Manchester, November 2018.
What is Art? A User’s Guide
Southampton City Art Gallery, Thursday December 1 2016.
“Spread human ride robots”
I’m still not entirely sure if this project which “aims to spread human ride robots” is in earnest or some kind of satirical sci fi art concept. Sometimes in Japan it’s hard to tell. It’s also entirely possible for any given thing to be both. I think “both” is probably the answer here although if it is a joke or has jokey elements, then it’s a joke carried out with unusual thoroughness and commitment. Well, unusual if you’re not Japanese, anyway. Obviously as usual any humour, intended or otherwise, has been missed by 90% of the lumpencommentariat on YouTube. As I’ve pointed out before, like the British the Japanese have an international reputation for being somehow both joyless stiffs and unpredictably eccentric, but in fact both nations across all social classes share a deep affinity for daft, surreal, mocking humour that doesn’t necessarily register in the USA, or…
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2,000,000 dots and 325 animals
Poster for a sideshow type act at the Folies-Bergère, circa 1880s.
Recently I was at the ethnographic Musée du quai Branly in Paris. A post about some of the museum’s permanent collection of lovely, demented and/or terrifying masks will follow shortly, but the museum also currently have an exhibition on (until the middle of October 2014) called Tatoueurs, Tatoués (Tattooers, Tattooed) which is worth seeing if only to be reminded that there can be more to tattoos than spelling error tramp stamps, nonsense kanji, the ubiquitous badly drawn pseudo-tribal sleeve, and permanent disfigurements that are just plain wrong.
The exhibition has modern examples and historical images from all over Asia, Europe and Oceania, but for some reason the image that stuck with me was the one shown above, of ‘Captain Costentenus’. Maybe it’s just my general prediliction for Victoriana. He was an attraction at the Folies-Bergère, the…
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Milking 2013 posts one last time
Apart from my regulars and subscribers (hello, and thanks) most of this blog’s visitors in 2013 were a strange– and strangely consistent– rainbow of people from Reddit, Something Awful, Buzzfeed, Open Culture, Facebook and Twitter. It’s like the bridge of the Enterprise in here, or a Communist propaganda poster from the 1960s. I may cry.
As seen in the slideshow below, the top posts of the year were mainly to do with bumhole activities chez Joyce, Japanese women making arguably ill-advised forays into putting odd things in various orifices, weird old engravings, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, medieval moralising, gay animals, and squirrels on drugs. Just relax. All these things are normal, here. And if you ever meet me in real life, try not to be too scared. Honestly I don’t even know how somebody as incredibly square as I am ended up with a…
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Shunga? I hardly even know her!
Erotic Japanese prints at The British Museum
Last week I had the chance to visit the British Museum’s exhibition of shunga, which translates as the rather euphemistic “Spring paintings”: Japanese erotic prints and books from the medieval period up to the turn of the twentieth century. So it’s Spring as in sap rising, if you know what I mean.
Given the enduring popularity at this blog of James Joyce’s bum letters and the number of people who come here trying to find out (in English) what the octopus is saying in Hokusai’s Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, I thought some of you
perverts scholars may be interested to hear a bit about the exhibition. It’s worth a visit if you can get to London and you’re into Japanese culture and/or smutty pictures; therein lies one of the unintentionally funny things about it. Yes, every single day at the…
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Eric Gill, sans consentement
“‘Bath and slept with Gladys,’ runs one entry in the diary. Such Gill family intimacies seem routine, a habit. A few weeks later there are more surprising entries; ‘Expt. [experiment] with dog in eve’ [the rest has been obliterated]. Then, five days later, ‘Bath. Continued experiment with dog after and discovered that a dog will … Continue reading Eric Gill, sans consentement