Network Awesome Essay on “A Bucket of Blood”

Life is an obscure hobo bumming a ride on the omnibus of art – Maxwell H. Brock

My first essay for Network Awesome Magazine went up this week. It’s a re-do on a little ditty about Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood where I discuss sculpture, failure, the art world, murder, humor, and Deleuze. You know, the usual.

Read: Who Says the Art World Isn’t Scary: Roger Corman’s Classic A Bucket of Blood

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Now on Network Awesome: The Burning and A Bucket of Blood

Two essays of mine have landed on the fabulous Network AwesomeThe Burning (horror film and 1980s politics) and A Bucket of Blood (satirical horror and the art world). Check them out:

What Makes a Man Start Fires: 1980s American Culture and The Burning
Through the lens of a campfire horror tale, Tony Maylam’s slasher classic The Burning (1981) begins with a prank gone wrong and ends with a series of revengeful murders. Gleaning from a culturally volatile period in America history, The Burning visually manifests displaced youth in the most gratuitous manner. It perpetuates, capitalizes, and exploits the fear that the unknown can happen to any one…read the rest and watch the film here.

Who Says the Art World Isn’t Scary?: Roger Corman’s Classic, A Bucket of Blood
If there’s a better satirical film on the art world than A Bucket of Blood (1959) then I certainly haven’t seen it (note: John Waters’ Pecker comes close). This playful jab at the beatnik artist types of the 1950s easily translates into the ridiculousness of contemporary art. Reportedly made by “King of the B-movies” Roger Corman for a mere $50k, A Bucket of Blood is a thoughtful and provoking look at the beginning of modern art as cultural phenomenon. It has a lot in common with the 1953 version of House of Wax (André De Toth) in its representation of the frustrated and revengeful artist, however, it moves beyond the artist as “individual” to cleverly mimic — and mock — the capriciousness of the art world as a whole…read the rest and watch the movie here

The Art of Fear: A Bucket of Blood

Who says the art world isn’t scary? The Art of Fear takes on Roger Corman’s classic A Bucket of Blood.

If there’s a better satirical film on the art world than A Bucket of Blood (1959) then I certainly haven’t seen it (Pecker and Untitled come close-ish). Corman’s hilarious jab at the beatnik artist types of the 1950s easily translates into the ridiculousness of today’s contemporary art world. Though made by the ‘King of B-movies’ and reportedly made for a mere $50k, A Bucket of Blood is a thoughtful and provoking look at the beginning of contemporary art as cultural phenomenon. It owes a lot to House of Wax in its relationship to revenge and the frustrating experience of creating artwork whether the artist is deformed as in House of Wax or without talent as in A Bucket of Blood. However, it quite cleverly mimics the capriciousness of the art world. As Sarah Thornton writes in her enthnographic study Seven Days in the Art World, ‘It’s [the contemporary art world] structured around nebulous and often contradictory hierarchies of fame, credibility, imagined historical importance, institutional affiliation, education, perceived intelligence, wealth, and attributes such as the size of one’s collection.’[1] More than fifty years after its release, the satire in A Bucket of Blood is still relevant and relatable.

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