Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE?
In which we would take turns saying things we love. Almost inevitably the game ended in some variation of: "Y'know what I love? You." So I wanna reinstate this practice. I once saw Inga Muscio do a performance in which she listed some of her favorite things because she said that this practice of recognizing and affirming things (images, ideas, etc.) that bring you pleasure is a strategy of resisting patriarchal oppression. It was really inspiring, and also one of the things she loved was a photo of a friend of hers near a toilet with a ruler, measuring a really really long turd. And I thought that was pretty cool, in terms of being able to list things that you like or whatever.
Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE?: THAT ANNA WINTOUR IS BLIND.
Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE?: THAT ANNA WINTOUR IS BLIND.
I wouldn't necessarily say I'm from a visual arts background, or that I'm interested in painting or photography or anything. Most of the theory / art history I've read was about visual arts. (I prefer performance, personally). I've sort of lost an interest in trying to ground my ideas or self in visual art practice. In fact, I would even say that I have lost interest in Visual Culture as such. And I would further say that a large part of my waning interest in Visual Culture (as such) is due to my eyesight, which is bad. Ever since I found out I had bad eyesight, I feel like I've lost my thrust for painting. Maybe my eyesight has always been bad and I'm projecting or using it as an excuse, but I feel like this was all precipitated by a trip to the optometrist a little over a year ago. Since being officially diagnosed with poor eyesight and prescribed glasses to correct it (which, um... do you ever see me wearing glasses?) I've had less of an ability to maintain interest (focus?) in the fine arts. I'm still, of course, interested: I can and do focus on things that I like or dislike or engage me. But as a practice, I am no longer as interested in the uninflected absorption of everything visual. I am not allowing my precious furrowed gaze to bother with everything. I'm not interested in everything ever. That's the point. Or, the first one.
The other (main) part of this Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE? is about Fashion. In the last two or three years I've gotten interested in clothes and fashion in a way that I hadn't been before, or hadn't really acknowledged. This is part of a larger cultural trend in America, maybe. It could also just be part of living in New York City (probably). I haven't really followed the mass media descriptions of fashion, I haven't watched "Project Runway" enough to see anything. When I was watching the show it was only ever to ogle Daniel Feld and I don't want this to sound like I'm just being contrary but I am not part of the American public I've had the hots for that kid before he was famous, when he was going out with Grey, for like a minute. I digress. I have been desperate to find a way to explain, or justify, this interest. Fashion and it's attendant industry are absolutely capitalist and exploitative at every level. Style versus Fashion (a distinction lovingly, gently pushed by Miss Isabel Toledo) is one way in which I can locate and justify my desire for asymmetrically-striped t-shirts, but that doesn't seem fair. "I just like the way it looks" is not enough, for me. Sometimes it is but right now it's not enough because I've found a better justification.
And then I remember about Anna Wintour. Her iconic sunglasses are not, not just to create (maybe not 'create' but 'emphasize') the distance between her and the rest of the world. They are prescription sunglasses.
Anna says: "I have horrible eyesight, bad eyes. The sunglasses are prescription. I started to wear them when I first started to go to the shows because my eyes started to water and I would get the most awful headaches."
This is thrilling to think about. It's definitely one of those Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE? things that always makes me happy. Wintour is regarded as the most singularly important voice in fashion. Her vision, from which the rest of the world more or less takes their cues (love it or hate it, what she says is good will sell) is flawed, and degenerating.
So maybe this is why I'm more and more interested in clothes. It's a part of visual culture, but not for the wearer. It's paintings that you put on. OF COURSE that's why Anna Wintour has this construction fetish, she needs to feel the clothes and be with them up close, because she actually can't see them on the runway, on the street, in the pages of magazines. She lives in it because otherwise she can't see it. So that's a good excuse, way to justify.
My other idea for justifying it was Cute Boys.
When I first moved to New York state for college in 2002, it seemed like the cute boys, the ones I wanted to date, were all in bands, into music. Then when I moved to Brooklyn in 2006 it seemed like all the cute guys had gone from music into nightclubs and then into the Art world. Then into the fashion (maybe I should be nice and say "design") world. I had a hit single (World Famous) in my mind called "The Indescriminate Love of a Boy In Fashion" about these guys. I dunno, that's not a very good excuse either.
Maybe I'm the only one who's been making these trips though.
Maybe I'm not so interested in fashion.