Cobb readers may recall that I used to have a running argument with Sprite about what art is and is not. She's not Sprite any longer, she's Gremmie and we no longer have that argument. It has not been resolved to anyone's satisfaction and neither of us care enough to engage it. Whatever catches the eye is pleasing enough.
I have begun to wonder if any artist captures the spirit of the times and I've made an attempt here, and will continue, to use visual art to reflect some aspect of this literary creation. People always have time to look, but seldom have time to read and rarely have time to study. So I imagine lots of people do what Gremmie and I do, which is agree not to disagree but to say 'whatever' to the question of art.
There's an artist for that. His name is Mr. Brainwash. I just watched the documentary about him. It was good.
My opinion of MBW is that he is a pop artist who is the kind of success that The Simpsons are. You cannot really compare The Simpsons to I Love Lucy although both are sitcoms. The Simpsons aren't people, they're cartoons. MBW's creations aren't creations, they're icons. They are so two dimensional that they're almost one dimensional. They lack drama. And I've seen enough of the man who created them to understand what his creations are meant to inspire, which is nothing but the sensation of having consumed art. It's like going to see a movie. Even his irony is flat.
There is a point in the film in which those artists who served as the inspiration for Mr. Brainwash, or worked for him - I can't remember which - wondered if everything he created was a big joke and if so who the joke was on. Nobody could tell, which illustrates the spontaneous meaning of the entire production. It's a production, and it will mean something finally when enough people react to it. The point is not to invest meaning or design into the production, but to arrange it in such a way that becomes a self-fulfilling thing. A curiosity which finally means nothing more than the fact that it made you curious. Like jingling keys above a baby.
The emotional weight of the film is found in the speechless energy that characterizes afficionadoes of production as art. Half the significance, if not all of the significance of street art is that it is illegal and ubiquitous. Any old pique will do, but the point is not to draw your attention to the craft so much as to draw your attention to the fact that there is great risk in producing subversion time and time again. There is no solution, no comtemplation of the art that gets you anywhere. You are merely to be stammered by the sheer perversity of it, by the fact that it slaps authority in the face, that the artist is on the run.
That's about it. Here is how a subversive operates. He is all instinct and no intellect. He has no plan other than to be famous through his productions which are immediately void of meaning, and yet significant to some fragment of that short attention span society. The more you see of it, the less you expect, until finally you are insulted.