Saturday, July 17, 2010

What is Art for Art Handlers?

Here in Baltimore, I have many musician friends who work at an art-moving company. You see, the founders of Bonzai, Inc, wrote into their mission statement, that it will be a company for young, hip people, who are in bands or musicians, to have a job like going on tour, but make some money as professionals.

I think this is a positive effect, giving many of my friends a working community, and also some money too. And the case-building at Bonzai is wonderful- they employ a whole crew of Buddhist, or let's say trans-Buddhist Laotians to build crates for art, for museums all along the eastern seabord and well into the heartland.

My bandmate Carson has derived much inspiration from being on the road delivering art for long hauls with a "reefer unit truck". Some art has to be refrigerated...

Thus Carson has introduced into his music some of the "behind the scenes", "trans-art", or put best, "Art for Art Handlers". He talks about the hermetic "reefer units" which preserve an even temperature, humidity, and aesthetic. He also rubs up against trucker-culture via the CB radio installed in the cab.

Turns out there's a lot of this meta-art out there. See Bret McCabe's City Paper review of Franz West at the BMA, which I turn to as what started all of this. Thanks to Bret McCabe, and some good photos in the City Paper, I was able to stay at home and still enjoy the exhibit. I didn't even go there!

That's a testament to the quality of the meta-content of the exhibit as well as the writing. BTW one of the abstract goal-questions of our band, Sejayno, is to find out what it means to "go on tour without moving".

Back to Franz West. I did manage to see the packaging for his exhibit. I remember looking in the BMA dumpster and marveling at how intricate the Bonzai Crate was for one of Franz West's pieces, super-padded, like it was a precious crown. And guess what, the piece itself was made out of spray-foam and sticks!

Even more, you'll not that these Objets D'art were allowed to be swung around or held by any visitor at the exhibit, almost encouraging destruction, or let's say "highlighting potential for destruction"... Oppositely, the Bonzai Crate is "highlighting a preservation, hermetically", and Franz West made a sort of self-deprecating joke that only Bonzai delivery-men can truly understand, as they grunt to move this huge protective crate!

Another, more recent exhibition at the BMA, features Sondheim candidate, Leah Cooper, and I quote Bret McCabe, in reviewing her work:

"You imagine that the BMA's own gallery installation team members might find Cooper's work here the most intriguing, as they're people who have to rethink how to use this gallery each and every time they install an exhibition."

Now this is the definition of Art for Art Handlers! BTW I hear that the Bonzai men, in some of the more dandy installations they participate in, actually wear white gloves!

A related topic is "Security Systems Aesthetics". If you walk around the back of the BMA, you will see a different kind of sculpture from that in the sculpture garden. First of all, on your way around, you will notice a huge gold bar encased in show-windows at the "staff entrance". This symbolizes:

"we own the gold; like the ancient goldsmiths who became our modern bankers, we keep it secure, but because we are an art museum, we encase everything in show-glass and present it for the modern stare. this art is for our employees to subtly perceive our secret message"


Also note in the picture, that the gold bar resembles a lingum, the sacred stone penis-monolith worshipped by followers of Shiva. Carson, the Bonzai, Inc, initiate I spoke of earlier, points out that it is a golden lingum to represent the masculine sun-aspect of the temple. And the modern wing of the BMA is our art-temple. The new architects use glass and aluminum skins where the ancient initiates used stone and wood.

Now on the back of the museum, you will notice that likewise, the various services are all encased in a Damien Hirst-esque industrial art glass enclosure. Including the AC units on the top of the castle!


This is "Security Art", and it presents a different message from Franz West's playfulness. It portends serious danger- sharks- to any robber who tries to steal the gold via AC ducts.




Often-times, I dream about finding new subterranean structures, usually accessed from my basement. I keep on finding new ballrooms beneath the Bentalou workshop, and once, I found a whole cathedral outside my mom's basement!

I have been so inspired by such unknown, subterranean, or subconscious meta-aesthetics, to try to ask how can I design Art for Art Handler's into my musical performances. The deerhorn devices already incorporate a lot of meta-physics, including the secret German language for deerhunters "Jagersprache". Also, they are intended to be highly portable things, because they use radio fields, invisible and weightless, to create sound. Thus there are many puns and meta-magix to be explored in their construction:


deerhorn symbol, hanging deerhorn tapestry, deerhorn cabinet with deerhorn handle. The deerhorn handle is a joke on Art for Art Handler's, it is Art for Musical Instrument Handlers!

I had to include this one. I love kids, they are so playful. And they get everything I talk about. Here we are doing a group gesture, called "Children's Proletariat Denouncing the Radio Fields"


This is a Deerhorn tapestry that I took to Germany, Belgium, and Netherlands, last year. This installation is back in Baltimore, after the tour, and you can see the instrument has accumulated a lot of papersz, sketches, i even put the train tickets up on the wall. it's like an art handler on a music trip, working with preserving "documenta". This one is making sound, it has theta-wave analyzers, and it's the same one I used for Deerhorn Bluegill New Jersey , as seen in the youtube video.

The original Deerhorn Installation, at the American Visionary Art Museum. This was the first time anything was exhibited in the basement, between two bathrooms (besides the photo booth and water fountain). It's actually a quite nice space acoustically, hard concrete walls that reflect back quite a bit through a winding corridor. And the potential for Fart for Musical Instrument Handlers has a highlighted effect, as if associating the Neon Green and Mauve tapestry to Bathroom sounds: flush, soap pump, towel tusseling, lip flick.


Finale Facet:

The Masterwork of Art for Art Handlers. Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo make a great simulated sex-scene as long as "They Live"'s fight scene. She pours vodka on his head to piss him off into more boning! "rich masculine boner". We won't talk about the original, 60s, Steve McQueen version, because he's robbing a bank there.

No, in the remake, they are stealing art! from the MOMA! Well rather, a team of Romanians is spoofed as they try and fail a high-tech heist. While they are doomed to being tasered, Pierce "pierces" the gallery and slickly pops an impressionist in a special "bendycase". Amazing. The briefcase actually bends the painting, like Steven Hawking!

If you have not seen this, pay attention to the "piercing" phase of the heist. He has managed to implant a briefcase under the bench, that not only can magically bend a painting, but it also has a precision heater built in, to fool the infrared cameras in the gallery. Only in movies.

I originally got into this movie by hearing the key song, Michel Legrands "Windmills of your Mind", done by Sting on the Bassman, cool jazz radio station. It has since inspired my computer programming very much with it's lyrics "round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel", because I am currently working with such trigonometries. It's about the boners seeming to have a peaceful appearance, being able to fool even the police (but not the chick), but on the inside he's spiraling out of control. See the muppets version of the song on that youtube playlist.

So, this movie's got it all. It makes me want to become a conceptual performer, and go into the BMA christmas staff dinner and announce:

"Hello, my name is Peter B, you may know me.

I just want to say, there is an art piece, where we do what Pierce Brosnan did in 'Thomas Crowne Affair'. This 'art-piece', relates to Security Aesthetics as well as Art for Art Handlers. It is an intricate stunt designed to create a wonderful spectacle. And wonderful music with captivating lyrics: like a circle in a spiral ...

Baltimore is inspiring because of the sense of bio-dynamicism developing here, and the idea of fairness as exhibited in our public farmers' markets. We're not gonna do it like they do it in the movies, stealing; rather, we're going to take the art and replace it with a trade for something just as good- a wonderful spectacle and wonderful music. This is called being fair.

Now I know certain security members, like HAL9000, would short circuit if they knew that we were breaking their mission. So I ask you to come to me so we can work out a way to bend their mission, like Pierce Brosnan's 'bendycase', and let's do this 'art-piece'!"

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