Home Page Photo

The Big Stupid Review

Archives

American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
01-01-2015
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
01-11-2014
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
01-04-2014
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2014
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
10-01-2013
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
07-01-2013
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
04-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
01-01-2013
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
10-01-2012
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-07-2012
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
01-04-2012
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
01-01-2012
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
01-10-2011
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
01-07-2011
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
01-04-2011
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
01-01-2011
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
10-01-2010
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
07-01-2010
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
04-01-2010
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
01-01-2010
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review

Art School

By Zach Plague

Jeweled dead bug

Zella and Matilda were late to Portfolio again.

Zella never cared when this was the case. She sauntered into the lecture hall waving to various friends, trying to make sure her entry was marked. Matilda shuffled behind her, embarrassed at the attention. Most of the desks were full; it was the beginning of the year. They found two together in the back. Almost immediately after they sat down, Nick, with the greasy hair and lascivious grin, leaned over to breathe in Zella's ear; "Hey…uh… Did I ever tell you about the time I…uh…invented the…uh…knife fight?"

"Uh…shut the…uh…fuck up?" Zella retorted loudly. She pushed her desk over three feet, towards Matilda, away from Nick. The metal legs screeched like a trapped owl.

Portfolio was a required class. Its purpose, from an administrative perspective, was to make sure that seniors had an art portfolio of sufficient quality to secure their admission into prestigious galleries or graduate schools. And if they graduated from Art Prep they were expected to secure an offer of admission at one of the top three masters programs in the country, or become rich on their own, very quickly.

Ms. Man taught the class. She was serious and strict. Her parents had immigrated from Korea and instilled in her utilitarianism and a neurotic work ethic. She applied these to art, which made her perfect for this class in the eyes of Dean Euphrates. She whipped the kids into shape: every year producing custom-made applicants for each of the big art programs. She knew what grad schools sought and she knew how to produce it. She also had a penchant for pant suits, which made jokes built around her name frequent and easy.

Zella and Matilda slouched in their chairs as she barked the class requirements like marching orders. Portfolio was the only class held in the auditorium. Ms. Man looked small and dictatorial on the large stage. A scattershot of kids splayed amongst the rows made the room feel empty.

Zella still wiggled in her chair, trying to get used to the idea of being in class. "What'd you do last night?"

"Um…I don’t know." Matilda never got asked things like that. She looked up. Ms. Man was giving them a stern eye. The girls grudgingly tugged notebooks and writing utensils from their bags and tuned into the lecture:

"…the art work is to be perused vicariously. In doing so, a picture emerges of the way Jack Mackerel re-interpreted performance pseudo-sculpture. When convoluting one's personal grid of perception, we risk a pedestrian mix of bake-sale ingredients coalescing into a multi-omniscient theory of art orientation, ad nauseum. The mutable, inchoate historical context belies a murky avant-garde, buoyed by no small dearth of imagination. The pre-and-post-distopian confusion created an almost tragicomic contextual self-dramatization. Therefore, it is easy to see why most iconoclastic, unformed statements of the zeitgeist, albeit ensconced in artworks unrecognizable to the larger cultural milieu, were never-the-less created by Mackerel, probably. Redefining 'anti-art' by pointing at what it was not, allowed him to successfully skirt any sort of showy un-involvement with the shaky notion of an 'art community'. The neo-irrelevantists of the day were hostile to dialog with 'danger boy' Mackerel. The seasons of output following his early-mid-late period afforded a disciplined rejection of sophistication doctrine and a platonic macro-perception, uninhibited by any kind of cohesive, self-flatulating juxtaposition of disconsolate sentiment, and jubilant belligerence. Mackerel's pervasive and carefully orchestrated social mock-disregard incited a group of…"

"Are you getting this down?" Matilda. Whispering, panicked.

"Don’t worry." There wasn’t a pen anywhere near Zella's paper. "This class is easy." The droning from the front of the room continued, Ms. Man’s nasal creating modality harmonizing with the steady hum of the slide projector.

Squirrel tail

"…in the contemporaneous life-world. His disciples could achieve no empathy with the wider aesthetic agnosticism. The null-and-void framing device, definitively a post-modern anarchistic stratagem, discouraged would-be imitators from filching, referencing, or indeed even knowing about their work. The implied ideological bias was folded-in to the larger thought-form of radically sensitive misanthropy. Mackerel's unified anti-manifesto, while never directly stated, irregardless whipped his constituents into a frenzy of converging artistic and mock-conscious thought streams. They operated on the subtext that 'art' does not equal 'art', and thus, what we find when a revisionist subjective doctrine rears its ugly head is that…"

"It doesn’t sound easy to me." Matilda. Whispering again now. Zella replied in a stage voice:

"Listen, on the test just answer that every question is impossible to answer because of cultural bias and, you know, shifting context or some shit like that. Then, at the end, complain about how much better arts-funding is in other developed countries. You'll get a 100 every time. I had an A in this class last year until I stopped coming…"

"You stopped because of the pregnancy right?" A concerned whisper.

"Shut the fuck up, Matilda. Don’t think that because we're in class right now, I won't scratch your beady little eyes out."

"Jeez. Sorry. I was just kidding."

"Oh. I mean…so was I. Let's go do lunch."

Zella stood and put her things in her bag, oblivious to the continuing lecture. Matilda was too embarrassed to follow her out.

© Zach Plague 2008