Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 13 - 16, 2008

Rock My World
Recent Art and the Memory of Rock 'n' Roll
Exhibition catalogue, CCAC Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
2002, hardcover
9 cards

Finding this book was almost as good as any rock 'n' roll song about relationships. It's what you know but it takes someone else's words to understand the situation or see your thoughts from another angle. Memory and rock 'n' roll, what a brilliant topic for an exhibition! It also included works by Jeremy Deller, Mungo Thomson and Dario Robleto, all artists whose work I've been fascinated by in the past year. Hurrah for used book stores and treasures like this that you only find through browsing.

Select passages from cards:
Untimely Meditations by Ralph Rugoff
10- discusses these works by artists being "work produced at a moment when rock itself has become historical."
-Jon Savage, current pop music is swimming "in the loop of serial pasts."
-"any rock record from the last 50 years can sound as contemporary as one produced last week. ... To some extent, contemporary art finds itself in a similar situation."
12 -perspective of the fan
-"As a historical witness, of course, the fan is suspect..."
19- Dario Robleto, Your Moonlight is in Danger of Shining For No One- use of glass from the first nuclear test explosion.
22-23 Mungo Thomson
26- (discussing Even Holloway's work) Nietzche, "When you look into an abyss the abyss also looks into you."
27- "How do we proceed when faced with a history that refuses to move forward?"
-"How can we assess the meaning of rock 'n' roll at a moment when cultural rebellion is instantly commodified..."
-"when challenging alternative rock now frequently breaks not on commercial radio, but on television commercials." [this was written in 2002! so, unfortunately, prophetic for today!]
-"these artists remind us why the meaning of a rock song cannot be found in its lyrics or in an analysis of its musical forms. Instead its meanings lies in a constellation of circumstances: the situation in which it appears, its associations with the past and also the ways it is used and transformed by its audiences and then returned to the world in different forms."
[this is totally why the 33 1/3 books can be so great.]
28- "It unearths meanings buried or hidden beneath the ruins of prior interpretations. In the process, it asks us how we can approach the past without either dismissing it or idealizing it- without reiterating the myths that can make the present seem meaningless by comparison."
-"only through creative encounter with the past that we can arrive at an accounting of the unrealized possibilities of the present."

Time Out of Mind by Ann Powers
34- (The Strokes) "Rock like this reminds us that the young can repeat the past without getting stuck; history is just a thrift store bargain to them."
-"Davis defines nostalgia as memory without pain"
-radical nostalgia
35- "It's basically what happens at every concert. ... What makes a fan sing along at top volume with a song that meant the world to her at 17..."
"-"Music's original meaning comes from its movement through time without narrative, a movement that seems to defy the linear unfolding of normal events."
36- "...the nostalgia of rock 'n' roll is more like the loss of memory that afflicts the elderly. Except that rock's dementia is voluntary, as least as first. It's not a form of preserving, it's a way of losing your mind."
-"Art that takes on the subject of rock 'n' roll faces a predicament similar to rock culture's own attempt to preserve the unpreservable, to defeat time."
37- "Listening to rock entails both reaching out and reaching in..."

Mutations by Matthew Higgs
"It makes us believe, once again, that rock 'n' roll can never die, because it never stops long enough to be done."

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