SOCI327: 6

Relevant Media:

  • In this article, musician David Byrne discusses the tension between economy and culture in early 21st century New York.
  • The Worst Room’ was “a blog about trying to find affordable housing in New York city (and elsewhere)”.

these were not simply four younger artists, but two gay couples in a fiercely homophobic pre-Stonewall America.

  • Attempts to fashion ‘creative’ spaces from disused 19th century buildings of all kinds continue into the 2010s, and this report from Vice reveals just how blatant the ‘creatives bring gentrification’ narrative has become in London (the advice to would-be developers is “when the artists start coming, that’s when you want to get in”). The story of this very gentrification pricing out ‘creatives’, however, continues too. Nevertheless, using historic buildings to house creatives seems to continue far beyond the UK.

Cultural Guide:

The November 2009 Sotheby’s sale of Andy Warhol’s 200 One Dollar Bills (1962) stands as a major milestone in the history of not only the artist’s work at auction, but also the ever-fluctuating global market for contemporary art. Estimated to fetch between $8 million and $12 million, 200 One Dollar Bills inspired aggressive bidding that elevated the price well beyond its high estimate to a remarkable $43.8 million.

Andy Warhol’s 200 Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) is the largest single canvas of the Campbell’s Soup can paintings

  • Caravaggio’. A 1986 film about the 16th/17th century painter, directed by Derek Jarman.

Caravaggio was […] Jarman’s most ambitious attempt at cracking the mainstream market: while his special cocktail of performance art, gay erotica and technical experimentation was perhaps never destined for a mass audience, the film is arguably his most accessible and substantial achievement.

Why turn the American flag into a painting? Why turn a painting into an American flag? For [Jasper] Johns, the impulse was not just some passing fancy, a short-lived whim. On the contrary, he did so insistently, repetitively, year after year: more than ninety times in all. Yet the other two versions of 1955 do most to bring Flag itself, the catalyst of the series, clearly into view. The first is Flag Above White with Collage. Here encaustic again transforms snippets of newsprint into stars and stripes.

A time-travelling Queen Elizabeth I and occultist John Dee are our bewildered companions through late 70s punk Britain. What we see isn’t pretty – crime and disorder plague the streets and punks kill and castrate for sick kicks. […] Like the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’, [Derek Jarman’s 1978 film] Jubilee rallies against the nonsense of monarchy and the moral corruption of big business-obsessed Britain. Yet Jarman is also critical of punk. In Tony Peake’s biography he describes Jarman’s scorn at what he saw as punk’s fascination with fascism, and mocks the stupidity and petty violence of its followers.

The Last of England is Jarman’s second film diary. In Jubilee (1978) he presented a 1970s England transformed by punk rebellion. The Last of England [(1987)] offers an apocalyptic vision of the nation’s future as a homophobic and repressive totalitarian state. The country’s sickness is mirrored by the grim landscapes of East London’s still-derelict docks.

Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962. In the following four months, Warhol made more than twenty silkscreen paintings of her, all based on the same publicity photograph from the 1953 film Niagara. Warhol found in Monroe a fusion of two of his consistent themes: death and the cult of celebrity. By repeating the image, he evokes her ubiquitous presence in the media. The contrast of vivid colour with black and white, and the effect of fading in the right panel are suggestive of the star’s mortality.

Minutiae [(1954)] is the earliest and one of the largest freestanding combines that [Robert] Rauschenberg created. It was constructed for dancer Merce Cunningham‘s ballet (entitled “Minutiae” and first performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts in 1954) whose music was composed by John Cage. Both men were friends of Rauschenberg’s dating from time he – and they – spent at the legendary Black Mountain College in the late 1940s.

Monogram by Robert Rauschenberg from 1955-59. For Rauschenberg, the ordinary approach to the canvas was not enough, so by laying it on the floor and placing objects on it he created what he calls his “combines”. The base here is a collage of found objects, and an angora goat is standing on the canvas with a tyre round its middle and paint applied liberally to its face.

Th[is 1976] film was [Derek] Jarman’s first feature (co-directed with Paul Humfress), produced on a very small budget, and filmed on the coast of Sardinia. Brian Eno provided the music, and Lindsay Kemp has a memorable cameo appearance in the opening scene. The events which lead to the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (Sebastianus) are dramatised from the point of view of a group of Roman soldiers who have Sebastianus among their company. The film is notable for its all-Latin dialogue.

One of the most distinctive songs on the first Velvet Underground album, “Venus in Furs” is a haunting, ethereal viola-led paean to S & M, powered by funeral drums and Lou Reed‘s most sneeringly disinterested monotone — even weird sex has seldom sounded so cold and calculated although, as guitarist Sterling Morrison pointed out, “musically it’s so shocking, it could have been about anything. That’s what frightened people.” Reed himself continued, “the prosaic truth about “Venus in Furs” is that I’d just read this book by Sacher-Masoch, and I thought it would make a great song title, so I had to write a song to go with it.”