Friday, February 03, 2006

I took yesterday off. I highly recommend doing this. A Thursday off is especially good, because you basically only have a 3-day week to deal with, and then you only have to work a single day after your day off before the weekend, which is totally managable. I'm full of these elaborate schemes and philosophies about how to best arrange personal days and vacation time, and whether a Friday or Monday is a better day to have as a 3-day weekend (it's totally Monday). It would be nice to have more opporunity to put this in action though.

Anyway. Yesterday was great, two museums and then to a taping of The Colbert Report, which was just as fun and hilarious as you'd hope. The set/studio were much smaller than they look on TV, kind of like how famous people are always shorter in person than you think they'll be. The Colbert himself is actually tall, though. Watching as he watched a pre-taped segment where he interviewed representative Gerald Nadler was very cool. He was leaning back in his chair and grinning, so pleased with himself. Christie Whitman was the guest. She was okay, since, although she's a Republican - of the new "it's my party, too!" species - she's not a complete psychopath. Listening to her defend the Republican party, though, while at the same time saying that they are wrong on many social issues and are alienating lots of people and don't have much of a mandate for what they're doing to this country, made me want to throw something. You know? Moderate republicans are fiiiiiine, sure. Make nice. They don't mind the gays and theoretically support abortion rights (until it comes time to vote for a Supreme Court justice, apparently). But all of this is invalidated by their support for Bush. All these New Yorkers think Bloomberg is such a nice guy, but he was the biggest donor to Bush's reelection campaign. So is he any better? Not so much. Because when it comes down to it, you can bet Mike and Christie would happily sell you and you uterus and your deviant sex life out to protect their money and keep getting invited down to Crawford.

Speaking of your uterus, go read Rebecca Trainster's article, aptly named "What the Hell Happened?" at Salon. All I can think of now is that we need to get a lot more scary. We're pretty much on the verge of this... much as conservatives hate queers and feminists and single parents and environmentalists and civil rights activists and immigrants (and on and on), they also find us terrifying, and the kind of fear we inspire in them is a different kind than they inspire in us. There's something useful in that somewhere.

There's a show on at the International Center of Photography called, "Che: Revolution & Commerce," and it's worth checking out. It's basically an exploration of how the iconic Che Guevara image "Guerrillero Heroico," which may be the most widely reproduced image in the history of photography (just think about that!), has evolved and been used. Maybe the coolest part was seeing an enlargement of the contact sheet with the original "Guerillero Heroico" image on it, seeing where it fit in with the rest of what Alberto Korda shot that day. The show's not all about commercialization, either, or the irony of that image being used to sell things. There's a lot of that in there, but there's also a lot of protest art, and the show ultimately doesn't take a position on the pros and cons of commericalization (though you can buy a t-shirt of the show in the museum gift shop - the image on it is the uncropped photograph that is the basis of the show, which I guess says something about ICP's take on authenticity and their position on the whole reproducibility thing).

The "Obsessive Drawing" show at the Folk Art Museum was also pretty amazing, mainly because of one piece that left both Alex and me absolutely reeling. That piece, a 35-foot long, insanely detailed pencil drawing by Chris Hipkiss, isn't on the museum's or the artist's Web site, and if it was, it wouldn't compare to seeing the actual drawing anyway, which isn't behind glass, so every smudge and tiny square feels personal. I can't even begin to comprehend how he made this piece. But what I keep thinking about (aside from Hipkiss' work, which seriously makes my brain short circuit), is this: the show was made up of examples of obsessive drawing by 5 male artists. I would have been interested to know if this version of obsessiveness is something that tends to be acted out specifically by men (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is supposedly diagnosed in men and women equally, and much of the work here was clearly a product of OCD), but there's no way to figure this out based only on the gender represented at the show, since in the art world - as in so many other places - men are still the rule, and women the exception. A show called "Obsessive Drawing" that featured all women artists would be seen as some kind of statement about women... namely, that they're crazy. So, does women's absence from this show mean only men are crazy?

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