How did Simpsons creator Matt Groening get to be so rich and successful? Well, it turns out he had a trick up his sleeve… a time-traveling trick!!!
It has now become clear that at some point in the future where time travel has become achievable, Matt Groening warped back to Olympia, Washington in the 1970s, and gave his past self a bunch of Simpsons memorabilia and a 20-year plan for creating the franchise and becoming king of all media. Unfortunately, Old Matt didn’t count on Young Matt painting all this new information and hiding it away for years. Now, those paintings – the only known evidence linking him to the crime of violating the Temporal Prime Directive – have resurfaced.
As originally reported by the Kitsap Sun, a 69-year old artist bought some Simpsons watercolors at a Seattle-area thrift store and thinks they were made by Matt Groening when he was a student at the Evergreen State College, more than a decade before the Simpsons shorts began airing on The Tracey Ullman Show. She is now trying to auction them off at $2,000 apiece.
Last season there was a Simpsons episode where Bart becomes a street artist with the help of special guest star Shephard Fairey, because it’s impossible for a Simpson to develop a new skill without meeting the most famous people associated with that skill. Fairey’s perhaps best known nowadays for making that weird Soviet propaganda-ish Barack Obama “Hope” poster in 2008, but back in “the day” his claim to fame was the OBEY Giant campaign where he’d plaster stickers or spraypaint images of deceased wrestler Andre the Giant (later redesigned to avoid copyright infringement) everywhere – without permission! – with the word “OBEY” under it, which may have provided the inspiration for such cultural touchstones as internet memes and Microsoft advertising. For the episode, The Simpsons cleverly “mashed up” Fairey’s two pieces into a “parody” (using the term very lightly) featuring Homer’s face and the word “Dope.”
Anyway, the Associated Press sued him over the “Hope” poster (apparently they own the rights to Obama’s likeness??) and won. Last September a federal court sentenced him to two years’ probation and fined him $25,000. Now where’s an avant-garde street artist supposed to get scratch like that??
Artist JK Keller created an intense video manipulation of The Simpsons entitled Realigning My Thoughts on Jasper Johns that will break your browser and possibly your mind if you try to watch the whole piece on his website. Here’s the introduction, which gives you a good idea of what the rest is like…
UPDATE: Keller’s video and website have been lost to the sands of time…
Hey, do you remember when I told you about THIS IS NOT BART, the Simpsons-themed art show currently being held in Newcastle, Australia? Well, a few days ago IN THE NEWS operative “Adam B.” did some reconnaissance and reported back his findings:
I went to the This Is Not Bart art exhibition and talked to the curator and he said they will be making it an annual event , so around september 30 til october 22, 2012 it will be on again.
Yes, it’s going to become a yearly tradition, I guess! Ha ha, so much for Australian culture.
If you happen to be in Newcastle, Australia this month, you might want to consider seeing the THIS IS NOT BART exhibition at the ARThive art gallery. It’s full of weird Simpsons arts, like a dress-up Mr. Burns, paintings inspired by the Planet of the Apes musical, or Snagglepuss. It’ll be like looking at Bomers in real life, with other people! Wow! Full deets are on their website.
Some nerdlinger made a “video coat” made up of little LED screens that allows the wearer to show Simpsons episodes and other videos on their jacket. I guess it’s similar to Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman’s TV-Bra for Living Sculpture (1969), except less likely to give you cancer, maybe. Doesn’t this seem like something out of a bad sci-fi movie about obtrusive advertising in the future? If this gets out of hand, Fox will have to join forces with the Fashion Police to stop bootleggers.
If you were one of the people watching The Simpsons last night (sucker), you may have noticed something a little different about the opening sequence!
The “couch gag,” if one could call it that, was storyboarded and directed by the pseudonymous Britain street artist known as Banksy, whose distinctive graffiti has shown up across the UK and the US, and whose work has been auctioned off for millions of dollars to limousine liberal luminaries like Brangelina.
Showrunner-for-life Al Jean told the New York Times he seeked out the ostensibly underground (despite having a publicist) “art terrorist” and asked him, via a series of messengers, if he’d do the opening, later receiving the storyboards without ever meeting the mystery man. Although 5% was cut out by request of Fox Broadcast & Standards, Jean insists the final product was as close as possible to Banksy’s original intention.
The response has been enormous – Banksy became a “Trending Topic” on Twitter last night (which is, like, super-important and stuff) and there are currently hundreds of news stories about it – which I’m sure makes up for the 29% decline in ratings from last week. It’s to quantify these things, but I think it’s safe to presume this will get more attention than other recent Simpsons “viral” stunts, from the godawful Ke$ha thing to the Itchy & Scratchy parody of Koyaanisqatsi (in the old days, The Simpsons usually generated buzz with actual episodes instead of context-free YouTube clips, but I guess that’s the way things are now in the New Media Landscape).
The Simpson palette has always seemed as radical and subversive as the show’s social commentary and close in artifice to that of innovative colorists like Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman and Matthew Barney. Five amped-up hues suffice: egg-yolk yellow, magenta, Marge-Simpson’s-hair blue, darkened chartreuse and lavender, plus important bits of white (mainly eyes and teeth) and touches of red. Subtle distinctions of tonality are made. Homer’s yellow head is seen against a slightly darker yellow background. Marge’s hair is slightly darker than the blue behind Bart. Red defines only Homer’s tongue, Maggie’s pacifier, Marge’s beads and the smidgeon of Bart’s T-shirt.
Third, less is more. The “Simpsons” gestalt is boiled down to its essence and so is stampness. The images are stripped of detail except for the letters USA and the number 44 (cents, the new first class). No fussy engraved textures, no identifying names. This allows color to take over and the faces to pop out. Like a Richard Serra sculpture, only smaller and a whole lot cheaper, the stamps prove the adage that scale has nothing to do with size. They strike David-like blows against the Goliaths of American visual illiteracy.
It appears one of the pervs who make erotic Simpsons fanart and ruined Google Image Search for everyone was put in charge of designing the logo for the 2012 Summer Olympics, because how else to explain this? Oh sure it’s supposed to be “2012,” rendered in an abstract style reminiscent of early-80’s LA New Wave, but doesn’t it look like something… unseemly… that will be impossible to unsee once you’ve seen it?