Laura Lark Loves You #1: Hatin’ ‘n Spankin’

by Laura Lark July 12, 2012

Questions? Comments? Ideas?

Send them to: [email protected] (or leave your message below)

Dear Readers,

Thanks for the overwhelming number of responses! In this first post, I will be addressing just two of your submissions. Not to worry, though; no one who goes to the trouble of writing will be ignored. Unless you are Josh Werminger.

In my next post, I will try to answer one reader’s query: What do I think about art with words in it? Not as easy as it sounds.

Also, I am currently researching Mindy’s question and will answer when I have talked to people who are smarter than I am. The same goes with Mary. Everybody else: hang tight.

Here goes:

How Does Your  Garden Blow?

Dear Laura,

Everyone in the art world says they hate the art world. Why do we all stay in it?

Are the other worlds the same way?

Greener Grass

Dear Greener Grass,

Excellent question! It’s true; denizens of the art world are hatin’ on it 24/7. I myself am probably the biggest whiner you’ll ever come across, and it’s because I’m convinced that a) my genius is not being recognized; b) my causes are not being forwarded; and c) I’m not being paid what I’m worth. In a realm where there are barely any set standards, where quality is in the eye of the beholder, dealer, curator, or collector, all of us geniuses have little to do but bitch when we’re not being recognized. Of course, that’s a gross oversimplification, but after reading No ‘Sacred Monster’, Just a His-Way Artist, an article by Randy Kennedy on Houston artist Mark Flood, I thought a lot about how we, individually and collectively, cope without slitting our wrists.

I use Flood as an example because his bile and vitriol (much of it aimed at the art world) is coming together in a show, “The Hateful Years”, at Luxemborg & Dayan in New York. Flood, king of the art-world-haters, is reaping the rewards of decades of kinda stickin’ it to the Man. I occasionally hear people calling the guy a sellout, but I’m dubious about that.  Flood’s hate is theatrical, and like most decent theater, it can be pretty entertaining. So when I think of this artist, it’s obvious to me why someone would stay in the art world despite a deep loathing for it: loathing’s a whole lotta fun, and there’s no shortage of material. After this show, I imagine this artist won’t be a whole lot different. Rather than settling happily into his new world filled with the recognition and riches that he deserves, thus earning the guy the label of ‘sellout’ from irritated onlookers, I imagine his next step will be to tilt at the next windmill. Onward and upward on the hateful chain! It’s a party.

To be honest, Greener Grass, despite the seemingly soul-crushing negativity of “hate”, I kind of like the fact that many in the art world find it all so loathsome–it shows we’re paying attention. Granted, sometimes I listen to people and wish they’d put a sock in it, but it’s only because they’re not interesting or amusing. A bunch of well-crafted malevolence can be pretty entertaining. It’s all the love that I find a tad unsettling. I mean, if you look around you and don’t find something appalling about a world that operates the way ours does,  you probably won’t want to blow it up. And blowing up things, literally and figuratively, is what we do best.

Cultivating his own garden like a contemporary Candide, and with plenty of Culturcide.

As for your last question, “Are other worlds the same way?” I can only speak from my own experiences. I dip my toe in the brackish pools of both art and creative writing, and I don’t find them much different than the art world. My genius is not being recognized, I don’t get published, and I don’t get paid. Except here, on Glasstire, where I am treated like a beautiful storybook princess.

But, GG, you ask if all worlds are the same. I imagine that things might be different in realms that do not operate on whim. Like the fast-paced world of lifeguarding, best depicted in Baywatch. There’s no messin’ around there–no subjectivity. I mean, you either save someone from drowning or you don’t. The only guarantees you have watching the folks out in those treacherous waters are that you will see the chiseled good looks of David Hasselhoff  and the heaving, barely Lycra-contained breasts of Pamela Anderson.

Anyone who says that life isn’t full of rich rewards is obviously setting the bar too high.

But then you’re just watching the world of TV.

Pass the fucking bean dip.

Love, Laura Lark


You Know Who You Are

Dear Laura,
Emily Sloan is my artist in residence this August. (I don’t want to be stuck in the gallery when it is beach time and I don’t really want anyone else sitting in my Design Within Reach chair.) Emily gets to use the gallery as a studio to create her September show and will have Emily events Saturdays in August.
Emily has asked if she can spank people, she says they know what they’ve done.

Should I be concerned? Linda Darke

Dear Linda Darke,

Ah! Though this question causes me to veer dangerously near to the “Don’t Plug a Show” median on this freeway, the nature of it causes me great alarm and I will therefore throw caution to the wind. When you first opened a gallery and decided on location, decor (including your Design Within Reach chair), and what type of art to display, I’ll bet it never occurred to you to purchase Spanking Insurance from Lloyd’s of London.

Times have changed! According to The Daily Beast, spanking is in vogue. By hosting Emily Sloan’s playful punishment parties, you’ve put yourself right on the cutting edge. Congrats!

Emily Sloan’s next participants will probably not get this comfortable.

However, I do believe your concern as to whether or not to be concerned is valid. In today’s freewheelin’ art world, filled with more than a swat or two, it’s difficult to know when, where, and how to address the matter of gallery spanking.

I have, therefore, devised a few rules:

1. By all means, determine whether it is a punitive or an erotic gesture. Intent makes all the difference, you know. A sassy, steamy swipe to the fanny can be fine in the proper setting, but make sure your artist knows where to draw the line. Sure, Ms. Sloan claims that her subjects “know what they’ve done”–but if aforementioned subject just happens to be a member of the Taliban, any blow to the buttocks could land you a great big whoppin’ “Gallery Guantanamo” label, which could land you in some serious hot water with the ADAA.

2. As “Location, Location, Location” is to real estate, “Consent, Consent, Consent” is to buttock striking of any kind. Make certain that no children, pets, or undocumented aliens will be part of the project. In fact, you might want to insist that subjects fill out consent forms. Best to do these in triplicate.

3. Finally, make damned sure Ms. Sloan understands the importance of quality ham-handling. I’m certain she knows that spanking is not something we in the art world take lightly. Punishment and exposure of bodily parts of this kind should only be used to make good art! For example? William Pope L. publicly craps on a scaffold? Yes. Helmut Newton saddles up some ditz and makes a bad print? No. There are no hard and fast rules, so proper judgment here is imperative.

What you really need to do for your own peace of mind is to get one of those teddy-bear disguised nanny-cams. Since Ms. Sloan has informed you of her intent only to spank, you should be able to purchase one of the standard-cam models with no worries. If, however, there will be any activity involving “furries”, your surveillance method itself might well be violated, and all will be for naught.

Where to hide the camera is the only question.

I wish Ms. Sloan the best of luck on her show, and I wish you a pleasant break from your beloved Design Within Reach furnishing, that enduring, purposeful, and innovative accessory. Many items are in stock and ready to ship at new lower shipping rates.

Love, Laura Lark

Questions? Comments? Ideas?

Send them to: [email protected] (or leave your message below)

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