Tom Moody
Since 2002
Works in New York, New York United States of America

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Shia LaBeouf: Is there genius in his endgame?

Dear Kenneth,
Your report gives few details about this performance so I had to resort to USA Today:

The exhibit is a collaborative project between LaBeouf, Finnish performance artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and British artist Luke Turner, according to a press release sent to Time.

It took place at The Cohen Gallery, which USA informs us is "is across the street from BuzzFeed's L.A. offices," adding parenthetically, "Probably just a coincidence, right?"

Like you, the Daily Beast's Andrew Romano was oddly moved by the whole spectacle. "I actually felt something real. Something strange and complex. Something like sympathy. ..."

This is probably more of a USA Today-type story, and USA Today-type performance art, but it's always interesting to see what you're interested in.

Personally I'd like more sociology on how porous the gallery world and the film biz are in LA. I got messages yesterday that Parker Ito had sold a painting at auction for $93,000 USD, which is pretty good for a n00b, and one of the reasons for the high price tag is that film director Harmony Korine is a collector of his art. Maybe as a cross-NY-LA correspondent and assiduous documenter of the avant garde through ubuweb, WFMU, etc, you can help us understand the interrelationship of art and pure promo hype in the tinseltown art scene.

Best, Tom


Dragan Espenschied to Lead Rhizome's Digital Conservation Program

Am looking forward to having Dragan here in NYC and working on this. You need someone with a sense of both the art and the tech, and he's got both. Maybe we could have an impromptu Bodenstandig 2000 performance, as well.


Why You Should Not Buy This Painting (So That Michael Connor Can)

On an initial skim of this post I thought, "Magda Sawon is showing MSPaint?" and then realized you were making an analogy and that this is just another acrylic painting that pops online. We will have to wait for our New York galleries to develop a connoisseurship of widely available paint programs.
But seriously, let's talk about this jpeg some more (haven't seen the original). One actually probably could do this in MSPaint -- there's some of that granulation in the "spray" -- if you then treated the image with the popular "Gaussian blur" effect in Photoshop. The subject matter of the pop-eyed, no-forehead idiot who looks to have been painted by a feral child recalls a very early George Condo, in a good way.
Sadly, we're not at the point where an artist could just make an image like this and post the jpeg. You have to go through the tedious business of painting it on canvas and finding a gallery willing to promote it, which includes photographing it, converting the photo to jpeg, and sending it out with a press kit.
All of which is to say, thanks, Michael, for discussing this work in the context of "internet aware art," meaning art made with an idea to how it will look online as opposed to the humdrum concept of "art based on the internet." The ambiguity is resolved in this case with your tag Internet-Aware Painting. That's kind of a subtle, stealth critique and a validation of your need not to own the underlying artwork -- you have a perfectly good jpeg.


Expanded Internet Art and the Informational Milieu

In view of the plethora of terms all saying the same obvious thing (not all internet art takes place on the net) let's propose a new term suggested by Ceci Moss' essay: hermeticism. The hermeticist artist keeps to herself in spite of the widespread and much-flacked availability of online connections in the social media era. While not shunning collaboration or eclecticism, the hermeticist artist believes "the buck stops here" with regard to artistic expression, "here" being the artist's own judgment and decision-making process. The hermeticist artist still has a studio, even if it is located in a single device. The hermeticist pursues shamanic and occult practices in the face of consensus art-making. Many hermeticist artists operate as artistic outsiders, a considerable achievement in an era of maximum surveillance and self-surveillance (i.e., commodified confession), but not all hermeticists are paranoid loners. Harm van den Dorpel's Assemblages is a classic hermeticist work, where noise from the digital economy is obsessively collected, mixed with the artist's own gestures, and fused into a primary structure resembling an atomic sphere. Van den Dorpel's private studio activity de-recuperates a wealth of data that has meaning in other contexts, creating an autobiographical talisman others find pleasurable to view. Similarly, Brenna Murphy produces discrete objects in the form of floor patterns that are individually photographed and operate according to their own perverse internal logic. These will be mistaken after the fact as metaphors for communitarian circulation when they are in fact monuments to a kind of sublime self-awareness. The hermeticist artist is not concerned on any level on whether art "pushes us forward" but instead moves inward at tangential angles to the dominant networked culture. [To be continued]


48 Artists (and Rhizome) remember when...

1987. My friend Les from high school is now a mathematician with research interests in commutative algebra, algebraic geometry, combinatorics, and algebraic K-theory. I'm visiting the college where he's teaching and he walks me over to a green screened, putty-colored terminal. "I spend a lot of time here talking with colleagues on the internet." "Kind of a linked-up computer thing?" "Yeah, a lot of schools are connected now, I can send and receive messages all over the world." Afterward we drive back to his apartment, drink a beer or two, and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation (the episode where centipede-like parasites infiltrate high Federation officials) and Wes Craven's Deadly Friend (where a woman's head is exploded with a flying basketball).