Ms. Ann Liv Young Performance Evokes Mr. Show Episode

by Paddy Johnson on September 7, 2010 · 10 comments Blurb

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Ann Liv Young receives a scathing review from New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay. The reviewer primarily takes issue with Young’s “startling ineptitude”, her failure to take a shit on stage after boasting she could do so on cue amongst the issues of greater concern. From what I’ve read, Liv Young’s performance seems almost certainly bad, but there’s been some modest discussion in the AFC fresh link section of the blog about some questionable criticism lodged by Macaulay.

Angela W. “It's possible that Ms. Young's followers invest in her as a substitute for the avant-garde they seek but lack.” I'm curious sitting here in Chicago whether New Yorkers feel like they are lacking an avant-garde at the moment? If so, why?

Art Fag City: This review is entertaining, but it's statements like those that also make Macaulay's take look a little pedestrian. There's a lot of crap art out there obviously, but not all of it's bad. I'm not sure I buy arguments like, there was no dance, so it was bad, there was no defecation on cue, so it was bad.

Ben C. offers the video above noting, “Art imitates entertainment imitating art. Mr. Show wins, of course”

  • http://www.angelawatters.com/blog Angela W

    Perhaps Macaulay should shine attention on the bad art made by more forward thinking artists, who don’t rely abject cliches. Check out Ann Liv Young’s shopping cart. You can buy her used tampons and poop for $45 each. It makes me think that Jerry Saltz might have been right with his status update asking why art is so expensive.

    http://www.annlivyoung.com/sherrysgoodypage.html
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716179266&v=wall&story_fbid=112193622170510

  • http://www.angelawatters.com/blog Angela W

    Perhaps Macaulay should shine attention on the bad art made by more forward thinking artists, who don’t rely abject cliches. Check out Ann Liv Young’s shopping cart. You can buy her used tampons and poop for $45 each. It makes me think that Jerry Saltz might have been right with his status update asking why art is so expensive.

    http://www.annlivyoung.com/sherrysgoodypage.html
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716179266&v=wall&story_fbid=112193622170510

  • http://www.darteboard.com J.D. Hastings

    I don’t think Macaulay was simply saying, “There was no dance, so it was bad” or “There was no defecation, so it was bad.” He gives several examples of devices she attempted to use and how they specifically failed. He compared her attempted techniques to other versions that were more succesful, including the other man in the audience.

    When he makes the crack about the Avant Garde, he says nothing about New York. It’s Young’s followers who lack an avant-garde. There may still be one out there, but maybe they lack it. Such things could happen if you don’t know where to look or have a preconceived misconception about the avante garde as necessarily being this sort of aggressive antagonism. But if it has been done before- and better- then it isn’t the front guard, and the preconceptions could cause one to miss, or “lack”, the avant garde that DOES exist. (By definition one should not be capable of preconceiving the avant-garde)

  • http://www.darteboard.com J.D. Hastings

    I don’t think Macaulay was simply saying, “There was no dance, so it was bad” or “There was no defecation, so it was bad.” He gives several examples of devices she attempted to use and how they specifically failed. He compared her attempted techniques to other versions that were more succesful, including the other man in the audience.

    When he makes the crack about the Avant Garde, he says nothing about New York. It’s Young’s followers who lack an avant-garde. There may still be one out there, but maybe they lack it. Such things could happen if you don’t know where to look or have a preconceived misconception about the avante garde as necessarily being this sort of aggressive antagonism. But if it has been done before- and better- then it isn’t the front guard, and the preconceptions could cause one to miss, or “lack”, the avant garde that DOES exist. (By definition one should not be capable of preconceiving the avant-garde)

  • http://www.gerryvisco.com Gerry Visco

    The main problem with Ann Liv Young is she’s simply BORING. No matter WHAT she does, no matter how hard she tries to be provocative, different, or disgusting, she’s just dull and empty. There’s not a glimmer of a human being in there and I really WANTED to like her shows and performances. What I found disturbing was not her trying to crap and piss on stage but the fact that a lot of the performance art darlings are lauding her like she’s doing something new. They don’t seem to notice that this is a performer with no charisma, no power of personality, no special talents at all. The external trappings — blonde wig, outrageous behaviour, etc. seem to be ENOUGH for the audience. Well, it’s not enough for me and I have several friends who agree with me. I can’t wait until someone else more daring, a more intelligent performer (and let’s skip the dull academic discussions about the so-called “avant-garde”), will get up there and take a crap or a piss or vomit or yell at the audience and I’ll FEEL something. I won’t be looking at my watch wondering it will all be over.

  • http://www.gerryvisco.com Gerry Visco

    The main problem with Ann Liv Young is she’s simply BORING. No matter WHAT she does, no matter how hard she tries to be provocative, different, or disgusting, she’s just dull and empty. There’s not a glimmer of a human being in there and I really WANTED to like her shows and performances. What I found disturbing was not her trying to crap and piss on stage but the fact that a lot of the performance art darlings are lauding her like she’s doing something new. They don’t seem to notice that this is a performer with no charisma, no power of personality, no special talents at all. The external trappings — blonde wig, outrageous behaviour, etc. seem to be ENOUGH for the audience. Well, it’s not enough for me and I have several friends who agree with me. I can’t wait until someone else more daring, a more intelligent performer (and let’s skip the dull academic discussions about the so-called “avant-garde”), will get up there and take a crap or a piss or vomit or yell at the audience and I’ll FEEL something. I won’t be looking at my watch wondering it will all be over.

  • Annie

    Cinderella was incredibly thought-provoking (did you guys even see the audience member practically fall in love with Sherry, a made up character?), but this Mr. Show video is awesome as well. They are not mutually exclusive. I’d be honored to have David Cross make fun of me.

  • Annie

    Cinderella was incredibly thought-provoking (did you guys even see the audience member practically fall in love with Sherry, a made up character?), but this Mr. Show video is awesome as well. They are not mutually exclusive. I’d be honored to have David Cross make fun of me.

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  • vegetablelollipop

    Alastair Macaulay is simply one of the worse dance critics in the English-speaking world. Here’s why: His reviews lack a concerted effort to describe what happens in a manner that is palatable to non-specialized audiences. He consistently fails to describe and interpret the *composition* of the dances before him, meaning their unfolding structure and form. He cannot assess the role of movement vocabulary, movement invention, movement phrasing, and movement quality–meaning he exhibits very little understanding of movement analysis. When he does speak about balletic movement he resorts to the centuries-old French jargon that only specialized readers understand without clear explanations of terms. Worse still, he fails to articulate how certain danced actions make meaning. He is a white Anglo male bigot who cannot analyze the aesthetic worth of dances that are not in some way ballet-based (or that use balletic movement to a certain extent like Cunningham’s choreography). He cannot review non-ballet work on its own cultural terms. When confronted with such work he falls apart critically, resorting to platitudes or recriminations. Or he simply says that he doesn’t get it because it’s not his cultural bag of tea. His prose style lacks the kind of inventiveness in tense, diction, phrasing, and tone that can make dance criticism match the performances reported upon. It is as if his writing exists in a bubble where John Martin, Edwin Denby, Ben Belitt, Jill Johnston, Anna Kisselgoff, Jennifer Dunning, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, and many of the legendary dance critics of the 20th century never exited. Instead of analyzing the design of the choreography in key places, he fetishes or maligns dancers’ physical appearances (including their weight). He plays rank favorites: he only really likes Balanchine and Cunningham. It is an embarrassment for the New York Times to keep him on. The fault lies chiefly with the man who hired him: James R. Oestreich, the Editor for “Classical Music and Dance,” (as it says somewhere on the New York Times’ materials). How much of a hand did Anna Kisselgoff and Jennifer Dunning (the previous NYT’s dance critics) play in selecting this white Anglo man from the UK when there is a surfeit of incredible dance critics in the city and across America?

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