The New Year: you feel fattened, you have to go back to work, everything you've just bought is now half the price of what you paid for it, it's cold and bleak. It's also the most depressing time of the year. But fear not: the affliction of New Year's resolutions still prevails over us all, ensuring that we will feel even worse in two weeks when we fail to see any of them through.
Our resident misanthrope Philippa Snow sets herself some imminently doomed challenges for 2015.
1. I will not buy the Kim Kardashian selfie book.
For somebody who is as much a believer in the great significance of dumb celebrity culture as a bona fide art appreciator, the announcement that Rizzoli were releasing a book of Kardashian selfies in the New Year was manna from heaven, but also from hell. “Hailed by many (including Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci) as the modern-day personification of Marilyn Monroe,” gushes the release, “Kim has become a true American icon.” That Kardashian is an American icon is, I believe, beyond debate—she is a twenty-first-century model of a mudflap silhouette—but Marilyn Monroe, she ain't: I believe that Selfish, her selfie book, would commune a little too loudly with the worst parts of my character, and might leave me wanting to speak of very little aside from Kim for weeks afterward. She's a terrific subject for popular theory, I think, and extremely easy on the eye despite her vast and very popular carriage.
(Incidentally, did you know that Kim Kardashian put out a single in 2011? I only discovered this myself this afternoon. The description of the music video on the Daily Mail website alone is a true Work Of Art, an assertion about which I'm only half-kidding:
“[Kardashian is] oiled up, writhing around in a pair of tiny pink booty shorts and a white tank top, displaying wet and wild hair as well as a shiny appearance to her skin; in another part of the clip Kim vamps it up donning bright-red, ultra shiny lipstick and giant mirrored aviator sunglasses as she licks her lips for the camera and gazes sultrily into the lens. At one point the camera pans to a shot of Kim's famous derrière in a pair of neon pink shorts before showing her lying down in a revealing white top."
Beautiful, no? I wish Richard Prince would spray-paint it onto a canvas, or Jenny Holzer would project it onto a building. It is my New Year's gift to you, so reproduce it on a t-shirt if you'd like.)
2. I will make an effort to watch “great works of cinema,” instead of only B-Grade horror movies.
Attack of the Puppet People Poster, 1958
I hear that Boyhood was a very “important” film in 2014, and the same for Inherent Vice; I wouldn't know, though, as my partner and I spent the vast majority of our time watching films in which things bit, burst, infected, stalked, shadowed, haunted, possessed, or otherwise menaced a defenceless person or persons. If you were to add up the number of minutes we'd spent feeling mildly spooked since January 1st, I would imagine that we could instead have taken in God knows how many documentaries about modern dance, or three-hour films by Paul Thomas Anderson, or, well, short films of anuses clenching shut, for that matter.
So far, the only films we have made any concrete plans to see in 2015 are It Follows, and—more reluctantly—the third [REC] sequel: I anticipate some difficulty in keeping this one, so I'm open to recommendations.
3. I will try to love art again, for real.
Christ, I have been on autopilot this year: if contemporary art and I are in a relationships, these have felt like its death throes, the phase during which we sign up for couples' therapy. I do not recall, offhand at least, a single instance in which I've felt really excited by an artwork, or inspired to write about it. In 2012 and in 2013 I had ideas; now, I have fits of exhaustion and periods of boredom, interspersed with breakdowns. I have finally watched the thing that I loved become more and more about greed and exclusion and Usher charging his phone in a woman's vaginal cavity at Art Basel, and I've turned off my interest like a flipped switch.
This may seem like a dour way to finish my resolutions—especially given my previous assertion, last week, that I wanted to punch art, in toto, in the face—but hope springs eternal, if quietly. I'm hoping that 2015 is the year in which art can excite me again, can incite me to write for the love, and not simply for work, or for necessary profit, or to “stay in the game” until death or retirement, whatever.
Please don't misconstrue this last point as my belief that the artist is there for my entertainment: I'm a misanthrope, and hate most things, and art is still one of the things I hate least.
Happy New Year, anyway, on that cheerful note! I feel reasonably good about our chances for 2015, so let's drink to them. (And Rizzoli: call on me for an introductory essay, if you're thinking of a sequel. I already have a thousand words about Kim's significance, uh, in the can.)
(Image on top: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Mistanthrope, via Wikicommons)