no comment needed; its really the portrait of the ugly American, white upwardly mobile yuppie that  you would want to feet to a pack of starving jackals. Or people so caught up in hierarchy and invidious comparison that they have lost all sight between essence and even a semblance of reality. That is the holiday season: anxiety, stress sprinkled with a little hysteria so that you don’t know what you’re doing. The consumption  is an extension of violence in culture which, it appears serves to colonize our imaginations. odd dreams that become the idealization of desire within the wasteland of the market economy. But this hunting of goods does have a lament for lost spirituality in it. All this abundance of arty, faux-homemade looking merchandise in which the exchange value is more meaningful than its use value. But somehow, we cling to a belief that say a Rockwell style piece of art etc. provides consciousness, emotional complicity, subjectivity and all within the context of culture. Our spiritual and economic values are pretty identical. Does the economic value of the gift we gives confer a spiritual value upon it? It seems to, at least for the public at large….

Paul Kane. Medecine Mask Dance

Part of the anxiety of gift-giving in New York at this moment in history arises from the fact that you can’t merely buy a gift; you must supply a narrative, and the narrative must be in some sense homespun, which then positions you in tasteful opposition to the vulgar excesses of the 1 percent. Fulfilling this obligation ultimately demands that you go to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, no matter the inconvenience, because Williamsburg has made the greatest strides in creating a retail experience that feels like Iowa circa 1950. Read More:

Read More: --- His art, which constantly evades categorization, pinpoints the moment where sublime beauty and the grotesque are held in productive tension. An irreverent mannerist who brings a satirical savvy to contemporary portraiture, Currin has been confounding and seducing critics and audiences for over two decades. His work is characterized by a meticulous, old-masterly technique and an unfashionable investment in classical painting traditions commingling with other representational languages drawn from popular culture, including movies, pinups and Scandinavian pornography.---

Christmas holiday season is the epitomy of  commercial popular culture,impossible to resist. Even the art gifts, seem to be mere instruments of the prevailing ideology. Its almost inevitable that we join and emulate mass society at some level, partake in the valuation of kitsch, take a bite and pass the plate along.  Media convergence means that  art finishes by  appropriating the shallow glamour, like Warhol,  and imbue itself with the crowd appeal of commercial imagery. It could be called the cachet of mindless acceptance. Of course all these sensations are compounded by the sheer abundance,mind-jarring,  of product available.

Norman Rockwell. Read More:


Christopher Caudwell, 1938:The illusion that our minds are free to the extent that, like the beasts, we are unconscious of the causality of our mental states, is just what secures our unfreedom. Bourgeois society to-day clearly exhibits in practice this truth, which we have established by analysis in theory. The bourgeois believes that liberty consists in absence of social organisation; that liberty is a negative quality, a deprivation of existing obstacles to it; and not a positive quality, the reward of endeavour and wisdom. This belief is itself the outcome of bourgeois social relations. As a result of it, the bourgeois intellectual is unconscious of the causality that makes his consciousness what it is. Like the neurotic who refuses to believe that his compulsion is the result of a certain unconscious complex, the bourgeois refuses to believe that his conception of liberty as a mere deprivation of social restraints arises from bourgeois social relations themselves, and that it is just this illusion which is constraining him on every side….

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….He refuses to see that his own limited liberty, the captivity of the worker, and all the contradictions of developing bourgeois relations – pacifism, Fascism, war, hate, cruelty, disease – are bound in one net of causality, that each is influenced by each, and that therefore it is fallacious to suppose a simple effort of the will of the free man, without knowledge of the causes will banish Fascism, war, and slumps. Because of his basic fallacy, this type of intellectual always tries to cure positive social evils, such as wars, by negative individual actions, such as non-co-operation, passive resistance or conscientious objection. This is because he cannot rid himself of the assumption that the individual is free. But we have shown that the individual is never free. He can only attain freedom by social co-operation. He can only do what he wants by using social forces. If, therefore, he wishes to stop poverty, war, and misery, he must do it, not by passive resistance, but by using social relations. But in order to use social relations he must understand them. He must become conscious of the laws of society, just as, if he wants to lever up a stone, he must know the laws of levers. Read More:

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