Hey chaps, here's another entry in Jeff and my 'museum' masterwork. Zounds!
Come now, folks, we are almost at the end of our tour. Have you been enjoying yourselves? I think – yes, I think – that it has been resplendent. But, as all things, my good patrons, they end, don’t they? Well, come along. We have a real treat for you next.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: Grumblecore. Yes, look around you, step into the room, watch a film clip our two, and put the headphones on in the meditation room. It’s a movement – oh I don’t know – that’s accepting of all kinds. Even if you hate it, you love it. Oh, but I’ve said too much already. Go on. Dive in.
There is a large room composed of tiny alcoves and short benches.
On the far wall a large screen showing waves and electro pulses and
a 1-2-3-4 countdown to a film; a projector hides from view, putting
image to sound to space. Other walls contain other movies clashing
and grooving to the facets of ugly people applying makeup to genitals
and simple looking dudes smashing pies into sidewalk café windows.
The alcoves, tiny black hideaways carved into the remaining two walls,
are full of headphones, ten or so per nook, covered with silver paint and
black speckle. The headphones posses groans and trembles, wails at
times, and more often than not, temper tantrums and childish rants. The
overall mood is a grumy slump of human experience. The movie is
not overarching, but it is sly. It shows one man stood in front of a bus
stop forcefully grumbling and giving looks of anger and dread to the
passersby. This could be any street. And in the center of the room,
written upon the floor, white letters read, “Who cares? Pro bono?
Enhh…” It is a dark piece of curtain-slung-world that exists like this;
the sound of the place is hushed annoyance.
Okay folks, had time? Yeah? Well, I think this installation is marvelous. To enter an entire universe proper, to be enveloped not just by the sight nor the sound, but – I like to believe – the very feel of what it must have been to be epicenter to an art movement. Yes, Grumblecore: this is it. Created by one simple mad man named D Diderson Diderono, it is a cause celebre of malaise and discontent. Diderono was a regular Joe, once upon a time. He was – in fact – a civil engineer for some years. Somewhere in his mid-thirties – although some dispute the time frame exactly – was when Diderono started making his art. The very first piece he came up with was an apple pie with a nail file in it. Apparently he gave it to his boss as a joke. He quit that same day. And then soon enough, his general prankish taste in art gave way to an overall disenchantment about the world at large. He started smacking people with cakes and started defecating on laws and began calling it his manifesto. And he gathered some followers on the way, oh boy did he. Great, wonderful, marvelous people who would go on to participate in other seminal moments in art history found themselves lured to the mystique and grandeur of Diderono. Oh, let’s see: there’s Gretchen Greco, founder of the Nameless Painters; Simon O, founder of the rock group Ain’t Nothing Been Happening Since the Dawn of Time; Gerard Uni, the now deceased man behind the parody of the Statue of Libery, the Statue of Disparity; and then we also have Nina McKone, the sad sweet girl behind the Ivory Wall installation in New Francisco and the Black Ball in Philsey. It was wonderful, a good time to be alive and to be artistic. A grand creative spark, oh yes. But, okay, you may be asking: what the hell does Grumblecore mean? I think it’s really all about letting loose in the face of domestication, of post-modernization, globalization, gentrification, lousy love, rat bastard politicians, and the academic defeat of the infantile curious mind. Grumblecore – for me at least – is very much these things and more. It’s a dirty t-shirt, it’s a pair of torn sneakers, it’s a cat left out on a cold porch with claws and alabaster. Oh geez, I do wax poetic when near these maniacs. No, folks, really, I like to come here and just listen to the groans and watch the old maniac at the bus stop. It is primitive and ephemeral. This – yes I say – is a force that needs a reckoning. It’s no wonder after getting sick of his art, Diderono jumped off a subway platform and hid as a train sped by him, nearly ripping his nose off. It’s no wonder he just disappeared into a hermit’s life and never came back. Most importantly, however, this movement, Diderono’s art, the creative community that broke bread with him, is founded on the ideal that modern day living is just the pits. It’s refreshing that these objects are here, that these people were on the warpath, for us. That we can take a deep breath – or not – and the world will still roll and the disillusion – the fact that yes, none of us are alone – will be there to meet it. The world is beautiful in its ugliness, glorious in its trash. Oh – I didn’t coin that phrase either. That’s from our man Diderono, ever-grump-poet that he was.
Well, I encourage you, take some more time, really listen, sit and be grumpy. Maybe grumble yourself. Be free, friends, be free.