Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Lady of France Sought: Must be a Multi-Lingual Neo-Liberal Slut

Sometimes I randomly find a story that hits it out of the park in terms of synergy - political, gossip, and HOLA magazine Eurotrash worlds collide. According to Gawker, someone came across an old video from a show called EUROTRASH (you cannot make this stuff up) hosted by an effete Frenchman and co-hosted that evening by Jean-Paul Gaultier (!!!) with guest star Carla Bruni, now Neo-Liberal Slut First Lady of France and wanna-be Jackie O, then known as an Italian model/starfucker. Her talking-points, besides discussing her sexual resume, were to pitch some phrase books enabling you to hook up with people in various languages. A bedside Berlitz to enable you to seduce your very own walking dictionary. The best is when she whispers melodiously: I want your finger up my ass (or as she says in English finger on my bottom, in a breathy BBC 4 accent) in Italian. Crass as the expression is, she proves my hypothesis that EVERYTHING in Italian sounds like poetry.


GPS for your Moods?

An NPR story (link below) described new smartphone apps that allow you to plot your moods or answer questions about your perception of your mental/emotional states that are shared with psychiatrists. This type of laundry list, flowchart, quasi-mathematical plotting out of moods, perceptions, and emotions dovetails neatly with the approach taken by psychiatrists (and to a lesser extent, psychologists or psychotherapists) who follow diagnostic criteria that taxonomically fit patients into increasingly Byzantine categories based on allegedly precise symptoms or behaviors. Like the Spanish conquistadors' absurdly intricate and fantastic invented racial categories under the casta system, rendered in series where men, women, and their offspring represented outcomes of intermingling types, the effort to control and define often betrays its own socially constructed nature and slippery outlines. (For an EXCELLENT ethnography of the mental health industry and a nuanced analysis of the construction of the category bi-polar in the mass media, see Emily Martin Bi-polar Expeditions. Mania and Depression in American Culture. Princeton Univ. Press, 2009)

Thanks to our own capitulation to omnipresent surveillance, we may add mental health to the list of 24-7 areas under observation with patients' own acquiescence. In any case, everyone's a psychiatrist these days, thanks to reality TV, we can see any number of kinds of apparently dysfunctional behavior, in some cases the therapy itself is the subject of the show, as in Dr. Drew's franchises, in others it is only part of the drama, as in last week's episode of Real Housewives of New York, where we witnessed what many believed was some kind of breakdown on the part of Kelly Bensimon. Twitter lit up with comments such as, she needs a psychiatrist, she is bi-polar, and she forgot to bring her meds on vacation.

In contrast to other marginalized groups' demands for greater "visibility" as a means to gain recognition and understanding, as in, Ellen came out of the closet and this benefits the LGBT community, with the onset of reality TV shows such as Hoarders: Buried Alive, or its friendlier competitor, Hoarders, the masses feel free to diagnose others freely but without an increase in empathy. And now, in yet another seeming proof of the prescience of Huxley's Brave New World, we will plug into our mood Foursquare or mental GPS, the better to be monitored and perhaps prompted to go get our Soma.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A new kind of "aristocratic" endogamy?

I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw the report (link below), which has been the talk of Spanish cotilleo chat shows and newspapers, blogs, and twitter. The yellow press and gossip television shows claim that ALLEGEDLY the Baroness' son donated let us say genetic material to make the twins, and according to the lurid reports, also his sisters, possible.

I cannot fathom that someone would A. think of such a scheme B. actually carry it out and/or C. invent it and then claim it as the truth!!!! But Spain is Different! I bet Pedro Almodovar and telenovela writers all over Latin America are kicking themselves thinking: I wish I had thought of that plot line!

The Baroness Thyssen, heir to her late husband's fabulous art collection, patron of the arts, and thanks to whose generosity we have the Thyssen museum in Madrid (at least for the time being), suddenly presented to the world via HOLA! (naturally) two identical twin girls with names appropriate for a Venezuelan soap opera, Guadalupe and Sabina. As soon as people saw them, they commented on the remarkable resemblance to their brother Borja, love child of the Baroness and an ex boyfriend but adopted by the elderly Baron. Why the siblings cannot resemble each other since they theoretically have the same mother is ruled out by the fact that she must be at least into her sixties. (hard to know, the former Catalan beauty queen has had a lot of work done and aspects of her early life are debated)

In any event, the mother and formerly pampered only son had a terrible falling out punctuated by her demand that her grandson take not one but four paternity tests to prove her daughter-in-law was not cheating, and by her accusations that the two broke into her mansion to steal documents related to her finances after Borja sued her for control of a Goya painting and his share of the inheritance. This dispute included the release of security camera video (aired on television), allegedly by the Baroness' camp, that claimed to show the son and wife entering and departing her Madrid home carrying out documents and computers in the dead of night.

Again, this seems like something out of a telenovela or a James Bond movie but it happened!

I particularly love this absolutely gruesome and revolting story because it fuses several of my keen interests: Spanish gossip, dissolute aristocrats, and the art world!

Jeffrey Deitch auditions for Jersey Shore?

I have been relentlessly grim (again) lately, focusing on politics and frankly it is hard to sit around trying to
be funny in this blog when all I can think about is the strike at UPR or about people digging up mass graves
in Spain and Judge Garzon being removed from his post. But when I saw this news on twitter, it both
amused me, and made me look forward to the next time I teach about museum and art market ethics.
The video above apparently was shot when an unfortunate gallery visitor was jostled and fell into Deitch
at the apparently quite crowded May Day opening. Deitch popped off although in the image I don't see
any harm and his strawberry colored suit looks pristine. In any case, it is one of those real real artworld
moments that reminds me of "real" moments in reality TV such as the constant outbursts on Jersey Shore
or Real Housewives of NY.

On a serious note, here is the on-point blog post by Culure Grrrl discussing various ethical questions
emerging in response to Deitch's recent activities and planned exhibitions at MoCA.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Strike at UPR

28th day of University of Puerto Rico on strike. Tomorrow there will be a general strike. New Yorkers, let's go out and show our solidarity tomorrow, Tuesday:

NYC in solidarity with the UPR and general strike of workers in Puerto Rico: Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 5:30pm - 7:30pm Location: (PRFAA) 135 West 50 (between 6th and 7th Ave)

for more information:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Posters against Arizona anti-immigrant law

This fantastic poster is by Lalo Alcaraz

El Juez Baltasar Garzon, suspendido. Judge Baltasar Garzon suspended.

Photo of a mass grave in Malaga, here they found thousands: Arciniega La Opinion de Malaga (2007)
Source: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2338/2076360830_e2f10bf9be.jpg%3Fv%3D0&imgrefurl=http://flickr.com/photos/etecemedios/2076360830/&usg=__5hGG2Ex7EyV88UL3uTuGsX3LHXw=&h=356&w=500&sz=152&hl=en&start=30&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=9chDvgz22UJi0M:&tbnh=93&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfosas%2Bfranquismo%26start%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Den%26ndsp%3D20%26tbs%3Disch:1

Francisco Goya "Murio la Verdad" (1810-1814) from the Disasters of War

Garzón sale entre aplausos de la Audiencia Nacional video from tve (Spain)

End-of-term academentia has kept me away from the blog as has near-constant tweeting to keep up with fast-changing and ever more horrible events in Spain related to the persecution of Judge Garzon by fascists, Socialists who are either jealous of his prominence or resentful of his persecution of corruption within their own party, and judges still loyal to the dictatorship during which they first began their "legal" careers. As I explain to friends unfamiliar with the situation, what is happening in Spain now is akin to imagining Nurenberg judges taken off the bench for investigating Nazi crimes against humanity following suits brought against them by Nazis. As a recent New York Times editorial wrote: "the real crimes are the disappearances (during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship), not the investigations..."

Tonight at 8PM local time there will be demonstrations in front of Spanish Embassies and Consulates all over the world. See http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121637341198625&ref=mf