Purple Magazine
— The Cosmos Issue #32

harmony korine

art HARMONY KORINE

down the rabbit hole little further 

text by RICHARD PRINCE
copyright HARMONY KORINE
photos ROB MCKEEVER
all artworks COURTESY GAGOSIAN

Post-Place: The Life and Times of Jack Parr, Lord Buckley, and Totie Fields

We the people. We don’t believe you.
False narratives vs. street smarts.
Babylon blood clot. Or is it bumbo-bloodclaat? Doesn’t matter. A solid wall of expletives.
Hey kids. What time is it?
Kids.
Remember that one?
The question? Where’s it from? An early-morning Saturday cartoon show from 1954? What, too young? If you want to cross-generation and time-machine, you can YouTube it. It’s on your phone. Everything is on your phone. All kinds of H.G. Wells’s predictions are in that thin piece of hardware, and everybody carries one around, upgrading customizing bent over looking watching reading sending talking to sharing shutting off and on spending endless hours with strangers and friends waiting to receive and signal trying to walk in a straight line without looking up and bumping into constantly talking out loud connected to hearing aids then pointing to, photographing videoing logging onto a new app filtering sorting storing downloading deleting saving.

Tattletales of Brave Influence.

They say if you want convenience and a friction-free life just click and swipe and your backdrop will be Surf Camp. Elephant’s breath anyone?

Screenshotting a google.
I just got a new iPhone 20.
I just googled “post-place” and the first thing that comes up: ctpost — cannabis-derived oil finding place in ever more products. Word. I google “twitchy.com” and the first thing that appears: Alyssa Milano alerts candidates to her 2020 plan (“the Jon Ossoff blessing” hangs in the balance). I’m not sure what that means. But that’s okay. It sounds like birdtalk.com.SNL.org.PBR.can.
Narrow it down.
Young Twitchy.
Bingo.
Harmony Korine: Young Twitchy at Gagosian-GalleriesNow. 8 days ago.
There’s some portrait of a grandfather that comes up next to “all Korine.”
(Maybe it’s Harmony’s father who belonged to a hippie commune out in Bolinas in the late ’60s. Harmony was born into his father’s hippie cult, in Bolinas, a town famous for having no sign to tell road-trippers where it was located. I’ve been there. No wonder Harmony’s mother helped keep Richard Brautigan’s American dust cleaned. Anarchy in the USA. Harmony’s father is now living in Panama. For the past 20 years. In Panama. No way. Yes way. WTF. That’s two personal connections right there.)

Abbreviations. Hashtags. Emojis. Ideograms.

I go down the rabbit hole a little further.
I type in “extremely naked and enthusiastically playing the bongos.”
A quote from Harmony: “The works were re-created in oil paint on canvas from images I constructed on my iPhone. I usually took these photographs around my home in Florida, and then painted over them with different characters. These light characters hang out with dogs, or dance on the abandoned boat dock. I would sit outside alone by the water and create alien-like friends on a low-key cosmic tropical playground.”
That’s what he says.
Greasy-headed drool locked up in a tote bag of championship Total.
Total is good enough for me.

I walked into the gallery with Harmony. It’s on the fifth floor, 980 Madison Ave. First room off the elevator. Once a series of office rooms, now converted into a generic showroom. Low ceilings, no windows. It’s as if WeWork built a gallery space.
I immediately like.
Heart it.

Even though I hadn’t read Harmony’s quote above, I get everything about the paintings. Right off. Right off the bat. Every so often “the get” happens. Grand slam. Round-tripper. RBIs. Jimmy Piersall. Happily surprised. I’m happy. Feeling good. In front of art. Nothing better. Fear strikes out.

Digital.
Analogue.
Mixtape.
Terms usually associated with music sometimes can be applied to visual art. Gaslight Moondog.
The digital part is the phone. That’s where the paintings start. The analogue is the traditional materials, canvas, stretchers, paint. The two polar bears, combined with Harmony’s wack and doodle, create a kind of new special effect that looks everyday normal. Granted. Not everyday. The medicine is a little of this, a little of that. How hard can it be? That’s according to Jesus. Jesus says, “Let’s party. Let’s have some fun.” Jesus saves.

Composed. Manipulated. Filed. Transferred.
Gummed.
Gummed up.
Gumbo.

He no judge. He no scold. He no moralize. Sentimental soul.

The place is the phone. The post is the art?
I don’t know.
Hedonistic hippie/walking Zen-koan persona.
A virtual orchestra of completely unhinged Willie Bobo–level solos. Gales of canned laughter. Maybe it’s a toddler’s bedtime story.
I’m working on it.

“At least you’re taking your own pics,” I tell Harmony.
I continue: “Because if you’re not, you’re going to get deposed.”
I continue: “Giving deposition is post-place.”
I continue: “If you’re being sued for something that harmlessly doesn’t belong to you … you’re going to be set up, grilled, sit in a hot seat, trying to survive seven hours of stone-cold killing staring straight into a videocam in a conference room somewhere in the bowels of Even Lower Manhattan trying to answer slippery stupid legal questions about what’s art.”

“What are you supposed to say?” asks Harmony.
“Something about beachcombing.”
“Innocent,” says Harmony.

Six art handlers show up. “Do you guys want a water?”

They look “post-place.”
That’s what I tell Harmony about his paintings.
He says, “What’s that?”
I say something about past present future. Then I say, “It’s like drag racing with Jungle Pam.”

“Jungle Pam,” says Harmony.
Excited.
That’s the thing about Harmony.
You can throw out something INSIDE WORLD, and he knows about it.
Mr. Wizard.

When I arrived in New York in 1974 there was this term “post-studio” floating around. Description? Art made. Then photographed. Then the art that was made and photographed was abandoned. So what was made and photographed was a record. More music.
Back in 1974, post-studio was a good fit for me. I couldn’t afford a studio. [Rim shot]

We finish our waters.
We watch the six art handlers move more paintings into the room. Gallery Army. Be all you can be. And if you can’t be all you can be, then be what someone else can be.

You used to be on the phone.
Now you’re in the phone.

The past is the past.
We all agree.
All together now.
You used to be on the phone in the kitchen. Touch-tone. Or, in Harmony’s father’s day, rotary. There was usually only one phone per family and it was hardwired to a wall. Depending on the flexibility of the curl in the cord, you could maybe walk six feet without letting go of the receiver. Back in Harmony’s father’s day, Mobil was the name of a gas station.

Right before the dawn.
In 1972 I got my first phone hooked up in my first rental up in the state of Maine. Way up, north of Rockport, Andrew Wyeth country. I took a Magic Marker and wrote “Donkey Boy” on my first intercontinental off-white plastic fantastic contraption.

Hee-haw.
You feelin’ me?

The Now Phone.
Somewhere between Children of Men and cosplay.

You’re taking an Uber to the airport, sitting in traffic, and making art on your phone.

“Didn’t you just make this art coming in from LaGuardia?”
I ask Harmony.
Harmony says, “Yea. Kind of. I guess. Sort of.”

Kind of.
I guess.
And sort of.

Do androids dream of electric sheep?
Even in fair condition, a first edition goes for north of 5K.

“Sitting in traffic can be your studio,” I say.
“That’s post-place,” Harmony says.

“Let’s stop bumming and look at the paintings.” *

* In the history of golden age comic book covers, there have only been two times where an illustration of a comic book superhero was superimposed over a photo-realistic background. One was a Sub-Mariner. The other, a Superman. This presentation did not go over well with readers. The result of this pre-Photoshop mock-up, or what used to be called a “splash” … was a complete dud. An Edsel. Detroit quickly retreated and went with Falcons and Fairlanes.

Let’s splash out: #RobertMcNamara#Edsel#Ford#TheWorldOfVideo#Acetate#whiteout#GiantPhoto#DirectPositive#160Tungsten#kodachrome#backyards#pool#dog#trippy#psy#astroprojection#DavidWeiss#ColonelKlink#SuperDave#SouthBeach#tropicalplayground#LightFlares#blockbuster#BusterCrab#TrailMix#DJtrippyHeadrin#TangerineDream#maggotbrain#EDM#mutantdisco#trap#illmatic#bigdaddykane#streetwearco#liquidsoul#anon#minimart#RadiationFunk#nagasaki#worldstar#easylenses#coding#hacking#updates#backup

 

HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY DISTRICT, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 60 1/4 X 47 3/4 INCHES HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY PARADISE, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 57 X 45 INCHES HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY LURKER, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 60 3/8 X 48 3/8 INCHES <br />HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY TOWARDS LIGHT, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 3/4 X 61 3/8 INCHES HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY POWER SLIDE, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 3/8 X 60 7/8 INCHES HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY GLUE BOY, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 72 1/2 X 60 7/8 INCHES <br />HARMONY KORINE, TWITCHY COUPE, 2018, OIL ON CANVAS, 58 1/2 X 46 INCHES

 

[Table of contents]

The Cosmos Issue #32

Table of contents

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