Saturday, March 14, 2009

Maintaining Bohemia Zuda review/ demonstrate absurdity by being absurd

Maintaining Bohemia is another comic this month done by Harold Sipe, and Buster Moody (Buster being one of Patrick Morgan's of Bayou fame's alternate personalities), on Zuda. Speaking as someone who used to go by a number of different aliases, it just makes things more confusing than need be. Unless of course your planing to rob a bank or something, or pulling a Ed Mcbain ...
Here is the synopsis:
Who keeps order in the land of total indulgence? Who cleans up after performance pieces that involve dead fish and stagnant water? Who keeps a conceptual art school tethered to Earth and functioning on a day-to-day basis? The janitorial and security staff of the New Academy of Art and Design are all that stand between clean, well-maintained hallways and pseudo-intellectual chaos. Maintaining Bohemia follows the support staff of NAAD (New Academy of Art and Design) as they navigate a campus filled with immature and uninformed examples of conceptual art from students more concerned with thrift store t-shirts and hair care products than any higher pursuits. The staff provides an outsider’s view to the workings of the modern art school. A man-on-the-street’s view of lame and fake crucifixions, slightly pornographic videos of puppet suicide, and the same footage of animal slaughterhouses that show up in sophomore performance class year after year.


This comic I think has reminded all of us of our Art school/ Art class memories which I'm now going to wander into: I went to a community adjunct satellite school for a pretty well respected university in my state. I took a number of art classes, cause I like art. One piece we had to do was a mixed media/ collage and my options were limited. I had my art boards, political magazines, old comic book price guides, some cheap metal, and a baker's dozen of glow in the dark skeleton Halloween novelties. So I put something together I had a cutout of the Punisher holding a gun in his hands, and to his left various political leaders. Not to mention pictures of tanks, planes etc; -this is after 2001. I used the metal to link the various boards together, and tied the skeletons to them hanged man style. Believe it, or not it actually turned out quite well, until it came time to display it. I wanted to do the best I could with what I had, and make it look as cool as possible. The other students at the school soon divided up into two camps. You had the folks who thought it made an anti-fascist statement against TPTB. The other camp thought it had a pro-security counter terrorist message. This would have been fine, except you had some students who thought if it was pro-fascist it should be taken down, and some thought if it was anti-American it should be taken down. My reaction: WTF??? -it's just art class. The administration of the school was so worried about the images I used and what could be implied from them (the revolution starts here in art class -I guess was the fear), they even had a nice long talk with my teacher. Who being a fine teacher assured them I was not some gun toting radical with idle hands. After this I decided to say the hell with it. You want something to piss your panties about, you'll get it.

Serial Killer Bedroom

Whatever you may think of Rush Limbaugh he has a damn accurate quote: "you demonstrate absurdity by being absurd". So I went to work on my next piece, which as you may imagine involved a lot of red paint. We did a diorama(sp?) of a room. So I got a lot of little doll furniture to look like a bedroom. My little sister gave me one of her seldom used dolls, and I went about ripping it's arms, legs, and head off. Bless it's heart it never had a chance. I painted the room all white. I then glued pieces of the doll all over the place. i think I put the head under the bed, but I can't remember for sure. I poured red paint all down the walls, and all over the floor, and doll furniture. I ripped out a lo of the dolls hair and had it matted with red paint stuck to the walls. It did look gruesome as hell I have to say. Then I stopped working on it, and left it out where every student could see it for the next week, until I was back in class to finish it. My teacher told me everyone was talking about it, and the general consensus was I needed to be dragged off to a padded room.

It was all a set up. I finished the piece by posting these words on it:
Just because this is gruesome, bloody, and ultra-violent!!! Doesn't make it a declaration of future intent.
It's me doing a parody of me.
Hitler painted roses, and we all know how that turned out now don't we?

I actually had a fellow student come up to me and tell me before she read that she thought I was a psycho, but after that she thought I was a really cool guy.

Maintaining Bohemia reminded me of those grand moments, so thanks again for that.

The review I bet you thought I forgot about.

I had the same reaction to some of my fellow students earnest nonsense as the staff of the school. I really enjoyed the way the script took the piss out of art class. What i didn't like was the impossible to read letters in small screen mode. That's my only real compliant though. For some reason the ink work reminds me of some of Robert Crumb's stuff. The puppet/muppet with family/masturbatory issues was funny as hell. I really liked the way you set it up with the T.V. panels. The hand manipulating the Elmo look-a-like (colored red instead of brown might have gotten you a lawsuit), visible throughout was a nice touch. On top of everything else poor production values. Ending with the 'blood' thrown on the camera, in spite of Omle riding the lighting was even funnier. The story is very well written, and the art really does have that underground comix feel to it. Screen 4 panel 6 It looked like Joker laughing gas mixed with melting glass skin, to give him that facial expression. The flashback to the teacher being just as lame in panel 5, was a nice bit of cultural insight. I liked one of the staff used to be a student, and the way he talked was such a tip off. You could also say look at him now. I love the character of Reg, great written dialogue. I loved panel 5 on screen 6. This comic has some of the smartest written dialogue on Zuda, screen 6 is a real stand out. I liked the power tools joke, and also the serious/humorous element of the psyche meds. I really enjoyed the way you introduce all of the main characters and do such a good job on their characterization in only 8 screens. I enjoyed the pace Harold and Buster established for the comic, it really fit Zuda well. I loved the layout of screen 8. The effect panel 2 had on the rest of the page, with Reg looking up at a 'fish' in the last panel, very impressive work from these two creators. Their is even a little cubism thing going on with the character art work. The colors were damn well done, no real surprise there. One of the best written synopsis's ever.

4/5 stars and a fav. Great work from these two creators, an amazing read.

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