Saturday, 24 September 2016

Allergic Realities

Allergic Realities
Allergic Realities
Allergic Realities
Allergic Realities
Allergic Realities
An exhibition of new works by Kosit Juntaratip opened last weekend in Bangkok. Allergic Realities features paintings of iconic news photographs, replicating the grainy printing process traditionally used by newspapers. Kosit has used his own blood to paint some of the halftone dots.

One of the paintings is based on the notorious Neal Ulevich photograph of a public lynching following the 1976 Thammasat University protest. The photo has previously been appropriated by Manit Sriwanichpoom for his Horror In Pink series (shown at From Message To Media and Phenomena & Prophecies). Allergic Realities has much in common with Manit's Flashback '76 images, which were autopsy photographs soaked in blood.

Another Thai artist, Pornprasert Yamazaki, has also painted with blood; his work was shown at the Swallow, Currency Crisis, and Suicide Mind exhibitions. UDD protesters painted a mural in blood at Democracy Monument, and Kristian von Hornsleth collected Thai blood samples for his Deep Storage Art Project.

Kosit previously painted with blood during performances in the 1990s (as documented in Thailand Eye), and he has also used other bodily fluids as a medium: his painting Copulate With Love (at MAIIAM) is labelled "Ejaculation on canvas (Kosit's spermatozoa)". Allergic Realities opened at Bangkok University Gallery on 17th September, and runs until 30th October.


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo is being sued by the Italian town of Amatrice, after the French newspaper published a cartoon by Felix Moureau mocking the victims of an earthquake that decimated the town. A lawsuit against the newspaper has been filed on behalf of the town council. (The newspaper has previously been sued for blasphemy, though that case was ultimately dismissed.)

230 residents of Amatrice were killed in last month's earthquake. On 31st August, Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon comparing the victims to pasta dishes. The cartoon was criticised as deeply insensitive, and Charlie Hebdo faced similar criticism last year when it printed cartoons of Alan Kurdi. The newspaper first caused controversy in 2006, with its front-page cartoon of Mohammed.

A dozen Charlie Hebdo staff were killed in a terrorist attack last January, and the newspaper responded defiantly with another front-page Mohammed caricature. Its offices were firebombed in 2011, after it published a Charia Hebdo issue guest-edited by Mohammed. In 2012, it printed a cartoon of Mohammed naked. In 2013, it produced a comic-strip biography of Mohammed titled La Vie De Mahomet (parts 1 and 2), followed by an expanded edition. In 2014, it published a front-page cartoon of Mohammed being beheaded by an Islamic State terrorist.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bangkok Screening Room

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
The Third Man
A new independent cinema, Bangkok Screening Room, will open next week. The venue, in Silom, will have a 4k projector and fifty seats. Its inaugural programme includes some Thai and Hollywood classics.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives will be shown on 23rd to 25th, 27th, 28th, 30th September; and 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th to 9th October. Carol Reed's The Third Man, starring Orson Welles, will be screened on 22nd, 24th, 25th, 29th September; and 1st, 4th October. Ishiro Honda's Godzilla (which played at the 22nd Open Air Film Festival) is on 5th, 8th, 30th September; and 2nd, 5th October. Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Vertigo will be shown later in October.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time

The 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time
The 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time, by Frank Schnelle and Andreas Thiemann, is ambitiously subtitled The List To End All Lists. The authors have studied film lists from the past decade (many of which are featured on Dateline Bangkok), which they "collected, combined and, in the end, condensed... into one meta-list."

The 100 Greatest Movies are as follows:

1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
4. Blade Runner
5. Apocalypse Now
6. Pulp Fiction
7. Taxi Driver
8. Some Like It Hot
9. Casablanca
10. Singin' In The Rain
11. Chinatown
12. Vertigo
13. Psycho
14. Lawrence Of Arabia
15. The Godfather II
16. Seven Samurai
17. Rear Window
18. Raging Bull
19. Star Wars IV: A New Hope
20. North By Northwest
21. The Third Man
22. Jaws
23. M
24. Dr Strangelove
25. A Clockwork Orange
26. GoodFellas
27. The Searchers
28. Gone With The Wind
29. Sunset Boulevard
30. Alien
31. Tokyo Story
32. Schindler's List
33. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
34. It's A Wonderful Life
35. The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
36. The Wizard Of Oz
37. Once Upon A Time In The West
38. The Apartment
39. Annie Hall
40. The Lord Of The Rings I: The Fellowship Of The Ring
41. Fight Club
42. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial
43. All About Eve
44. City Lights
45. Rashomon
46. The 400 Blows
47. The Matrix
48. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
49. 8½
50. The Rules Of The Game
51. Breathless
52. Battleship Potemkin
53. The Wild Bunch
54. Bicycle Thieves
55. The Shawshank Redemption
56. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
57. Touch Of Evil
58. Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans
59. The General
60. Metropolis
61. On The Waterfront
62. The Night Of The Hunter
63. Back To The Future
64. The Big Lebowski
65. La Dolce Vita
66. Modern Times
67. The Silence Of The Lambs
68. Amelie
69. Nashville
70. Saving Private Ryan
71. The Shining
72. Double Indemnity
73. la Grande Illusion
74. Andrei Rublev
75. Blue Velvet
76. The Seventh Seal
77. Fargo
78. The Deer Hunter
79. American Beauty
80. Terminator II: Judgment Day
81. The Gold Rush
82. Forrest Gump
83. LA Confidential
84. The Dark Knight
85. Les Enfants Du paradis
86. The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
87. Gladiator
88. City Of God
89. Bringing Up Baby
90. Aguirre: The Wrath Of God
91. The Maltese Falcon
92. The Leopard
93. Persona
94. Reservoir Dogs
95. Fanny & Alexander
96. L'Avventura
97. Bonnie & Clyde
98. Die Hard
99.The Usual Suspects
100. Once Upon A Time In America

[The book was first published in German, as Die 100 Besten Filme Aller Zeiten (2007). Note that Some Like It Hot is the 1959 Billy Wilder comedy, and The Maltese Falcon is the 1941 John Huston thriller.]


Candy Cigarette
Controversies: A Legal & Ethical History Of Photography is an English translation of Controverses by Daniel Girardin and Christian Pirker. Controverses was originally published in Switzerland in 2008.

In his essay Beyond Appearances, Pirker discusses "the photographs that you will not see in this book." Sally Mann "refuses to exhibit or reproduce" her portrait of her daughter, Candy Cigarette (1989). Thomas Condon was convicted of "disturbing the peace of the dead" in 2001 after photographing corpses in a Cincinnati morgue, and his photographs cannot be published. Finally, Jackie Onassis won an injunction against a Dior advertisement photographed by Richard Avedon (1983) featuring her lookalike; "This ruling still remains in force", according to Pirker, though the photo was reprinted in Contested Culture (2000; by Jane M Gaines).

Unsurprisingly, there are three photographs from the Swiss edition of Controverses that are not present in the English version. Graham Ovenden was convicted of indecent assault in 2013, and his nude photograph of Maude Hewes (1984) was removed. [It was included in the Channel 4 documentary For The Sake Of The Children (28th August 1997) and in issue sixteen of Gauntlet magazine (1998).] The nude portrait of Brooke Shields by Garry Gross (1975) was also omitted, as it was deemed illegal by UK police following the Pop Life exhibition. Irena Ionesco's full-frontal portrait of her daughter (1970) has been replaced by a topless portrait of her (1978).

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Fashion 150

Fashion 150
Christian Dior
Fashion 150: 150 Years / 150 Designers, edited by Arianna Piazza, is an encyclopedic guide to fashion designers and trends. Originally published in Italian (titled Moda: Storie & Stili) it covers 150 years of fashion design, beginning with Charles Frederick Worth, "the first couturier". The book is as physically substantial as its contents, with more than 500 pages printed on heavy stock, coloured edges, and a thick dust jacket.

Coco Chanel's 'petite robe noir' ("the little black dress that gave rise to the Chanel legend") and two-tone suit ("the magnum opus of a lifetime; it is the perfect garment") are included, as is the 'New Look' created by Christian Dior: "Dior showed his first collection and the world stopped to marvel. It was one of the most important fashion moments in history."

The Thames & Hudson Dictionary Of Fashion & Fashion Designers and The Fashion Book both profile more designers, though they have capsule-style entries whereas Fashion 150 has more depth. The three-volume Encyclopedia Of Clothing & Fashion (edited by Valerie Steele) is the most comprehensive, though Fashion 150 is more up-to-date and has better illustrations.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

All The President's Men

All The President's Men
The fortieth anniversary edition of All The President's Men includes an afterword (originally published in The Washington Post) discussing President Richard Nixon's legacy: "Nixon launched and managed five successive and overlapping wars - against the anti-Vietnam War movement, the news media, the Democrats, the justice system, and, finally, against history itself. All reflected a mindset and a pattern of behavior that were uniquely and pervasively Nixon's: a willingness to disregard the law for political advantage, and a quest for dirt and secrets about his opponents as an organizing principle of his presidency."

In 1972, Nixon's 'White House plumbers' broke into the Democratic National Committee's Washington headquarters in the Watergate building. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's coverage of the Watergate scandal remains arguably the most significant story in the history of journalism, as it ultimately led to Nixon's resignation.

Nixon insisted "I am not a crook" (at a press conference on 17th November 1973), though he resigned in a live broadcast on 8th August 1974: "because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the nation would require... Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow."

Nixon's conspiracy to obstruct the FBI's investigation into Watergate was revealed by the infamous 'smoking gun' tape released on 5th August 1974 after a Supreme Court ruling. On the tape, recorded in the Oval Office on 23rd June 1972, Nixon says: "it would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further." (I first listened to it at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California, shortly after Nixon's death.)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Essentials

The Essentials
The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies & Why They Matter, by Jeremy Arnold, is a guide to "fifty-two must-see movies from the silent era through the early 1980s." The fifty-two films, representing one per week for a year, were selected from TCM's The Essentials series.

Each director is represented by a single listed film, except Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, who deservedly have two and three films each, respectively. Whereas most film lists include recent titles, this has no films from the last thirty years. Also unusually for a list-based book, it features an extensive bibliography.

The Must-See Movies are as follows:
  • Metropolis
  • All Quiet On The Western Front
  • City lights
  • Grand Hotel
  • King Kong
  • Duck Soup
  • It Happened One Night
  • The Thin Man
  • Bride Of Frankenstein
  • Swing Time
  • Mr Smith Goes To Washington
  • Gone With The Wind
  • The Lady Eve
  • Citizen Kane
  • Now Voyager
  • Casablanca
  • Double Indemnity
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • Leave Her To Heaven
  • The Best Years Of Our Lives
  • Out Of The Past
  • The Red Shoes
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • The Third Man
  • White Heat
  • Adam's Rib
  • Winchester '73
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Gun Crazy
  • All About Eve
  • Singin' In The Rain
  • Roman Holiday
  • Seven Samurai
  • On The Waterfront
  • Rear Window
  • Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
  • The Searchers
  • Some Like It Hot
  • North By Northwest
  • Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ
  • Breathless
  • Lawrence Of Arabia
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Dr Strangelove
  • Bonnie & Clyde
  • In The Heat Of The Night
  • The Graduate
  • Once Upon A Time In The West
  • Jaws
  • Rocky
  • Annie Hall
  • This Is Spinal Tap
[The films are listed chronologically. Note that Ben-Hur is the William Wyler version and Some Like It Hot is the Billy Wilder comedy.]

Friday, 2 September 2016

"Malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump"

Daily Mail
Melania Trump, the wife of US presidential contender Donald Trump, has launched a lawsuit against the Daily Mail newspaper after it published allegations that she had worked as an escort. Her lawyer, Charles Harder, issued a statement saying that the claims were "so egregious, malicious and harmful to Mrs. Trump that her damages are estimated at $150m."

The case was filed today at Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland. Donald Trump is notoriously litigious, and Harder has successfully sued the gossip website Gawker into bankruptcy on behalf of another client, Hulk Hogan.

The Mail's article about Melania Trump, written by Natalie Clarke, was published on 20th August (on pages fourteen and fifteen), and also appeared on the newspaper's sensationalist website. All traces of the online article have since been removed: it was deleted from the Mail's website, expunged from Google's search results, and replaced by the message "Content has been suppressed for editorial and/or legal reasons" in the PressReader digital archive.

The Mail's story was based on a front-page article in the Slovakian magazine Suzy, published on 5th August, though the magazine is not named in the lawsuit. The Mail reported Suzy's allegation that models at the agency where Melania Trump worked "principally earned money as elite escorts," though it described the claim as a "seemingly fantastical story" and distanced itself from the magazine: "There is no evidence to back up these startling claims made in Suzy magazine."

The newspaper published a retraction today: "To the extent that anything in our article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs Trump worked as an 'escort' or in the 'sex business'... or that either of the modelling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and we regret any such misinterpretation."


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Jules Cheret

Jules Cheret
Jules Cheret: Artist Of The Belle Epoque & Pioneer Of Poster Art is "the first major English- and German-language publication on Cheret." Editor Michael Buhrs is director of Museum Villa Stuck, in Munich, where a Cheret retrospective exhibition was held in 2011.

As Buhrs explains in his foreword, Cheret's poster designs were central to the Parisian Belle Epoque: "As a lithographer, printer, draughtsman, painter, interior designer and illustrator, he is a pre-eminent figure within the artistic and literary milieu of Paris at the turn of the century."

Cheret is widely regarded as the first true artist of illustrated posters. In his History Of The Poster, Josef Muller-Brockmann writes that Cheret "introduced the decisive turning point in poster design. His work established the beginning of the modern poster." Cheret prolific output, often depicting colourful, liberated women known as 'Cherettes', was largely responsible for the 'affichomanie' ('poster-mania') coined by Octave Uzanne.

In his essay on Cheret and design, Martijn F Le Coultre quotes a contemporary description of Cheret as "king of the poster". Buhrs sees him as the "father of the modern poster", as does Philip B Meggs in his History Of Graphic Design. The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design describes him as "the father of the pictorial poster". In The Art Nouveau Poster, Alain Weill calls him "undeniably the father of the poster". According to Weill's comprehensive The Poster: A Worldwide Survey & History, he is "the father of poster art."

Many of Cheret's posters were included in Les Maitres De L'Affiche, reprinted in English as The Complete "Masters Of The Poster". There are chapters on Cheret in Weill's The Poster and The Art Nouveau Poster, and he is also discussed extensively in Stephen J Eskilson's Graphic Design: A New History.


After a brief hiatus, Bangkok Open Air Cinema Club will return in October. The Club organises screenings of classic films (such as Star Wars IV) on the roof of The Hive in Bangkok.

Appropriately enough, they will be showing John Carpenter's classic Halloween (1978) on 15th October. Along with Black Christmas (1974), Halloween provided the prototype for the 'slasher' films that dominated American horror cinema in the 1980s.

The Art Nouveau Poster

The Art Nouveau Poster
Jules Cheret
The Art Nouveau Poster is "the most comprehensive survey to date" of Art Nouveau poster design. It was first published in French, as L'Affiche Art Nouveau. Author Alain Weill also wrote The Poster: A Worldwide Survey & History, the first and only complete history of posters.

The poster as an art form was a product of the Belle Epoque, benefiting from the development of chromolithography and an advantageous French law: "Although still in its earliest infancy, the poster was about to enjoy a golden age... In this it was helped by a specifically French development in the form of a law that came into force on 29 July 1881, allowing posters to be stuck to any object and to any site that was not specifically excluded."

For the next two decades, Paris was gripped by "affichomanie" ('poster-mania', coined by Octave Uzanne). The leading poster designer of the period was Jules Cheret: "Cheret was undeniably the father of the poster and was hailed as such by his contemporaries." (Many of Cheret's posters were included in Les Maitres De L'Affiche, reprinted in English as The Complete "Masters Of The Poster".)

The standard histories of graphic design (Meggs' History Of Graphic Design and Graphic Design: A New History) both discuss posters in their chapters on Art Nouveau graphics. Josef Muller-Brockmann's History Of The Poster includes a chapter on "The illustrative poster" which focuses on the Art Nouveau era. Ghislaine Wood wrote a chapter on Art Nouveau posters and bookbinding, "The Art of Paper", in Paul Greenhalgh's Art Nouveau 1890-1914.

Friday, 26 August 2016

A-Z Of Design & Designers

A-Z Of Design & Designers
Charlotte and Peter Fiell's A-Z Of Design & Designers, published this week in collaboration with London's Design Museum, is an encyclopedia of 160 designers and design movements. The concept is similar to Design Of The 20th Century, by the same authors.

Design Of The 20th Century contains many more entries, though it has not been significantly revised since 1999. The new A-Z Of Design & Designers includes coverage of contemporary design, and is so up-to-date that it mentions the death of Zaha Hadid. It also has a much more elegant layout, with large, well-chosen photographs.

The Fiells have written numerous other excellent books on design history, including The Story Of Design, Plastic Dreams, Industrial Design A-Z, and Modern Furniture Classics. The Design Encyclopedia (by Mel Byars) is more comprehensive, though The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia Of Design (edited by Clive Edwards, in three volumes) is the definitive design reference work.

The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design

The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design
The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design
The Phaidon Archive Of Graphic Design is, according to its publisher, "an unparalleled resource of the world's very best specimens of graphic design." Not a book in the traditional sense (though it does include a bound index), the Archive is a box containing 500 loose cards, each of which represents a key example of graphic design from the past 500 years. Each card contains a full-page reproduction on one side, with a short essay and other illustrations on the reverse.

As the Archive weighs 13kg, it's supplied with removable handles. There are several excellent narrative histories of graphic design (Meggs' History Of Graphic Design, Graphic Design: A New History, and Graphic Design Before Graphic Designers), though the Archive is a unique and comprehensive collection of iconic graphic designs.


Masks: The Art Of Expression, edited by John Mack, was first published in 1994. The second edition, with a new preface, was published in 2013. It includes chapters on masks from Africa, Oceania, Latin America, Native America, Japan, ancient Egypt, the classical civilisations of Greece and Rome, and Europe.

There are geographical and cultural gaps in the book's coverage (notably Asian countries beyond Japan, such as Thailand's 'khon' masks), though it remains the best general introduction to the history of masks. It has a comprehensive bibliography, and plenty of full-page illustrations. Most of the featured masks are from the British Museum.

Monday, 15 August 2016

20th Century World Architecture

20th Century World Architecture
20th Century World Architecture, edited by Helen Thomas, is part of the Phaidon Atlas series. This large (folio format, 800 pages) book features 757 buildings constructed during between 1900 and 1999. Each building is profiled on a single page, though a handful of exceptions, such as the Sydney Opera House, are given double-page spreads.

This is surely the most comprehensive guide to the buildings of the last century, with "an unprecedented geographical scope, and an unparalleled level of data on twentieth-century architecture". There is substantial coverage of non-Western architecture, including sixty buildings from Africa, and almost 100 countries are represented in total. There are also more than 5,000 images.

Modern Architecture Since 1900 (by William JR Curtis) remains the best narrative history of the architecture of the period, and Architecture Of The 20th Century (by Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser) is an interesting visual history, though 20th Century World Architecture is unlikely to be surpassed as a global record of the significant buildings of the past 100 years. It's so heavy (8kg) that it comes with its own carrying case.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Still Brazy

Still Brazy
Still Brazy, the latest album by rapper YG, has been censored by its distributor, Def Jam. The tracks FDT (Fuck Donald Trump, featuring Nipsey Hussle) and Blacks & Browns (featuring Sad Boy) both contained lyrics suggesting that Donald Trump could (or should) be shot, and those lines were removed before the album was released.

There were two deletions from FDT: YG's line "Surprised El Chapo ain't tried to snipe you" and Nipsey Hussle's "you gone prolly get smoked" were removed. One of Sad Boy's lines from Blacks & Browns was replaced by white noise, to highlight the censorship.

YG and Nipsey Hussle performed a clean version of FDT on the Comedy Central programme The Nightly Show on 22nd July, without any swear words, though ironically they did include the lines censored from the album. Also, when YG and Nipsey Hussle perform the song live, they play the uncensored version.

The uncensored version of FDT was released online in April, in advance of the album. According to YG, the Secret Service then contacted Def Jam's parent company, Universal, requesting a copy of the album's lyrics. YG says that the references to shooting Trump were removed by the record company at the request of the Secret Service.

The record company has not commented on the issue, and by definition the Secret Service is also unlikely to make any public comment. Thus, there is no way to verify YG's version of events. The album was certainly censored prior to its release, though YG's explanation about the Secret Service seems exaggerated.

The case recalls that of Cop Killer (1991), the track removed from Ice T's album Body Count. There was a similar controversy over NWA's track Fuck Tha Police (1988), though the song was not withdrawn. The only album to be declared illegal in America was The 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), which was convicted of obscenity in Florida.


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Ballpoint Art

Ballpoint Art
Concetto Spaziale
Ballpoint Art, by Trent Morse, is billed as "the first compendium of art made with ballpoint pens." The book begins with a concise history of ballpoint art, followed by profiles of thirty contemporary artists who create abstract patterns and meticulous still life drawings with ballpoint pens.

Richard Klein curated the Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950 exhibition in Connecticut in 2013, and his catalogue covers the same ground as Ballpoint Art. Neither of them provides a comprehensive study of the subject, though Morse's book has more material than Klein's slim catalogue.

Morse interviewed Klein for Ballpoint Art, and quotes him on the early history of the medium: "Fontana was the first artist to use ballpoint pen, in 1946". Lucio Fontana's Concetto Spaziale, from that year, is reproduced in both Klein and Morse's books.

In his catalogue, Klein described Alighiero Boetti as a pioneer of ballpoint art: "Boetti's drawings with the pen are the first to dramatically revel in the unmistakable blue of ballpoint ink." He gave Jan Fabre particular credit for his devotion to ballpoint: "Fabre is the first artist to totally embrace the pen as a medium, completing hundreds of ballpoint works between 1977 and 1992, with drawings varying in scale from the intimate to the architectural."

Interviewed in Ballpoint Art, Fabre explains his fascination with ballpoint drawing: "I like the chemical quality of the blue ink from a Bic ballpoint pen". He also compares Biro ink to lapis lazuli: "The blue of the ballpoint pen is connected to the history of art." Similarly, Boetti's blue colour field drawings are echoes of Yves Klein's International Klein Blue paintings.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Game Changers

Game Changers
Game Changers: The Evolution Of Advertising, edited by Peter Russell and Senta Slingerland, features 150 advertising campaigns from (approximately) the past sixty years. Publisher Taschen calls it "the first definitive history of how advertising got from there to here, and where it’s going next." It's not a definitive history, though it is an excellent survey of classic ad campaigns. It was published to coincide with an exhibition in 2013 organised by the Cannes Lions advertising festival.

Among the selected television commercials, billboard posters, and display ads are examples of effective slogans (such as Nike's "Just Do It" from 1988) and iconic images (including the conceptual Silk Cut campaign that began in 1984). There are also political broadcasts, from the nuclear apocalypse of Lyndon Johnson's Daisy Girl (1964) to Ronald Reagan's optimistic Prouder, Stronger, Better (1984; also known as "Morning in America").

Global campaigns, like Coca-Cola's Hilltop (1971) featuring the jingle "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke", are included, alongside recent viral marketing such as Cadbury's Gorilla (2007). There are also commercials made by film directors such as Ridley Scott (Apple's 1984) and Jonathan Glazer (the acclaimed 1999 Surfer ad for Guinness).

100 Ideas That Changed Art

100 Ideas That Changed Art
100 Ideas That Changed Art, by Michael Bird, is part of Laurence King's 100 Ideas That Changed... series. Other titles include Advertising, Photography, Film, Architecture, and Graphic Design. Every book in the series has the same format: 100 chapters, each with a single-page essay and a full-page illustration.

The book's 100 ideas include various forms of art (frescoes, mosaics, printmaking, photography, performance), artistic media (clay, stained glass, oil, watercolour), and traditional classifications (still life, portrait, landscape). The chapters on technical aspects - such as frames, canvas, welding, and plastics - are the most interesting, as (unlike the other subjects) they rarely feature in conventional art histories.

The chapters are organised by theme, rather than as a series of 'isms': "I tried... to get rid of every single 'ism', although one or two resisted paraphrase to the bitter end." As the author recognises, each chapter is a capsule summary of a vast subject: "each idea has its own distinct history in art. Many of them have been the subject of books in their own right", though unfortunately (unlike the other 100 Ideas... titles) there is no bibliography.


เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ 7 ส.ค. VOTE NO
A man was arrested in Chiang Mai today, and charged under article 61 of the Referendum Act. Samat Kwanchai could not afford the 100,000 baht bail set by the court, so he is being held in custody awaiting trial.

The Act was passed in April, and restricts campaigns for or against the 7th August referendum on the junta's proposed new constitution. Article 61 states that "anyone who publishes text, images or sound... that is either untruthful, harsh, offensive, rude, inciting or threatening, with the intention that voters will either not exercise their right to vote, or vote in a certain way" will face up to ten years in jail.

Samat printed flyers containing the words "เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ" ("Down with dictatorship, victory for democracy"), and also featuring a drawing of a three-finger salute, which has been used as an anti-coup symbol. His house was raided by sixty police officers and soldiers, who confiscated hundreds of the flyers.

Samat is the second Chiang Mai resident to be arrested this month for campaigning against the charter. A woman was arrested in the city for wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "ตึงบ่ะเอา" ("I reject that"). Also this month, members of the New Democracy Movement were arrested after police found anti-charter leaflets in their car.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

"I cannot accept this draft..."

Abhisit Vejajjiva, leader of the Democrat Party and former prime minister, has announced his opposition to the military junta's proposed new constitution. At a press conference today, he said: "I cannot accept this draft." He made clear that he was speaking in a personal capacity, as party politics has been outlawed since the 2014 coup.

Specifically, Abhisit criticised article 102 of the charter, which calls for a fully appointed Senate. (Thailand's 1997 constitution introduced an elected Senate for the first time in the country's history, though under the military's 2007 constitution the Senate became 50% appointed.) Earlier this year, Abhisit said: "The draft charter is retrogressive compared to the 2007 charter".

A referendum on the issue will be held on 7th August. As in the 2007 constitution referendum, a 'yes' vote is being equated with a faster return to democracy, though coup leader Prayuth Chanocha has already delayed his 'election roadmap' multiple times. At today's press conference, Abhisit rejected the idea that a 'no' vote would exacerbate Thailand's political crisis: "if the draft is rejected, the country will have a better opportunity."

The proposed constitution has also been rejected by Pheu Thai. The Party issued a statement in April calling for a 'no' vote: "Pheu Thai Party requests that the people come out and vote to "reject" the draft charter that does not recognize the people's power and lacks democratic principles." (That press release was written before the Referendum Act came into effect, since when campaigns against the charter have been effectively banned.)

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Serenity Of Madness

The Serenity Of Madness
The Serenity Of Madness
Tropical Malady
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Phantoms Of Nabua
The Serenity Of Madness is the first major museum retrospective for Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and the inaugural exhibition of Chiang Mai's new MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum. The exhibition, curated by Gridthiya Gaweewong, opened on 3rd July and runs until 10th September. A catalogue, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Sourcebook, will be published in September.

The exhibition begins with Ghost Teen, an enormous photograph (also used on the exhibition poster) filling an entire two-storey wall. In the first gallery are production materials from Apichatpong's archive, including scripts and sketches for Tropical Malady and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

Twenty-one of Apichatpong's short films and videos are shown in the other galleries, including Ashes (filmed on a LomoKino camera), Vampire (a faux-documentary horror film), 0116643225059 (a student film made in Chicago, previously screened at Tomyam Pladib), and Windows (Apichatpong's first work shot on video, previously shown at Indy Spirit Project). There are also three short videos from his Primitive installation: An Evening Shoot, Nabua, and the spellbinding Phantoms Of Nabua.


Feeling The 1990s
Copulate With Love
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook
The MAIIAM Museum of Contemporary Art opened this month in Chiang Mai (on 3rd July), and its inaugural exhibition is an Apichatpong Weerasethakul retrospective. The Museum's permanent collection, shown in an exhibition titled Feeling The 1990s, is drawn from the Pipitmaya Collection of Thai and Asian contemporary art.

Feeling The 1990s includes early works by many of Thailand's leading contemporary artists. Manit Sriwanichpoom is represented by one of his 'Pink Man' photographs. There are two installations by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, who is now more renowned as a video artist. The collection also includes a seminal painting (in the literal sense), Kosit Juntaratip's Copulate With Love (1994), which is labelled as "Ejaculation on canvas (Kosit's spermatozoa)".

Despite being the third major contemporary art museum to open in Thailand in the past decade, after BACC in 2008 and MoCA in 2012, MAIIAM is arguably the country's only museum dedicated to truly contemporary art. In contrast, BACC regularly hosts exhibitions with traditional, royalist themes, and MoCA's conservative permanent collection is dominated by religious paintings and bronzes, without any multimedia or installation art.

MAIIAM's atmosphere is also much more relaxed than the rather austere BACC and MoCA. Photography is forbidden in BACC's main galleries, and MoCA has a long list of strict rules (for example: no pens, no large sketchbooks, no sitting on the floor). MAIIAM is not only Chiang Mai's premier art venue, it's also one of the most exciting developments in Thailand's art scene for a long time.