"Breaking Wind Over Breaking News" NYArts Magazine Vol. 9 N.1/2 (January/February 2004) pg. 70.
The stART gang (Ward Sutton, Karen Sherman, Ralph Lewis, Catherine Porter,
and Sue Unkenholz) put on the second installment of their multidisciplinary art
series at Judson Church on the evening of October 9th. This time around it was
called "Breaking News!" The subject: Mass Media news satire.
Mr. "The Legendary" Joe Garden and Chad Nackers of The Onion gave a
hilarious presentation of some of the most poignant Political headlines the Onion
has featured in recent months. My favorites included "Rumsfeld makes jerk-off
motions as Powell speaks at Cabinet Meeting," "Ashcroft Silences Reporters with
a Warning Shot," and "Bush asks Congress for 30 Billion Dollars to Help Fight War
on Criticism." The Onion has a great way of putting our nations leaders in stories
that reveal their petty, inane, and ludicrous personality traits. And by exposing
mania, mass fear, and cultural ignorance for what it is they effectively keep me
aware of just how ridiculous America really is.
Robert Smigel & J.J. Sedelmaier,showed their TV Funhouse version of the
old ABC "School House Rocks" educational cartoons. This one didn't show us how
to exercise our choppers (with some good hard food) or give lessons on how a bill
goes through Congress but broke down just how the FCC and media monopolies
work. It looked just like the original except this one seemed to be written by Noam
Chomsky on acid.
Tom Tommorrow's presentation of his strip "This Modern World" focused
on the recyclable quality of his strips from 12 years ago when Bush senior was in
office. Exposed in cartoons from yesteryear were the strange parallels in the
ambiguous language of right and wrong, good vs. evil both father and son use in
their rhetoric among other shallow ways of manipulating public consent. Tom's
deadpan delivery of lines he'd written for his strips characters (which play along
in an ironic way with Bush speak and mass media hysteria creation) was really
Also on display: A Jessica Lynch mocking piece from Comedy Central's
hit The Daily Show with John Stewart, new art from Pulitzer Prize-winning
cartoonist Art Spiegelman (Maus), some previously published work from
Ward Sutton's "Schlock and Roll," Peter Kuper of MAD's "Spy vs. Spy," Ted Rall
of "Search and Destroy," and David Rees of "Get Your War On."
The blurred lines between information, news, and entertainment were
illuminated and mocked, but like the "War Culture" Show presented in the spring
some of the video and performance work presented was heavy-handed and overly
dramatic. Jim Stanzo's video piece, where the artist superimposed himself wailing
over newscasts of Senate hearings, C-Span and CNN Desert Storm coverage, made
me wince. And the performance where the dude cut himself and bled all over this
glass table which he then broke karate-style (Ouch!) had an almost cult-like
ominousness in the confines of The Judson Churches Auditorium. Nevertheless
the stART team once again put together an event that had energy, great cartooning,
and a delightfully harsh, left-of-center sense of humor.