Artaudfarting and sweating
"we are all connected"
Notes that later on I will look at and they mean nothing to me, like Joan Didion writes in her essay 'Keeping a Notebook."
I am so porous that the other night John was at the Brown elit conference and I was home alone and I had watched all the episodes of the first season of the Good Wife (I love the actress in it, how stone-faced she is, she has like a Noh mask of sorrow) so I resubscribed to Netflix to be able to watch a film for free on my laptop but I only wanted "romantic comedies" because I am so porous when I'm working that I feel I shouldn't stimulate myself, so I watched Broadcast News, and I was writing about Duras and the grotesque and emotions, and Broadcast News wove into my essay.
But it is a wonderful thing when you are feeling porous and you see art and it actually really works with what you're thinking about. For the essay collection I have a chapter called "Their policeman was named Deleuze" and/or "They Wear the Red Garb of Criminals" (both about the Papin sisters, one a fact, that their policeman was named Deleuze, which I think is great, and the other a line from Genet's The Maids, which is about the Papin sisters, and the chapter or chapters (because one chapter is giving birth to another chapter lately) is about the notion of the female criminal and violence, and the grotesque, and then kind of going into this concept of the girl and the abject and whether the abject female body can be a body w/o organs, and the Papin sisters play a role both because the Surrealists and Lacan were obsessed with them as the model of the female criminal, but also because of reports that they were allegedly on their period when they murdered their boss and her daughter). But anyway. I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland with my new friend Chris and John, and there were two shows that really fed into these ideas, the Marilyn Minter show, which I went for, and then the work of this female video artist which was amazing, which I hope to write about for the book.
First, Marilyn Minter.
this is a still from a photograph from her Orange Crush series, which there were a few of and then there was the big Orange Crush painting. These fleshy tongues slurping up silver cake toppings that look like beads and saliva onto a lens. Gorgeous and quite gross, and also really reminds me of the cover of the Gurlesque anthology (I believe Kate Durbin made this connection before), and I think will tie into my consideration of poetry/prose that writes about a sort of wrong or weird or repulsive femininity. The catalogue quotes Minter as saying her work is about "the moment when everything goes wrong, it's when the model sweats. There's lipstick on the teeth, and the makeup's running. I think I'm trying to make a picture of that constant failure: armpits with hair growing out of them, sweat running into the eyes, eyelashes that clump together because of too much mascara."
This reminds me of Dodie Bellamy's piece "Girl Body," the young girl in the mirror with the chubby hand putting on mascara badly it pools in her eyes.
She’ll be too lazy to wash her face that night, her mouth open snoring and drooling on the olive green pillowcase, black mascara grit pooling in the corner of her eye, the other girl in the bed is all mouth and fingers sucking her budding tit lifting the hem of her flannel nightgown streetlight from the alley graining the darkness she pretends she’s still sleeping, the expressway at the end of the block roars unceasingly like a ocean she thinks but she’s never seen an ocean.
Is this an example of the Gurlesque? I don't know (precursor to Gurlesque? pre-Gurlesque?). Dodie Bellamy has been writing about the ickiness and ooziness of femininity for a while, what it means to be a woman, a bad woman, I am also reminded of Chris Kraus in her essay collection Video Green stopping at the make-up counter to buy MAC makeup to look feminine for her date and then putting it clumsily on. When I did the Red Rover reading series in Chicago afterwards Jen Karmin who was the co-curator asked me, "Are you...Gurlesque?" And I said "Umm...I don't...think so. I don't know."
Also Minter's images remind me of Kate Durbin's Ravenous Audience, her Breillat poems, especially her one on Fat Girl "Fat lips. Fat clit. Red, red spread ever." and especially Ariana Reines' The Cow, the woman as mouth to suck, the woman good at sucking, fucking, a piece of hanging meat, "Fleshy pink hood over those long lips."
Also they had the video Green Pink Caviar, which was more of the same, but the motion slurping repetitive really was wonderful, so pornlike, hypnotic, a tongue lapping up morphing into these different textures/colors, a neon-orange pink, bluish-gray, greengoo with red lips, gold glitter, I thought as I looked at the tongue lapping that Marilyn Minter used a model from her fashion shoots to make this video, on the off time, so thinking of this model probably quite slender lapping up sugary cake decorations mixed in saliva, that added this other level to it. And thinking of how I read Guyotat the night before, and all of the bodily fluids in Guyotat, the excrement and semen.
While watching this silent video there was sound from the other room that sounded either like murder or rough sex, which took me back to Eden Eden Eden again. In the room there was a series of short video loops expertly timed quite rhythmic by the video artist Aida Ruilova. She appropriates from B horror films and 1970s vampire flicks in these mini-scenes always on the point of suspension, often featuring her playing "the girl," which also links to me what Ariana is doing in The Cow, which I think James Pate has written about in his essay on the political grotesque in Exoskeleton, this appropriation of horror films, Linda Blair in The Exorcist. The videos by Ruilova were very claustrophobic goth, reminding me of Yellow Wallpaper and Maya Deren's Meshes in the Afternoon, sounds emitting throughout the dark room, grunts groans furtive feral. In one video loop I especially liked Ruilova is quoting Francis Bacon's Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, a woman faceless wearing a fur coat opens wide the mouth of a man sitting on his chair. Also a video starring Ruilova and the French vampire film director Jean Rollin, cutting images and scenes from his film The Fascination with video of Ruilova dressed in a white miniskirt closing the eyes of Rollin playing a dead man and then starting to fuck him.