Madder Lake, launched at TBG+S, April, 2017

This is a Demonstration
from the book Madder Lake, edited by James Merrigan, 2017

see also for my review of the Venice Biennale 2017

Michael Kunt became Temple White (1). The name changed one day and I never knew why. Maybe the notion of the temple was more desirable than the michael. I discovered Kunt first, when I was collecting pictures and realised there were a bunch of online image cults out there. Re-blogged from just about everywhere, this was life after appropriation, where images simply circulated. It seemed like a solution.

It’s called curating now, in popular parlance, not art-talk. Selecting an image stream that has a loose theme. Kunt was not mostly porn. Instead black and white retro images that included porn, not so different from lots of Tumblr. Yet the image combination over the time I followed him were just as interesting as the image antics of John Baldessari, Sherrie Levine, or Hans-Peter Feldman. It seemed like an outsider solution. Like most fallacies that are social media, it really wasn’t. At least it wasn’t Pinterest.

Anyway he followed me, I him, and we re-blogged happily for a year. Now I think it’s over. The blog has stalled and my love affair with Tumblr has also. There are parallels with art world ennui. The re-cycling and re-invention of ideas between generations can be so myopic that you wonder if anyone is watching at all. I never got many followers anyway.

I keep changing the order of the photos that accompany this. They are a bunch of ridiculous images that signify nothing. They are key in making me thinking about the task. They do not turn me on. They could be real art but instead they are nothing. They are junk – fringe ephemera from a monochrome era when photography came on film and fixer left brown stains on your shirt.

Brown stains. I was thrilled to get a chocolate santa holding a butt plug when Paul McCarthy had his factory installation in the Paris Mint a few years back through a friend who was visiting and I had convinced to go buy one for me. Recently I bought the catalogue and was shocked at the ridiculous statements by both artist and curator. The artist wrote free flow diatribe that sort of resembles a psychiatrist’s session notes and the curator embraced the renovated building and consumerism, which are both fine really. What was odd were turns of phrase that described the audience as a prop and how they could be mocked and yet yield mainstream appeal. Feels all a bit Donald now.

Nothing new there as any transgressive quality of the work is always compromised by the market with such golden oldies. Maybe that is why younger big ticket artists like Alex Israel or Wade Guyton are so utterly non-transgressive and blanker than Andy Warhols blankest blankety blank moments. Sometimes I am so glad to live on an island where most of the time I think the audience are far smarter than me.

I cannot talk about dead ends and rear ends anymore. I am just too embarrassed after the last time. Radically indeed. We need to find strategies past all this. They are there in the past, if only we knew better, or knew more. Being a dull, humourless, feckless, fool will not solve the problem. Defining the problem does not make it art. Assuming that world needs to be taught something proves you live in a delusional bubble of self-importance. When was art anything more than entertainment?

For starters your snatch or your cock are not in the slightest bit interesting. Prick your ego please. Sleight of hand is always a better place to start. Fencing with your cock out is pretty dam stupid. Leaking on a plate is no smarter.

You’re losing your aura of invincibility and your self-effacing modesty, said Roisin Murphy, profoundly, in a song. Dam straight I am. Who the fuck said you were not allowed to have an opinion? In the age of extreme narcissism it is amazing how personal opinions seem to be suddenly out of whack. I am talking art criticism here again. It is a fabulous confusion of public and not so public, thinking that objectivity and balance should emerge from a work that is shaking free of subjectivity. Shaking free of representation. How do you do this nothing you speak of?

Is it possible to be an offensive as Donald Trump and get things done? I beginning to think that Nicki Minaj is a feminist icon. It’s true. Can it be that the world is indeed suffering from drip-down post-modernism? The credible endgame result of a relativist radicality that was mechanised by a generation and now weaponised by another, while the world is asleep taking selfies?

You see the thing is for me, and the way I see it, for me, is that, for me, the logic for me, is when I can only, for me, see for me, the thing that is, for me, right there only for me, only concerned about great things that for me, will only matter to and for me, and as a result will seem the most important things for everyone obviously and not just for me, for me, for me, for me, for me, for me, for me, for me, for me. I even said the other week. Weak.

Elizabeth Price is Right about art’s regenerative potential and economic significance, she is. It’s not that, it’s this. It’s pleasures and possibilities not potential and platitudes. What’s a good drag name for Katy Perry?I like vanilla and I like sex, I ride the pony that I like best. Snail mucus is a great lubricant for fucking. Great for the gardening fan. Vegetarians beware. I feel so sorry. Please see all that water gush out my windows. Could that be the most physically awkward foursome I could imagine? Never underestimate creative people and the depths that they will go (RM again).

#baewatch Missy Elliot is 45, so is Mary J Blige, but Queen Latifah is 46. She wins. But Marina Abramović is 69, Cindy Sherman is 62, Cady Noland is 60. So there is still hope. Slow motion champagne swig and pantene hair flick.

(1) Images mostly from, permission not relevant.

Alan Phelan, 2016