A Blog About Punching People In the Face

Mike Tyson talks about art

In Thoughts by Tyson on November 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

Mike Tyson has read Peter Schjedahl’s New Yorker review of the new MOMA exhibit “Heroic Africans.” Mr. Schjedahl has brought primitive skills into Mr. Tyson’s realm.

Mr. Tyson notes that Schjedahl begins his review with a disclaimer, namely that that art world is at a loss to explain African art. “Like others I know,” Schjedahl writes, “I have been fascinated by [Africa’s] tribal art while resigning myself to being baffled by it.” Not content to keep his bafflement to himself, Schjedahl proceeds to ejaculate it all over the rest of us.

The problem for people “like me,” Schjedahl writes, “is a lack of graspable stories” to contextualize African art in a way that “people like him” can understand. The reason? “[F]oreign incursions,” as Schjedahl calls them.

Mr. Tyson would like to introduce Mr. Schjedahl to a foreign incursion that it sometimes known as his fist.

Mr. Tyson further notes that for all the lip service that Schjedahl gives to the obligatory  “sorry for the colonialism” thing, he nevertheless sees no irony in congratulating his peers for having the enlightened presence of mind to showcase the fruits of their plunder. For this we can thank the British, French, German and Portuguese colonialists who stole the items, as well as the MOMA, the Musee Dappee, the British Museum, the Bildarchiv Preussicher Kulterbesitz and the Museu Nacional de Etnologia, which gladly accepted them.

Mr. Tyson hereby challenges all of the above to a fight. He will eat their children.

Mr. Schjedahl might not have had the need to fight Mike Tyson but for a series of backhanded remarks about the alleged sophistication of ancient Africans — comments which are as transparent as they are stupid. Despite the fact that, by his own admission, Mr. Schjedahl is at a loss to understand the subject of which he speaks, he nevertheless takes great pains to describe the experience, likening it to a spritzer after a long day of fox hunting. “The show’s arrangement is rhythmic and self-refreshing…worlds spring to vicarious life,” he says.  Since he has already stated he has no point of reference, Mr. Tyson wonders which worlds Schjedahl is referring to. He can only guess that it looks something like a scene out of the Lion King. Mr. Tyson is becoming agitated.

Mr. Schjedahl finishes up by noting that even Africans can create good art — a compliment for which I’m sure the Africans are eternally grateful. One piece in “Heroic Africans” is noteworthy for its “starry modern-art provenance” — of course, it had been previously blessed by a gaggle of critics back in the 1930s, proving that the only limb Schjedahl goes out on is the same one from which he hangs himself by the time this critique is over.

Mr. Tyson will see Schjedahl in the ring.


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