“For I’m to Be Queen of the May, Mother, I’m to Be Queen of the May”


Evidently certain folks like to entertain themselves by writing "funny" lyrics to well-known folk and popular tunes. This works very well as private amusement, I suppose, but isn't it a bother when you find yourself faced with eight or ten stanzas supposedly "Sung to the Tune of the 'Haircrofters' Ball'"? Or some other ditty that the amateur lyricist remembers from a piano-book of his youth, but which is now lost to time. That is annoying enough, but it's even worse when you are given an alternate name for the tune, one with which you are unfamiliar. You may not be too befuddled when you see "Over Hill Over Dale" named as the tune […] Read More

DEVO: The First Half-Century

Art, Newsbrief

Mark Mothersbaugh: MYOPIA at the Grey Art Gallery, NYU. April 26 – July 15, 2017. 100 Washington Square East, NYC. One of those rare multimedia installations worthy of repeat visits, and full of enjoyment for the entire family. Mom and Dad will like it because it will take them back to the heyday of the "Dada-Punk" new-wave rock combo called DEVO. The kids will love it for its funny cartoons and Dalek-like electronic calliopes. In-betweens will rejoice over the surrealistic "We Are DEVO" video playing on the south wall. Popcult historians will be happy to find out who the hell was Booji Boy, hero he of decades-old cult video. See video also. […] Read More

Dots and Slopes

Art, Newsbrief

Kim Yong-Ik. April 27 – June 17, 2017. Tina Kim Gallery, 525 West 21st St, NYC 10019. 212.716.1100 New frontiers in oriental minimalism arrive with the new Kim Yong-Ik exhibition at the Tina Kim Gallery (no relation). Mr. Kim's work appears in three basic motifs: his "dot paintings, which feature the repetition of regularly spaced circles," according to the exhibition guide; constructivist cutouts, which put one in mind of the bias-cut construction paper collages one did in kindergarten arts-and-crafts; and pieces of unadorned burlap. We are reliably informed that this is Kim's "the first solo exhibition in the United States." […] Read More

Art in Austerity


Noted belatedly, but with pleasure, in the September 2008 issue of The New Criterion—that very 1950s-ish Little Magazine of cultural criticism that keeps hanging on, despite its resemblance to a vanity publication, mainly because it manages to produce at least one or two highly intriguing essays or reviews in each issue: a John Gross review of Austerity Britain, 1945-1951 (by David Kynaston), which contains such passages as the following: Kynaston isn’t so wedded to the virtues of vox pop that he isn’t ready to use better-known names to spice up his story. “It might not be a bad thing for the Labour boys to hold the baby”—as the result of the 1945 election […] Read More

Nice, Victor

Art, Newsbrief

"Victor Stamp is convinced that beyond this brief biographical skeleton, the less that is known about him the better. Nevertheless he is willing to divulge that his favourite colour is grey, his favourite metal lead, and his preferred quality in a woman, broad shoulders." See also […] Read More

“Funny Stuff” at Academy of Art


Illustration rather than Fine Art (if there's a difference anymore), but very entertaining for the NYTimes. It's a show mounted to open for the Tribeca Ball a few days back. This one's wittily entitled "Untitled." Story here […] Read More

The Story of Artzybasheff


  From American Art Archives about the Russian-American surrealist illustrator: Fought with anti-communist White Russians before immigrating to US (he spoke no English and arrived with 14 cents). A chameleon, able to adapt different styles, from children's books to portraits. Renowned for his ability to turn machines into living beings (and living beings into who-knows-what). Advisor to the Psychological Warfare branch during WW II. A profuse illustrator for the majors: Life, Fortune, and Time (producing 200+ covers for the last). Illustrated 50 books, including those he wrote himself, notably "As I See." Plentiful ad work for Xerox, Shell Oil, Pan Am, Casco Power Tools, Alcoa Steamship lines, Parke Davis, Avco Manufacturing, Scotch […] Read More

The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik Loses It

Medicins sans frontal-lobes

Always entertaining when recounting his adventures as a Lower Slobbovian living in Paris, Adam Gopnik has lost his appeal since moving to America. Of late he has sidled off into political commentary, a field for which he is as richly equipped as a blind racing tout. In his most recent column in The New Yorker, he goes completely bonkers and actually calls for a coup against President Donald Trump. I won't reproduce the most lurid bits of his imagining—read it yourself here—but the send-off paragraph is enough to give you a general idea: Perhaps the most tragic sins against democracy, to which we have already become accustomed, are Trump’s lies. When you […] Read More

Don’t Learn About Art THIS Way!


None too subtle was Theodore Shaw, the inventor of Conjecturism, a theory of art criticism that he invented, and continued to peddle via double-truck ads in newspaper supplements and various sectarian-intellectual journals of the 1940s-60s (Commonweal, Commentary, Partisan Review). Many people heard of Conjecturism the first time when someone at the National Lampoon (Sean Kelly? Henry Beard?) did a full-page parody of the ads. This would have been about 1973, by which time the train had left the station. "Don't Learn About Art This Way!" The visual was an extremely heavy-handed cartoon in the charcoal-and-crayon style of the 1930s. That's all I can tell you. Originally published December 28, 2014. Updated February 27, […] Read More

Comical ‘Pepe’ Art Show Rustles Jimmies in London

Art, Newsbrief

Meta-art: In London, an "alt-right" art show is staged by a provocateur as a joke. But even as a joke, it won't fly with the Commie element. From the New York Times, Feb. 25. Slightly more unhinged is this London artsy blog. POSTSCRIPT: Rioters finally shut down the gallery in March […] Read More

There Is an Art to Bad Art Museum Reviews


Currently my favorite vademecum is this funny little website called Bad Art Museum Reviews. I've linked it, so you can go right to it when you're finished reading my pearls of wisdom. Somebody was actually complaining that Andy Warhol wasn't much of an artist, since he had someone else do his silkscreens and really only wanted to hang out with famous people. I mean, this person had just found this out and was actually whinging about it!  (Personally I always admired Andy for this, and I think the same accusation can be made against many big names of today. The photographer Nan Goldin for example. She did some good work way back in […] Read More

New Test Post for You and Yours


The story is told about a little child who was so tiny he was no bigger than the end of your little finger. Hence he was named Little Pinky-end. His parents were poor CPAs and couldn't support their teeming brood, so they sold them to the wolves […] Read More