Philosophy

Mike Gravel: Dadaist Performance Guru

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In the LA Times, avowed nihilist Crispin Sartwell riffs on the unknown reality that is a Mike Gravel campaign video:

That is why as Americans we all owe a debt of aesthetic gratitude to the genius of former senator and current Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel, who has taken the pabulum and kitsch that is our political art and transcended it—swept it up, summarized it and broken through it into a new range of possibilities. Mike Gravel is to political advertising what Ralph Waldo Emerson is to the essay, Walt Whitman to poetry, Jackson Pollock to painting, 50 Cent to bullet wounds. He is the avant garde of the new artpolitical era.

Here's "Fire."

NEXT: The 2007 Muzzle Awards

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  1. I predict the next video will be of Gravel digging a hole, then filling it back in.

  2. Mike L,
    Good guess. It will be called “Earth”, next will come “Air” witch will be Gravel inflating an inner tube with a bicycle pump. And then will come “Water”, Gravel sets up a sprinkler on his lawn. But I doubt that he has the artistic vision to strip down to his Fruit of the Looms and jump through it.

  3. That minimalist stuff is so 70’s. If he wants to compete in today’s art market, he needs to go big. For his next piece he should scale a lifesize replica of the U.S. Capitol, cast in frozen vaseline, while wearing a jock-strap, a catcher’s mask and a rack of antlers while a chorus line of Rockettes kick-dance around a flaming ’65 Plymouth Challenger.

  4. Warren,
    You forgot, his final commercial will be “heart,” in which he’ll talk to animals or something. Heart is really lame.

    Then he will summon Captain Planet.

  5. I wonder if he had a permit for that fire. At least he kept a close eye on it.

  6. I think it is funny.

  7. Is that LA Times reviewer on drugs?

  8. Axel, look at the language she used! What do YOU think?

  9. finally, praise for vacuous campaign advertisments

  10. Clearly, you guys just don’t get it…

  11. When did Mike Gravel hire Yoko Ono as his campaign’s Communications Director?


  12. Oh, I’m sorry, I feel asleep to a BORING campaign commercial… :p

    E. Steven | July 5, 2007, 7:36pm | #
    That minimalist stuff is so 70’s. If he wants to compete in today’s art market, he needs to go big. For his next piece he should scale a lifesize replica of the U.S. Capitol, cast in frozen vaseline, while wearing a jock-strap, a catcher’s mask and a rack of antlers while a chorus line of Rockettes kick-dance around a flaming ’65 Plymouth Challenger.

    Good idea, but this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iju-FaYOAok
    Would be even bettter…

  13. That seals it. I’m leaving the Frankenstein party and voting for fire next year.

  14. He should do a commerical where he sets up a row of couches down an ally way and then, after he yells SUUUUUUURRRRRGGGGEEE! a group of scruffy-looking 20 something gen-xers barrels down the ally way ub irder ti skan a stack of Gravel

  15. For my money, gimme that ole discursive rhetoric, that Ron Paul syllogistic, that hypotaxic semiosis and keep yer atomistic prelogical postmodernist associative splatter-paint pastiche melange malaise anomie, you can, yes you can, for my money you can.

  16. Is… is he burning a cross?

  17. Ideas for Gravel:
    1. Paint drying
    2. Snails crawling across a sidewalk.
    3. My friend getting ready to go to the gym.

  18. For his next piece he should scale a lifesize replica of the U.S. Capitol, cast in frozen vaseline, while wearing a jock-strap, a catcher’s mask and a rack of antlers while a chorus line of Rockettes kick-dance around a flaming ’65 Plymouth Challenger.

    You just described my senior prom.

  19. actually he just described the cremaster cycle

  20. I’d never heard of that before, so I went looking. And now I think that the Cremaster Cycle may in fact be the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard of. Trust me, that’s really saying something.

  21. It would have been better with some smores.

  22. He seems to be making an ontological statement utilizing minimal ideograms.

  23. i saw part of it, it was horrendously shitty. I can’t imagine what the whole 5 hour+ series is like.

  24. I like the comment on there that goes, “These campaign videos make me want to sell all my possessions and donate the funds to him.”

    Man, if it’s that easy, I gotta make some videos…

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