Tag Archives: art

three hilarious things I saw today

(1) My husband and I have always surmised that face wash would be very difficult to market to men (eg “X-FOLIATOR!  It will punch your face clean!”) yet, this morning, I discovered that such a product actually exists.  It is called Facial Fuel.  It comes in a blue bottle with a picture of a biplane on it.  The smell also aspires to manliness.  I expected it to have a sort of musky flavor like Old Spice or shaving cream for dudes (which is generally blue, and seldom comes in mango or passion flower scents), but it went in a surprisingly briny direction.  Because a metrosexual product like face wash cannot smell even remotely pleasant, or it might as well come in a pink bottle that reads “you are gay.”

The copy on the bottle did make sure to let me know that the contents are not “gentle” or “exfoliating” like those lady face washes; they are “energizing.”  By “energizing,” the copy means, “burns the skin slightly on contact.”  Really.  See?  This is a manly product, because its use is physically uncomfortable.

Facial Fuel made my whole morning by reminding me how hilarious all marketing is, especially when it is gendered.  If you need a good laugh in the shower, I recommend it.

(2) My husband and I stopped on the street corner, trying to figure out where we were relative to the Museum of Modern Art.  Before we could even pull up our location on our iphone, a guy stopped by and said, “hey, where are you going?”  It took us a moment to realize that he was talking to us, and another moment to understand that he was offering his help.  “Oh, um, MoMA,” my husband sputtered.  “How come it took you so long to get that out?” our new friend asked, before he gave us the directions.  He was being a spontaneous good samaritan, but he simply couldn’t do something nice without being a dick about it.  We thought his fine mélange of helpfulness and douchiness captured something essential about the New York spirit.

(3) There were two kinds of art works at the MoMA.  For one kind, the placards were unnecessary because the pieces spoke for themselves.  For the other kind, the placards made me laugh my ass off.  For example: a gigantic white canvas with a big dark blue smear on it.  The placard explained that the artist had theme parties during which he had a nude model soaked in a shade of blue paint he’d named after himself roll around on a piece of canvas.  He served blue cocktails, and congratulated himself on “not having to get his fingers dirty” to produce art.  Magnificent, no?

My favorite piece, however, was a chair covered in plates, cutlery, and leftover food glued sideways onto a wall.  The placard explained that the artist had been inspired while watching his paramour eat breakfast.  He glued her meal’s discards to the chair where she’d left them, and epoxied the whole deal up onto the wall.  That was his work for the day.  This piece is now in the Museum of Modern Art.  Tell me this guy wasn’t (a) Loki, God of Mischief (b) a marketing genius (c) a huge pain in the ass to live with.

Look for my next art installation forthcoming at the MoMA.  It will feature such pieces as “Husband’s Shirts Mixed with Concrete, Poured over Marital Bed,” “Husband Asleep with my Underwear Glued to his Face,” and my personal favorite, “Infuriated Cat Rocketing through Museum, Covered in Crisco and Flecks of Tissue Paper.”

See? I wasn't kidding about the biplane.

Indeed quite lovely

I watched this rather fascinating documentary on the French channel in my cable package called Le Crazy s’enflamme about the Parisian cabaret Le Crazy Horse.  It featured the process of putting together one of their artsy nudey shows, from the auditions for new dancers to the finished product.  The rigors these girls went through were amazing, from the relentless rehearsals to the necessary sacrifice of personal relationships.  It made me wonder why these women dedicated themselves to their dancing to the detriment of all else, almost the way nuns marry Jesus.  Why go through all of this just to become a disposable piece of unrecognizable ass to be discarded at the first signs of aging?

There was a bit of background on the cabaret, how it came about during France’s mid 20th century explosion of love for all things American.  The founder was Alain Bernardin, and he was of course banging a great number of his dancers.  He looked a bit like the French Hugh Hefner.  If there is a single visual that thoroughly embodies the patriarchy, it would be a jolly-faced older man enjoying a parade of gorgeous young duplicate women, an undifferentiated mass of nubile female flesh without end.  The individual female can’t stay long in the spotlight; the moment a laugh line or ass dimple shows up on her, she disappears.  So why would an individual female subject herself to this treatment?

In the case of Hugh Hefner’s mansion show ponies, the answers present themselves easily: a shot at fame, a comfortable life, money.  For the girls at the Crazy Horse the motivation is less obvious.  They do not get paid much (following one home, we got to see her modest apartment in the banlieue), and they will not be famous.  The whole point of the show is the multitude of perfect identical bodies, these girls do not get individual faces.  Is it just that they want to be admired?  But the audience is not admiring them, it is admiring an idea.

Perhaps it is the idea, then, that draws them.  The mythos of the place, the artistry of the shows, what it means to be one of the bodies that form The Body.  At some point in their formative years they saw in the cabaret a picture they wanted to be in, like a boy who sees a line of upright men in tidy uniforms and wants to be in the army when he grows up.  The singular desire to embody an idea drives them through the strain of their daily grind.  Certainly, they are artists.  But the simile I used two sentences ago highlights the fluidity of what the word “artist” means–are soldiers, too, artists?

Some images, for they are indeed quite lovely: