headlines | about |

Steven Kaplan's blog

HVCCA Benefit @ Yvon Lambert NY, Sunday October 5, 2008, 5pm


Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Benefit

Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 5:00pm - 7:30pm -
Live Auction 6:30pm - Simon de Pury - auctioneer -

Tickets start at $125

550 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011

Main Street vs. Wall Street: Americans on the Bailout: We're Pissed!

from Yahoo! Finance:

It's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention: a majority of Americans oppose the bailout plan passed last night by the Senate and heading toward the House.

... Many Americans seem to understand the "real" economy -- i.e., Main Street -- will suffer if the plan fails, but they still oppose it and view it as a bailout for Wall Street "fat cats."

"I've lost my money because of these idiots, now they want me to subsidize their losses too???," Yahoo! Finance user "hoser48" wrote yesterday. "They can go to hell with the common man, we will all live together as equals then. A bailout is not the answer."

Clearly that sentiment isn't universal, and Monday's 778 Dow dive did change many people's view. But it's also true the mood in the country is ugly, and it didn't happen overnight.

Todd Harrison, CEO of, has been warning about the threat of "societal acrimony" for some time.

The last few years highlighted the chasm between the 'have’s' and 'have not’s,'" he writes. "While the former middle class has struggled for some time, the comeuppance of the upper echelon has arrived. The voluntary thrift that will now manifest as a result of this culture shock will permeate an already fragile socioeconomic structure."

Note the "screensaver" image for the above video: the Peter Finch character in Network (1976), screaming "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!"

Der Spiegel: The End of Arrogance: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role

Not exactly known as a hotbed of mad dog leftist sentiment, the German newsweekly Der Spiegel recently published a long piece on the failed arrogance of the Bush years, the loss of American prestige around the world, the economic miscalculations and missteps since Reagan, the hubristic greed of Wall Street. All this and more in a five part article that includes:

* Part 1: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role
* Part 2: Bush's Failed Leadership
* Part 3: Wall Street's Central Values: Avarice and Greed
* Part 4: Irrational Exuberance
* Part 5: 'One Can See that We Are on a more Solid Base'

Blunt and scathing, it provides a fascinating overview, a centrist European critique of the current global economic crisis, its antecedents and its likely unfolding, distinctly placing blame on the Bush II regime. Too long to re-blog, I link to it here.

On the cover, "The Price of Arrogance", with the Statue of Liberty holding aloft a smoldering torch.

How to Fix the Wall Street Mess ... from Michael Moore


The richest 400 Americans -- that's right, just four hundred people -- own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion -- the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the "bailout." Why don't they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They'd still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that -- at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do -- spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money?

On Creative Time's Democracy In America at the Armory

There are socially conscious nonprofits which feed the hungry, house the homeless, work with runaway or HIV-positive youth, engage in natural disaster relief. And there are arts/cultural nonprofits, generally sharing a left-liberal orientation. The two should be sympathetic and cooperative. Artists, for example, are often moved to donate work to auctions that benefit socially or politically active causes. But as the economy shrinks, there will necessarily be increased competition for fewer dollars, and organizations dealing with subsistence and survival will likely be favored over artistic endeavors. This could endanger the natural affinity between good causes and good art.

ThingToon Trifecta (courtesy The New Yorker)




That Old Brown Magic's Got Me In Its Spell ... Again!

or The Shit Just Keeps on Coming.

I did not expect to return to this theme so soon after discussing Paul McCarthy's inflatable turds, but apparently there is no moratorium on the artistic fascination with feces. As already reported in the Village Voice, in New York Magazine and on Artinfo, artist provocateur Andres Serrano will unveil a show of 66 photographs at Yvon Lambert, first in the New York gallery on September 4, then a week later in Paris. Each photo depicts spoor from a different species, often in extreme close up.

The process started as sort of a family affair, with both Serrano and his pet Dalmatian, Luther, donating to the proceedings, but soon branched out into an international search for the best, or at least the most photogenic, shit. And yes, there will be Bull Shit (from Ecuador), Horse Shit and Chicken Shit on display.

The Biblical story of Noah's Ark mandated gathering two of each and every beast and fowl. Serrano seems to have updated this to the number two of each species. Since his international notoriety began with Piss Christ, a piece decidedly committed to number one, we can detect a definite progression in the concerns of the artist.

A New "Sensation"?: Kippenberger's Crucified Frog Condemned by Catholics

Feet First (Prima i piedi) (1990), Martin Kippenberger's four foot high wooden sculpture of a crucified frog in loincloth, brandishing a mug of beer and an egg, has been at the center of an escalating dispute since it went on exhibit in May 2008 at the newly opened Museion in Bolzano, Italy.

Museum officials have insisted on their institutional autonomy and freedom of expression, while various clergy, government functionaries and Vatican spokesmen, even Pope Benedict XVI himself, have denounced it as provocative and blasphemous, and demanded its removal. To support this there have been various actions, including a hunger strike by a local politician, a petition signed by 10,000 citizens, and a protest march.

In response, the frog was moved from the entrance hall to the third floor, and at one point partially obscured by newspaper stories about the controversy. But apparently nothing short of its total removal will be acceptable to its critics.

James Powderly Back in NYC, Deported From China During Olympics Closing Ceremonies

Released after six days in jail, artist James Powderly and other activists for Tibetan rights were deported from China as the Olympics closing ceremonies were concluding on Sunday night in Beijing.

As reported on the Students for a Free Tibet website, the Chinese government, bowing to international pressure, released the detainees earlier than expected, in an effort to defuse bad publicity that had cast a shadow on the Olympic games.

On "The Art Critic" by Peter Plagens

The first installment of The Art Critic, a novel set in the New York art world and centering on a fifty-something critic for a weekly news magazine, recently appeared on Artnet. The book will serialize online over the next 24 weeks. It is written by Peter Plagens, painter, writer and art critic for Newsweek.

This comment was originally posted on an Artworld Salon thread on the book.

Syndicate content