Image: from Part One of Partially Buried in Three Parts, by Renee Green, courtesy Renee Green
"'History is thorough, and passes through many stages when she carries a worn-out form to burial. The last stage of a world-historical form is its comedy. The gods of Greece, who had already been mortally wounded in the Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus, had to yet die again--this time a comic death--in the dialogues of Lucian. Why does history follow this course? So that mankind may take leave of its past gaily.' Karl Marx Der historiche Materialismus: Die Fruhschriften, ed. Landshut and Mayer (Leipzig), vol. 1, pp. 268 ("Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie"). Surrealism is the death of the nineteenth century in comedy." Walter Benjamin. Arcades Project. [N5, a2] trans. Eiland, Howard and McLaughlin, Kevin, 1999.
Bob Dylan is the death of Marxism as comedy.
"But you see, the Dadaists, they're setting up their own religion. They think that everything's corrupted by commercialism and industry and bourgeois attitudes. I think it's time that we realize that there's no point in trying to transcend those realms. Industry, commercialism and the bourgeois are very much with us. This whole notion of trying to form a cult that transcends all this strikes me as a kind of religion-in-drag, you might say. I'm just bored with it, frankly. I think it's a desperate attempt. And then they try to transcend their own movements and all this sort of thing. So there's this kind of latent spiritualism at work in just about all of modernism. Each sect is claiming a higher transcendence, and they're all warring with each other in some sort of world. The art world is a world alienated from the larger world because it disdains its own work. There's this guilt even about being an artist. At the bottom, I see Duchamp basically as a kind of priest of a certain sort, who's turning urinals into baptismal fonts... "
"Communism doesn't interest me. Eventually China will become bourgeois."
--Robert Smithson in conversation with Moira Roth, 1973
Roth, Moira. "An Interview with Robert Smithson." Robert Smithson. Eds. Butler, Cornelia and Tsai, Eugenie. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004.
Posted by Madison Brookshire at 11:59 AM
Click to access Renee Green's sprawling thought map, Code: Survey, created for the CalTrans District 7 headquarters in Los Angeles.
Green's work includes the incredible and encyclopedic Import/Export Funk Office, currently on view at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Bennett Simpson, an Associate Curator at MOCA, discusses the Funk Office here.
Posted by Madison Brookshire at 3:26 PM