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Artist and writer; artworks, prose and poetry.

FROM ‘GHOST QUEEN’

Short story, offering a bizarre and penetrating insight into the eternal horror that is the Middle East.

Collage of eye operations.
(Artwork by the author, from archive images.)

From an anthropologist’s notes.

We drove on; shuddering about in a battered Pontiac, through mile after mile of sun-scorched rocky desert, along an almost empty highway — a terrible place; the wastes of…


APPRECIATING CONTEMPORARY ART

It’s important to know what to look for, otherwise you won’t ‘get it’.

Coca-cola artwork by Jakob Zaaiman
Coca-Cola — Cometh the golden hour [Limited edition artwork] by Jakob Zaaiman

Scenario: imagine someone presenting you with a plate of food. You hold the plate up to your ear and declare ‘I can’t hear anything. Not a thing. This is not music! My five-year-old could do better.’ Now imagine someone going into an art exhibition and thinking to themselves ‘What is…


From ‘Ghost Queen’

A bizarre short story about travelling to Iran, or perhaps not

Collage by author: Statue of Liberty, girl in barbed wire necklace.
Artwork by author.

Something very special about air travel: the way it bleeds fear into your soul. The tightening of the stomach. The queasiness. The hands around the throat. The screaming. The dementia. The flailing of arms, we’re all going to fucking die ! Mayday ! Mayday ! Jesus, fuck !

Terrible. Yes.


APPRECIATING CONTEMPORARY ART

It means you’re coming at it all wrong!

Paul McCarthy ‘Bossy Burger’ performance.
Paul McCarthy ‘Bossy Burger’ performance. (Google arts)

People talk about not ‘getting’ contemporary art — meaning not ‘understanding’ it — as if it were housed in some sort of insider code and, worse still, accompanied by an insider joke which, if you were in on it, would say ‘haha fooled you, you stupid fucking sucker — invoice…


From Tom & the Thumbscrews

A Contemporary Poem

Colour photo of a girl’s knickers.
Not Candy’s, I don’t think. (WikiCommons Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported)

One night,
while cadging a lift off a
friend of a friend, and
four of us ending up cramped in a small car:
three nondescript guys, plus Candy
— a sexy and attractive teenage girl in
a very encouraging way —
with the workday behind us, and all of us going back to our respective…


APPRECIATING CONTEMPORARY ART

Masterpieces of modern/contemporary art #9

Jane Alexander artwork.
African Adventure by Jane Alexander, work of 1999–2002, Tate Modern, Bankside, London, England, November 2016 (WikiCommons Creative Commons license)

(The idea behind this series is to let the individual artworks speak directly to us from their own mysterious realm, rather than interpreting and ‘explaining them away’ in conventional terms.)

Jane Alexander is a South African artist (b1959). She works in various media, including sculpture, installations, photography and video.

As…


From ‘CB Funnyman’ forthcoming (2022)

A Contemporary Poem

A Goth girl (but not Kathy) (WikiCommons license)

Kathy the Goth — a graduate from
Berkeley, California, so she said —
except not remotely true as it turned out —
was a big girl, meaning proportionately
big and dumpy and fat all over —
massive wobbly bosoms and a wide arse —
big girl but not obscenely so; she had…


APPRECIATING CONTEMPORARY ART

Masterpieces of modern/contemporary art #8

Lobby card showing Laura Harring as Rita.
Rita, and who Rita is, is the heart of the film (Lynchnet.com)

Important note: this article will assume you’ve already seen the film, and are therefore immune to ‘spoilers’.

The world of the non-linear narrative

You will really need to see the film for yourself to understand how beautifully non-sequential the narrative is, though all the while always holding your attention, as well as always keeping you wanting…


Understanding contemporary art

Because good poems are much harder to write than poets think

Bare knuckle boxing fight.
A poem should feel like this. (BareKnuckle Boxing)

“Poetry is generally very dull, very pretensive…..I had to continue (writing poetry) because (other poets) were so bad, not because I was so good. And I’m still not so good, but they’re still very bad. “ (Charles Bukowski)

Of course what follows is only one tiny angle on a vast subject which, if the millions of poems spewed out all over the world every day is anything to go by, is really just a lonely voice in the wilderness. …


UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY ART

Yes, why not. It’s all about perspective.

Photo of Icke speaking in June 2013.
Icke speaking in June 2013 (Wikicommons Licence)

For this idea to work — while keeping it within the bounds of reason — we’ll have to start off with a few simple definitions.

Art always requires ‘curation’, meaning someone has to say ‘I want this understood as art’

One of the key activities involved in identifying (and thereby ‘creating’) contemporary art is the act of ‘curation’, meaning the deliberate positioning of something —…

Jakob Zaaiman

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