the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Archive for August, 2010

quotes: becoming-man

Posted by rigorousm on August 21, 2010

[Most Female Chauvinist Pigs] want to be like men, and prfoess to disdain women who are overly focused on the appearance of femininity. But men seem to like those women, those girly-girls, or like to look at them, at least. So to really be like men, FCPs have to enjoy looking at those women, too. At them same time, they wouldn’t mind being looked at a little bit themselves. The task then is to simultaneously show that you are not the same as the girly-girls in the videos and the Victoria’s Secret catalogs, but that you approve of men’s appreciation for them, and that possibly you too have some of that same sexy energy and underwear underneath all your aggression and wit. A passion for raunch covers all the bases.

– Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, p. 99.


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quotes: on looking and seeing

Posted by rigorousm on August 19, 2010

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America. We drove twenty-two miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the signs started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site… We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides — pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stooed near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn…. We’re not here to capture an image. We’re here to maintain one. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies.”

There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

“Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. This literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism. … They are taking pictures of taking pictures,” he said.

Don DeLillo, White Noise, pp. 12-13.

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quotes: the performing-girl

Posted by rigorousm on August 15, 2010

The ostensible, in Kate, struck him altogether, on this occasion, as prodigious….

That was the story–that she was always, for her beneficent dragon, under arms; living up, every our, but especially at festal hours, to the “value” Mrs. Lowder had attached to her. High and fixed, this estimate ruled on each occasion at Lancaster Gate the social scene; so that he now recognised in it something like the artistic idea, the plastic substance, imposed by tradition, by genius, by criticism, in respect to a given character, on a distinguished actress. As such a person was to dress the part, to walk, to look, to speak, in every way to express, the part, so all this was what Kate was to do for the character she had undertaken, under her aunt’s roof, to represent. It was made up, the character, of definite elements and touches–things all perfectly ponderable to criticism; and the way for her to meet criticism was evidently at the start to be sure her make-up had had the last touch and that she looked at least no worse than usual. Aunt Maud’s appreciation of that to-night was indeed managerial, and the performer’s own contribution fairly that of the faultless soldier on parade. Densher saw himself for the moment as in his purchased stall at the play; the watchful manager was in the depths of a box and the poor actress in the glare of the footlights. But she PASSED, the poor performer–he could see how she always passed; her wig, her paint, her jewels, every mark of her expression impeccable, and her entrance accordingly greeted with the proper round of applause. Such impressions as we thus note for Densher come and go, it must be granted, in very much less time than notation demands; but we may none the less make the point that there was, still further, time among them for him to feel almost too scared to take part in the ovation. He struck himself as having lost, for the minute, his presence of mind–so that in any case he only stared in silence at the older woman’s technical challenge and at the younger one’s disciplined face. It was as if the drama–it thus came to him, for the fact of a drama there was no blinking–was between THEM, them quite preponderantly; with Merton Densher relegated to mere spectatorship, a paying place in front, and one of the most expensive.

— Henry James, Wings of the Dove, Book Sixth, Chapter 3.

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quotes: lukacs on form

Posted by rigorousm on August 15, 2010

The essence of art is form: it is to defeat oppositions, to ocnquer opposing forces, to create coherence from every centrifugal force, from all things that have been deeply and eternally alien to one another before and outside this form. The creation of form is the last judgment over things, a last judgment that redeems all that could be redeemed, that enforces salvation on all things with divine force.

– Georg Lukacs

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quote: mann on youth, ideals

Posted by rigorousm on August 10, 2010

Strange regions there are, strange minds, strange realms of the spirit, lofty and spare. At the edge of large cities, where street lamps are scarce and policemen walk by twos, are houses where you mount til you can mount no further, up and up into attics under the roof, where pale young geniuses, criminals of the dream, sit with folded arms and brood; up into cheap studios with symbolic decorations, where solitary and rebellious artists, inwardly consumed, hungry and proud, wrestle in a fog of cigarette smoke with devastatingly ultimate ideals. Here is the end: ice, chastity, null. Here is valid no compromise, no concession, no half-way, no consideration of values. Here the air is so rarefied that the mirages of life no longer exist. Here reign defiance and iron consistency, the ego supreme amid despair; here freedom, madness, and death hold sway.

—  Thomas Mann, “At the Prophet’s” (1904).

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[]ing, July

Posted by rigorousm on August 6, 2010

Reading: Completed: Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love, Shaviro’s The Cinematic Body. In Progress: Sontag,

Watching: Work of Art.

Listening: Fanfarlo’s “Ghosts,” The Broken West’s “Got it Bad,” Mellowdrone.



  • Antonello Silverini’s amazing Philip K. Dick bookcovers. (here)
  • Alexander Girard’s wooden dolls. (here)
  • Ben Goss’s art/illustration. (here)
  • Hellen Jo’s art/illustration. (here)
  • Hidden Eloise – illustration/art. (here)
  • Collaborative illustrated fairy-tale on tumblr. (here)
  • Karen Fly’s design/sculpture/jewelry. (here)

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quotes: bourgeois v. cornell

Posted by rigorousm on August 6, 2010

I have never mentioned the word dream in discussing my art, while they talked about the dream all the time. I don’t dream. You might say I work under a spell, I truly value the spell…. In the spell I can express myself.

Isn’t being in a spell also a Surrealist idea?

The spell and the dream are not the same. The spell is more friendly than the dream. The “spell” is acted out on a physical level; it’s not a passive state, like a dream. The dream blinds you; the spell does not. It is a friendly process.

You might mention as a general characteristic, to understand the tenor of my work, that I am a masochist. Whether that is the general attitude of women, I do not know. The masochism expressed itself at the time of the Femmes Maisons in the feeling that I didn’t have the right to have children, and that I didn’t have the right to be an artist. This was a privilege. So if you consider art as a privilege, then by definition, you feel that you do not deserve it. You are continually denyingb yourself something– denying your sex, denying yourself the tools that an artist needs– because to be a sculptor costs you money. If you consider art a privilege instead of something that society will use, you have to save and suffer for your art, for what you love; you have to deny yourself in the cause of the art. I felt I had to save my husband’s money rather than do sculpture that cost money. So the materials I used in the beginning were discarded objects. This was given a poetic meaning by saying that the discarded object has a value. That’s true as well, but certain artists– for instance in black neighborhoods you will see that people will make sculpture with refuse because they don’t have the money to buy new wood. The Surrealist object, on the other hand, was in the direction of preciousness, of rarity– rarity in time, in that there are very few left, and rarity in space, in that you don’t find it so much. Rarity, preciousness, “beauty of material”… Joseph Cornell. But that is not me at all.

What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself. This is why modern art will continue, because this condition remains; it is the modern human condition… it is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it. It is about trying to be sane in this situation, of being tentatively and temporarily sane by expressing yourself. All art comes from terrific failures and terrific needs that we have. It is about the difficulty of being a self because one is neglected. Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.

– Louise Bourgeois, Statements from an Interview with Donald Kuspit, 1988.

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quotes: city acclimation

Posted by rigorousm on August 6, 2010

When he is on land, Blood is confused and troubled by the life of cities, where every passing stranger may, for no reason, assault him, if the stranger so chooses. And, indeed, the stranger’s mere presence multiplied many times over, is a kind of assault. Merely having to take into account all there hurrying others is a blistering occupation. This does not happen on a ship, or on a sea.

– Donald Barthelme, Captain Blood.

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quotes: hemingway v. fitzgerald

Posted by rigorousm on August 2, 2010

The dominant principle in Hemingway’s literary world is not time. Its fundamental unit is the moment, and the overall effect is not procured by accumulation of these unites but by their juxtaposition, their constant relevance, their uninterrupted, closely meshed sequence. This is an aesthetic dramatically opposed to Fitzgerald’s, which was based on a keen sense of the past’s survival in the present. In Fitzgerald’s work the present memory always charged with nostalgia or hope, is necessary defined by the past or the future whether of a character, a group, or a civilization.

– Le Vot’s Fitzgerald biography, p. 193.

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quotes: color theories

Posted by rigorousm on August 2, 2010

In “Absolution” Fitzgerald came closest to formulating an aesthetic — even an ethic– of yellow, merging it with the festival spirit, but carefully distinguishing its sacred and profane aspecrts. He speaks in the voice of the priest urging Rudolph to visit an amusement park:

“Go to one at night and stand a little way off from it in a dark place — under dark trees. You’ll see a big wheel made of lights turning in the air… and everything will twinkle. But it won’t remind you of anything, you see. It will all just hang out there in the night like a colored balloon — like a big yellow lantern on a pole.

Father Schwartz frowned as he suddenly thought of something. “But don’t get up close,” he warned Rudolph, “because if you do you’ll only feel the heat and the sweat and the life.”

– Le Vot’s Fitzgerald biography, p. 152.

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