Sunday, September 19, 2010


This evening, while I was frantically skimming under the 'documentary' section of Borders, I realized I've developed an addiction.

It's an addiction of the documentation of modern art. I am now reflecting in front of my computer and I'm amazed at what I've read/watched in a month:

1. I guess it all started with Penguin's The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. I don't think I understand Warhol more than his silk screen paintings of the Campbell soup can and Marilyn Monroe. I enjoyed his exhibition in NGV 6 years ago and he gave me the idea of having a time capsule in shoe boxes. The book is surprisingly witty, funny and rational, opposed to my impression of him in fine art classes as an air head (he is, pretty self-indulging). Perhaps I would try to post his whole book in Facebook. I wonder if that's illegal?

2. Annie Leibovitz: Life through a lens. What can I say? Apart from Leni Riefenstahl she's the other female photographer that inspired me. I was just happy she had a DVD.

3. Rem Koolhaas: Kind of Architect. Bought it because it was going cheap in conjunction with the Melbourne International Film Festival. It's wanky European narration aside, I actually found his hyper-rational approach in architecture convincing. My favourite part would be how they tried to explained the Chinese CCTV building was actually the World Trade Centres broken and twisted in a loop.

4. Visual Acoustic: The Modernism of Julius Shulman. Shulman is an architecture photographer. I admit I've never heard of him before watching the DVD(narrated by Dustin Hoffman). Apparently he pioneered the look and feel of modernism architecture. You see this old man going around preserving his favorite building which he took photos of when he was young. I especially enjoyed the part in the trailer when his assistant questioned his choice in lenses while capturing Frank Gehry's Disney concert hall and he simply replied 'well that's why they chose me'.

5. The Mona Lisa Curse. Available free on YouTube (for now). Robert Hughes, critical acclaimed Australian born art critic introduces the destruction of the art world all thanks to capitalism. Well filmed, well written, if you were to watch anything on this list please make it this one(because it's free). You shouldn't miss how Hughes slaughtered this Mid Eastern millionaire on their views on Warhol and why he owns 800 of Warhol's art . Yet I have to admit, Hughes principles on what 'art' should be feels like an elitist, white supremacy world to me.

6. Chuck Close. Again, up until Friday I had no idea who he is. Chuck Close is a human computer who paints portraits in such a mind boggling way that he becomes a modern art icon by default. The documentary wasn't that engaging because it was basically his friends getting interviewed. But as an introduction to Close, it was more than enough.

7. Who the @#$% is Jackson Pollock? This is possibly the most interesting of all. Teri Horton, a truck driver in California purchased a painting for $5 in a thrift shop, only to realized it may be a painting of Jackson Pollock (her initial reaction was the title of the documentary). The documentary not only follows her journey of obstacles and support to prove the painting's authenticity, the art world is also depicted as a really weird, alien space.

8. Painters Painting. What a load of rubbish. I couldn't finish the film, because it was just an old American narrative of how the art world was. It didn't make any sense to me. Maybe I'll try rewatching it at some point.

I fear that I'm becoming an old man that looms around 'general interest' in DVD shops. But in the meantime, I wish more people would take interest in these subjects.