it. Genderizing creativity, when not paving the way for a full-on devaluing of female artists’ work (welcome to the female ghetto! if you lived here, you’d be home by now!), makes sure to ascribe totally irrelevant, biologically determinist “readings” to her work such that it all amounts to “hysterical womb” syndrome or “she won’t f*ck me” (but I repeat myself). What a rich understanding of female creativity! I, for one, feel especially edified. Thanks, patriarchy!

    And I think Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” series rocks. One thing I especially dig about her work is that she doesn’t smile. I could send her valentines all day for that alone.

  17. Chris Clarke

    Twisty, is it OK if I objectify the last paragraph in this post? It’s wicked hawt.

  18. Mistress

    sniff, sniff. Do I smell New England?!

    I’d totally make out with Chris Clarke, now . . . . even though he appears to be a dude.

    And I can’t help it! I objectify everyone :-( Even this women’s studies major I was seeing [and by seeing I mean fucking] admitted [under copious amounts of alcohol] that she objectifies women, too. So at least I’m not alone in my perversion.

  19. SneakySnu

    Cindy Sherman. Reminds me of when, back in undergrad days (ca. 1990), we used to debate whether Sherman was a feminist or whether her images simply reified stereotypes of women. (Sniff sniff. Is that the patriarchy I smell?)

    Anyway, I tried to look at the Contemporary web site and it wouldn’t let me read anything about the exhibit. The “Girls’ Night Out” exhibit is framed by a close shot of a young women–not mainstream 34 but a much more alternative 26-27 by my guess. You can tell she’s alternative because her t-shirt has the word “GIRL” emblazoned across it. In the photo she looks down at her chest, reading the “GIRL”, I guess.

    Sigh.

  20. Chris Clarke

    he appears to be a dude.

    Believe me, you’re not the first woman to have commented thusly.

  21. nina

    Mistress, I don’t think you’re the only one here who wants to make out with both Twisty and Chris.

  22. Chris Clarke

    People, please. There’s an appropriate time and place for everything.

    This is Twisty’s blog. Let’s focus on making out with her.

  23. ae

    Good point, Chris. Now meet me back at your blog for some serious making out. Dang.

  24. Twisty

    You guys are starting to freak me out.

  25. Chris Clarke

    “Starting”?

  26. Steve Pick

    That was the name of it, wasn’t it? “Girl Photographers Gone Wild.” Well, I only got to see the Cindy Sherman pics, which were what she did in college, I believe, and one other set by a photographer whose work was stuck over in the corner next to the display of food products or cell phones or whatever very strange sponsor it was. In other words, the herd wasn’t heading that way, so I was able to actually look at art at an art opening. And, these pictures were terrific, a series of stark portraits of a girl taken every two years between the ages of 11 and 23, I believe. Believe me, there’s plenty of patriarchy blaming that could be done about them, but above and beyond that, they were spectacular insights into a woman’s growing sense of presentation.

  27. Twisty

    Thanks for the report, Steve. And I’m totally annoyed that I missed you two at that show. After it became apparent that I wouldn’t be seeing any art, I adjourned to the courtyard to smoke cigarettes with some Southside scenesters and was accosted by some drunk chick who, when she found out I was from Austin, started ragging on Texas. It was either kick her ass or leave.

  28. Anonymous

    Tsk. Serves me right for not checking your blog on a daily basis. I didn’t know you were visiting until you were already winging it back to Austin. Poo.

  29. Becker

    Tsk. Serves me right for not putting my name on the comment. Poo.

  30. Cat P.

    I’m so sorry we missed you, though I might not have been able to recognize my mother in that terrible crowd. No focusing on faces, just trying not to touch stranger flesh.

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