french kiss-off

Is it possible to equate art and crime? Our company just received this publicity for Canson Infinity paper which is sponsoring John Botte for his tenth anniversary 9/11 photographs. It’s being held at the Morrison Hotel Gallery and is curated by Timothy White, a well-known photographer as well. To have corporate sponsors on a subject matter as tragic as this is a bit odd. Its like Margaret Bourque-White having a sponsor for her dead Nazi photos in 1945. That Botte has chosen to aestheticize 9-11 is also a bit questionable. But then Canson is a French company; and the French have a love/hate relationship with American culture which involves a cultural snobbery of criticism made meaningless by groveling over some of the more vulgar elements of U.S. lowbrow culture. Typically, this is a harsh criticism over mass-market dietary choices, yet they pack their suitcases with Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines instants. So, you have to wonder if Canson is giving us the “botte”.

Read More: ---In commemoration of the ten-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, The Morrison Hotel Gallery will present a special exhibition of large-scale, never-before-seen photographs from prolific photographer and former NYPD detective John Botte. Opening on 4th September at the Calumet Gallery on 22 West 22nd Street in Manhattan, the exhibition features intimate and powerful portraits captured in the days following the attacks. On show until the 24th, The 9|11 Photographs exhibition is curated by renowned photographer Timothy White and sponsored by Canson, Calumet and Loupe Digital.

” Ruins bore me. And when they interest me, it is not in their being ruins, but in their being interesting forms or figures, even if ruined. ” -Paul Valery

The theory is that the ruin, destruction, permits a form to speak its truth, it so called narrative script and assigned role being torn away. The form becomes articulated and emancipated free of previous intention. Free from the constraints of architecture, the form finds a purely formal role not part of a greater aesthetic story and a given context. The ruin then becomes a purifier of form; a kind of abstract expressionism or minimalism rising out of the nihilistic act of destruction. So, the ruin is a liberating of form from its slavery to function and practicality. In the wake of 9-11, forms such as doors, pillars, awnings etc. remain in the debris, but they recapture there so-called self-hood as forms while their functions are pitched literally into oblivion; the scrap heap of  history.

William Osborne: Stockhausen mentions that a journalist misconstrued his statements, but I wonder if that is true. He was dismissed from the festival, not because of what the journalist reported, but because the festival’s administrators were also at the press conference and heard exactly what he said. If it had been so harmless as he suggests, I doubt they would have taken the draconian measure of canceling his concerts.

In any case, I found an article in German with more of Stockhausen’s statement about the recent terrorism. It also exemplifies the cycles of revelation, destruction, remorse and rebirth that characterize patriarchal transcendental idealism. After Stockhausen described the WTC bombing as “the greatest work of art ever” a journalist asked him if he equated art and crime. He answered:

“It is a crime because the people were not agreed. They didn’t go to the ‘concert.’ That is clear. And no one gave them notice that they might pass away [draufgehen]. What happened there spiritually, this jump out of security, out of the everyday, out of life, that happens sometimes poco a poco in art. Otherwise it is nothing.”…

Read More: ---­Witness the venerable German composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose shocking remarks at a press conference at a music festival in Hamburg six days after the attacks made headlines. The events of 9/11, he’d enthused, were “the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos.” Things had gone from bad to worse to incendiary when, like Batman’s Joker, he warmed to his theme: “Minds achieving something in an act that we couldn’t even dream of in music, people rehearsing like mad for ten years, preparing fanatically for a concert, and then dying; just imagine what happened there. You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5,000 people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment. I couldn’t do that. By comparison, we composers are nothing.”---

…Again we see an artist-prophet’s transcendentalist view that art must be a revelation, a process of spiritual death, remorse and rebirth, or it is valueless. It is interesting in history how often artist-prophets have confused human life itself with the material of their “creations.” I think this form of transcendental idealism that objectifies human life has played a large, but unacknowledged, role in the development of western art music. Perhaps it is most noticeable in the way large numbers of musicians are instrumentalized under the absolute authority of the “inspired” patriarchal conductor in symphony orchestras. (Think of the of the conductors who terrorized their musicians, such as Reiner or Toscannini.) The human, in effect, becomes a fantasy of the conductor’s own mind. This might be seen as one manifestation of patriarchy in music. Read More:

---NEW YORK -- For more than three months, police Detective John Botte roamed the ruins of the World Trade Center, snapping photographs with his Leica Rangefinder camera and capturing hundreds of images of people at work on the monumental cleanup. His pictures soon appeared in a trio of books, most notably the best-selling autobiography of the city's police commissioner. But now the city is threatening to sue over the publication of a new volume containing more than 200 pages of the detective's work, claiming the photographs are police department property.

city has demanded that all profits from sales of the book, "Aftermath: Unseen 9/11 Photos by a New York City Cop", be turned over to a nonprofit police foundation. Legal experts said the case isn't a slam dunk for either side. Read more:


There is one other point. Whether it was “the greatest work of art ever” or “Lucifer’s greatest work of art,” why would someone want to refer to an act of mass murder as art? ( Osborne)

Julie Spinola: Asked at a press conference on Monday for his view of the events, Stockhausen answered that the attacks were “the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos.” According to a tape transcript from public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk, he went on: “Minds achieving something in an act that we couldn’t even dream of in music, people rehearsing like mad for 10 years, preparing fanatically for a concert, and then dying, just imagine what happened there. You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5,000 people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment. I couldn’t do that. By comparison, we composers are nothing. Artists, too, sometimes try to go beyond the limits of what is feasible and conceivable, so that we wake up, so that we open ourselves to another world.” Read More: …In a circular letter sent out by e-mail, the Italian playwright and Nobel laureate Dario Fo also stated his opinion on the attacks: “Big speculators joyfully splash about in an economy that lets millions of people die every year in misery. What are 20,000 dead in New York by comparison? … Regardless of who carried out the massacre, this violence is the legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation.”

While Fo’s statement is evidence of a cynical anti-Americanism, Stockhausen’s words appear as the monstrous result of radical artistic egocentrism. To the victims of terrorism, both the composer’s mental descent into hell and the aging left-wing writer’s stale, calculating spite must seem like hideous mockery.( Spinola )


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