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Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 01:49 am
In the AFTERGOLD: announcing a new job in free verse

Well, now, see, here's a thing. A thing to be. A thing that's happened to me. I'm to be a curator. I'm to go to Japan. A curator's a man who chooses what goes in an exhibition. I'll go there and feast my eyes. And come back and evangelize. In England.



Here's how it all began. There was a man. His name was Nick. Nick Slater had me on his radar. He reads Click Opera (hello, Nick!). He also runs an art project in Loughborough called Radar. There you are.

Now Loughborough (not a lot of people know this) is Britain's biggest university campus. And, as it happens, the uni there is well-equipped with sports facilities. They're all over the place -- pretty damned impressive. That -- not the Toyota plant at Burnaston, though that's massive -- is why the Japanese team chose it as their base for training for the 2012 Olympics. So here's the plan; here's where the art fits. While they're there, the Japanese Olympic team, training in the rain, jogging in the cold, slogging for gold, we'll be training brains with cultural campaigns. We'll be pumping England's heart full of Japanese art.

It won't be art about sport. Don't make me snort, son! Don't be heretical! Culture's complementary, dialectical. Here's the title: AFTERGOLD. Every curator needs a concept, a catch-all, theme, meme, something to hold. That's mine: the AFTERGOLD. What's in a name? What book is dressed up in this gold lamé jacket? Let me explain. Let's unpack it.



Whatever you're after -- gold medals, gold coins -- there's going to be a time after, right? That's as clear as day follows night. When the competition's over, when you've won, your javelin didn't put out the sun, right? That's elementary. There'll be another day, a different you, another thing to do. That thing might be celebration, sure, or some new you consumed by a stranger, subtler lust than winning. It might be some new project, some new beginning. Do you see what I mean, mate? Where this is going, mate? It's about what happens after the win. Stick that in your pipe, mate, and curate it!

This is where we have to get historical. Pardon me while I wax metaphorical. Britain and Japan are both nations that have won at life. They made it, they scored the gold, they arrived. They're on the podium, by money, by GDP. They got there, but -- don't stop me, I'm just getting into my stride -- they didn't stop there. It can't be denied: something must come after gold. Not just the golden years depicted by Miwa Yanagi in "My Grandmothers", those chicks with silver hair. No, something else, some bigger fever must take hold. The time, the state of mind, they call "the AFTERGOLD".



Post-gold means post-bling. Post-materialist, by any other name. It's not that money doesn't mean a thing -- it does. It's that determining the things that matter after money matters is what culture's -- in all senses -- all about. It's then -- the big ambition and the big expenses set aside -- that all the interesting questions arrive. Who am I? What does all this signify? Who are we, the national tribe alongside whom I strive? What makes this life worth living, beyond the win we deem worth winning? And how do you close car doors?



It's the big question for contemporary art: what are we, who are we, what now? Some "thing" just happened, see, and now the me I knew is no longer the same me anyhow. That "thing" may be success, or some catastrophic big financial crisis. It may just be the slow tick tock of history, whose hands traverse the track of a great atomic clock. Within the art world, think of Superflat. It blew up big, defined a certain sort of Japaneseness for a while. But what came after that? Where do we draw the line, to Micropop? Or the Kotatsu School? Or did art stop?

No, art can never stop. Contemporary Japanese art cannot wither, gather moss, grow old. I hope to show what happens next, and what matters most... in the AFTERGOLD.

40CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)

Congratulations Momus!


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crimsonverdict
crimsonverdict
'Elle
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)

I'm sorry, but where the hell did you come from? Suddenly you appeared like something sneaked into the cracks of my lj friends page; I have no clue how you've come to be there, have never noticed you before, and yet-- your last three posts. Stole my passions. Mine. Ladytron. James Joyce. Miwa Yanagi.

Tell me. Who are you? And how did you manage to get so completely inside my head?

(Of course, I apologize if we've had this conversation before. I have the memory of a goldfish.) Where has click opera been all my life? xoxo 'Elle


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)

Welcome, Upstaged Ragdoll!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)

Today's post, and my subsequent foraging into your previous posts about post-Superflat Japanese art, remind me of this Douglas Adams quote:

"The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing…" twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument."


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)

Well, I hope the exhibition we put together can convince people that there is indeed intelligent life after Superflat.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:30 am (UTC)

I'll probably limit the search to Tokyo and Kansai, but of course talk to a lot of people and learn about artists who might be based in other places. I already have a Wish List and a scratch program made up of the sort of artists I've covered here on Click Opera over the past five years, but the point of the trip is to find new artists, people I didn't previously know about. What's particularly exciting is that I'll be able to commission new -- and in some cases site specific -- work.


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endoftheseason
endoftheseason
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
Look, Momus!

All your favorite topics in roughly 9.5 minutes: Scotland, Japan, and the welfare state. Who could ask for more?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bslnvltIALI&feature=PlayList&p=FEC454E538F8CE64&index=16

I imagine, however, that you gravely disapprove of the documentarian.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
Re: Look, Momus!

I enjoy the form of the television essay, and insurance is something I don't know much about. The documentarian seems unobjectionable -- I don't know what else he's done.


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guessbook.wordpress.com
guessbook.wordpress.com
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:08 am (UTC)
radar

You will enjoy! I just finished a project at Radar - Nick and his team are great (hello Nick!)
,,ant


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:22 am (UTC)
Re: radar

Ah, good to know! Hello Ant!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)

This is something of a sidetrack but I'm interested in the way that you see art as an antidote to sport and I was wondering what part you think sport plays in the world and what part it plays in your own life. I don't get the impression you are looking for balance - that sport also should to be an antidote to art - but perhaps that's because you think there is too much of an imbalance in favour of sport anyway.

When you do mention sport, you often refer to it as all about winning. I might be overstating the case but it seems you frequently draw parallels between sport and the system of capital. It seems clear that aren't much interested in it yourself, which is fine, but does sport really seem to you to be an enemy?


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lazy_leoboiko
lazy_leoboiko
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)

I don’t think he’s framing sports culture as an enemy there, but as a limited worldview to expand. That’s the way I see it, at least; I might be projecting. I don’t think sports are evil or a sin, nor — like many intellectual types who sound unknowingly platonical, puritanical, cartesian — a mark of lack of intellect. It seems clear to me, however, that sports are 100% about competition, and that most artists want their art to talk of issues that go much further than “winning”; that they want their philosophy to go deeper than the cheap “win at life” (=be successful = get rich) self-help–like advice.

Sports media often equate sports with physical exercise. Then they start to preach the virtues of sports, as if there was no other way of getting the benefits of exercise. But sports are only a *kind* of exercise. IMNSHO there are much more interesting alternatives for those of us with a naturally non-competitive temperament — dancing, yoga, parkour, traditional martial arts, hiking, backpacking, bicycle travels, urban exploring &c.

Btw, congrats to momus — it sounds like the perfect job for him.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Non Aftergold: Madonna

I always imagined that Madonna would develop into a mature and cool older woman. Sitting at a table with Bella Freud and Katherine Hamnett, discussing politics and the arts. Instead she is obsessed with showing us that she still has it - 'it' having flown through the looking glass. When not sneering like a punchdrunk groupie she is struggling to and fro with another weeun, or hypnotised by magick strings like a doolally spaniel.

The young and ambitious must ask - if that is success, why bother?


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farblust
farblust
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)

Why the 'mates' in this entry?


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)

It's part of Momus's "aw shucks" mode when blowing his own trumpet.


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)

That's my favourite of all Momus songs - I think it even kind of saved my life one night. Good to see it made its way to Youtube now.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)

what is the font in the aftergold poster? i've noticed that it seems to be used a lot by the japanese when printing english words.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)

I'm glad you picked that up! I used that font deliberately to evoke (or pastiche) a Japanese exhibition poster. In fact it's a Chinese font called SimSun, distributed by Microsoft.


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flamingturnip
flamingturnip
Deecee W.
Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)

I almost chose Loughborough University last year to do my Visual Communication degree.
I ended up going to Derby for some reason. Derby.


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