Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Barrie Antoinette: “Let Them Eat Catfood…”

L'Ancien Régime. "Let them eat catfood."

"Life Among the Nobililty: The Swing" by Gregonard...

Well, Barrie Antoinette–excuse me, President Barry Obama, delivered his proposal for a budget and yes, indeed-y, there was the much hated-by-the-constituency-but-loved-by-Wall-Street “chained CPI”. According to one writer, Barry has called the Republican bluff–they have said they will brook no tax increases unless something is done about “entitlements”–you know, the money you’re entitled to because, well, you GAVE it to the Fed to invest throughout your working career! Well, the Prez has proposed chained CPI–the cost of living mal-adjustment that assumes that if you can’t afford steak, you’ll buy chicken and everything is still jake. Or if you can’t afford Chicken of the Sea, you’ll buy canned skipjack mackerel. And if you can’t afford canned mackerel, you’ll just go to Friskies.

The theory is that the Republicans will be so scared of losing their seats that they will do anything to avoid agreeing to this proposal. Except for one thing–who’s REALLY gonna get the blame for this? Why, the guy who proposed it, of course. President Obama. You know, the guy who DOESN’T HAVE TO RUN FOR ELECTION AGAIN?

Why all this “save Social Security” nonsense when it is solvent for the next 30 years? Why all this “entitlement reform” bullshit when Social Security has nothing to do with the budget? For that, we have to go back eight years (and actually more) to when President BUSH proposed “privatizing Social Security.” That’s right, this one has a long history–and the reason for privatizing SS was? So the money boys, the banks, the oligarchy, the plutocracy, could get their hands on that money and drain it from our senior citizens faster than any drug addict by stealing your Grandma’s Social Security check.

But wait–how does the chained CPI do THAT? Remember back then–the seniors, the AARP, everybody and their brother decided that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was good enough to keep them going so please do not do us the favor of letting us make bad investments, please. So the money boys–whom Barack Obama is as beholden to as any Republican, any blue dog Democrat, hell, almost every “progressive” Democrat as well–said to themselves, “If the COLA is good enough, then let’s screw the COLA. Then they’ll be clamoring to let us invest the money for them.”

And that, kiddies, is how the sky turned blue. So remember, when Grandma, when Ma and Pa, when YOU start having to eat catfood, it wasn’t just Congress, it wasn’t just Obama…

It was the banks, too big to fail, too big to jail, who wanted your money.

“Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé!”

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Hey, Wall Street, We’re Fed Up With Your Bull!

The Wall Street Bull drops a load on America as the NYPD line up to protect the bankers and brokers from peaceful protesters.

Errrr, not exactly trickle down is it?

Well, I’m more or less recovered from InterventionCon over the weekend. Thanks to Onezumi Hartstein and James Harknell for their work in creating this fun convention. Shoutouts to Ari Pramagioulis of Success Communications Group, Murder Nurse, Moxie Cat and all the other great people of Cosplay Burlesque. Congratulations Mookie, creator of Dominic Deegan on your impending doom, err, I mean marriage. Fellow artists Elaine Corvidae of Rivensol, Jennie Breeden of the Devils Panties, the gang at Interrobang Studios, my next table neighbors from Singed Cat and other studios. Good luck to First Law of Mad Science and Ninjas versus Vampires. Hi Andi from a table whose weblink I can’t find. And thanks to all the people who attended and especially those of you who bought something from me!

Now, back to business. I thought I might do something about the incredibly tacky game show beauty pageant known as the second Republican Debate last week with Wolf Blitzer seemingly oblivious to his role as successor to Bert Parks (There they are–the next US Presidents!) Bob Barker or Monty Hall. Was that a debate? Then I thought, oooooooo the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a much more IMPORTANT thing to celebrate. Darn, we finally will let patriotic Americans fight for their country without prying into their private lives! But then something that seemed to be slipping through the cracks came to my attention. SOMEONE FINALLY decided to protest against WALL STREET.

Due to getting ready for three conventions on three successive weekends, plus the disaster of the basement deluge (not to mention the death of my printer), the knowledge of the existence of OCCUPY WALL STREET seems to have slipped past me. As well as most of the mainstream news! As anyone with any common sense has realized, Wall Street went through a recovery after the banking bailout, but Main Street never did. That’s because Wall Street has usurped the reins of power in the United States and the common people no longer have a voice. President Obama promised to be a force for change, but his moneyed advisors led him by the nose to ignore the plight of the people. The Republican Party fights tooth and nail to protect each and every dollar of them, their true constituency, calling tax hikes on the luckiest of us “class warfare” when the REAL class warfare has been waged on the American middle-class since the days of plaster saint Ronald Reagan. The Democrats are little better, since our endless campaign season requires them to be funded by the money boys. Too long have the media paid attention to the faux populism of the Tea Party which is more intent on punishing their neighbors for a crust of bread than taking it from the bankers who have repossessed the bakery!

I am not anti-capitalist. Bankers and brokers–like the bacteria that live in the body and are necessary to digestion–they are a good thing when regulated. They provide the grease that the wheels of commerce need to turn. But when unregulated they turn into a cancer that sucks the life from the body, from the hearts and minds and hands of the American people. And that’s where we are today, and we’re dragging the rest of the world down with us. It’s about time to stop, to re-regulate commerce, to prosecute the miscreants for the crimes they have committed, to return power to the “little people” like you and me. Whether or not you agree with me, I urge you all to watch what is happening on the streets of New York.

But you might have to really look for it–it ain’t making front page. The money boys don’t want it there.

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Adobe to Add Artificial Intelligence to Photoshop

AFTER SEEING WHAT RALPH LAUREN DOES WITH IT, WE FIGURED WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING!

A catwalk model walks down the runway, turns sideways and partially disappears, only to reappear when she walks back.

Ralph Lauren's Preferred Model

(SNN) SAN JOSE, CA–Adobe Systems announced today that the next version of Photoshop would include an artificial intelligence (AI) capability. A spokesman explained, “We originally designed Photoshop to include a vast range of capabilities so as to allow the creativity of artists unfettered expression of their visions. Recently, however, we have discovered that some artists have used these capabilities for extraordinary tastelessness, particularly in the area of fashion modeling. Consequently, we are adding an AI engine to moderate the use of some of Photoshop’s functions, for example, in fractional horizontal scaling. It will operate something on the order of Microsoft’s Nanny messages. When PS detects that a female model is being scaled to a sub-anorexic image, the AI will activate and ask the designer, ‘Are you sure?’”
Ralph Lauren recently made the news by photoshopping a model to resemble a lollipop with clothes. The model, Filippa Hamilton, a size 4, earned Lauren’s ire for being too fat in his estimation and was fired. Lauren’s insistence on wire shaped models has not been limited to the realm of photography, but includes his runway models as well. In a related incident, another model, Ima Throwuppamylunch, whom Lauren was grooming as his next supermodel, fell through a dimensional portal when she turned sideways too fast on a catwalk and disappeared from three-dimensional space. Physicists have been trying to pull her back from the two-dimensional void, but efforts have proved fruitless since the model does not have enough mass for three-dimensional instruments to take hold. The Organization for Normal Sized Women, known by its slogan “Size Ten and Proud” (STAP) issued the following statement: “Women have been subjected to more and more unrealistic expectations about their bodies to an unprecedented degree by designers. When men and women both realize that the Barbie doll represents a ridiculous caricature of the female physique, perhaps horrible tragedies like this last incident can be avoided.”
A Mattel spokesman countered: “Barbie would never fall into a dimensional void–her boobs are too big.”


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Oh, yeah, I forgot–I DID use that picture and then deleted it from my Hard Drive

The Celebrated AP-Disputed Obama HOPE Poster by Shepard Fairey

The Celebrated AP-Disputed Obama HOPE Poster by Shepard Fairey

Caricature of Shepard Fairey in the style of his Obama HOPE Poster

The Not-so-celebrated Shepard Fairey DOPE Cartoon by Greg Uchrin

AN INTERVIEW WITH D. LeTANTE, DESIGNER OF THE MONA LISA

I recently had the opportunity of visiting the studio of M. D. LeTante, the celebrated graphics artist and music sampler. While I was there, he unveiled for me his latest work, The Mona Lisa, a poster of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa in situ at the Louvre, in a limited graphics palette, underlined in big letters with the word, “REPRODUCE.” I took the opportunity of interviewing him for this journal.
The Mona Lisa is your boldest work yet.
Thank you.
May I ask if the word “Reproduce” is a reference to the copy of the Mona Lisa in your work?
Oh heavens no–in the first place, this is not a copy of the Mona Lisa–that would take HOURS–no, this is a photograph I took when I was in Paris for my senior year of high school.
I didn’t think they allowed photographs.
No, they kicked me out (laughs).
You worked from a photograph, then?
Yes, I scanned it into Photoshop and posterized it and smoothed it. With the addition of the word REPRODUCE it took less than 10 minutes. I never do anything that takes longer because I want to maintain the spontaneity of creation.
I understand, nothing kills spontaneity like disciplined concentration.
Yes, discipline kills inspiration. But to go on with your question: nor is it a copy in an artistic or philosophical sense. My poster is more of a re-contextulization and re-conceptualization of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Have you ever read Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote? Pierre Menard has decided to write Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He buries himself in studying Cervantes’ sources and his period so that he can compose the Quixote, matching Cervantes’ work word for word. It is an amazing work, so much richer than the original. Cervantes’ work was superficial, grounded in his own time, but Menard’s had so much more depth because it was written in the 20th century. Similarly, my version of the Mona Lisa is grounded in the 21st century, looking back at the Renaissance. It makes a completely different statement in a Foucaultian context. One is forced to ask, what is this woman smiling at? And why is she smiling at all, while we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the world is being destroyed by global warming?
Then what is the meaning of the word REPRODUCE?
Exactly what it says–a command to be fruitful and multiply so we may satisfy the maw of our corporate overlords, like the humans in John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE satisfied the needs of the aliens who ruled the world. I’m thinking of doing a series on the concept.
Oh? What would you call it?
I think, “REPRODUCTIONS”.
Shepard Fairey was impressed with THEY LIVE as well–he did a series of works on the command OBEY as used in the movie.
Yes, we used to skateboard together. As a matter of fact, he’s the reason I decided to concentrate on re-sampling public domain works…that bad business with the Obama HOPE poster.
But Shepard was always a bit lax about attributions and things like that.
Yes. As a friend of Shepard Fairey, do you have any insights into that?
I think so. I have no doubt that Shepard was using the larger photo of Obama with George Clooney. After all, taking only a portion of that photograph would put him well within the restrictions of fair use. When he cropped it, like Pierre Menard and the Quixote, he managed to reproduce the precise cropping that AP used to release a second version of that photograph. Naturally, when he found that other photograph on his hard drive, he realized that in this cynical world, no one would believe that he independently made the same judgement as some anonymous AP editor, so he had no choice but to erase it from his computer.
He did say that he lied and deliberately destroyed the evidence by erasing it.
See what I mean? He had to confess since no one would believe otherwise.
But you do agree that AP is behaving like a stultifying corporate giant in insisting on its intellectual property? After all, the photographer said he couldn’t imagine anything better than his photograph being used to help Obama’s election.
Oh, of course! But I do have a little quibble from the point of view of an artist. Supposing someone comes along and sees my masterpiece, The Mona Lisa. What’s to stop him from appropriating it and using it in his own artwork. That is so inappropriate. I mean, what are MY rights with regard to my own work? Mannie Garcia can be noble because his work was used in a noble cause, but I’m planning on selling my limited edition on eBay at 500 dollars a print. I need to have that protected. Shep would agree–look how he jumps on people who copy HIS work.

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Notice how the artist picked just the perfect shades of gray to evoke an overwhelming sense of grayness…

George Dymme discovers that two missing Marden paintings are actually in use as dividers for his office cubicle.

Mr. Dymme was unaware his cubicle was so artistically favored.

I suppose at least some of you have heard about the $3 million painting that was destroyed by Lufthansa who is now being sued by the gallery which was handling it. But have you noticed, nobody’s printed a photo of said $3 million work of art? We get a description, two panels in two shades of gray. Let me translate that for you. One panel is ALL one shade of gray. The other panel is all THE OTHER shade of gray. Yup, that’s it. Two panels, two colors, no waiting. It’s called, in a title that’s neither French nor English, “Au Center”. I understand that the artist eschewed the usual Winsor and Newton oils and sable brush for two cans of Sherwin-Williams and a roller. “Marden’s ‘Au Center’ came loose in its travel frame while being transported last year, resulting in ‘a significant amount of paint loss’ and the destruction of the painting, said Eliot Greenberg, a lawyer for Gagosian Gallery in New York.” He should have used two coats.
Lest anyone think I’m kidding, here are a couple of other Marden paintings from the same period:
Grove Group I
Untitled
Annunciation Study I
For Pearl
These are all from his early period, when his paintings consisted of, well, big rectangles of color. In his later work, he advanced to squiggles. A New Yorker critic, who seems to have been afflicted by attending too many New York gallery openings, called Marden “the most profound abstract painter of the last four decades.” You’ve GOT to read this article, just to get a load of the incredible critical hyperbole which says more about the critic’s imagination than what’s on the canvas. What is profound about these paintings is not their significance, is not their technique, is not their insight, but the depth of the con that has been perpetrated. Are these paintings or are they just paint on canvas? Is this art or interior decorating? Works like these are the Bernie Maddof hedge funds of the art world. Just as the only value to Bernie’s investments was his name, the only thing that distinguishes these colored panels from the living room walls is the artist’s name in the corner. $3 million dollars for two canvases of flat gray! Lord God a’mighty, I’m in the wrong business! I’m gonna hie me down to the local art store for some canvas and then to Home Depot for some gloss enamel! But I’m not gonna sign it with MY name–that wouldn’t be worth a nickel. I’m gonna sign Brice Marden and make a bundle!

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