Beautiful Losers Reviews
Shepard Fairy and his iconic Andre the Giant OBEY tags shows up again, but no Banksy, since it's strictly CA/NY. Harmony Korine also makes an appearance and others derivative of the skate board scene. I highly recommend this documentary for people who make POP art, doodle, dapple in it or just like the way it looks.
All of these people so ridiculously amazed me as I watched this film. They just do what they do, and they never let anything stop them. Enough people notice them after a while, and voila, they make huge money designing shapes that Nike wants to plaster on its television ads. I guess their talent, combined with their persistence, pays off after a while - but you've got to have a lot of talent and a lot of persistence. I admired these people. Even when I see them hanging around in what looks like city slums, perhaps places they used to spend time, it looks somehow glamorous in that gritty way things in movies do but never in real life.
Of course I was inspired to do my own art, do my own thing, etc. after this movie concluded. That's the good thing about films like these - hey, they can do it, maybe I can too! Art is beautiful (it really is)! We need more of this! But I am saying this from a jaded point of view now. These people's mission in life is so simple - get the art out there. If only the rest of us could figure it out so easily. And yes, there is a pattern of thinking like this in my reviews.
This documentary got me to think about a few things unrelated to its explicit presentation. The first thing I noticed was how much of a Gen X phenomenon the whole movement was. All of the artists exhibit very similar postmodern, post-structuralist views and attitudes. While that is in no way a denigration of the work they did or they influence they've had it does compartmentalize them to some extent and reveal limitations to continued influence. This makes me wonder what kind of influence and ideas Millenials will come up with relative to art during our time. Is there anything left to do in art once DIY street art has been done ad nauseam?
I saw a video of a TED presentation where a lady gave a defense for why she believed video games is a legitimate possibility for "high art". She compared video games in its current stage to the beginnings of language and drawing. In the beginning they were means for simple communication, poetry and artistic expression came later. Video games are just beginning to explore areas beyond the traditional conception of the win-lose game. Will this be the realm of our contribution to art history and aesthetic evolution?
Another thing I began to wonder is what exactly makes a person passive? Some of the videos of the gallery shows are unintentionally funny because the viewer watches a bunch of yuppies and hipsters walk around consuming more of the same ideas and "creativity" that have turned them into another brick in the wall of a mass homogeneous cliche. The street art movement has been trying to battle a kind of passivity in the aesthetic of the urban environment of sameness of colors and materials in the buildings. This then ends up having implicit or explicit critiques of consumerism, technoculture, urbanization, suburbanization and the politics that underlie much of these phenomena. However, for all the ingenuity and originality it seems like one kind of passivity has been traded for another. Inundated by the passivity of apathy represented by mass culture, brick, concrete and steel we swing to another end where we accept media overload: billboards, music always playing, latest movies, life determined by the tv schedule, etc. In street art's best Brechtian moments hasn't it become little more than the cultural equivalent of the internet pop up ad demanding everyone's attention to some idea or way of seeing?
I think the most interesting questions and thoughts this documentary raises are those it probably didn't intend to raise. Where is art headed? What will the next generation do? Can art continue to distinguish itself or is it bound to eventually repeat itself and become a rehashing of everything that's been done before?
In the early 1990's a loose-knit group of like-minded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself) subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip-hop, and graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their craft with almost no influence from the "establishment" art world, this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, created a movement that transformed pop culture.
Starring Shepard Fairey, OBEY founder and creator of the Barack Obama "Hope" poster; award-winning pro skater Ed Templeton; Harmony Korine, writer of the cult favorite KIDS and director of GUMMO and MISTER LONELY; and Mike Mills, director of THUMBSUCKER and designer of album covers for Beck, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, and more. Also starring Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Geoff McFetridge, Jo Jackson, Margaret Kilgallen, Stephen Powers, and Thomas Campbell.