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Anonymous Comrade writes: Found this story at

New military mortuary being built

Dover Air Force Base facility will be state-of-the-art and larger

By BETH MILLER Staff reporter 03/29/2003

Construction should be completed by June at Dover Air Force Base's new $20 million mortuary, and Army Corps of Engineers officials led a tour through the facility Friday to reveal some of the enhancements it will provide for the military's largest such operation.

As they steered guests through what will be hospital-quality radiology units, autopsy and embalming facilities, workers at the old Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs nearby were preparing to receive more remains from the war in Iraq.


Anonymous Comrade writes:

Reclusive author and critic whose political and philosophical writing informed the work of Derrida, Foucault and Barthes

Maurice Blanchot was probably the least-read yet most influential French writer of the postwar era. Reclusive to a degree, shunning all public appearances, refusing even to be photographed (though once snapped unawares), he nevertheless played a decisive part in the transformation of the literary and philosophical landscape of France in the second half of the 20th century. He had no disciples, his readers were invited to act as if he did not exist, yet no writer can have devoted himself more selflessly to the simple intimacy of friendship, from which much of his influence stemmed.

hydrarchist writes

Okay, so this is a fucking crap review, and I disown the very gesture of submitting it (?). However, the existence and beginning of this exhibition shoudl be publicised and this was the only article available. If anyone finds a better one, which should not be difficult, please submit it and a substitution will be effected. Please. Please......

Bruises, blobs and bug-eyed dogs

The Cobra artists wanted to change the world - but they just ended up making a horrible mess, says Adrian Searle

Tuesday March 4, 2003

The Guardian

There was a time when artists habitually wore berets, smoked and drank incessantly, lived the bohemian life and painted like there was no tomorrow - and no yesterday either. They rejected their immediate predecessors, invented movements, wrote splenetic manifestos and believed in such a thing as the avant-garde, a phrase that today sounds almost quaint. They thought art had a primary social function, even if they were not entirely sure what it was or how exactly their art would change the world.

Such a time, by and large, seems to have passed (though the beret has lately made of a bit of a comeback). It is, then, perhaps timely and surprising that the first proper British survey of the Cobra group, a movement founded in a Left Bank cafe in 1948 and disbanded in 1951, should take place now at the Baltic in Gateshead.

As a movement, Cobra fulfilled pretty much all the stereotypes of the 20th-century art movement - in fact, it could be the model for most of them. Cliche has it that, while postwar Paris was in the throes of existentialism, New York was roaring with abstract expressionism and British art was filling up the kitchen sink, examining the forms of the teasel and doing spiky, angular things for the Festival of Britain, the Cobra artists were colluding to overthrow Mondrian, churn up the landscape, embrace the Outsider and reject social realism. The movement was founded in Paris, but its name (properly CoBrA, though rendered otherwise in all the material relating to this exhibition) derives from three other European cities, Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam - cities of occupation in which the artists involved had lived throughout the war years.

Cobra was, in part, an amalgamation of artists disaffected from various national groupings, particularly the Surrealist-Revolutionary Centre in Belgium, the Danish Harvest Group and the Dutch Experimental Group. So many factions. It is hard to imagine such tight-knit, ideologically motivated artist groups today, when movements tend to be little more than journalistic labels (the School of London, the YBAs) or self-promotional packages (the Stuckists, heaven forbid). There was a time when such things mattered and were more than cabals of art-world career lobbyists.

The movement's founder and organiser, the Belgian poet Christian Dotremont, famously described Cobra as: "Like going on a train journey. You fall asleep, you wake up, you don't know whether you've just passed Copenhagen, Brussels or Amsterdam." If Cobra was an art in transit, it was also a transitional movement, its protagonists somehow moving between a self-conscious, individualist "primitivism" (if that is not a paradox) and a sense of a universal art that transcended language. In part, Cobra anticipated the truly revolutionary ideals of the Situationist International and the 1970s "return to painting" of the neo-expressionists. It was also an art in transit from the most appalling war to a world in which things, so the artists believed, had to be done differently.

Cobra celebrated the irrational (as had surrealism); it was wild, colourful and filled with imaginary symbols. It was an art that, as Roger Malpert says in the current catalogue, represented an antidote to melancholy. Cobra also attracted some terribly mediocre artists, whose toe-curling works hang alongside the more significant figures - Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Pierre Alechinsky - in the Baltic exhibition.

Visitor, brace yourself: prepare to see some utter dreck in the Cobra show. Malpert writes that Cobra works "are among the most popular and accessible of 20th-century works in the museums that house them, and reproductions serve to brighten up the corridors of hotels and office buildings". A dreadful apotheosis, this, for an art that aimed for a rather different kind of universality. I would also argue with the idea that Cobra art is "popular" in any meaningful way.

Faced with this stuff on the hotel wall or office partition, I have the feeling that people probably just feel stuck with it and soon stop noticing it at all. When you do notice it, you probably wish it were a Paul Klee or a Joan Miro, whose work Cobra often resembles in a low-rent way. Cobra's lack of class is, I suppose, meant to be democratic. Its feeble imagism - the bug-eyed dogs (Dogs? Sheep? Badly drawn bovines? It is often hard to tell), the festering suns, the blob people - are meant as utterances in a universal language that has its roots in the art of children, of the mentally unwell, in the "primitive", in tribal art or prehistoric artifacts. All of the above one now views with suspicion, whether or not one is sensitised by the more overt and occasionally ludicrous pieties of political correctness.

This is often the kind of art that leads to the invariable, but not always philistine, complaint that a child of six could do it. In fact, one spends much of one's time thrashing about in front of Cobra paintings searching for redeeming features and looking for parallels: this one is a bit like Arshile Gorky, that painting is like a Matta or a late-1940s De Kooning, there is a ghost of Dubuffet here, an early Alan Davie there, a presentiment of Georg Baselitz or AR Penke somewhere else.

What we are trying to do, perhaps, is dignify this art, when one of the good things about it is its lack of dignity, its crudeness, irreverence and rawness. Even the speed with which so much of this work was made can be seen as an antidote, if not to melancholy, then to good manners, as a way of bypassing the deliberations and niceties of style. Constant's bruise-faced woman, open-mouthed and flailing wildly, her face spookily lit, may well be a kind of revenge painting against a spurning lover.

But mostly the show is just horrible. The borrowings from Guernica-period Picasso, from Bernard Buffet or Miro (straight line, curved branch, blob - hey presto, there's a stick-man waving at you) show up the imaginative paucity of much of it.None of the Cobra artists seen here extended the language of the artists from whom they borrowed. Some of the artists shown - Corneille and Alechinsky, for example - are much milder, more careful designers than their Cobra affiliation might suggest.

Where Cobra's influence has always lingered is in the soppier, more naive regions of art-school painting (as has Wassily Kandinsky's work: both influences are equally pernicious). But it is worth reminding ourselves that the artists associated with Cobra were intelligent, often intellectual artists. Constant, for example, was a co-founder of the Situationist International (of which Jorn was also a member), and devoted much of his time, post-Cobra, to developing radical architectural ideas, before returning to painting in the 1970s.

We must be careful, too, about fashion, what it dismisses and rediscovers. What is strong and enduring in the Cobra show (apart from its idealism, which is always refreshing) are the drawings and prints. There are great drawings here - Constant's lithographs of La Guerre (Picasso-like though some of them are), Alechinsky's hilarious etchings, Jorn's scratchy, inked Burning Cities, and Pedersen's beautiful ink drawings of phantasmagorical heads and birds. Drawing always has a timeless aspect, an ability to go beyond style. It is, at best, intimate and direct. It is democratic (everyone does it, if only to doodle) and seems to tap something approaching the universal. The show is worth it, to be reminded of that alone.

· Cobra is at Baltic, Gateshead, until April 21. Details: 0191-478 1810."


Preface to Gone to Croatan

Ron Sakolsky

This volume is an episodic account of the ancestral dance of our crossblood brothers and sisters across the vagaboundaries of North America. By taking a liminal, rather than only a marginal, perspective on its subjects, it seeks to open doors whose very existence may have in some cases not previously been apparent to historians. It does not claim to be a comprehensive history, but it is a start in plotting the points on this particular cognitive map.

Alan Moore writes "March 13, 2003 - International Arts Group Exposition 2003 (I've got an answer / I've got an anthem), Organized by Red76 Arts Group, at The Laurelhurst Theater, Portland.


Over the past several years, dozens of arts group have come into existence and met the need to serve as models for new and innovative arts platforms. Similar in practice to the ethics and culture of DIY punk/indie bands, arts groups have circumvented the stopgaps of their mainstream counterparts and, subsequently, created a vibrant and successful alternative to museums and galleries. They are the public's most accessible outlet for contemporary thought and practice in the arts.

Anonymous Comrade writes

"A Civilian Occupation

The Politics of Israeli Architecture

Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman

February 12-–March 30, 2003

Opening reception: February 12, 7-–9 p.m.

Storefront for Art and Architecture

97 Kenmare Street

New York, NY 10012

t. 212.431.5795



Basil Valentine writes "The impending auction of surrealist Andre Breton's collection, featured recently in the New York Times, has provoked much controversy. A petition addressed to the French Minister of Culture, asking the State to acquire the collection and to establish an official Andre Breton Surrealist Museum(!) and/or Foundation, has garnered 1500 signatures. The following collective statement is the response by the Surrealist Movement in the U.S. to this malicious, statist hypocrisy. A French translation of this text has just appeared in Maurice Nadeau's Quinzaine litteraire."

"Surrealism Is Not for Sale!"

The Gold of Time in the Time of Gold

If you think wearing this season's shoes will make you more attractive, or that paying a stranger for sexual contact will gratify your passions, then you will probably agree with the clueless New York Times journalist who summed up the impending auction of the contents of Andre Breton's Paris apartment at 42 rue Fontaine as "Surrealism for Sale, Straight from the Source." In this snide, dishonest article from mid-December 2002, the New World Order's "newspaper of record" predictably distorted and slandered Breton and the entire international surrealist movement, reducing them to the 5,500 "lots" of objects, books, photographs, manuscripts, and artworks scheduled to be sold this April to wealthy dealers, investors, and museum acquisition officers.

Although I think that activist groups using yahoo for this sort of thing is a bit insane (yahoo sells info on list members to anyone) I decided to post this anyway-- U.F.

Anonymous Comrade writes "If you are interested in anti-fascist, lefty music and politics,
please feel free to join the UrbanRebel Yahoo newsgroup. It focuses on
anti-racist music, particularly streetpunk, punk and Oi! and on
anti-fascist politics and news, primarily from North America. Recent
postings include information on ARA events, anti-WCTOC news, updates on
anti-racist bands and labels, and more. To join the group, head on
over to:


hydrarchist writes:

"Rick Prelinger is a tireless agitator against copyright laws, and is responsible for the placing on line of a huge volume of public domain films that others can appropriate for their own ends. This essay is his contribution to The Anti-Capitalism Reader, edited by Joel Schalit."

"Yes, Information Wants To Be Free, but How's That Going To Happen?:

Strategies for Freeing Intellectual Property"

Rick Prelinger

Why Worry About IP While Chaos Rules?

As I write in late February 2002, the United States has declared itself to be in a state of war. But even as our government asserts anti-terrorism as its first priority, corporations hustle to make the world safe for business. The courts are clogged with intellectual property lawsuits. Lawyers are busy churning out cease-and-desist letters to alleged copyright infringers. Entertainment conglomerates are consolidating their control over the fibers, cables and switches on which programming is distributed. Hackers are equated with terrorists and are forced to defend their ability to explore, reengineer and retool hardware and software. Content and advertising continue to combine into a tediously promotional happy meal. The limits of permissible speech in the mass media tighten every day. Not a quiet time, not a happy time, and under wartime cover decisions are now being made that will affect all our futures as producers and consumers of information, culture, and the arts.

Daniel Young writes:

"NewZoid is a countercultural artwork that automatically fabricates up-to-the-minute news headlines. It is a great source of relaxation and inspiration for those engaged, in one way or another, in the endless task of making the world a better place.

NewZoid has been the world's leading source of false news information since April, 2001. It proudly claims to produce more falsehood than all governments, corporations, academic institutions and artistic enterprises put together.

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