The Department Against Degenerate Art Group Interview

D.A.D.A. Group Interview with Nunzio Barbera

       Nunzio - So, Degenerate Art, first tell us a little about yourself?
 Degenerate Art - I am but a humble representative and mouthpiece for the noble group D.A.D.A.
Nunzio - What is D.A.D.A.?
 Degenerate Art - D.A.D.A. is the Department Against Degenerate Art. It is an art collective made up of a handful of dedicated, absurd, members trying to save our future from creative anarchy! *points to room* These artists include Roxanne Zidell, Emily Steigerwald, Ralski, Michelley Queen of Queens, Jinx, Ricardo Cisneros and 4614. We have recently added Orlee Andromedae from Canada and Carlito Brigante from Colombia as well.

 Nunzio - Who do you feel were some of the most degenerate artists of the past?
 4614 - For me, some of the most degenerate artists were Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Georges Braque and Arthur Cravan.

 Roxanne – This Artist is truly Degenerate. He stole women's pantyhose and made creepy little dolls with them. For decades women have reported their leg-wear stolen due to this man. Don't be fooled by the cute faces of these dolls; their faces hide a sinister smile that laughs at children and the women who today shiver from the leg-up, in dire need of nylons! Any man who makes toys out of hosiery is SICK! He even took his filth a step farther by signing his artist name on the butt cheek of every doll!

 Ricardo – I’m a big fan of art imitating life, the best art I’ve seen comes from the social inadequacies of the artist creating it. Learning about Oskar Kokoschka and his life size doll/girlfriend that he built to parade at socialite parties is a great example. Sure, it was laughed at and didn’t go as he had planned but it was a twisted gem of idealized romance in his mind. I’m also a huge fan of the fauvre painters of the early twentieth century. Looking at the raw, wild-like paintings of Matisse is what motivates me to create art without a structured technique.

 Jinx - I feel all artists have at least a little bit of degeneracy to them. With almost no boundaries, as far as creativity and what we can make, artists sometimes get a bit peculiar. With artistic license comes a bit of crazy. So take your pick...

       Nunzio - Are there any Degenerates that have managed to elude you?
 Degenerate Art - Nothing eludes the panoptic gaze of the Department. YOU out there, BOTH hands on the table! We SEE you!

 Ricardo - Money. It is the biggest degenerate in my opinion. It sets its own value, capitalizes interest from thin air and wields power over all our souls. You elude me yet!

 Michelley – Yes, I believe there is an unknown, untapped vein of artistic degeneracy, because society defines degeneracy, and then determines that anything deemed as such be driven underground (whether truly degenerate or not). There is much we have yet to discover.

  Nunzio - What do you mean by "Creative Anarchy" and "Degenerate Art"?
 Degenerate Art - Art should be standardized, structured and easily reproduced and sold. It should pay tribute to the system that gently oppresses us and upholds the status quo. Anything that represents and holds creative individuality at the same level (or higher than) the system is creative anarchy and DEGENERATE ART. Individuals are dangerous and individual creativity means death to our system and way of life.

 Ricardo – Great art should be entropic and degenerative in subject. What is the point of revering something that is socially acceptable art??? What can you learn of the human construct if you only praise what is marketable? Representing a narrative that is emotional or reflective of a personal struggle is quite cathartic from my perspective.

  Nunzio - Could you pinpoint one specific artist or group of artists that you feel are responsible for starting this type of Degeneracy?
 4614 - To me there have ALWAYS been degenerates... from cavemen days to medieval art to renaissance to impressionism to dada to pop art to post-modern to street art to digital art and everything in between. There has always been someone not happy with the status quo who tried to push things farther or just... differently.

 Roxanne – All Degenerate Artists are in denial that they are the spineless scum of the walkways. The artists we have detained are living a lie. They try to hold jobs where decent civilians work; they live throughout LA making a mockery of themselves at local art events. They smuggle alcoholic beverages under the noses of security staff, run about without clothing on their upper half and celebrate their lack of coordination by drinking suicide drinks from Tokyo. It's an emerging cult movement that is fueled by Medical cannabis, alcohol and horrific art work.

 Emily - Degeneracy is as much a mathematical term as it could be considered a socially descriptive term. As long as there is a majority, there will be a minority - and within that minority, there will be a handful that works from the outside to tug at the underpinnings of society. Those who call themselves "degenerate" are perhaps more aware of their position in the cultural strata. If you accept this as true, then the degenerate artist is not localized to one time or location, but is in fact a life-role, of which a degenerate of another age described best :

"Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." ~ W. Shakespeare

Nunzio - How long has D.A.D.A. been in existence?
 Degenerate Art - "D.A.D.A." has been in existence for about 8 months. But our members have been watching and participating in art shows in and around Los Angeles for many years. We have all seen the growth of degeneracy and felt the need to take a stand against it. We were called together by an unseen but strong force... D.A.D.A.!!!

 Ricardo – As an artist? Over 20 years… Growing up poor in the ghetto rushes you to make life choices from an early age. After trying my hand at sports in my early teens, I realized that I did not come from privilege and therefore could not afford to take certain avenues of success. Art was a confidant of mine from a young age that I started to nurture like an appendage in my body, or at least an extension of myself.

      Nunzio - Are you working with any Government agencies?
 Ralski - I work undercover for the Corporate Avenger. We preach the slogan, "Freedom is a State of Mind. A Mind is a State of Being. Stay the Fuck out of My Mind, and My Being." *pops valium*

 4614 – I’m working with the IRS right now to clear up a few things… and also the DMV.

 Michelley - Heavens no! I've been signed with Ford since '96! And I'd never moonlight! That's so gauche!

 Roxanne - Yes, I serve as the masochist for the Department of Degenerate Art (DADA). I proudly serve as personal whipping secretary to the board members of DADA. The Art work is compensated and its fifth is accessed. If the artwork meets a listing it is transferred to the Torture Control Specialist who audits as needed and submits the file as a Request for Discipline. I receive a notice of decision by mail along with my Discipline Order (it usually involves a bible, a hanger, rope and a bottle of Tequila) and get released the following night.

 Jinx - I don't think so, but you never know I could be a sleeper agent.

 Emily - Not Currently

 Ricardo – I only pillage and dictate my works on canvas and paper…there was that incident in the Philippines with the slaves. Oh wait, that was “Rambo”. No government affiliation here!
Nunzio - So what kind of action has D.A.D.A. been involved in to stop "Degenerate Art"?
 Degenerate Art - We have brought specific dangerous events and artists to the public attention throughout FB page and website. We have also put on a few art shows ourselves that we use to "educate" the public on the dangers of DEGENERATE ART. We named these shows "Entartete Kunst". These shows have four themes: "Madness Becomes Method" (Art from a sick mind) / "Insolent Mockery of the Divine" (Religious) / "Deliberate Assault on the State" (Political) / "Carnal Perversions" (Sexual)

Nunzio - Do you consider this type of degeneracy a new art movement?
 Degenerate Art - D.A.D.A. is NOT an art movement… it’s an art STOPAGE!

 Ralski - Nah. Anarchy and freedom of expression in all forms has been well and alive for ages. The ones who go against the grain, like D.A.D.A., tend to get negative exposure while the mainstream gather like herds of cattle and are geared towards commercialism. So, offending people and raising eyebrows? No, we are doing nothing new. Our words and actions can be just as abstract as our artwork. Depends on the interpretation. If they get offended by our art, I have something in my pants much more offensive.

 4614 - No. I don't feel this to be an art movement... I think movements are too limiting and exclusive. DADA is more of a group of artists that might belong to one art movement or another, but DADA itself is not a movement.
Nunzio - Does this Degeneracy seem to remain within styles of art? (Surrealism, pop, street, etc.)
 Ricardo – It has no borders!!! My personal work aims to incorporate my own emotional debacles and transform them into surreal/social narratives that tend dwell in the surreal. My gaze has always been set to the stars. It drives me to create what I can only dream. That and my disdain for the un-original that seems to prevail in society have forced me to create my own ideal.

 Michelley - In my experience, there really are no clear borders with regard to what society chooses to vilify. The only thing that seems to matter is that the work creates some sort of paradigm shift that people freak out over. As long as the notion of "the other" exists, anything untested by time will continue to be viewed as suspect. After all, when Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring premiered in 1913, the audience heckled the performers and threw tomatoes at them. I've been dodging metaphoric tomatoes since I was in grade school, and I still couldn't tell you what "style" I am.

 Jinx - Fuck styles. We make whatever we want.
 Nunzio - What are the biggest "problems" with allowing the public to view said Degenerate art?
 Ralski - Censorship. If the Star of David is offensive to a Jew on a piece of art, and a penis next to a vagina is offensive to a woman, then all the more reason to break down the conservative barriers and expose who is really hiding in the closet by shoving it in their faces. We aren't here to please people. We are here to please ourselves, like pud pullers from another planet. We were going to call ourselves the Circle Jerks, but the name was already taken.

 Ricardo – The general public seems to be content with what is fed to them. In my experience, when you talk to someone about issues of depth and emotion it tends to overwhelm them. Sometimes finding that balance of creativity and depth without feeding into people’s egos is the hardest job. When something becomes “public” in viewing, it tends to get scrutinized more. Challenging ideas and reminding yourself to let go of control in response to your work can be the biggest battle. Degenerate art is an easy target, but in my opinion, it warrants a greater analysis than a something visually acceptable.
  Nunzio - The names "dada" and "Entartete Kunst" have a historical significance; would you like to elaborate on these?
 Degenerate Art - We would like to make this point clear! Yes, we are aware of the original 1916 anti-art group, dada. We are also aware of the Nazi degenerate art show "Entartete Kunst" from 1937. WE at D.A.D.A. and our show "Entartete Kunst" came FIRST! We were not influenced by those pretenders at all. We believe that they must have had a time machine of some sort and witnessed our vision. They tried to preemptively undermine us but it will not work. We have no proof of the time machine theory but proof is for trouble makers! We stand firm in our misguided belief in the time machine. PLEASE, we urge you NOT to look up the original "dada" or "Entartete Kunst" because then our group would seem absurd!

 Nunzio - What artists are you currently keeping under close investigation?
 4614 - I love everyone in our group of artist. We have such a diverse assortment of talent. But I have been keeping tabs on Lydia Emily, Krawczyk Stanislav, Spiritcage, Mad Artist Ejd and YOU to name a few. Hopefully they all can join us one day.

 Ricardo – Any artist with enough conviction to stand behind their work. This group under the watchful eye of Degenerate Art acts like a beacon for raw, artistic talent incarnate. I look forward to more probing, tee-hee.

 Emily - All artists I've met are worth extreme scrutiny and careful investigation.

 Michelley - I greatly admire the anal explosive talents of my D.A.D.A. brethren, and I also cleave to the compelling and confounding work of Katrina del Mar, Kim Mayhew, P$YNNER, Michael Vintege, and many, MANY others.
   Nunzio - How can an artist submit willingly to the department to have their work confiscated for an upcoming show?
 Degenerate Art - If an artist believes they are in violation of one of our four categories then they can contact D.A.D.A. through one of the above mentioned artists, myself, or go to our FB page and expose themselves there. D.A.D.A. WILL contact them...

Nunzio - How do you feel about Major Galleries? And 40-50% commissions?
 4614 - I don't like it... but they deserve it if they work for it. As artists we usually suck at promoting our art but if a Major Gallery has a ready-made crowd that they have worked to build and they promote you to this crowd... they should get compensated. How much? That should be up to the artist to decide before they go into business with the Gallery.

 Jinx - I agree with 4614. If the gallery is committed to helping sell the artwork then they should get a commission.

 Ricardo – Seems very steep to me. If you were to divide that in regards to the time an artist spends on a given work, it would not merit by comparison. I’ve experienced the fine art retail market as an employee, a student and a possible “product” and can account for the business in detail. Naturally, galleries are a business but part of that business should be about investing and being secure in your resources to provide a stable market of sales. With these high commission rates, it becomes more about taking advantage of talent and less about business.

 Roxanne - I think that any Gallery charging 40-50% is without question too high. Actually, that amount insults a lot of artists, I can understand 30% and below and I have accepted that in the past at galleries. There is no reason to push commission that high. With the combination of commission and hanging fees there is a lot that needs to be balanced out. Galleries need to bring crowds through the door and get frustrated with artists perhaps?? Maybe because they are not promoting, they know if someone wants to get in- and the money, it's just a matter of money. So now we are seeing a new behavior in the art show frenzy; they are making the artist pay more and prove they can get people in the door. It's not
wrong to understand that. I think it all needs to come full circle and everyone involved need to promote the events we show at. You cannot promote enough right? Or have enough money right??? I'm kinda stoned.


  Nunzio - What are your feelings on Art reps?
 Degenerate Art- We have no feelings. We are DADA. BUT if we DID have feelings "on" them, the sheer psychedelic absurdity of these mythic feelings would burn a hole both through the rep's bad suits and their shit eating grins.

 Ralski - If it's done correctly, they can be a positive outlet for the individual artists or even group of them. But from what I've seen throughout my years, all reps and promoters are interested in the almighty dollar, not the talent that provides it to them. And like musicians, they have their followers and reap the benefits while the artists go home with bragging rights of being a groupie. Without the artists, there would be no art shows. If the artists throw their own shows, who needs curators? Lots of butt kissing and fake people out there. I'm a big fan of butts, but not when there's a nose already in them.

 Ricardo – Seems redundant, the artist should be his/her own rep. If you don’t know enough about a particular aspect of the art business then it is about taking the initiative to learn what works for you. Reps seem to be more like money goblins then proprietors of business success.


 Nunzio - Any plans to branch out globally? Include out of town artists?
 Degenerate Art - Degeneracy has become a global problem. It is not confined to only our land but is found everywhere. We are making plans to include global artists in our shows. Online, any artist is free to submit to D.A.D.A. through our FB page.
Nunzio - Any upcoming shows?
 Degenerate Art - Our next upcoming Entartete Kunst show is planned for some time in January 2012. More info to come when the time comes.

 Nunzio - Closing comments?
 Degenerate Art - In closing, D.A.D.A. would like warn all degenerate artists that we are watching.

 Ralski - Spread the word, and be aware! Live outside the box or you'll end up like Layne!

 4614 - Break it. Fuck it. Use it. Have fun.

 Roxanne - Suction Cup.

 Jinx - I'm not good with words... I just wanna paint.

 Emily -Be the dissent you want to see in the world

 Ricardo – Rage on, create and never apologize!

 Michelley - Fuck dance! Let's art!


Michelley queen of queens

Emily Steigerwald

Sue Fortysixfourteen DeNaim

Chris Ralksi

Orlee Andromedae

Carlos Munoz Beltran

Degenerate videos

 D.A.D.A. would like to warn all degenerate artists... we are watching... 
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Dada ( /ˈdɑːdɑː/) or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, duringWorld War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922.[1] The movement primarily involved visual arts,literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated itsanti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world. In addition to being anti-war, dada was also anti-bourgeois and anarchist in nature.

Dada activities included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals; passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture were topics often discussed in a variety of media. The movement influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, Nouveau réalisme, pop art, Fluxus and punk rock.

Dada is the groundwork to abstract art and sound poetry, a starting point for performance art, a prelude to postmodernism, an influence on pop art, a celebration of antiart to be later embraced for anarcho-political uses in the 1960s and the movement that lay the foundation for Surrealism.
—Marc Lowenthal, translator's introduction to Francis Picabia's I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, And Provocation

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