Monday, July 28, 2008

Red Bull: Can of Bullshit


Now it doesn’t bother me that they cost twice as much per ounce as any other energy drink. Or that they have introduced a new and legal high to America. No, it bothers me that Red Bull decided to throw their bullshit Art of the Can in Houston.



Three and a half minutes of bullshit shoveling, courtesy Shelby Hodge (who knows this is beneath her)


Haven’t heard of it? Seen the billboards of bauxite pterodactyls? Or their web ads with a shiny tin cowboy boot? Hmm… then you must not be one of the five hundred artists who submitted to the exhibit. Pardon me while I tell those artists FUCK YOU YOU GOT HOSED. Excuse me, but I had a feeling one of them might read this and I couldn’t resist the urge to publicly insult someone. If you are sitting next to someone who entered the show tell ‘em for me.




Their ridiculousness is only eclipsed by the willingness of advertisers to use, exploit and degrade you. Three things strike me as particularly stupid in this endeavor, an artist’s willingness to forgo one’s judgment of materials, the inestimable monetary cost of the project and the complacency and triviality of the artworld.

Materials, malleable objects and ideas, are explored through trial and error and practice. Conceptual artists screaming in a dark room go through the same shtick as a watercolor artist painting on a Sunday afternoon. Exploring materials, finding what you like to work with is a big part of artistic identity. Warhol had silkscreens, Rauschenberg had ink transfers and Oldenburg had cloth. Robyn O’Neil has pencils, Bert Long has ice and the Art Guys have their bodies.

Why would you limit yourself to a prescribed, corporate material? Barring an intensely enlightened group working together for a very long time I would not believe an exhibit of one material could ever be justifiable. The fact that the show looked like a high school hallway on parent’s night was unavoidable, but shame on you guys for getting duped into thinking this could ever be worth it beyond that navel-gazing moment of delight that comes with being included. On the team.

By the way, in getting on this team, how much did you guys spend on those cans you’ve woven into dragons, mustaches and the Statue of Liberty? Didn’t think about it did ya. Or maybe it just blew by; you were so high on fructose syrup and guarana. No entry fee for the exhibit? What a crock of bullshit. It’d cost you $200 to construct a spaceman out of your product’s encasement. Maybe it only cost a hundred bucks to cover that guitar in $4 eight-ounce cans. It’s kind of like usury.


Arthur shortens his name to 'Art' when he signs a painting.



Does it seem stupid to enter yet? Or would you like to hear about Arthur Vaisvilas’ piece? The hapless son-of-a-bitch drew The Ramones wearing Red Bull t-shirts as they rock out in a stilted colored pencil attempt at thankfulness. Unless you’re in high school Arthur, you should be punched in the face. You might be big so I’m not gonna do it- but The Ramones deserve better. The oodles of cash Red Bull throws around all over the country on fun, stupid shit is reprehensible if you’re not having fun, but if you’re part of the crowd you may feel some sense of elation, like there’s something new happening and you’re in the thick of it. Shut the fuck up. It’s all the caffeine.

The jittery feeling you get sometimes, when it seems like there is a comprehensive, wide-ranging spectrum of artists out there and possibilities for advancement; that means that someone should back over you with a truck. Don’t assume that those collectors and critics at the opening spell validation. I am terribly surprised at the ability to bend over backwards and lower their standards that many jurors demonstrated, as well as the media outlets and even well meaning artists.




Red Bull Air Show, Perth, Australia


Oh, I mean that I’m so surprised that they can do that when there is money involved. Did that slip my mind? Woops. As one juror stiffly said; “don’t take it so seriously, they’re not artists.” I was staggered. I kind of hoped that they were artists. I kind of believe that they are, even Arthur, and they shouldn’t have to go away when the money leaves. The kvetching that went on when the Hunting Prize patronized to artists sent the community into an uproar, but no one takes this seriously? Damned bull, I would have preferred a pinewood derby or an air show, and this will not do. At least it has proven that corporations have an extensive reach in the artworld, and to resist it is futile. I’m not drinking a can of that shit. I’ll drink the Kool-Aid.

4 comments:

anne. said...

"Unless you’re in high school Arthur, you should be punched in the face." spectacular!!!

Derek said...

The ramones piece makes me want to puke!!! thank god i missed that one in person!

Anonymous said...

thank you shelby hodge for the insight to the red bull art of can exhibit. i was one of the artists and could not make it to the show due to lack of funds and being unemployed due to my inability to be a team player at my last job. i am arthur. i did the ramones piece and it warms my heart that i have pissed off so many people. isn't that what art is suppose to do? yes. i used the ramones images as my entry into this contest. i've been a fan of the brudders since 78 and did not think of it as being exploitive. i just wanted the world to know that this was and still is the greatest rock and roll band ever and that they never got the break they deserved. i'm only paying homage to a band that has inspired me throughout the years. benot only did i get to be a finalist, but i didn't win. i worked very hard on this acrylic on canvas and they picked crap over mine.

Anonymous said...

thank you shelby hodge for the insight to the red bull art of can exhibit. i was one of the artists and could not make it to the show due to lack of funds and being unemployed due to my inability to be a team player at my last job. i am arthur. i did the ramones piece and it warms my heart that i have pissed off so many people. isn't that what art is suppose to do? yes. i used the ramones images as my entry into this contest. i've been a fan of the brudders since 78 and did not think of it as being exploitive. i just wanted the world to know that this was and still is the greatest rock and roll band ever and that they never got the break they deserved. i'm only paying homage to a band that has inspired me throughout the years. benot only did i get to be a finalist, but i didn't win. i worked very hard on this acrylic on canvas and they picked crap over mine.