Sunday, November 19, 2006

Unicorns and Alt. Weeklies

My pal Bert Stabler has a piece in the Chicago Reader in part about the connections between Fort Thunder-style comics productions and contemporary art. Here's the opening paragraph:

"Sometimes it seems that fine artists do little these days but rehash the tropes of midcentury minimalist, pop, and conceptual artists, who gazed into the void with an emotionless mix of nihilistic irony and pseudo-Zen austerity. But scenesters, and attentive shoppers at Urban Outfitters, know that the aughts have been blessed with a refreshingly romantic interest in pagan subjects and iconography, often expressed with preschoolish brio: imagine an orgy in a forest with bearded unicorns sporting magic fanny packs. This work is often written off, owing perhaps to its greater visibility as a fashion statement than an academically validated movement. But "Explore Your World," a show of "narrative" paintings by nine artists at the brand-new gallery Roots & Culture, reveals the hopeful directions this self-conscious space-hippie art can take."

You can read the whole thing here.


Luke P. said...

Megan Kelso had nothing to do with Fort Thunder stuff.
She was making comics in Seattle during that early-to-mid nineties ( a horrible period in alt. comics, I think) that included David Lasky, Ed Brubaker and Jon Lewis ( whose TRUE SWAMP is quite good). I can see some parallels between the two camps, but two camps they remain.
I've sort of gone past this whole mystical Joanna Newsom deal, myself. It's just not interesting to me anymore, partly because it seems like every hipster art kid with a pencil who doesn't have a solid sense of identity, or any overt personal vision is doing this kind of thing.
And I understand why, I think; a reaction against a scientific worldview, an atavistic return to some kind of 'natural' life.It's fun to do.It's "organic" ( i.e, no real thought required..) But, as it stands , it's just feel-goodism, which is boring and bound for things like t-shirts and gig-posters. Nothing wrong with that, just don't attach it to the real deals..
The originals , Brinkman in particular, remain at the top of the charts, in my book.

Luke P. said...

I don't mean to sound snide. Sorry. I like lots of that kind of stuff, but once I try to intellectualize it, it sours.