Friday, June 16, 2006

Rufus Wainwright: L.H.O.O.Q.

It is one of those funny coincidences that Rufus Wanwright's Tribute to Judy Garland Concert in Carnegie Hall happened only a couple of days before the opening of a big Dada exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. I had the fortune to attend the first of two concerts offered by Rufus. Since I am (still) reading The Art Firm (see "History Backwards", in this blog), I spent the concert trying to look at the big picture: Rufus is not a great singer, I never heard Judy Garland's Carnegie Hall concert (which Rufus reproduced, at least in the order of the songs and by using the same orchestra arrangements, transposed). So no, it was not a great concert. "Is this Art or entertainment?" I kept thinking. Then I thought of it as a performance art piece, less about beauty and technique, but more about making a political statement. As Stephen (Holden) told me, it IS a big deal that a man is standing there doing what most of the people in the audience have fantisized about (I think 85-90% of the audience was gay, over 30).

Then, Duchamp and his moustached Mona Lisa (Called "L.H.O.O.Q", read in French: "Elle a chaud au cul", could be translated as "She's got a hot ass") came to my mind. I found it hilarious: Duchamp's Moustached Mona Lisa is to the original Mona Lisa, what Rufus' tribute concert is to Judy Garland's 1961 Carnegie Hall concert.

As for the MoMA exhibit, which opens this weekend, I won't be missing it!

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