Friday, August 7, 2020

Texas Pole Tax

Texas is a grand state. It always has been, and that is why we love it. After all, which other state can match this motto: “Fuck you, we’re from Texas!”

In fact, one of the main reasons we look forward to visiting this state is for its renegade status highlighted by its endless thorn bush landscape. It’s only in Texas where so-called strip bars can coexist next to Wal-Marts and waterslides, and where men, and women, can take a load off by gazing at Southern belles and olive Latinas.

Thus, and in all honesty, it’s a bit baffling to find out that Texas has just instituted a “pole tax”: a $5 surcharge to be paid by all visitors wishing to gawk at naked women. Yes, $5 bucks, but keep in mind this is during a time of economic recession and when a lone table dance can run you well into the $25 range (not that we would know). Texas legislators see this as a way to fund programs intended to support victims of sexual assaults. One expects this from California, Massachusetts, or hell, even New York. But Texas?

As The Economist rightly points out, this is a cause worthy of applause, but it rests on faulty cause-effect assumptions. Texas lawmakers were convinced, but unconvinced when a similar tax scheme for strip bars was proposed to help pay for public schools. Apparently it would have passed muster had the public schools taught strip dancing.


MoMA’s Prefab Housing

If you were impressed by the shipping, delivery, and installation requirements of the Richard Serra show at the MoMA, you’ll love their upcoming exhibit. Clancco sure does.

Seeking to explore the recent thrill of prefab homes in architectural circles and schools, The MoMA has commissioned five architects to erect their own prefab dwellings in a vacant lot on West 53rd Street, adjacent to the museum. Intent on not drawing “disparaging associations” straight out of Hicksville, chief curator of architecture and design Barry Bergdoll opted for the more glamourous and academic title: Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. Clancco suggested, Finally Not: Made In China! but they didn’t bite.


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Obama’s Blessing: To See Is To Believe!

Back in April of ’07, reported on art student David Cordero’s decision to materialize Barack Obama’s messianic predilection via sculptural form. Although Obama expressed his dislike for the art piece, it’s a bit difficult to believe him after hearing him describe his speeches this past Saturday as such: “At the end—or maybe somewhere in the middle—a shaft of light comes through and hits you and you experience an epiphany: I have to vote for Barack.”

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Egypt to Copyright Landmarks

The New York Times reported (username/password: clancco) yesterday of Egypt’s proposed legislation to stop the copying in the West of famous Egyptian landmarks, like the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and Luxor. Part of the reason seems to be that Egypt is quite pissed off that more people in this day and age would rather see the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas than the Luxor itself. Well, if only the Luxor offered free liquor, craps, topless babes, and all the Cheez Whiz you can inhale.

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Coming to a City Near You–The FBIs Most Wanted

Citing a high rate of success in the land of Brotherly Love, the F.B.I. (aka- Federal Bureau of Investigation) is planning on using digital billboards to capture its most wanted bank robbers, violent criminals, and terrorists (one wonders how they distinguish between the three).


The FBI has contracted the services of Clear Channel Outdoor, an advertising agency located in Phoenix, AZ, and will begin advertising mug shots of its most wanted malfeasants on 150 billboards in 20 cities nationwide, including Los Angeles, Cleveland, Newark, and Raton, New Mexico.

It appears Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, and Britney Spears did not make the list.


MASS MoCA at Art Basel Miami

For those that didn’t get to see Christoph Büchel’s installation, “Training Ground for Democracy” at MASS MoCA, there was a chance last week in Miami; or at least a version of it. At Hauser & Wirth’s booth Büchel installed his “Training Ground for Training Ground for Democracy,” a capsule version of the unfinished MASS MoCA artwork, with a trash-filled alley leading to a room cluttered with voting booths and children’s drawings.

For those interested in reading a bit about the legal and acrimonious debate between Büchel and the Museum’s director, Joe Thompson, the Miami Beach Convention Center was home to the “decidedly less sensual array of documents from the harrowing legal battle between the artist Christoph Büchel and Mass MoCA.”

According to The New York Times,

“Mr. Büchel has the last word.”


Human Cells and the Readymade

First the urinal. Then the slicing of a cow. And then law as art. What’s next, stem cell research as art? Yep. At the forefront of this movement is SymbioticA, a bioart laboratory funded by the University of Western Australia. Run by Ionat Zurr and her husband Oron Catts. According to NPR, the couple has grown a replica of an ear with living human skin cells, miniature wings with the flesh of a pig and mouse cells in the shape of a tiny leather jacket.

However, “[t]here are also legal issues. Growing tissue from bones picked up at your local butcher may be legal if local land-use laws allow such activity, but working with live animals gets more complicated according to Stanford Law Professor Hank Greely.

‘Whether this art counts as research — who knows,’ Greely says. ‘The legal situation is murky in several directions, and I think it’s highly likely that not all artists are carefully advised about it.’


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