Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Teen Sex Energy / Land Money Power

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

By Mattathias Schwartz

Now I wish to speak about the moment after we see that most everything is bullshit, during a period of life when we have the ability to communicate this perception and the certainty of our feeling to a community of peers, but before the moment when we accept that the bullshit is perpetual, that it represents some natural state of affairs, and that the sooner we get over our hatred of it, the faster we will advance. This second moment, the moment of acceptance, is known as “maturity.” It marks our entrance into adulthood, when we immerse ourselves so fully into the bullshit that we can longer see it for what it is.

There is a strong taboo against conjoining the words “teen” and “sex.” Recording, soliciting, or representing the concrete act represented by these two words in tandem are all crimes. We say that the taboo protects the teens and their innocence. But it also protects society-as-we-know-it from an amoral erotic-revolutionary force—Teen Sex Energy. If the young were allowed to release this youth-energy, in their own way, on their own terms, there would not be much left of the adult world. All the carefully kept accounts and traditions would burn to the ground in a single night. (more…)

Vanishing Point

Monday, February 15th, 2010

“I’ve been to the point of no return”
The last word on Paul Cézanne
Cézanne made great paintings: the 1880s fruit bowls are boss and alive, solving problems left and right and acting brave – but this one is rubbish. This one is slow-witted and physically in quite poor shape, unmuscular. It is easy to tell when you’re standing in front of a really duff one because it’ll have a stupefying, narcotic effect upon you. Indeed, I get nervous during the long, loomy approach to the dire Philadelphia Bathers here at the elbow of our museum’s L-shaped modern and contemporary wing: will I pass out before making it all the way to étant Donnés and the Johns? Now it is often delightful and necessary to fall asleep to art, but this particular stuff should never be trusted as a sedative. The Post-Impressionist school in England and France had no contingency plan, no means of waking up after such deep slumber. Painting had reinvented itself many times over in the second half of the 19th Century, and much had been accomplished, very quickly. Painting’s practitioners had begun to snooze as a result, dreaming like sovereigns. All these changes had brought us to the end of the 500-year evolution of classicism, the end of the line, and Cézanne here built the commemorative clubhouse, the padded mind’s opium den of mutual benefit and class comfort, an anemic, introverted and self-indulgent place where nothing new would be discovered. Around this point modern practice called itself Modernism, lamely, mostly taking advantage of the fact that everyone was too lethargic to do anything apart from give new names to things that they had made and named years before, and hang out with the same people all the time.