Sunday, May 27, 2007

Voyeurism, Barbarism, Scientific Genius and Self-Disgust

The only reason why I read International Guardian is for moments like this:,,2088399,00.html

Ballard has never made any secret of his adoration of Dali, an adoration, as with his declared love of Helmut Newton’s quasi-pornographic photos, offends most of our tasteful tastes (redundancy intended).* Yes, The Persistence of Memory adorned my bedroom wall when I was an anxious 16 year olf (as opposed to my anxious 35 year olf) and then, when my tastes “matured”, I decided that Dali was not where it was at (I think I went off surrealism altogether at that point, being a clever boy going all conceptual art all of a sudden), ‘tho Ruth Brandon’s Surreal Lives makes a very cogent argument that those uncouth flashy Spaniards (Bunuel and Dali) energized the surrealist movement enervated by Andre Breton’s tendency to expel anyone he thought was an addict or gay. On a similar note, the opening scene of Un chien andalou still makes me wince (and I've sat through Saw), and its too bad that no one has put together a decent showing of L’age d’or (which I saw when I was 16 and wanted to jump up and down screaming with joy…I was only weighted down by the CĂ©line I had in my jacket pocket, snarf, snarf).

I’ve already promised Patrick (not Partick) Keiller, Tim Hecker and Pan Sonic posts. How ‘bout an upcoming one on Dali? I can hear sighs of exasperation already.

* Is Newton pornographic, even quasi-pornographic? My usual understanding of pornography is that persons become objects for fantasy-use, that their pleasure is identical, indeed predicated, on mine. I am unconvinced that this is the case in Helmut Newton, although I must add that I don’t particularly admire his art. Similarly with Bruce Weber: I am reminded of Derek Jarman’s demurral over Robert Mapplethorpe - there’s nothing there to make you laugh or cry. More on Helmut Newton

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