"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 13 October 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

The Canvas Is The Enemy

[Posters & Propaganda]

What's so great about the

Guerrilla Girls, a group of women

artists who make posters about

discrimination in the art world?

Do we really care whether more

women and minority artists are

represented at the Met? In

theory, but if we told you we

spent our free time milling

about at art openings, we'd be



[Guerrilla Girls]

So what is it about the

Guerrilla Girls slapping their

confrontational posters upon

buses, billboards and walkways

that makes us celebrate them

instead of ignoring them as

thoroughly as we might their

NEA-funded peers?


[TV Nation]

Similarly, would we be saying

much if we told you we love TV

Nation? You could probably guess

that on your own, right? Sure,

we share a kindred sense of

mischief, but there's no

conspicuous overlap of political

stance. You could chalk it up to

attitude, but attitude is

notoriously difficult to define

and is liable to crumble under



[Women Have To Be Naked]

If cornered, we'd say that our

appreciation of the groups like

the Guerrilla Girls and TV Nation

is predicated almost entirely on

our most basic understanding of

the meaning of art. And, though

it pains us to so thoroughly

follow McLuhan, it appears that

when it comes to art, questions

of why are altogether less

relevant to us than questions of



We can't be sure what art the

Guerrilla Girls might offer if

afforded the chance to be

featured alongside the

establishment at the

Metropolitan Museum, but we're

certain that the posters that

give them their semi-fame would

feel as irrelevant on a museum

wall as Michael Moore would seem

at a Berkeley protest.


[Bus Companies]

The notion of canvas is key here.

The properly-lit, woven cloth,

hung and legitimized on a

gallery wall, implies both a

specific aesthetic and a

particular viewership. The

display of works on billboards,

TVs, sidewalks and matchbooks

suggests an unpredictable

transaction and, ultimately,

conflict. The exciting potential

of guerilla publishing is not so

much in being able to find your

desired audience, but in being

able to confront precisely those

most likely to ignore and avoid

you if given the opportunity.


[It's Newt!]

Attempting to evaluate the appeal

of a billboard hack or the rare

bit of incisive TV may be

missing the point entirely, of

course. Indeed, to listen to the

texts themselves, one need go no

deeper than recognizing that the

art world is a male world, Newt

is a hypocrite, and the members

of Congress receive slightly

better treatment than most

citizens, Contract With America

rhetoric aside.


[Stop Corporate Crime]

But if you believe that, maybe

you also believe that Suck is

just about questioning the

motives of Netscape, criticizing

backwards-ass marketing schemes

on the Web, and providing

directions on the mutilation of

digital culture mags.



courtesy of the Duke of URL