Notes Of An Artistic Mad Man: Art & Crime

Above: Picasso vandal tote bag from Art Basel Miami by Brandon Dunlap.

Photo credit: Brandon Dunlap ; @brandunlap

…Crime and Art…not exactly bosom buddies but they’ve known each other long enough to enjoy a glass of Chianti and talk shop once in awhile.  Needless to say crime has a lot to talk about these days since it has inundated much of modern society’s most cherished institutions, including politics, finance, entertainment, sports, the corporate boardroom and bedroom, high tech, low tech, not to mention judicial malfeasance and police provocation, communications skullduggery and religious treasons, (stop me if you can), education transgressions, rampant racism, personal offenses, hidden agendas and pedophile atrocities.  And then there’s art crimes; not as creative as they should be, highlighted by the graffito taggers rocking their spray paint, grease and chalk illegally in urban sprawl or the forever depressing creepy essence of law suits targeting various artists appropriation of images that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that stealing art is art.   And then there’s the wannabe artist, who is tagging National Parks with cute paintings on ancient rocks.  It’s really quite embarrassing and boring at the same time.  All I can do is yell at the top of my lungs: Long Live Banksy

…Another pathetic art crime was committed by an artist, James Meyer, who was convicted of grand larceny of millions of dollars of art created by Jasper Johns.  Meyer, better known as Jasper Johns‘ studio assistant and not an artist, admitted to a federal judge that he stole 22 paintings from the Jasper Johns’ Connecticut studio and sold them for a pretty penny.   He bought a vacation home, a yacht, not to mention cars and everything and anything that big time art thievery money can buy.  Meyer sold Jasper’s paintings under the guise that they were gifts from the his boss so he wanted to keep the sales on the down low but who knew how low James Meyer would go…

…And of course there are the usual run-of-the-mill art crimes like stealing, forging and defacing that are investigated by the FBI’s rapid deployment Art Crime Team created in 2004 surviving the acronym, ASS, short for, Art Swat Squad.  I think there is a bad television show in there somewhere. The team is composed of special agents, each responsible for addressing art and cultural property crimes in assigned geographic regions. The Art Crime Team is coordinated through the FBI’s Art Theft Program, located at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Since its inception, they have recovered more than 2,650 items valued at over $150 million.  But not one of those art crimes inspire the Hollywood glitz of The Thomas Crown Affair or the spectacle of Picasso being suspected of stealing the Mona Lisa or as outrageous as Tony Shafrazi’s defacing of Guernica by Picasso with the infamous scrawled epitaph: KILL ALL LIES.  A credo all art crimes should measure themselves by…

-C.C. Long (Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Celebrity

Above: Guests at James Franco's 'New Film Stills' exhibit at Pace Gallery.
Photo credit: Ella M ; @ellamm12 

…Art and celebrity… The latest newsbreak is Kim Kardasion’s greasy ass is art, as is her daughter’s use of a Hermes bag as a finger-painting canvass and of course everything father, Kanye, does is art after all he is a self-declared artist-god. It’s here to stay whether you like it or not the celebrity’s desire to actually make art whether it be putting a paper bag over your head or playing the kazoo.   It’s all-good, there’s plenty of room for imagination and artistic endeavor to fail or succeed…

…Another celebrity. James Franco, who makes art and other things with facile energy, has recently received a double dose of criticism for his recent show at the Pace gallery. The tag team bullying critics Roberta Smith of the New York Times and Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine, who are also husband and wife, took out their mighty pens not to review Franco’s show but to attack him viciously. Jerry Saltz’s active imagination could come up with nothing more than: “George W. Bush is actually a better artist than James Franco.”? What is sad is I’ve been reading Saltz’s reviews since the Eighties when he worked at the Village Voice. He usually makes sense, enlightening his reader not tearing down the artist, but it seems he has fallen into a brewing caldron of outrageous cynicism that the New York Times critical art staff led by Roberta Smith seems to dabble in. The great Roberta, who I have also been reading since the Eighties is plagued by jealousy fueled by her mediocre appeal. She blows up on Franco conjuring her great critical mind by declaring: “Someone or something make him stop!”    Funny, that’s what I think when I read one of her reviews.   She goes on to one liner us with a final epitaph that Franco is “clueless”. I always thought critics were usually talking about themselves and she hit it on the head with that blast. I’m wondering how those two decided to review Franco? I can see it now: them laying in bed re-reading their tweets to themselves, chortling in their superiority. Saltz says –“I’ll take his head.” Roberta answers – “Good, because I got his balls”…

…Something to look forward to by another celebrity artist is Tim Burton’s movie, Big Eyes, about the painter Margaret Keane, whose paintings of women and children are recognizable by you guessed it, big eyes, really, really big eyes. Her story is fascinating.  Her husband claimed that he was the painter of the “big eyes” phenomenon that had become so popular and valuable. So it was off to court to battle for artistic rights. After much kvetching the judge ordered them both to paint a painting in the courtroom in front of him. Margaret agreed, her husband refused, end of story. Oh for a judge like that on the Supreme Court…

…Finally, after starting this missive with a greasy ass, I’ll leave you with greasy palms as the art world is all a tizzy about record breaking sales at this years auctions, over a billion dollars paid for mostly dead artists’ work. It’s good to be alive for most people but for artists it’s better to be dead…

-C.C. Long (Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

Notes of an Artistic Mad Man: Art & Politics

Photo credit: @reinhard_keck

…Art and Politics…since it is the political season we find solace that our government is dysfunctional and will continue to be so until the end of time. And as for the arts, there’s been nothing as excruciatingly embarrassing as John Ashcroft shrouding the “The Spirit of Justice” sculpture because it was topless. I guess he wasn’t a tit man…

…But there are some things that has tethered art and politics together recently besides the constant complaining that the arts in the United States are critically under funded. Who cares? So the Defense department is allocated 800 billion dollars while the arts is allocated about one and half billion dollars. Artists aren’t making aircraft carriers or a vast array of munitions or paying U.S. service men. I would like to point out though that when a great civilization finally dies it is not the battlefields or number of war dead and destruction that is remembered; it is the art and culture of the society that remains to tell the story of that society. The truth is artists should never mix with politicians because they may be mesmerized by all the empty promises and fall into the pit with them. A little dramatic maybe or maybe not…

…And speaking of government controlled art, the North Korean Mansudae Art Studio founded in 1959, employs 4000 workers of which 1000 are artists; it is one of the largest art production studios in the world. They produce all the propaganda art that is needed to control the general populace but they also create real art and some of this is being shown in London this season. It is the first time the art has been shown publically and four North Korean artists have travelled with it. It is the first time they have ever been out of North Korea. One of the artists describing the studio said – ‘It’s a nine to five job but some people get into their work and they’ll stay all night.’. Artistic reverie. freedom that can’t be taken away…

…Iran, has made some news this month, too. Mahmoud Obaidi an Iranian painter sold “Farewell Kiss” at a Sotheby’s auction for a record 65,000 dollars. The most money paid for a modern Iranian piece of art. The painting features a portrait of President Bush encircled by shoes, commemorating the incident on the President’s last trip to Iraq where in his farewell news conference a shoe-throwing assailant targeted him. The President dodged the shoe with a quick duck and weave…

…Finally, back to former President Bush, kudos to Dubya, who started painting when he left the presidency and seems consumed by it? He has given paintings away to various celebrities, including Jay Leno, breaking the great credo of every artist: ‘never give art away’. Free art is never appreciated and always neglected. But it does get me to thinking: what would the world be like now if he would have started painting before he became president…

-C.C. Long (Notes of an Artistic Mad Man)

C.C. Long: A professional artist and writer for over 20 years. Has been published both in England and the United States. Desire, The Driftwood Review, Flux, Chin, Exit Art, WhiteHot Magazine, Art Nouveau Magazine, The Village Voice, The Thompkins Park Literary Review and the Boston Literary Magazine are just a few of the magazines and literary reviews that has published his works. 

Halloween music that’s not ‘Thriller’ [Listen]

For those of you interested in listening to something other than ‘Thriller’ and ‘Monster Mash’ this Halloween, check out Ice Cream Fire (Tim Kelly & Jackie Haydamacha), a pop/hiphop duo out of Los Angeles. It’s okay– change is scary.

Small world…
We really liked your recent write-up on Eion & Kendra. Eion actually produced our EP ‘Burn It Down‘ as well as our new song, “Last of Us” that we released today for Halloween. We hope you dig it.
-Ice Cream Fire

To hear more from Ice Cream Fire, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and visit their soundcloud.

Thanks to Ice Cream Fire for sharing.

Happy Halloween

FOLLOW SWAGGERLESS®:  Like what you see? Subscribe to Swaggerless.org for the latest content and support the “strugglin” artist.

How to kill a billion hours [In Pictures]

How do you kill a billion hours? Just ask Seb. 

“I take pictures; here are some of them.” 
-Seb
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To see more of Seb’s photography, visit his Tumblr: howtokillabillionhours.

Special thanks to Seb for sharing.

 

FOLLOW SWAGGERLESS®:  Like what you see? Subscribe to Swaggerless.org for the latest content and support the “strugglin” artist.

It’s Monday, Time to F@#k Sh*t Up

Today, you’re challenged to do something new. Something out of the box (whatever that may be). Something out of YOUR ordinary. Because what better way to start off the week then with a little turbulence to keep you on your toes. And if things happen to go awry, well– you have the rest of the week to make up for it.

Happy Monday

A blog for strugglin' artists

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