Thursday, July 14, 2011

Avida Dollars and a Nation's Ruling

Salvador Dali, "Portrait of Paul Eluard" from 1929, set a world auction record for a Surrealist work of art at Sotheby's London, February, 2011.


As Spain has prevailed over the late artist's heirs in attaining the intellectual rights to Salvador Dali's estate of 15,000 works, so has the artist's own paranoiac-critical method succeeded, beyond the framework of art production and further toward a literally willed nationalist identity. This is Dali's victory. The Dali that returned to Spain in 1949, to spend his remaining years in his beloved Catalonia, passing over the criticism from progressive thinkers and many other artists against his choice to live in Spain while it was ruled by Franco, for heartland.

Dali's work did fly against the conventional violence of his modern era. Against the philistine minds of mobs, fascist thugs, and anti-Semites, but he was also the self-made high champion of exclusivity. Of talent with a capital t and claimed genius. It would be Dali's ego and imperious values that would come to define him at large. He would turn increasingly toward Catholicism for conformist reasons, however ecstatic. He possessed a flamboyantly shrewd apolitical ideology, allowing Dali to define his entity more and more by nationalist terms as he found himself at odds with other artists and intellects over ideology.

While the majority of the Surrealist artists had become associated with left leaning politics - André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement - Dalí maintained an ambiguous position on the subject of the proper relationship between politics and art. Breton went so far as to accuse Dalí of defending the "new" and "irrational" in "the Hitler phenomenon." Dalí rejected this claim, saying, "I am Hitlerian neither in fact nor intention." Dali never appears to be a truly fascist sympathiser but he does display the views of a reactionist conservative. In 1934, Dalí was subjected to a "trial", in which he was formally expelled from the Surrealist group. To this, Dalí retorted, "I myself am surrealism." The final word here perfectly expresses Dali's autocratic fantasies. Later Breton coined the derogatory nickname "Avida Dollars", an anagram for Salvador Dalí, and a phonetic rendering of the French avide à dollars, which may be translated as "eager for dollars".

The Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 and officially ended with Franco's victory in April 1939, leaving 190,000 to 500,000 dead. The nationalist side was supported by Fascist Italy, and later by Nazi Germany, which assisted with the Condor Legion infamous for their bombing of Guernica in April 1937. Curiously, Franco is also famous for his apolitical record and being Catholic. Franco lost a lot of common ground with Hitler due to Hitler's propagation of Nazi mysticism and his attempts to manipulate Christianity, which went against Franco's fervent commitment to defending Christianity and Catholicism. His ascendency can be characterized as being driven by a duty toward power. With the fall of the monarchy in 1932 Franco rose to be a monolithic dictator with the same climate of derangement and liquidation as is apparent on Dali's canvases.

Fried Egg on the Plate without the Plate, 1932

On 22 November, 1975, two days after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was designated king according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. King Juan Carlos oversaw the transition of Spain from a dictatorship to parliamentary democracy. In 1982, Juan Carlos bestowed on Dalí the title of Marqués de Dalí de Púbol in the nobility of Spain, hereby referring to Púbol, the place where he lived. The title was in first instance hereditary, but on request of Dalí changed for life only in 1983. To show his gratitude for this, Dalí later gave the king a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí's final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed.

On January 23, 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played, he died of heart failure at Figueres at the age of 84. He is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres. The location is across the street from the church of Sant Pere, where he had his baptism, first communion, and funeral, and is three blocks from the house where he was born. In his will, Dalí designated the Spanish state as the only heir of his intellectual property rights, stipulating that the revenue should be divided between the national government and the Catalonian town of Figueres, his hometown and the place of his death.

Coming full circle in July, 2011, following decisions by the European Court of Justice and a Parisian district court, Spain has prevailed over the droit de suite — payments received by artists or their heirs when their work is resold in Europe — from sales of Salvador Dalí's artworks. Dali's living heirs have now lost the estate, and face making payments. So goes the victory to Dali's individual rights and to cunning national egoism.

Dali's will proved to be operating with time on his side, even in his death. Dali's posthumous achievement simultaneously discloses a philosophy for the supremacy of the individual and the supremacy of the state, with high regard for self-determination, ethical reasoning, and the soul's command over nature. The spoils go to a very fabulous artist-cum statist with grand romantic notions about the grace of god with Spain.

ARTINFO: A Surreal Legal Ruling Sends Salvador Dalí's Resale Royalties to Spain, Not His Descendants

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trophy Art - Solid

Cecily Brown, "I Will Not Paint Any More Boring Leaves (2)," 2004, sold for $844,000
at Phillips de Pury & Comapny, London


Melancholy surrounds domestic and national debts across gross international markets.
For a more bright view point on the economic climate look toward the art markets. Where else would one expect to see muscular spending that exhibits the heroic recovery of absolute wealth. Where buyers determine the highest going value on property aquired to act as status trophies fell to a game of investment and visceral reward. Demonstrating the power to determine a place above topical tides is the means for qualifying status amongst the world-class. To be of wealth and standing has returned to a classic form of generational domain above the eyeline of a designed democratic mass. Merit is the substance, and material matters most.

The season's closing bell at once carries with it the excitement of an opeing bell, declairing a monied august with a prevailing appetite for art.
Let's face it, luxury does not know misfortune. Our dear affluent have only now returned from a pause, with an enlivened sense of conservative values and giving commercially minded good-times to heavyweights.

"After Venice, after Basel, and a long spring of auctions in New York, there's still an appetite for contemporary art."
said Michael McGinnis, worldwide head of Phillips' contemporary department.

It seems official, for the time being: "The contemporary market has replaced Impressionism and the modern market as the leading collecting field." Neal Meltzer, a private dealer and former head of contemporary art at Christie's.

Who's the art world's biggest spender? On the basis of recent acquisitions of Impressionist paintings, and works by Picasso and Bacon, among others, perhaps Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad bin Ali al-Thani, a member of the Qatar royal family.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

photo courtesy of



Mystery and Solitude in Topeka


Afternoon darkens into evening. A man falls deeper and deeper into the slow spiral of sleep, into the drift of it, the length of it, through what feels like mist, and comes at last to an open door through which he passes without knowing why, then again without knowing why goes to a room where he sits and waits while the room seems to close around him and the dark is darker than any he has known, and he feels something forming within him without being sure what it is, its hold on him growing, as if a story were about to unfold, in which two characters, Pleasure and Pain, commit the same crime, the one that is his, that he will confess to again and again, until it means nothing.

Friday, December 31, 2010


Two variations of the One Minute Sculpture
Erwin Wurm
and inspired by Erwin Wurm


One Minute Desire (Another Minute, Another Poem)

faces of
Jans La Maladie




Face plated
964 1990




Erwin Wurn
'One Minute Sculptures' (1954)


One Minute Desire

Murky rugs
in the bank
black marble
lobby with
and curtains

6 monitors
run fringe
burgundy blood
rugs and

lumps of


Barnett Newman
'The Voice' (1950)



“The life of
a dead man
With a compass
in the palm
of his hand.”

As depicted
in an essay
recited by
the recently
showered beauty

Teeth of tapioca
eviscerated pearls
in warm skein
sequenced vaseline
fish guts
wishes to
hand blown
wished paid

to the
invention of

Blown into
hand polished
in very
cold waters

strung in saliva.

Sinuous neck
heaving in
the heat
under a black
and blue joyous
black bag
like the side
of a run horse


Gilbert & George
'Great Expectations'


Barritone Shaving

His barritone voice,
a bruised mahogony
mantle piece -
with the scent
of wet
piled planks
Also elder bushes
and long grass
rippled with
collapsing snow.


Friday, September 17, 2010


Nasreen Mohamedi


The Prelude



Oh this Diet Coke is really good,
though come to think of it it tastes
like nothing plus the idea of chocolate,
or an acquaintance of chocolate
speaking fondly of certain times
it and chocolate had spoken of nothing,
or nothing remembering a field
in which it once ate the most wondrous
sandwich of ham and rustic chambered cheese
yet still wished for a piece of chocolate
before the lone walk back through
the corn then the darkening forest
to the disappointing village and its super
creepy bed and breakfast. With secret despair
I returned to the city. Something
seemed to be waiting for me.
Maybe the “chosen guide” Wordsworth
wrote he would even were it “nothing
better than a wandering cloud”
have followed which of course to me
and everyone sounds amazing.
All I follow is my own desire,
sometimes to feel, sometimes to be
at least a little more than intermittently
at ease with being loved. I am never
at ease. Not with hours I can read or walk
and look at the brightly colored
houses filled with lives, not with night
when I lie on my back and listen,
not with the hallway, definitely
not with baseball, definitely
not with time. Poor Coleridge, son
of a Vicar and a lake, he could not feel
the energy. No present joy, no cheerful
confidence, just love of friends and the wind
taking his arrow away. Come to the edge
the edge beckoned softly. Take
this cup full of darkness and stay as long
as you want and maybe a little longer.


Nasreen Mohamedi


Nasreen Mohamedi


Nasreen Mohamedi


I clutched at sounds -
I groped at shapes -
I touched the tops of Films -
I felt the Wilderness roll back
Along my Golden lines -

The Sackcloth - hangs upon the nail -
The Frock I used to wear -
But where my movement of brocade -
My - drop - of India?

E. Dickinson 'Poem no, 544'


Nasreen Mohamedi


Nasreen Mohamedi


Nasreen Mohamedi


We miss Her, not because We see --
The Absence of an Eye -
Except its Mind accompany
Abridge Society

As slightly as the Route of Stars -
Ourselves - asleep below -
We know that their superior Eyes
Include Us - as the go -

-Emily DIckinson

Thursday, September 16, 2010


[H A B I T S]

Some words/phrases not otherwise used in this book*:

Cognitive relativism
Gender paradigm
Hegemonic discourse
Sexual modalities
Supermeneutically hyperexegetic

* On The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs - "69 Love Songs", by LD Beghtol