30 December 2010

This and that

Well, it's been a fucked up, up and down kind of year. Maybe more fucking down than up, considering.

Next year should be fun. I've heard rumours that none of the staff want to be my supervisor for Masters.

That's kind of gratifying but also annoying.

Arseholes should fucking come to the party, I reckon.

25 December 2010

Back in the day

I'm the eldest in my family. I reacted badly when my brother Jeremy came along when I was one and a half. I did the conventional things like try to flush his teddy bear down the toilet and lead him out to play in the traffic.

I showed him those learn to read books that have a picture of a cow on one page and the word 'cow' on the facing page. I'd run my finger under the word 'cow' and say 'sheep'.

Before he could walk or talk, I'd break something, put him next to it, hit him so he'd start crying, and then hide in a good vantage point near-by to watch the ensuing fun. Until the day Mum snapped me, that is.

A few years ago, we were out drinking and talking about this. Jeremy said he wouldn't tell me what the worst thing I did was. He was going to wait till we're older and he'd got his revenge first.

I reckon he's making that up. His sneaky plan is that is his revenge – making me worry – so I am therefore nonchalantly unconcerned.

Fucking family eh?

24 December 2010

Bollocksing bollocks

Yesterday, I had a couple of wet paintings lying flat on the table in the sun. The fat bastard monster cat, who is really fucking stupid, promptly walked across them.

Here are the traces left on the table:

The fucking bastard. Now I've got to fix the mess he made. Very annoying.

22 December 2010

Ye gods

13 December 2010

Quote of the day

Does this outfit make me look fat?

- Liz Maw

12 December 2010

Te Horo museum craziness

On our way to Auckland yesterday, we stopped for breakfast at Te Horo.

Breakfast and the crazy museum.

10 December 2010


Smith's to wear to The Fall on Monday, Céline's for some friends, and Picabia's just for laughs – and to round out the best of the best: best musician, best writer, and best painter.

09 December 2010


Being fickle, I've signed up to Twitter again. I tried to resurrect my old account, but they weren't having any of it. I even needed a new email address cos my one was 'in use', along with my old username, by the defunct account. Arseholes.

You can find me here.

08 December 2010


Okay, so it's fucking freezing at the moment, but that is an aberration. It has been incredibly hot, bright, and sunny.

And with colours like these to look at:

I've gone lurid:

Fucking animal hair gets everywhere.

30 November 2010

The heat

Yeah, I'm a lizard. I like the heat. But, Jesus motherfuck, it gets hot in the studio in the arvo at the moment. Hot and stuffy. Even with the french doors wide open (yes, strictly, that should be 'French windows', but too bad), the air doesn't get down to my working area.

It gets stupidly hot down there. We have to replace the windows at some stage – with ones that open. It's good for drying, especially when you're doing watercolours. In fact, the watercolours can dry a little too quickly.

And this is fucking November. What the hell's it going be like in February!?! Well, hell will be the operative word.

Whinge, whinge, fucking whinge. I've got my great studio back, and already I'm whinging about it.

What a cunt.

24 November 2010

Free for the faking

19 November 2010

16 November 2010

Masters interview

I had my Masters interview this arvo. I think it went okay. For some reason, I was a little nervous. My heart was going quite fast, and I could feel that my face was going bright red. That was annoying.

But the conversation went all right. The most amusing moment was when my assessor for the studio paper this year mentioned considering giving me my assessment as a comment on this blog. This was in the context of a discussion about which poor sap would be my supervisor, and how they'd have to deal with me posting every conversation I have with them here – 'which is quite exhausting'. Apparently, this is a problem because I 'paraphrase or edit [conversations with staff] to skew them for [my] own purposes' (I am, of course, paraphrasing here).


YouTube Video

15 November 2010

Some pics

The nice photos are by Shaun Waugh.

Here we go (part 1)

I have my mark for the studio paper back. I got an A- and this great comment, which I have dutifully transcribed in full:
Dear David – I'm handwriting this in the hope that you have the annoyance of transcribing it into that nice typeface you use on your blog site. My annoyance is having to write this out as 'good copy' from a previous draft – public document that it is and all!

To be clear to your readers, what you presented for assessment was: a link to pointlessandabsurd blogspot, three wall drawings (to be considered as one work) and [three] smaller works on paper, each titled separately.

You were 'derailed' (I presume by me) from producing a book ... which is a little overly dramatic for what was essentially a suggestion that, for your your own interest and entertainment as an artist, you might like to consider a number of other ways common-sense nihilism could expand its horizons – good practice usually ... looking for ways to get work to a place it wasn't at before and thinking through ideas, making decisions that might add qualitatively to the work itself.

Many of our conversations this year have been within this territory. I posed a series of questions to you about how you would approach the blog now that it was seen in relation to a set of assessment criteria, to which, for better or worse, it would be referred against.

You are an astute mind and without a doubt there are moments of acerbic and comic brilliance in the project (as a whole). It rides an uneasy line of having to contend with the requirements of this institution and your own (frequently 'cuntish') dismissal of all that this stands for. BUT:

Two thoughts

Yes, you have got your feet squarely in both camps. But it's a compromised position and it needs more work to compromise it further or it risks heading into dullness, repetition, and ceases as 'critical' entertainment or to advance the 'thesis' of the project.

OR, on the other hand, it's now a signature work that is becoming sure of what it does best and has clear editorial decisions and some clever manipulations at work, steadily developing its 'argument', and kicking the walls that it hits up against ...


Obviously, I needn't have bothered with the bloody drawings.

Which reminds me that I should post some pics some time.

12 November 2010

Tee hee

My whizzy new computer has a built-in camera. This means I can very easily do some video blogging, and directly address you bastards.

Like this perhaps:

As Rose put it, even more silly, annoying, and juvenile than usual!

11 November 2010

Oh dear

One of the things with my email address is that I get a lot of misdirected mail. Not spam, just stupid people sending things to the wrong address cos they've put a space before the 'everything' in the address.

Take this, which appeared in my inbox this morning:

It was a pleasure meeting you and we look forward to you joining our team.

Please print the attached file which is your ePassport which will need to be taken with you to the test center. The test center and directions are given on the ePassport.

Please note: Drug test must be completed in 48 hours. The exact time deadline is printed on the ePassport.

If you have any questions, please let me know.


What idiots. Bruce is probably better off not working for the wankers.

I wonder if I should email them back?

10 November 2010

Oh happy day!

I'm spending today sorting out and setting up my studio. Due to a combination of circumstances and some dumb decisions on my part, I haven't had one for a while, which has been a little frustrating.

No more though!

The sleepout is mine once more! Nyah ha ha ha!

09 November 2010


In the weekend, I went to add the final touches to my Masters proposal – and my computer died.

It was pretty old, and it had taken quite a bit of punishment. I've managed to drop it several times, one time when I was holding it over my head. And I've thrown it across the room in a fit of pique before.

Luckily, I'd emailed my proposal and was able to download the attachment from the web. I also transferred all my files on to an external hard drive not so long ago. So, the computer dying was far from the disaster it could have been.

Now, thanks to the wonders of modern capitalism, I'm typing this on a shiny new one.

02 November 2010

Quote of the day

The whole of contemporary art looks like it was done by the same person.

– Liz Maw and Andy McLeod

Except for us of course.

Speaking of Andy, he has an opening at McLeavey's tomorrow night. It'll be good.

I've been incommunicado the last couple of days. We had to go up to New Plymouth suddenly. Otherwise, I'd've given you more notice.

27 October 2010

Another year

The only proper subject for art is the utter ridiculousness of it all.

I don't mean just the ridiculousness of the art game, though that is pretty ridiculous. Art is an integral part of human society, and human society is an integral part of the world. Therefore, the ridiculousness of art leads inexorably to the ridiculousness of the world.

And how ridiculous the world is! This spinning ball of mud with these ridiculous creatures crawling across its surface, deluded by pretensions of grandeur.

You have to laugh.

It's final hand-in for the studio paper today. Said hand-in will form part of the end-of-year exhibition, which opens on 5 November.

It's been an up and down kind of year, but I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out. What made all the difference was our class. I'm not much of one for groups, but this one is all right. We've had a good time.

The last thing I've got to do, before I can put academia behind me for the year and get stuck into some painting, is come up with a proposal for Masters next year.

I was derailed from doing a book this year. Maybe I should do one next year?

Then again, there's a general election next year, and it'll probably be quite funny. Maybe I should stand as the common-sense nihilist candidate for Wellington Central?

Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and I'm bitterly disappointed with the lack of response to the caption competition, you useless cunts. This is an interactive, multidisciplinary art work, don't you know, and so as such it needs some fucking interaction! If I fail, it's all your fucking fault.


24 October 2010

Caption contest

22 October 2010

Something in Wellington to go to

Tonight, Rose and Daniel will be spinning some records at Happy, from 7.30 to 8.30.

Update: So I lied. Turns out it's from 6.30 to 7.30.

20 October 2010

Parallel worlds

According to the many worlds theory, 'the universe (or multiverse in this context) is composed of a quantum superposition of very many, possibly even non-denumerably infinitely many, increasingly divergent, non-communicating parallel universes or quantum worlds'.

Some people, particularly science fiction writers, like to imagine this means there are a near-infinite number of parallel versions of themselves inhabiting all sorts of exotic parallel worlds (usually featuring airships).

However, each of us is a product of a unique set of circumstances, each of which had to happen for us to have been born. The vast majority of parallel worlds, by definition, are worlds in which different things happen – that is, worlds in which you were never born. And the worlds in which parallel versions of you do exist will be substantially similar to this one, their only differences being the different possible courses your life can take.

Therefore, if you could travel between parallel worlds, the chances of meeting an alternate version of yourself would be vanishingly small, and the outcome if it did happen fairly boring.


I hate South Africans. The sound of their accent makes my skin crawl.

Nazi cunts.

I can't stand the English either. Imperialist motherfuckers, starting off with the locals, then exporting the concept.

And don't get me started on the Americans.

Me, I'm Maltese. Fuck the Maori and their being colonised 150 years ago. We were colonised 2000 years ago. From the fucking Phoenicians to the fucking English, who gave it up in the late 60s.

There were all sorts in between – the Arabs who cut down in all the trees and turned it into an arid wasteland, the Knights of St John and their crazy siege.

Fuck me, I am a racist. I hate the human race.

19 October 2010

The universe

Check out this whizzy interactive scale of the universe thing.

Speaking of whizzy physics stuff, I also came across these ten purported answers to the question 'Why is there something rather than nothing?' What bollocks. Apart from number 2 (and maybe, if we're feeling generous, 1), they are no such thing. They explain how – not why – there is apparently something rather than nothing.

Now, of course, in reality neither I nor the world exist. But we indisputably appear to do so. Why is this? Logically, nothing should.

Maybe it's cos we can appear to exist. The apparent universe we inhabit is the expression of the possibility that it can appear to exist.

If you know what I mean.

18 October 2010

Popular art

People want art like those mirrors in clothes shops that make you look skinnier than you really are.

But only if it has a stamp of approval from some authority on it.

16 October 2010

12 October 2010

To reiterate

I call myself an intertemporal avant-garde artist. At the end of last year, I issued a challenge to anyone who would dispute my claim to the avant-garde. There are many possible reasons for the lack of response to that challenge, but, naturally enough, I prefer to think that it's because no-one disputes that claim.

In his Theory of the avant-garde, Peter Bürger defines the historical avant-garde as Dada, Surrealism, and Constructivism, while classifying such movements as Cubism as modernist. According to Bürger, what distinguishes an avant-garde movement from a modernist one is that the avant-garde rejects aestheticism, an exclusive concern with formal qualities, in favour of integrating art with life.

Bürger contends that the historical avant-garde failed to achieve this goal. He argues that the neo-avant-gardes of the 1950s and 1960s were a farcical repetition of this failure. For Bürger, the historical avant-garde’s failure was heroic, but the neo-avant-garde’s repetition of that failure actively works against the goals of the historical avant-garde.

Hal Foster gives an example: ‘Thus, if readymades and collages challenged the bourgeois principles of expressive artist and organic art work, neo-readymades and neo-collages reinstate them.'

However, this alleged common aim of the avant-garde to integrate art and life is obvious bullshit. Yes, there were avant-garde artists who did have that aim, but there was also others who didn't. Having that aim is neither a necessary nor a sufficient property of being an avant-garde art work, artist, or movement.

In his Theory of the avant-garde, Renato Poggioli takes another tack. He identified four essential features belonging to the avant-garde:
  1. alienation from bourgeois capitalist society
  2. activism and antagonism towards the public and public institutions, especially official and academic art
  3. a fundamental break with the past
  4. self-consciousness as an elite vanguard of the future.

Basically, according to this theory, all you need is a bourgeois capitalist society with official and academic art institutions, and certain attitudes towards those institutions and that society. What matters is not whether a particular art work was made in 1910, 1960, or 2010 but its relationship with the official art institutions of the society it inhabits.

Hence, rather than historical and neo-avant-gardes, we have the intertemporal avant-garde.

So fuck you.

09 October 2010

Quote of the day

We were sitting in the sun listening to some nice jazz when this song came on. It has the best lyrics ever:
I'll be dancing on the corner full of gin
When they bring your dead body in
I'll be glad when you're dead
You rascal, you

It was by this guy:

Something in Wellington to go to

07 October 2010

All quiet on the blogging front

Yeah, so it's been a bit quiet around here recently. That's all right. I'm not one of those wankers who put inane shit up every day just so they can have inane shit up every day.

No! There are gaps between my inane shit!

I've been trying to get my essay for school written – and over and done with – so I can concentrate on painting instead. Like all things that you want to be over so you can move on something far more interesting, it's dragging on and on and on...


24 September 2010

Andre Breton

23 September 2010

Louis Aragon

I'm reading Louis Aragon's Paris peasant. The first half of it is an extended description, with interludes, of the Passage de l'Opera, an arcade that contains the dadaist hangout the Cafe Certa:
To be sure, the word dada is understood rather differently at the Certa than elsewhere, and with a great deal more simplicity, too. Here, the word connotes neither anarchy nor anti-art nor any of the other things that so frightened the journalists* that they preferred to designate this movement by the name of Hobbyhorse. To be dada is no dishonour, it simply means a group of regular customers, a few young people, a bit boisterous at times, but likeable. One says : a dada, as one might say ; the fair-haired gentleman. One mark of identification is as good as another. Indeed, dada has become such an accepted term that there is even a dada cocktail here.

On the next page is reproduced:

Apparently, this list was 'surmounted by a placard advertising some drink whose name escapes me, a placard hand-painted by one of their former waiters in the style of Francis Picabia's mechanical pictures, but which vanished some time ago'.

Aragon, the cunt, neglects to record for posterity the recipe for the dada cocktail.

The asterisk on the word 'journalists' in the quote above leads to this footnote:
*I shall have passed through this world with a few people all graced with a quality of absolute purity, that same purity you may have had the fortune to glimpse in the sky one summer evening (Andre Breton, for example) scorned, insulted, spat upon. But if one day my words become sacred – they are already – then let my laughter echo back from far away. My words will never serve your miserable ends, you who thought to sneer at us, filthy creatures. And when I say journalist I always mean scum. To hell with you at L'Intran, Comoedia, L'Oeuvre, Les Nouvelles Litteraires, etc, morons, creeps, bastards, swine. All of you, without exception : glabrous bugs, bearded lice, burrowing your way into reviews, into dubious publications of all sorts, you'll get what's coming to you in the end. It all stinks. Ink. Squashed cockroach. Shit. Death to all you who live off the lives of others, off their loves, their boredoms. Death to those whose hand is pierced by a pen, death to those who paraphrase what I say.

18 September 2010

Some pics

17 September 2010

Something in Auckland to go to


There are very few people I like. Most of you are scum.

I much prefer animals.

It was quite interesting when I went mad, the ones I could rely on and the ones I couldn't. A valuable lesson.

It doesn't matter where you come from, and it's not about what you're doing to improve the world. Ha! Improve the world.

The world can go fuck itself as far as I'm concerned. Oh, that's right, it is.

Raoul Vaneigem categorised it well. In feudal times, there were masters and slaves. After that, we should have had masters without slaves. Instead, we've got slaves without masters.

Human history is so fucking ridiculous. What a lame-arse species we are. Can't work anything out.

When everything's stupid and absurd, when everything's so fucked, what're you going to do, motherfuckers?

Have some fucking fun.

It's not that hard.


14 September 2010

I can't believe I forgot this

A friend sent me a link to an article about how Massey has been ranked as the worst university in the country.

They do have a point about it being a tad unfair. However, it's very funny and very gratifying.

Useless qualification from the worst university! All right!

13 September 2010

And a bonus, just for laughs

The readings

...assuming you can read them – and work out where the first one begins and finishes.


Last week, we had a pretend crit as preparation for the real one next week.

The next day, I had to give a seminar for the theory class. I was up second, but the guy who was meant to go first was so disorganised that he had to reschedule.

For the seminar, you select three readings, formulate five questions about those readings, and then lead the discussion about them. I chose The Amorphist manifesto from 1913, The cacodylic eye from 1921, and a rather long but very readable article about the transition from Picabia's Amorphist paintings to his mechanomorphic ones.

It was a good thing the first guy was so useless. I was most of the way through the first two of the five questions when the tutor interrupted me to say that it'd been an hour already already. I was deeply shocked. It had seemed like about 20 minutes.

I rushed quickly through the rest of it, which was a shame, as we'd been having a good discussion, with almost everyone in the class getting stuck in. When we'd finished, the tutor, who'd been visibly twitching throughout the proceedings, asked me to respond to the criticisms of the avant-garde, particularly those of postmodernism.

I didn't laugh, tempting though it was.

10 September 2010

Another funny comment

I've put the stupid comment moderation, cos I'm sick of deleting porn spam. However, this one's pretty funny:
Ihr habt eine schoene Webseite hier, und vielciht schaut Ihr euch auchmal meine an, ok Sex im Internet ist nicht jedermans Sache, aber eben meine erste Homepage. Danke und macht weiter so!

Actually, I'm not sure it's that funny, except it's in German, which always makes me laugh.

08 September 2010

Best comment for a while

I'm at school in the middle of my crit right this very minute.

We're talking about this comment a lot:
No fuck you, you useless piece of shit whino art cunt. How exactly are you helping the fucking world out? By taking art at Massey? lol.
Eat shit in fire and die in a hail of frozen sewage you tiresome failbucket.

The intertemporal avant-garde is old fashioned anyway. :P

04 September 2010

Something in Wellington to go to


You, you reading this, you lame-arse cunt, concerned with your professional life, your mediocre money-grubbing malaise, what are you doing with your life?

Look around you. The world is built on murder and everyday bloody pain. The 'food chain' – what a disgraceful term. And it describes the fucking world. And yet you eat your flesh while spouting your specious arguments.

And then there's society. The collection of human beings, an ant pit of striving ambition, ambition for what? Your petty desires are pathetic.

What do you live for?

What are you worth?

You fucking cunts. Fuck off.

You think you're into art? You think that makes it okay? You think you're a fucking exception?

You fucking cunts. Fuck off.

Fuck off.

03 September 2010


Artists aren't good or bad, only friends or enemies.

02 September 2010

Scott Walker vs Julian Cope

Last night's radio show was quite fun. It was neck and neck to the end, which was judged a draw.

You can download the podcast here.

31 August 2010

Rose's radio show

Tomorrow night, Daniel and I are taking over Rose's radio show. It's a showdown: Scott Walker vs Julian Cope.

I'm responsible for the Cope. He's great – completely mad and completely brilliant. It was hard to choose. There are so many good songs to choose from, especially from Autogeddon and Jehovahkill.

Fuck yeah!

30 August 2010

Julian Cope

29 August 2010

JK Huysmans

I'm reading some JK Huysmans at the moment. I've just finished Down there and With the flow, and have started on Against nature.

Down there was hilarious. It is, as the blurb declares, 'the classic of satanism'. It has a crazy bell-ringer, an astrologer, a cynical doctor, a bourgeois wife by day and succubus by night, a 15th century child murderer, graphic descriptions of Satanic practices and the Black Mass, and whopping great rants against Naturalism in art and literature, the Americanisation of modern life, and bad restaurant food (the last being the main subject of With the flow).

The rants against Naturalism are the best. I'm really fascinated by these kind of forgotten, irrelevant aesthetic arguments. I can't help but get involved and take sides. I've even got a couple of pictures out of it.

Here are the final lines of Down there:
'To think that a century of positivism and atheism has been able to overthrow everything but Satanism, and it cannot make Satanism yield an inch.'

'Easily explained!' cried Carhaix. 'Satan is forgotten by the great majority. Now it was Father Ravignan, I believe, who proved that the wiliest thing the Devil can do is to get people to deny his existence.'

Oh, God!' murmured Durtal forlornly, 'what whirlwinds of ordure I see on the horizon!'

'No,' said Carhaix, 'don't say that. On earth all is dead and decomposed. But in heaven! Ah, I admit that the Paraclete is keeping us waiting. But the texts announcing his coming are inspired. The future is certain. There will be light,' and with bowed head he prayed fervently.

Des Hermies rose and paced the room. 'All that is very well,' he groaned, 'but this century laughs the glorified Christ to scorn. It contaminates the supernatural and vomits on the Beyond. Well, how can we hope that in the future the offspring of the fetid tradesmen of today will be decent? Brought up as they are, what will they do in Life?'

'They will do,' replied Durtal, 'as their fathers and mothers do now. They will stuff their guts and crowd out their souls through their alimentary canals.'

Against nature is shaping up to be even better:
His contempt for humanity grew fiercer, and at last he came to realise that the world is made up mostly of fools and scoundrels. It became perfectly clear to him that he could entertain no hope of finding in someone else the same aspirations and antipathies; no hope for linking up with a mind which, like his own, took pleasure in a life of studious decrepitude; no hope of associating an intelligence as sharp and wayward as his own with that of any author or scholar.

He felt irritable and ill at ease; exasperated by the triviality of the ideas normally bandied about, he came to resemble those people mentioned by Nicole who are sensitive to anything and everything. He was constantly coming across some new source of offence, wincing at the patriotic or political twaddle served up in the papers every morning, and exaggerating the importance of the triumphs which an omnipotent public reserves at all times and in all circumstances for works written without thought or style.

Already he had begun dreaming of a refined Thebaid, a desert hermitage equipped with all modern conveniences, a snugly heated ark on dry land in which he might take refuge from the incessant deluge of human stupidity.

27 August 2010

The wonderfully named plagiograph

I came across this word while reading Céline. It was so good that I had to stop and do a drawing right then and there.

23 August 2010

Another flagrant rip-off

Picabia's response to being outed for ripping off an engineering drawing continues:
Copying apples, anyone can understand that; copying turbines: that's stupid. In my opinion, what is even stupider is that The hot eyes, which was inadmissable yesterday, now becomes, through the fact that it represents a convention, a painting that is perfectly intelligible to everyone.

The painter makes a choice, then imitates his choice, whose deformation constitutes Art; why not simply sign this choice instead of monkeying about in front of it?

21 August 2010

Something in Auckland to go to

18 August 2010

Oh yeah

Here is Picabia's The hot eyes (on the right):

The inscriptions are 'Homage to Franz Jourdain' (one of the founders and the first president of the Salon d'Automne), 'Acknowledgements to the Salon d'Automne', and 'Out of onion comes strength'.

I do like that hand.

Not only did this picture make headlines because of its plagiarism of an engineering drawing but it also prompted Franz Jourdain to issue a press release reassuring the public that there was not, in fact, an explosive device behind it that was timed to go off during the opening, as was rumoured.

Picabia painted over this picture, with the appropriately named Fig leaf:

Interestingly, he didn't overpaint it with white first and then do the figure, but rather did it the other way around – the figure first, straight on top of The hot eyes, and then the background.

Here endeth the lesson.

17 August 2010

The hot eyes

This picture came from a Picabia quote:
Le Matin took great pride in showing on their front page my painting from the Salon d'Automne, The hot eyes, printing a diagram below it of an air-turbine brake published in a scientific journal from 1920. 'So Picabia invents nothing; he copies!' I'm afraid so, he copies an engineering drawing instead of copying apples!

16 August 2010

But wait, there's more!

Paris, 5 May 1924

My dear friend [Picabia],

I am leaving Paris for a few days, but could not help but tell you right here and now what a surprise it was for me to hear of 391's reappearance and how I perceive the terms of your communication to the papers.

I have no idea whatsoever of distracting you, or advising you; you know what reservations I have on your recent activities, on the very meaning of this activity (Montparnasse, the Ballets Suedois, a rather boring novel, Paris-Journal, etc). I would abstain from expressing myself so clearly on this subject, in view of the profound respect and affection that I shall hold for you despite everything, if this morning's Journal du Peuple had not inflicted your latest little ranking on me. I see no point in telling you that I decline your cordial invitation with all my heart, as I shall urge all my friends to do. May the old posturings of Satie, you have thus found Huelsenbeck, bravo Rigaut, etc, compensate you for our refusal.

Your friend:


Picabia published this letter in the next issue of 391, and included his reply directly underneath it:
When I smoke cigarettes, I'm not in the habit of keeping the butts.

And another

Paris, 4 December 1922

My dear Breton,

While you were away I sent you a registered letter addressed to the Gallimard Bookshop. Did you receive it? What are these stories people are telling and that you're telling? I've never told anyone you make money by selling my manuscripts to Doucet, because it is not what I think and because I know it was very kind of you and Aragon to have arranged this sale. If I've said anything on this subject it was only in that sense.

Apart from that, you know how I think of you: very badly. It's not a secret. I moreover wrote as much in my last letter to you. You also know that it has only to do with the encouragement you're giving certain people and an attitude I find unacceptable towards your old friends. – I decided to tell you all that so you know I'm not completely indifferent to the ambiguous interpretations you've given to my ideas about you.

If you were still capable of remembering me as you had once known me, you would know that I've been expecting with great curiosity (and for a very long time) that act of honesty from you, which will now be for me a confirmation or the opposite, depending on the use you'll make of my previous letter.

I hope to be able to conclude my letters in a less chilly manner in the future.


Quote of the day

21 May 1919

My dear Tzara,

I'm sorry you're not coming to Paris yet. Your presence would do me good because you are really not like all these men who turn art and intelligence into a profession, all these individuals who work at being great men and nothing more. My only aim, though, is foolish tenacity. Luckily I have my friend Ribemont-Dessaignes; he's working a lot right now and what he does is really what I like best. His works have an incomparable quality, ripples of himself and riches in the sun...

I'd be so happy if you could come. Please have my paintings sent to me.

I'm no longer working.

My best wishes, your friend,

Francis Picabia

My best regards to Arp.
We may have a beautiful gallery in Paris; he must send me his works.
Janco too.
The will brings life down on its knees; nine months later feigned euphoria crosses trivial thinking. F.P.
Matisse's exhibition. Very bad.
Negro exhibition. Good.
P. Guillaume has a review. Stupid.

Compare and contrast with this exchange between Tzara and Breton:
[Letter from Tzara to the surrealist group, 20 December 1932]

I ask that this be communicated to all the surrealists:
  1. It is unacceptable that I should be asked to come and defend myself against a very grave accusation, and that, even before the meeting takes place, I should be insulted over the phone.
  2. I believe I've acted with complete good faith toward the surrealists and that preventing me from explaining myself in this manner is a low, disgraceful act.
  3. I hold all those who pass judgement on me without knowing the material and psychological conditions behind the act of which I'm accused to be rotten individuals.
  4. Should any of you require the necessary explanations, I am at your disposal.

[Letter from Breton to Tzara, 21 December 1932]
  1. It is indeed regrettable that, despite my intentions, I lost my temper over the phone and insulted you: I will try to publicly explain which remarks led me to lose my composure on that occasion.
  2. It was never my intention to prevent you from explaining yourself – quite the contrary.
  3. I am waiting to be told about the material and psychological conditions of which you spoke so that I can form a definitive opinion.
  4. We ask you to come by tomorrow Wednesday at 6 o'clock sharp avenue Malakoff.

Okay, that's a little unfair, but fucking hell.

15 August 2010

The avant-garde

Two schools: Sainte-Vierge by Ingres in 1841 and by Picabia in 1920.

12 August 2010


The best anecdote in Dada in Paris is in a footnote.

Francis Picabia would ring up his friends, put on a fake voice, and tell them something like 'The game is up – your wife knows everything.' He'd then go visit them to observe their agitation.

What a cunt.

Some pics

There are some more images on Robert's website.
visitors since 29 March 2004.