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January 31, 2007

Operation Imposing Law + Joke



Not Magritte related.

Last Thursday morning as I drove to work, I was listening to my morning NPR. On it, they were reporting that today in Baghdad Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had vowed to crack down on sectarian violence in a new push simply entitled, "Operation Imposing Law."

Immediately, I laughed. Then I waited for someone to comment on the acronym of Operation Imposing Law. But no one did. I told a couple of people and then waited for the pundits to get vulture. NOTHING.  I looked through the papers, I waited for the comedians to go to task, and still almost a week later, I have heard nothing on the fact that the greatest euphemistic operation of recent time has been neglected. I've goggled it plus "joke." I even searched for it plus Jon Stewart. But why the silence?

Operation Imposing Law, OIL, this acronym is a mission that hopefully has gotten a chuckle from the grave of Joe Heller. It could be a great routine. Imagine - reporting back on the mission.

Well day one of OIL was the same as the last, slippery.

Back from the field, Operation Imposing Law was a total on, beyond then some and some more.

Because in the same way that there is no way to escape a Catch 22, there is no way to escape the fact that even when we don't want to talk about it, those two vowels and a consonant are always somewhere together when we're discussing what is happening out of sight and in mind.

Now back to our regularly scheduled art. 


January 28, 2007

Week of Magritte - Objetsmart Tribute

Yesterday's objet was an old newsreel for Salvador Dali's fundraiser for refugee artists. Dug up completely by accident, after going through 400+ clips on youtube, it was the winner.

But I cannot mention Dali without bringing up Magritte. I have been meaning to talk about Rene Magritte for the past few weeks, but have not been able to find the time to give the man justice. Magritte's neverending artistic quest to create extraordinary ideas from ordinary objects personally resonates. Whether he uses words to discount what is not there, or hides his subjects under cloth to disguise their identities, Magritte's visual world embellishes the often overlooked margins of the eye. He never asks us to close our eyes to imagine another realm, but simply suggests perhaps we simply need to refocus our gaze on what already exists.

Hence, as Magritte is a true inspiration for objetsmart, definitely being the godfather of the smart object and elevating the concept of this into art, I declare this week to be:



2nd survey.

By now if you've made it through the Nina Simone themed image retrospective, how about a short animated survey film on the painter. It can't be embedded so if you'd like to see it, you know what to do.

As the week progresses, we'll see...what happens. (Now I'm starting to sound like Salvador. ) Feel free to share some of your Magritte links, images, videos, etc.

Also, highly recommend, the LACMA retrospective curated by one of my favorite contemporary artists, John Baldessari. As you walk on wall to wall clouds, you can look up to discover a ceiling of endless freeway interchanges, a true dream world of Los Angeles. The vast show not only surveys Magritte's great works (featuring pipes, trains, lovers and hats) but also features related contemporary art including a Jeff Koons lifeboat that at 2 tons is my kind of objet. Definitely worth checking out.


January 27, 2007

The party is surrealism but dem frogs is real

I was trying to find the source of an anecdote recounted in the opening of Peter Rosen's documentary "Who Gets To Call It Art?" about Salvador Dali. The story details how when Dali appeared on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," he painted the host's jacket, then refused to return it unless Carson paid him five thousand dollars.


I couldn't find the video clip of this, but instead found this piece of history, that I thought was definitely worth sharing.


Tomorrow: Dinner at Magritte's.  

January 23, 2007

Wannabe: A half billion dolls for only 250 million

Some liquidator is truly laughing all the way to the bank.


Beckham's salary could purchase a half billion Spice Girls dolls. Now thank god, that was never manufactured. But realistically, one wonders how many exist and if say, Mr. Beckham dropped a minute $20,000, if he could buy out the entire stock at the 99 Cent store. 

By doing so, Mr. Beckham could then distribute them free at future Galaxy games, everytime he scored fans could wave their Posh Spice doll and sing the lyrics to their infamous track, "Wannabe."

"Tell Me What you Want, What you Really Really Want."


Even Pedigree(d) dog food is more expensive!



January 22, 2007

Don't touch the vinyl



Today's New York Times features a tale of two turntables that transfer your vinyl into mp3s. Of course, the more aesthetically pleasing and audio phile one doesn't work with Macs. Instead, the review details how Mac users are restricted to the shiny Ion iTTUSb, a deck that looks like it was created to appeal to an aging trance fan who will wear his sunglasses as he converts records that should be melted quickly into mp3 format. I was always hopeful that one of the rare positives about the death of vinyl was that many of those simply rubbish records created throughout history and especially during the late 90s would languish and simply fade from memory. 

I guess those product developers at Ion realized there was a market to keep these memories alive.  If they actually made a more aesthetically pleasing turntable that had a top to cover how ugly it is, perhaps I'd save my remarks.  But the lack of it just proves how flashy it is trying to be.  Then again, it seems apt that the Ion uses a software program called Audacity, because that is how I feel about the fact that so much energy will be spent preserving noxious tunes.

Rather I suggest perhaps Ion should just create a consumer version of the ultimate Objetsmart vinyl object: The ELP Laser turntable, a deck without a needle!

Simply, no needle, no wear.

Kind of like No Woman, No Cry.

Only problem is that the ELP costs $15,000.

Now that's audacious.



January 18, 2007

Marketing Smart

About 4 days, I watched "24" for the first time. I had seen pieces of episodes over the years, but never got into it.

This all changed on Sunday night.

I was back hooked on Monday and yesterday morning, those smart marketers released a DVD of the first 4 hours of broadcast from the previous 2 days. In it, they included the first 12 minutes of next week's episode. Smart marketing if there ever was for the addicted.

January 14, 2007

Multi-faceted devices - silly Sunday

I am inaugurating the Sunday post with a desire to share in a silly moment.

With all this talk of new technology, no one has done it better than this hypothetical spoof of a phone's capabilities.

I too strongly believe that the bottle opening function would be handy.



January 13, 2007

Ballet Mecanique - My film smart

This film changed my life.

Created in the 20s by the painter Fernand L├ęger, this ten minute film is everything I love about rhythmic avant-garde cinema.

Watch it yourself.

Do It Yourself Prints - Banksy II

The following was announced on Banksy's website today:
Can I post an image on my website?

And what about this link on Ebay?

In any event, I dig that you too can print your own poster.

Personally I like this: you can even personalize it with "your child's name."

I am tempted to buy one and personalize it, "Thief."



January 10, 2007

Mii Mii Mii - 15 miinutes of game


Objet 5, Mii of Andy Warhol, pop artist, created by Andrew Andrew and uploaded on

One Sunday morning a few weeks before Christmas. I woke up before 7am to go buy a Nintendo Wii with my friend Tristan. The night before, we strategically attempted to target where a large number of units would be released at 8am. The only problem was that even though the two of us found the Best Buy, Target and EB games all in the same outdoor mall, so did every male between 18-34 in the Hollywood vicinity. When Tristan and I walked up to the first line at 7:15 in the morning, we witnessed multiple bundled campers, a few with tents that were emerging from the wake of a self-induced night of homelessness on La Brea.  The stubborn persistence on clamped faces of the weathered overnight campers somehow reminded me of a scene from an old Russian film I saw as a child, set during the communist era. In the scene, the characters had camped out all night - not to purchase a gaming system, but rather to receive their ration of toilet paper.  They braved the cold for necessities. The Wiikids on La Brea shared the same determined look as the actors from this film memory. I learned then that the Wii to some was a serious matter, but didn't yet quite understand why.

After discovering that all 3 stores were sold out, Tristan and I bought some coffee cake and contemplated our next move. His mother Anne was doing mobile logistics from the house, so we began the Sunday morning drive-by. By 7:30am, our mission involved drive-bys of EB Game stores that only had 6 units apiece and lines double that. We paused at a desolete Game Stop on Hollywood and Western. It was filled with men all over the age of 50 and one young guy who optimistically thought he could be sixth in line, although we counted him to be seventh. Someone had tipped us off that Toys R Us had units, so we raced over to the nearest location in Los Feliz.  Again, we were too late; their 60 vouchers had disappeared; Best Buy next door had gone through their allotment of 15 or was it 40? It was chaos, miscommunication, I felt like we were the last ones with information at a cultural emergency, all the worms had vanished.

Someone else mentioned Costco and I realized I had my card! Instantly rejected by the man at the door.

By this time, I was exhausted, hungry and resigned, so down trodden, a $1.50 hot dog and soda seemed  appetizing for breakfast. But the stand was still closed. Seven stores laters, the two of us walked back to the car, but not before I saw the objetsmart for the 1st time.  Inside a clear plastic bag was the box, attached to the hand of an attractive 20something man. "What time did you get here?" I asked. "5:30," he admitted embarrassed. "Dedication," Tristan and I agreed.

Later I thought about giving up the word "we" in any format (wii, wee, we, oui) until I got my own. I would create my own verbal oulipo as protest. This stems from an idea some time ago when I worked on an episode of a radio show about oulipo. the French linguistics society.  Oulipo is a fascinating subject ( and I have always been amazed that the author Jacques Perec managed to write an entire novel without the letter, "E."  It is a difficult task, writing without it. (This would be my one sentence sans e.) But unless you are a complete loner, a conversation without we would be very lonely.

The idea got thrown out when 4 days later, thanks to Anne's determination and Ebay Express, Tristan got a Wii and I began to understand why people had camped. If I had known then what I do know, I probably would have claimed that tent off Freecycle.

T had been playing with it for a couple of days when I came to visit. The result was at least 4 hours of serious addiction. Besides the thrill of watching Dick in a Box directly on the wii through its web browser, I was introduced to the cult of Miis.

Mii mii mii, i just can't get enough. So much so that I think everytime I refer to myself for the rest of this post, I may just have to write mii. 

Miis are Nintendo's version of the avatar, and remind me of a futuristic virtual Ed Emberley digital cartoon creation.  As a child, the below book was my canon for drawing. It's a basic primer for drawing funny characters. Beginners start with the simple shape of a square or circle. Eyes, noses, mouths, hairs are then added in with simple visual instructions, eventually transforming your shape into your character. More intermediate users begin with a hexagon. The advanced use complex geometric forms to create dynamic characters.  The better one gets at drawing the characters, the more confident they feel in creating narrative cartoons based on these characters.  The characters in Emberley's book occupied me for many wonderful afternoons during my childhood.  I've always wondered if Trey Parker and Matt Stone loved this book too.


 I think the creation of Miis taps into the same curiosity, but updated for a faster, customizable time. But being able to create one Mii to play with was not enough for Nintendo. For the Wii, as a player you have the ability to create an entire village! You can create endless personalities, then swap them with other players. In this world, overpopulation is not an issuel the more mii the merrier. 

But making miis is only the beginning of the fun; playing with them is where things get truly amusing.

The cult of mii expands exponentially each day. What began as a simple concept has quickly spawned a celebrity mii culture with more A listers than the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Add in religious figures (lots of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and many interpretations of God) politicians (from Washington to Lincoln to Bush), dictators from Hitler to Hussein, and you're beginning to see a second world of mii form that is as inherently overpopulated as the real one.  But this mii world has a purpose, that is to game, and it is damn fun. The Wii comes with a sports game giving you options to play a number of games using your wiimote, a small remote controller you attach around your wrist.

Boxing is like your own Celebrity Death Match.  There will be if not already Gandhi versus Dalai Lama video on Youtube soon. Personally I would like to put Bjork and Matthew Barney in the ring.


Matthew Barney 




Tristan had created plenty of Miis, and swapped others. I tested out an amateur Rosie O'Donnell and got whooped by Jesus in golf. As Oprah, I was much better with a bowling ball.

With my own wii, I too will dream about my 15 miinutes. Though there's already many Andy Warhols out there. But how about the Factory? Tristan's dad thinks they all must wear stripes. I think Andy and Edie Sedgwick golfing would be more fun than watching "Factory Girl." While i'm at it, I'd like to create a Karl Lagerfeld. Warhol v. Lagerfeld in the ring would be epic!

I'd love to go bowling with Elvis,

elvis c
 COSTELLO or...elvis















David LynchPlay doubles tennis with David Lynch,




Don King and finally have a throwdown with the original king of the ring, DON KING.

What are your mii fantasies?

I fear miine may change every 15 miinutes. 


Miis featured in this blog were created by Andrew Andrew (Warhol, Barney, Bjork) Elvis Costello (Velvetone Fusion) Elvis (Gibbo) Run DMC (bookemdan) and Don King (Isic). Thank you for sharing your Miis to the world.

The Mii user and artist Trev has created likenesses of some of his mates and or musical inspirations at Mii Plaza. I quite like people like Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton in with the Jacko, Bjork, and the entire crew from the Smiths. Truly miifav.

 the smiths


January 09, 2007

Banksy's Elephant on the Wall

banksy.JPG Objet 4. Graffiti adjacent to Banksy exhibit taken on a Sunday afternoon in the fall 2006 by OS.

Much of the inspiration for objetsmart occurred while looking for Banksy's objects on Ebay. Recently, I have discovered many people making Banksy inspired objects for sale. These objects were not created by Banksy, as he is notoriously against merchandising. While he has not personally created or sanctioned t-shirts, mugs, stickers and calendars, there seems to be a demand and now others have supplied.

You might wonder how I began this hobby. Ebaying Banksy has been a recent fascination ever since my friend A and I blagged our way into the Banksy opening some months ago and found ourselves staring at a gargantuan elephant done up in organic red and gold textured paint. There truly was an elephant in the room albeit Bollywood style. The elephant had more handlers then most movie stars, but possessed more gusto and stage presence than any of the nearby celebrities.

I walked around the exhibit and laughed my ass off. I simply loved it. Yes, it did remind me of adventures long ago on Brick Lane in London, or walking around the city just to steal postcards of call girls from the BT phone boxes. Must find, must find these..

The Banksy exhibit, now long gone, but still fresh in memory was everything I love about visual art. Brutality, humour, immediacy. I could gush and say, " Pop art with swagger! I dug!" but my reaction to the work was much closer to my heart. There was thought to the pieces; they were all so clever and so smart.

So much so that when we discovered there were prints for sale, we thought - why not? Standing in line with other graffithusiasts attempting to buy a memento while drinking from the open bar, I thought what an experience. This took many hours of waiting and waiting and drinking and waiting and drinking and talking to everyone in the five feet vicinity. Nonetheless, it was a total giggle and we left the opening buoyed with adrenaline and future debt. Buying a piece of art I discovered can heighten an opening, give it a true raison d'etre truly. The conundrum was that the pieces were not ready that night. You were given a ticket stub and told to return that weekend. Two days later, along with half the city, I returned to the scene of the credit card crime to pick up my grannies. The above tag was on an adjacent building. I paid $500 bucks for a print that sits in a tube in my living room waiting to be framed. I paid nothing for this photo. On ebay, one can buy someone else's photolog of outdoor Banksy images.

I'm tempted to get this as it in itself is a work of art albeit of someone else's art. But I quite like the idea that someone has been compelled to create a calendar of another's public work. If what we photograph in public space is illegal to begin with, it is permissible to document it without guilt. But part of me wonders if it is right to sell someone else's images. In any event, this calendar to me is truly one of the inspirations for objetsmart. Although I've always been fond of elephants.

January 08, 2007

Plates Part Deux (2)


Objet 3. Custom plate created late one night at Fred 62, Los Feliz, by a man known as Crazy Joey.

It's inevitable that you meet many strange people when you hang out at record stores, music studios and radio stations. For many years, these were my domains, and I enjoyed absorbing the rich comedies of larger than life music people and their hanger-ons. Initiated into the world of musical junkies, I came across many characters straight out of a pulp fiction novel or a Tarantino film.

The focal of my universe in these years was volunteering and working low paid odd jobs at an NPR station in Los Angeles. During many a late night, I would enjoy picking up the phone and talking to callers. Some would call in to ask specific questions about songs we played, others would call out of loneliness or boredom. While I worked on a music show, sometimes by the kind of calls we had, you would think it was a self-help line. Many of our callers were repeat. One of them, a friend of the DJ, always was making prank calls in which he'd mimic an old man and attempt to engage us first in a serious conversation that always turned to the absurd. He particularly enjoyed doing this with me, which at first, was somewhat amusing, but often became distracting and cumbersome because he didn't know when to stop. 

Out and about in the city, we'd run into this man from time to time. He always wore a fur cap no matter what the weather. On a number of occasions, I stole it from him and wore it around parties because it was a fabulous cap. Eventually he'd steal it back from me and then never let me get near it again, until inevitably I ran into him around and tried to grab it once more.

The man with the fur cap seemed to like the fact that his name to us was "Crazy Joey." My friends that didn't know him would always ask me, "Who is that?" especially when it was summer and he still wore his hat.

One night we were hanging out at my favorite place for Mac N'Cheese balls, Fred 62 on Vermont, when we ran into CJ. He was in a drawing mood, so took a paper plate and made me a memento. I don't think I've seen him since, but I held onto the plate. 

I've thought about throwing it out over the years, but have always resisted, out of mostly nostalgia for  this time and also because I always really liked art on paper plates. Today when I came across it in a box in the garage, I thought it the perfect object for day 3.




January 06, 2007

El Bulli Soup


I'm all for communicative food.


Photo by Francesc Guillametfrom citing from the site on El Bulli. 

January 05, 2007

Who's On First?

Who's On First?

Objet 1. Roy Lichtenstein paper plate, 1969. 10 x 10. Screenprint.

According to sources, in 1969 Lichtenstein created these plates exclusively for sale at On 1st, the New York shop of photographer Bert Stern. They were to be sold in packages of ten.

On First, yes, really on First Avenue in NYC, sounds to me like my favorite kind of retail store, a curated concept shop, the kind of place that sells high art paper plates. From 40 years ago? A little research finds that during the 60s Stern opened the show across the street from his studio. In an interview with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, he discusses how he sold, "innovative objects, art objects, Lichtenstein paper plates and Marilyn Monroe scarves." Hmm...I wonder what a MM scarve looks like. Stern was even trying to sell Andy Warhol's films but according to Stern, "He wouldn't agree right away...anyhow he left and went back to his studio and got shot that afternoon. From then on,  whenever I'd see him a party he'd cross the room saying, "No, no, last time I met with him, I got shot." 

If only Stern had the chance. It seems as if not too long after the Lichtenstein plates were commissioned, Stern closed the shop, but nevertheless, a secondary market for the plates quickly spawned. While one resides at the Tate Modern, you too can own a Lichtenstein paper plate via Ebay.

I've always thought it would be a great present to give someone that was having a picnic in the park.

Over the years, I've stared at this plate at a friend's house and I always loved this graphic object. Mostly, it's just so wonderfully funny that Lichtenstein would create his own version of something useful and disposable. These arrestingly vivid, customized and often signed paper plates are the ultimate useless and indisposable objet. Is it art? Is it smart?

Does it matter because it's on first...

Though I do wonder, if he were alive today, do you think some handpainted and signed condoms would have been in order? I'm thinking there are some future Banksy stencilled installation of burnt out cars with posh custom airbags. I can see the bidding wars now...the devil doesn't wear prada, it bids on banksy, or at least watches...

Welcome to Objetsmart.






Objetsmart, noun. eye catching objects of modern life., a place for discovery.