Some Blog Posts Write Themselves

Vilhelm Pedersen's "Emperor's New Clothes" is in the public domain

One of the things that interests me is the border between “art” and pop culture or art and commerce. I love graffiti art and DIY music and I think House on the Rock is far more impressive than Taliesin (yes, I’ve done some time in Wisconsin). I’m no canon-defender; I’ve read my Bourdieu, and I understand the social construction of taste and how that reinforces economic class. But sometimes I think L.A. goes too far in our efforts to appear avante garde or iconoclastic and we just end up looking silly. I submit to you this description of an upcoming screening at the Hammer Museum:

Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World documents the amazing life journey of California artist Don Ed Hardy (b. 1945), who decided at age 10 to be a tattoo artist. After receiving a classical art education with Asian influences, he went on to initiate tattooing’s unprecedented global popularity. Hardy combined sophisticated work on skin with painting, printmaking, writing, publishing, and curatorial work. The film puts this in context with the Ed Hardy lifestyle brand that has saturated the world. (2009, 75 min. Dir: Emiko Omori)

And here is the description of the Hammer Museum’s mission from their website:

The Hammer Museum explores the capacity of art to impact and illuminate our lives. Through its collections, exhibitions and programs, the Hammer examines the depth and diversity of artistic expression through the centuries with a special emphasis on art of our time. At the core of the Hammer’s mission is the recognition that artists play a crucial role in all aspects of human experience. The Hammer advances UCLA’s mission by contributing to the intellectual life of the University and the world beyond.

Discuss.

10 Replies to “Some Blog Posts Write Themselves”

  1. It scares me that you want to know that.

    I’m not sure if the man himself will be there, but I just added a link to the event page, which I’d neglected to do before.

  2. Say what you will about the current Ed Hardy “craze.” I appreciate the designs, especially the apparel.

    Granted, the reason I like those overly convoluted designs and exceptionally bold colors is that when I see someone wearing Ed Hardy clothing I am able to identify from great distance a probable douchebag that I want to avoid at all costs.

  3. I don’t blame museums for going “lowbrow” or mass market with exhibits like this. Guggenheim NYC kind of did that with its “Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit back in 1998, and it attracted record throngs, many of whom had never set buckle-booted foot in the place before. I went and was truly bowled over by the presentation of the machinery.

    But (and, Travis, I took this to be your point), if you’re gonna do that, then admit it, instead of trying to couch it in some lofty rationalization about the “art of our time.” Admit what you’re doing, and many people will appreciate it for what it is. Possibly great numbers of people.

    What I really want to know is, who would win the Ed Hardy vs. Affliction deathmatch? I’d put my money on Afflication by a goth cross.

  4. T – I don’t think “street team of d-bags” is a real thing. I just figured that if Ed Hardy hasn’t begun using the throngs of douchebags clad in his attire as a street team of sorts, he’s missing out on a golden opportunity.

  5. I don’t know. I mean, his name has become a joke by now, but it’s like what happened with Von Dutch–somebody that was previously only ever appreciated by a niche group of admirers is turned into a global brand and whose name now signifies something different. I think there’s an interesting story there.

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