Doodaaa: The Balletic Art of Gavin Twinge

Overview

Ralph Steadman's alter-autobiography is a work of comical genius as well as a profound commentary on the state of contemporary art.

Creator of his own inimitable visions of Freud, Leonardo, Orwell, Alice, and the Great Gonzo, Steadman now offers the triography of his artistic alter ego, the redoubtable Gavin Twinge. Twinge, last remnant of a nineteenth-century 'domestic engineering' dynasty, founder of the Doodaaa school, and pioneer of Barcode Art, Shredded Literature, and ...

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Overview

Ralph Steadman's alter-autobiography is a work of comical genius as well as a profound commentary on the state of contemporary art.

Creator of his own inimitable visions of Freud, Leonardo, Orwell, Alice, and the Great Gonzo, Steadman now offers the triography of his artistic alter ego, the redoubtable Gavin Twinge. Twinge, last remnant of a nineteenth-century 'domestic engineering' dynasty, founder of the Doodaaa school, and pioneer of Barcode Art, Shredded Literature, and Centrifugal Abstraction, is the original angry voice of contemporary art.

From the moment Steadman first meets Twinge in a London bookshop, it becomes his quest to get to the heart of the misery that drives the lost soul of Art. Drawing inspiration from Twinge's fellow Doodaaists-among them Lily Potsdam (Whiplash Muralist), Schlemiel Weiss (Gnat's blood Organic Watercolorist) and Aaron Dickley (Primal Scream Environmentalist)-Steadman proves to be a truly inspired biographer, matching Twinge drink for drink as he prepares for the great exhibition that will crown his life's work. Illustrated throughout in color and black-and-white in Steadman's (and Twinge's) inimitable style, Doodaa is a biography standing at the center of a hall of mirrors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What we have here is not only an amusing tale, but an important document in art history, an insider's account of what it has been like to be an artist at a time when the only apt artistic response to the atrocities of the twentieth century anyone has so far discovered is the aggressively inane and nonsensical art called Dada."—Kurt Vonnegut

"Gavin Twinge is a hero for our times: subversive, inventive, world-bestriding, world-destroying. He is the Vishnu of vicissitude and the Jehova of juxtaposition. In Ralph Steadman, Twinge has found his apotheosis, his amanuensis, his Boswell."—Will Self

"New Yorker cartoonist and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Steadman sends up modern art with this energetic combination of solemn aesthetics and oddball satire. The book is a fictional 'triography' of one Gavin Twinge, leader of the 'Doodaaa group,' a coterie of avant-garde artists loosely based on the Dada movement. Paragons of bohemian excess, Twinge and company go on epic drinking binges and push the boundaries of art with bizarre experimental pieces in which they paint with gnat blood or heat up beer cans until they explode onto a canvas . . . Amusing . . . [Steadman has a] fertile comic imagination."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
New Yorker cartoonist and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Steadman sends up modern art with this energetic but ungainly combination of solemn aesthetics and oddball satire. The book is a fictional "triography" of one Gavin Twinge, leader of the "Doodaaa group," a coterie of avant-garde artists loosely based on the Dada movement. Paragons of bohemian excess, Twinge and company go on epic drinking binges and push the boundaries of art with bizarre experimental pieces in which they paint with gnat blood or heat up beer cans until they explode onto a canvas. Mostly, though, they function as mouthpieces for enthusiastic and rambling disquisitions on, among other things, philistinism, the soul-deadening effects of formal education and the history of flush toilets. Unfortunately, Steadman's fertile comic imagination is somewhat hobbled by sluggish pacing and a fondness for art-school palaver. The narrative lurches from rumination to picaresque and back again; sections on art and philosophy are marked by overwriting ("Gavin had kept alive a memory of art in flux, fractured by two world wars, shot senseless in a post-war miasma of rationed optimism and left for dead on a floor smeared with childish ideals of freedom, self-fulfillment and bright futility") and convoluted thinking ("The human condition actually cannot accept the reality of nature because the human condition has allowed reason to enter, and nature knows nothing of human reason"). Amusing bits pop up here and there, but in the end, it's hard to parody a world that seems to lean into self-parody often enough on its own. Illus. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582342658
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 11/16/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph Steadman, artist, writer, sculptor, political cartoonist and designer of labels for vintage wines, is the author of over fifty illustrated books, including Sigmund Freud, I Leonardo, The Big I am, The Scar-strangled Banner, Alice, and Animal Farm. He is the Gardening Correspondent for Rolling Stone and illustrator of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. His work appears regularly in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Esquire, and the L.A. Times.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: Honorary Doodaaists xiii
Preface xviii
Introduction: An Encounter with Gavin Twinge 1
Distillation Art Gallery
Part I
1 British Art: World's End 17
2 Gavin Twinge: Tite Circumstances 25
3 The Nineteenth-Century Ancestors: The Colonic Legacy 37
4 Early Years: Artist's Block 55
5 Arrondissements: Bodily Parts of Paris 62
6 Schooldays: Taught by Tyrants 95
7 Flart: Aerial Abstracts 110
8 Vera Steadman: Starlit Auntie and Muse 115
9 A Blot on the Stave: Musical Diversions 128
Family Photo Album
Part II
10 Christ's Bride Stripped Bare by Her Religious Mechanics (already) 137
11 Doodaaa: the Philosophy of French Plumbing 172
12 Doodaaaists: the Nietzsche Feature 186
13 Peasant Heaven: the Anti-Fete 213
14 Fugitive Doodaaaists: the Slunt Factor 234
Part III
15 Sigmund Gonad: the Doctor Who Delivered Gavin 253
16 Cosby Twinge: a Manic Depressive Populist 265
17 Fanny Twinge: a Quadrophrenic Partisan 281
18 Beating the System: Tite Modern Installation 296
The Philosophy of French Plumbing
Apres moi: The Philistines 307
Exhibitions and Collections 316
Bibliography 318
Index 329
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