Update on the Art Critic Who Asked Me to Marry Him

Comments

1
Thanks for this installment. It's definitely been interesting to follow all of this.
2
at what point does political correctness and "effective social sculpture" take precedence over actually art, made by artists, that is interesting, worth looking at, and not solely about posting Weiner like photos of yourself in your underwear?

The Art Guys are for real. You dont have to like their art, and you can certainly feel they are not politically engaged enough with your particular politics, but they are real artists, who make funny, thoughtful, non-mainstream art that is not simply a commodity to invest in and hang over your sofa.
Plus, they have a Seattle connection- Jack used to live here.

Devon is a self absorbed blogger who isnt saying much of anything above his own navel. And I have known gays who married straight women for 30 years and more- green cards for friends, but I guess thats not "political"?

Lets check in on this Devon the Dude again, in, say 15 years, and compare his accumulated work with what the Art Guys have done, eh?
3
Wait... what?
4
So have you set a date? For the divorce you should plan to walk from the ends of the Great Wall of China, meeting in the middle to sign the paperwork.
5
@2 You are a typical defender of The Art Guys Marry a Plant (which is the correct title of the piece, Jen -- not The Art Guys Marry a Tree; they're very sensitive about that). That is, you have nothing to say about it, only praise for the Art Guys in general, along with the say-nothing "you don't have to like it" disclaimer. (While I was already aware I didn't have to like it, I appreciate your pointing that out.)

I value the Art Guys' contributions to the Houston art scene and have enjoyed much of their work, though none from this recent period in which they are supposedly thinking deeply about "mortality" and "life cycles" -- Toby Kamps' stammering, disingenuous defense.

Kamps is joined to the Art Guys' hip, having championed them at least since the 1990s. But a champion who lacks discernment is no champion at all. I have no problem with the Menil acquiring the Art Guys' work and asked Kamps why he didn't acquire one of their better pieces. His excuse was that he had "midwifed" the piece when he was senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, when the mock wedding was first staged. Why this obligates the Menil Collection, whose director, Josef Helfenstein, made a point of promising that "you will see very different things from Toby" when Kamps was hired, to abandon its standards is beyond me.

I am happy to concede that my accumulated body of work may not compare favorably with the Art Guys' work in 15 years (though it stands a much better chance if they keep tarnishing their admirable legacy at this rate). How, exactly, does that obligate me to avoid making a piece -- The Art Gay Marries a Woman -- that points out the fraudulence of their claim that The Art Guys Marry a Plant blurs the boundary between art and life? And what does that fact that Massing once lived in Seattle have to do with anything?

I'll take Jen as a champion over someone like Kamps or you any day. She said what she liked about my work and didn't mince words about where she thought it came up short, then encouraged me to go out and do better. You and Kamps, meanwhile, can go right on sucking the Art Guys' cocks and telling them how huge they are.
6
@2 -- whoops, I forgot I had registered here as "reliable" awhile back using what is now my primary email account, reliablenarratives@gmail.com, then reregistered recently as Devon Britt-Darby using my last (and still valid) escorting email account, harmlessdevon@yahoo.com. Sorry for any confusion; long day of driving yesterday.

As the author of @5's post, I stand by every word, but would like to add these observations:

As for the gays who have known who married women for green cards, I'm curious: Did their public, documented ceremony include mentions of the fact that they were gay along with a vow to divorce as soon as the state permitted it? If so, I have to agree that theirs was the bolder political gesture.

However, my response to the Art Guys' piece had nothing to do with political correctness, which I have little time for. I would have had much more respect for a work that was unabashedly homophobic but deeply felt and rich in its meanings than for their half-assed effort. It's just that you can't make social sculpture using such a politically bogged-down institution as the medium while ignoring the social context in which it occurs.

Politically correct? Moi? Once glance at that fedora I've been wearing lately -- a nod to Joseph "Everyone's an Artist" Beuys -- and you can tell it was purchased at Target, which we're supposed to be boycotting.
7
@6 That last sentence should start off "One glance," not "Once glance." It's usually better to glance at least twice anyway, in case the first glance didn't do the job.
8
“I have seen stronger plots than this in a cemetery.” ~ Stewart Klein
9
Hey CATSPAW666. I'm slightly mystified by Douglas Britt/Devon Britt-Darby's roadtrip/social sculpture/whatever-it-is. However, ten years from now--and today even--he has a body of work that is respectable--as a critic. This piece might be completely off the wall and crazy, but his writing for the Houston Chronicle has generally been sensitive, analytical and accessible--qualities that are hard to find in one critic. I'm sorry to see him go because his voice has been an important one in Houston. I don't always agree with him, but I always enjoy reading his work.

--Robert Boyd (current Houstonian/former Seattleite)
10
Hey CATSPAW666. I'm slightly mystified by Douglas Britt/Devon Britt-Darby's roadtrip/social sculpture/whatever-it-is. However, ten years from now--and today even--he has a body of work that is respectable--as a critic. This piece might be completely off the wall and crazy, but his writing for the Houston Chronicle has generally been sensitive, analytical and accessible--qualities that are hard to find in one critic. I'm sorry to see him go because his voice has been an important one in Houston. I don't always agree with him, but I always enjoy reading his work.

--Robert Boyd (current Houstonian/former Seattleite)
11
Jen set this up as a horse race between two very different horses.
I was just picking mine.

I am not "defending" The Art Guys Marry a Conifer, I havent seen it.
I am not attacking Britt's art criticism.
I also have no interest whatsoever in Houston art world gossip and politics- I dont live there.

But in an artificial contest between two ways of thinking about "art", I am much more interested in the Art Guys than in "bold political gestures".

YMMV.

12
CATSPAWN666: I agree with what you've said (most of all about your understandable disinterest in art gossip from another city. The last Seattle art gossip that interested me was the split-up and reuniting of Larry Ried and Tracey Rowland...) Britt's journey as an artist is off to an inauspicious start, and the Art Guys have nothing to prove--they've been making great work since the 80s. I only wrote what I did above because even if Britt flames out into obscurity after this, at least he has a pretty decent legacy as a local art writer.
13
Well, even though I think this is a boring and uninteresting "performance", its nice to know SOMEBODY likes it- Michelle Bachmann came out today saying Gay Men should Totally Marry Straight Women.
I guess great minds think alike, or something...