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Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 11:19 am
Oh Vienna!

There was a slight -- but pleasant -- misunderstanding hanging over my visit to Vienna this week. I thought I'd been flown in to provide some music at an opening party for their new show of videos by artists Korpys and Löffler (one of them, of Bush arriving at Tegel in Airforce One in 2002, actually mirrors closely the Click Opera entry the other day about Akihito's 747). As a musician prepared to do weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs -- whatever it takes to pay the rent -- I naturally accepted.



It was only when I got there and met curators Nicolas Jasmin and Flora Neuwirth that they explained (over weissbier at the Cafe Anzengruber on Schleifmuelgasse) that there was a bit more to it than that. Sure, I'd be performing at the opening party, in a room downstairs from the video installations. But a video would also be made of the performance, which would then be shown on a TV placed in the spot where the performance took place. This would then be joined by five other TVs showing five further performances. There'd also be a lecture from Nate Harrison about the TB-303 baseline composer and clips from philosopher Gilles Deleuze's eight-hour TV series L'Abecedaire. This would all appear under the title Six Sessions, a play on the name of the Secession.

My performance of pop songs (and dances), then, wasn't as throwaway as I thought. It was going to form part of an exhibition at the Vienna Secession, become an artwork in its own right. Right now, in fact, a photo of it is on the front of the Secession website.

This all raises some -- for me, anyway -- interesting questions about how I've changed, how pop music has changed, and how the art world has changed. I can now do pretty much my standard pop concert in the context of an art institution and have it accepted as an art performance. It's just as well, really -- with the trad edifice of the music industry collapsing around our ears, it's good to know that the creative effort we crooners put into our art isn't going to be lost. All those gestures we honed in the darkness of nightclubs can still be made in the brilliant light of the white cube. Rock roadies can be replaced by museum technicians, A&R men by curators. A bulbous, florid art institution in Vienna will give us safe harbour. This is all, frankly, reassuring.



Lest we should get smug, though, a visit to the Konzept.Aktion.Sprache show at MUMOK is a timely reminder of just how much more rock-n-roll than rock-n-rollers artists (and especially, for some reason, Viennese ones) have been prepared to get. Forget Iggy and the Stooges, just watch the Viennese Actionists slashing their bodies, defecating in a continuous loop, and, well, meaning it, maaaaaan. Compared with the out-there stuff going on in Vienna in the 60s, to be (as the Secession website calls me) "a musician and blogger [who] also appears internationally as an imaginary persona and performance artist at galleries and museums" is tame stuff indeed. Then again, could Hermann Nitsch sing a big weepy ballad while butchering a bullock? I think not.



As we drove around the city in a borrowed Audi, curator Nicolas Jasmin casually mentioned that the Artfacts website, which ranks 104,417 artists according to how much and where they exhibit, is now listing me as the world's 3268th (and rising!) most successful contemporary artist! Nicolas himself -- a real artist, as opposed to my flukey crossover charlatanry -- is at 6728. Now, I'm not one to take such stuff seriously -- "This means nothing to me!" -- but I'm not one to let it lie either; I immediately googled other musician-artist types to see where they were. Paul D. Miller is very close to me at 3139 (but falling!). Scanner, though, is inexplicably low, at 22,585.



To think of yourself as a serious artist (and actually be selling your work) you really need to be in the top 500. After the Secession performance I dined at a restaurant called Kiang with a bunch of people grouped around artist Daniel Richter, who teaches at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (the art school that, indirectly, caused World War II by rejecting the young Adolf Hitler). Richter, a painter, is currently at 469 on ArtFacts. Now that's what I call a real artist! No wonder he had an assistant so beautiful I could only gawp in wonder from the far end of the table... and the far end of the art charts. As Midge Ure of New Romanticist art group Ultravox once put it: Oh, Vienna!



buckminster has just posted a clip of the Secession performance here.

44CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 11:09 am (UTC)

what sort of artist ... are you?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 11:19 am (UTC)

Somewhere between a performer and a performance artist, I suppose. Somewhere between Gilbert O'Sullivan and Gilbert & George. Or, to be precise, between Phil Collins and Phil Collins.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 12:00 pm (UTC)

I think I remember reading that Midge Ure hadn't actually been to Vienna when he wrote Vienna. He'd watched The Third Man on telly and got inspired by that.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC)

Also, "Oh Cambuslang" doesn't quite have the same ring.



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(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 12:52 pm (UTC)

Good Christ, according to that Wikipedia page Midge Ure is even older and balder than you are!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)

And he's not even got some weird newfound status as an "emerging artist" to console himself, either! Sorry, Midge, you haven't saved the world since 1985! You're over!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)

It's the TB-303, not TR. "R" stands for rhythm, "B" stands for bass. Those things were probably worth $150 back in the mid-90s. Now they go for $2500. Insanity.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)

You're right, of course, fixed.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
la di da

pop music in an art gallery, la di da -


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eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
eclectiktronik
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)

"To think of yourself as a serious artist (and actually be selling your work) you really need to be in the top 500. "

Not necessarily. It depends how you look at it. That's like saying if a musician isn't in the top 40 he isn't a serious musician. How do you define 'serious'? I'm sure there are many out there who take their work seriously (myself included, ha ha!) but since they don't end up in the usual contemporary art 'channels of distribution and legitimation' like galleries etc. doesn't mean they aren't 'serious artists'.

In fact I feel that often the reverse is true - these days in contmeporary art, we're seeing huge advances in the aesthetic and FORM used, yet not always of substance - the content seems to be ever increasing frivolity. One could even say that today, the only 'serious artists' are precisely those who turn their backs on this pernicious 'system' which seems to be dominated by accountants and often resembles nothing more than an extension of the leisure industry.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Dec. 1st, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
and then

you saw dnasnow/mouseup in madrid,
and doesn·t that make all those words superfluous?

ay yai yippee yeah


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cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)

Lists are parts of the past, in my opinion. They belong to the Billboard charts and whatnot!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand



mistresshellena
mistresshellena
Mistress Hellena
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)

I love that photo of you shooting the video. The composition is really interesting and wacky. A work of art in its own right! I'm particularly curious/fascinated by the one guy in the black coat shooting video(?) of the wall behind him.

I'd love to show this photo out of context and ask people "What do you think is going on here?" Actually, it seems like Out of Context would be a good title for the photo even here in your journal!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)

That guy shooting the video -- he's the official Secession video maker -- is called Franz Schubert! And the funny thing is, he filmed me singing my song "A Little Schubert"!


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)

Momus, what regrets do you have about your life? (And please don't say je ne regrette rien, my life is perfect as it is, bla bla bla, because everyone has regrets!)

Also, if you had to leave Berlin, which would be your second choice city?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)

I really, genuinely don't have many regrets. I regret that I couldn't save my friend Rika from suicide. I regret that I slapped my friend Ayesha in the face once. I regret that I didn't switch to one-day disposable contact lenses in 1997. That's pretty much it.

Tokyo.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
look nazis are only marginally funny

Seriously, I´m going to flag you if you randomly namedrop Hitler one more time.

Pick some other historically significant and traditionally "controversial" figure to add some kind of half-assed extra edge of meaning to your posts.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: look nazis are only marginally funny

My problem is that the vast majority of the population doesn't give a shit about art, but continues to be fascinated by Hitler. So if I just say "the Vienna kunstakademie, blah blah blah" 0.0000003879% of the population cares. But if I say "the art college that -- in a sense -- caused WWII by rejecting Hitler (because, he later claimed, of Jewish influence on the board)..." then it's a bit more universal in appeal. And it does open up a fascinating parallel world where Hitler becomes a Jonathan Meese character, and Jonathan Meese disappears altogether.

By the way, talking of Meese (who already has a Hitler connection), there were weird posters in the art college, an appeal signed by Meese. "Dear Friends," it read, "during a performance on November 21st in Room M20 I lost my own penis. Whoever finds it, please give it to me on December 10th in person, or to my best friend Daniel Richter. Thanks!! your Jonathan Meese".

And there's a picture of an artificial penis.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)



buckminster has just posted a clip of the Secession performance here.


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chuckm
chuckm
Chuck Meyer
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)

I'm afraid you've dropped a bit since posting -- 3270 right now. Best to phone up your dealer for a bit more of that biennial horse!

Also, I think your links might be a bit mucked up as far as the rankings...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)

I don't feel too bad -- Luis Bunuel is still five places below me!


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st_ranger
st_ranger
Palimpsests of a Secret Whistler
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)

The top of that list is stacked with dead people! Not sure if I'd want to join them.


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funazushi
funazushi
funazushi
Fri, Nov. 30th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Performance Art or Crime?

I don't know where this young artist will fit on the artfacts list but he is making a name for himself in Toronto at the moment. Thorarinn Jonsson, an art student from Iceland currently studying at OCAD, planted a fake bomb at the Royal Ontario Museum, filmed a fake bomb blast at the museum which he posted on youtube(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olYjeFFnKFY). The hoax caused an AIDS benefit at the museum to be cancelled which cost them $100,000 in donations. Jonsson was trying to say something about recontextualization, "It’s clearly a sculpture, but taking it out of context and putting it into another context by leaving it lying around, it certainly takes on a different meaning.” He has subsequently been arrested and released on bail, and two of his professors have been suspended from the school, pending an inquiry.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Dec. 1st, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Faithful community of ventilators

The series opens with an execution by the notch Currie, momus of
artist of Scottish of aka (constant 1960). The momus (named for the
Greek god of derision) is known especially as a musician and a
blogger, but appears to him also internationally as an imaginary
artist of Person and execution to the galleries and the museums.
In 2006, for example, it accompanied dubious Whitney Biennale like
"by guide of excursion of" in the direction of its "mission of
the information" of measurement; with policy with the absurd
comments. In its blog daily on the noise, art, architecture, design, porn, and the daily momus of the ethnology (imomus.livejournal.com) amuses a
faithful community of the ventilators with its dry mood. Since the
Eighties, it had produced the eclectic albums of noise like CIRCUS
MAXIMUS, PERVERTED of OFFER, the PHANTASMAGORIC GASOLINE, the CHAMPION
of TENNIS of OSKAR or the MILK of 2006 published OCKY. Its musical model
extends from the acoustic guitar to the electronic noise of minimalist to
the disco music and the abundant momus of synths. Lives and functions
in Berlin.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:17 am (UTC)
Re: Faithful community of ventilators

PHANTASMAGORIC GASOLINE!

(Makes mental note to record an album with that title, then, on second thoughts, considers it too American-sounding.)


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