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The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

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FEB 2016 Issue
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Pimp This Shit

A little over a decade ago, Mike Kelley confessed: “Art is the only arena in American culture in which difference is tolerated. I mean, I don’t even think it exists in politics. What scares me about contemporary art is the merging of it with the entertainment industry [ … ] Because once the entertainment industry can produce fake resistance then you don’t have real resistance.” I assume there are some (many?) who will find my recalling his fear almost quaint—except look at where this merging has delivered us. Crowdsourcing becomes critique, art a revenue stream for a concierge industry, creativity creative management, artists branding opportunities, etc. Of course, it’s not the end of the world.


Until it is. I’ve made several people cry during studio visits over the years, not usually on purpose. I know of a revered sculptor who molested many of his female students. I promised not to repeat that a powerful museum director told one rising star to “start making work that institutions [as opposed to collectors] can afford to show.” I’ve been fag-bashed by a partner of an “internationally acclaimed” gallery. I hear private foundation or gift to the city and think tax shelter and cheap storage. I stay home alone, skipping most openings. I once peed on Frank O’Hara’s grave and then placed stolen flowers there. Sometimes I prefer to talk, nude, to escorts rather than have them fuck me.

I spent most of the morning transcribing every line of dialogue that my favorite porn star (@aradwinwin) delivers in one of his scenes to yank me out of the doldrums, but the thought hasn’t quite slipped my mind that if I’m any longer writing “about” art at all I am writing for art because it died. Maybe not “died.” Avital Ronell would probably stress that since it has been obsolesced, divested,  I must learn what to do with its remainders and trust that mourning would not necessarily preclude moments of something like festivity, but I’m feeling about it all, what’s the word, agnostic? Disenchanted?

Meanwhile, Arad’s thick jet locks flop over his forehead as he sucks on his partner’s cock and primes his hole digitally. He’s already asked, “What’s true?,” and soon declares, “Next I want to teach you how we ride.” Not long after the scene was shot, on his left forearm the Huma of Persepolis will be inked, هما, auspicious creature that never alights.


Bruce Hainley

BRUCE HAINLEY is the author of Under the Sign of [sic]: Sturtevant's Volte-Face and Art & Culture, both published by Semiotext(e). He teaches in the Graduate Art program at Art Center College of Design.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

All Issues