Waiting for the lynch mob to descend upon the zhongnanhai can be a bit frustrating, so here goes.
The history of white America was one of Manifest Destiny with genocide, strip mining and dead buffalo. Taking a key theme found in Mike Davis’ City of Quartz (which I’ve enjoyed many times), the founding fathers who laid out the city plans for Los Angeles were proto white supremacist Anglo-Saxons. Lebensraum beside the Pacific.
Barney Hoskyns in his Waiting for the Sun provides a totally white bread history of Californian rock kicking off with the Beach Boys. This mold was broken once only and that was by Sly and The Family Stone. Hoskyns was acutely aware of this contradiction.
Thus his cover.
Thing got a little strange however, when white folk started entering the Pacific Ocean:
The Gidget fanchise is almost up there with the James Bond royalty stream – sequels, TV shows, etc – surfing being milked by Hollywood for all its worth. Annette and Frankie would have been more at home in the Italian sections of New York. Frankie surfed in front of a moving background, while Mouseketeer Annette got by on her assets.
In the face of decaying technology, lets go to the crux of this post, being my enjoyment of surf art. And where better to begin than with Don Severson’s Ranchland, a water colour which displays a discomforting quality at odds with the innocence found in his main body of work.
You can peruse a great selection of Severson’s work HERE, and I just love Discovery #222 which represents the dialectical antithesis of US land-based Manifest Destiny.(The old bastard Hegel has his uses.)
You can see more surf art by Ms Neswald HERE.
In the same vein, Lynn Coleman and other artists are discussed HERE in the LATimes
I’ve barely scratched the surface of surfing’s visual culture, and so shall conclude with the Tony Edwards OZ contribution – Captain Goodvibes “the Pig of Steel” – and shit, he was a challenge to the PC set.
Disco Inferno: The Goodvibes Mix. Sticky Records 1978
And now that I have graduated you to post-graduate surfing qualifications, here is your next challenge, companeros.
Highly recommended reading and the basis for this post.
STOKED! A History of Surf Culture 2001 Drew Kampion. Gibbs Smith.
Rich in brilliant photography, eloquently written and well referenced. I bought my copy from a barrow guy in Shenzhen.
Tags: Surf art