The majority of Daniel Johnston's musical work was co-opted by his barnacle of a "manager" Jeff Tartakov a long time ago. Luckily he wasn't prudent enough to obtain publishing rights to Daniel's artistic output. Or maybe he just thought it was garbage on par with the dick doodles fifth graders scrawl on the inside covers of their history textbooks. And that's kind of the dilemma here: There's no such thing as "on the fence" when you're talking about a chain-smoking fat guy who takes fistfuls of antipsychotic medication and plonks around on a piano all day. If you've ever taken even a sideways glance at the marker-and-ink universe of Jeremiah the Innocent, Joe the Boxer, Casper the Friendly Ghost, et al., you know exactly what to expect from a 160-page book full of them. The mini-essays from Jad Fair and Harvey Pekar are a nice touch, but they aren't going to change anybody's mind. You'll either immediately pre-order this book and spend the next year boring the shit out of your friends until they ditch you, or you'll write it off as yet another sideshow from the world's most exploited idiot savant.
Ryan McGinness: Works.
This and the Johnston thing came in the mail at the same time, and our managing editor was immediately bummed because she thought it was a Ryan McGinley book that she somehow overlooked. I can't really think of a more appropriate sentiment, so let's just go with that. Anywho, art flunkies are constantly describing McGinness's work as "Warholian," which sounds more retarded than Corky saying the alphabet backward. I know lots of people wholeheartedly love his stuff, but Dancing With the Stars consistently lands in the top three spots of the Nielsen ratings so fuck lots of people. Most of it looks like something a failed-graffiti-rat-cum-burned-out-graphic-designer drunkenly Photoshopped for an Urban Outfitters t-shirt circa 2003. And don't even get me started on the fake street signs. I don't even like paying attention to the real ones, buddy. If that wasn't enough, he tends to use the same palette as Alex Grey, and you already know what we think about him. I was going to conclude this by saying that this is precisely the type of twaddle adored by people who work in marketing. Then one of my friends who does "business development" (by the way, what is that exactly?) saw it on my coffee table and said he already had it queued up on Amazon for $35. So I sold it to him for ten bucks. Thanks for being so shitty Ryan McGinness!