Difficult Art, Brutalism and Probably Sushi


The Los Angeles Times has a weekly section called Home, where you can sometimes find a gem of a story, like the one they published yesterday. It featured the ugly four-story ‘home’ of a male couple who collect what they call ‘difficult art.’ I love learning new terms like this!   A couple of weeks ago, I heard the phrase ‘honest furniture’ for the first time, and nearly fainted with joy.

Anyway, the art is difficult in that it’s big in size, sanctimoniously morbid in theme, and sort of downright awful in terms of the usual standards of aesthetics. There are garish paintings of young men being intimidated by Nazis, photos of the World Trade Center on fire, something about Little Black Sambo that “speaks to racism,” you know the drill by now. It’s Confrontational. It’s Emotionally Complex. It’s Difficult!

Owner Tim Campbell says “I would find it difficult to live with beautiful, pointless art.” How true, Tim. Why waste your money on that crap?

The house itself is in the Brutalist style. (“Brutalism describes a type of architecture that is profoundly honest and pure.” Blocky poured concrete, exposed joints and supports, you know, like a prison or a block of council flats in East Anglia) Campbell designed the house, which features a metal industrial staircase. He points out the grease pencil scribbles left by the construction crew, proudly noting that most people would get rid of that.

Campbell and his partner Steve Machado also collect 19th century Asian furniture and have two dogs named Jack and Chausette. I feel I know them in a really profoundly pure way. I feel they enjoy sushi. I feel they shop at Barneys and know a lot about wine, or maybe obscure brands of beer.

When the LA Times ran a similar piece about a guy named Blaine who collects ironic taxidermy and trays of old human teeth, I wondered if someone there made the whole thing up. My friend and I contacted the writer, who assured us Blaine was real. Even if Tim and Steve are made-up, I still love them!


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12 Responses to Difficult Art, Brutalism and Probably Sushi

  1. Mark says:

    May I call them homos? I’m a homo, so it’s okay, right? Homos! I have an idea for a difficult painting: is a portrait of Tim Campbell porking his pug. It speaks to animal cruelty, homophobia, and love. They are vile homos. I’m a vile homo, too, so it’s okay if I say it, right?

  2. Sister Wolf says:

    Yes, Mark. I believe you have the nailed the subtext, even though it was somewhat brutal.

  3. You may be interested to know that Brutalism may be the only architectural style with its very own smell: http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-01-31pm.html

  4. Suebob says:

    Wow, I am going to get busy dismembering some baby dolls and stapling them to telephone poles…I think I could make something large, offensive and ugly – all for the low, low price of about, oh, $75,000.

  5. Sister Wolf says:

    Wow, thanks Marilyn. I think I can smell it from here. Amazing.

    And Suebob, your concept sounds super Difficult! When you’re done, it would be my pleasure to help you sell it. I would like the LA Times to do a feature on you, too.

  6. Tim Campbell says:

    Darling- I assure you we are real- me, my plump pug Chaussette (means socks in French but I am sure you knew that) and Jack (a rescue from the Downy Shelter) and my partner Steve (of 20 years). We don’t collect 19th century furniture, we certainly don’t eat sushi and I prefer Agnes B to Barneys (too pedestrian if you know what I mean and I am sure that you do). I’ve spent years working to get to this point- and now I am finally the subject of your ire… I am thrilled. Good work. You don’t have to like the art, the dogs, the house or even me…but you did look for a bit longer than you would have and I appreciate it. Hugs,
    Tim, Steve, Chaussette and Jacque (he spells it that way himself)

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Oh my! I’m glad you don’t eat sushi, but I think you should reconsider the Barneys thing. We could go there for lunch! My treat. And of course, feel free to make fun of my house (and my recused border collie) any time.

  8. Tim Campbell says:

    Ok I relent- I will reconsider Barneys but only if they have a T Room (did I say that?)… Love your site and your commentary- it is a little odd reading about yourself and your life and we laughed quite a bit when we found your site. Very much apprecaited point of view. What city are you in by the way?

    Tim and Steve
    Jacque and Coco

  9. Sister Wolf says:

    I once read about myself, sort of, on some guy’s blog. He described me as a “strange woman” who writes about cremation and mothers who kill. I wrote “Fuck you!” to him. See what a baby I am, Tim?

    Barneys has a restaurant, if not a T Room. Neiman Marcus serves little individual boysenberry pies, and it’s right near Barneys.

  10. sean says:

    I think everybody is a gay ass basterd

  11. Jools says:

    I wish I could have been at that lunch. Hint: the only thing worth eating at Barney’s Greengrass are the bagels and lox (not the salty Lox!). And be careful not to drink diet coke. They charge for each glass.

  12. One minor issue is the distance it can cover – but, when you think it is only used on the farm, it has not been pushed too far over distance.

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