Nao Bustamente Artist Lecture Review – Jordan Dawson

I really don’t like Nao Bustamente. Most of the time I have the right words at my disposal to express my emotions effectively, but my mind made an exception for Nao Bustamente. She is the embodiment of all I hate about the art scene right now. Using glitter, a fatal dose of carnival make-up, flashy clothes and a barrage of pitiful lo-fi films, she manages to draw attention to herself. I must admit that I have little to write about, because she has done so very little that’s worth me writing about. And of course, the obligatory, “it’s only my opinion” goes here, just in case Nao Bustamente’s #1 fan happens to be in this class (I’m especially sorry if that’s you Prof. Van Lil).

I spent a lot of time focusing primal rage toward this woman while she talked, which really made me want to find out more about her artwork, so that I could make sure that everything she does makes me mad. I did the research and it turns out that across the board I do not like Nao Bustamente’s work. It’s hard for me to say that about anybody’s art, but I make special cases for people like Bustamente. Art is always legitimate, as long as it knows what it’s trying to do. Bustamente is half-assing social commentary with goofy gross-out humor that is neither funny nor moving. I sort of feel bad for her above all else.

Her first “film,” called Untitled #1 was one of the worst things my eyes have ever experienced. I think she was trying to be ridiculous and whimsical, but by the same token she plays it off as if she’s doing something really creative and new, which is just so implausibly wrong. The only thing she accomplishes in the film is ruthlessly humiliating herself without charm or ingenuity or vision or ANYTHING! It’s just so unapologetically terrible that I can’t even bring myself to laugh at it ironically, because it makes me sad for her and sad for that little dog.

Rosa Does Joan is a uniquely interesting idea, at least compared to the rest of her artwork, but it falls short when you realize she still thinks she’s doing something superbly arty. The idea of an art prank is intrinsically funny, but it’s also intrinsically stupid, because they are polar opposites. You don’t write a comedy and then play it off as a drama. It immediately becomes unfunny and loses any artistic value right from the start. It’s essentially the only type of art that I can’t stand. It’s like Nao doesn’t understand that she’s making fun of herself, even though to us it’s just blatantly a comedy. A relevant example of this kind of tragic pseudo-art is “The Room” by Tommy Wiseau. It’s the kind of film where you try to work out the entire time whether or not it’s a joke or just a heartbreakingly bad movie, and then at the end you realize that it’s totally serious. The only difference between “The Room” and everything Nao Bustamente has ever done is that I actually laughed at the end of “The Room.” It doesn’t matter if Tommy Wiseau accidentally made the funniest film ever made, he just did (he even played it off as a dark comedy when Sundance laughed through the whole thing).

Nao Bustamente is a lost artist. She doesn’t know whether or not she’s funny or artsy, but it doesn’t matter anyway because she’s none of those things in the first place.

One Response

  1. You are very srtongly opininated when it comes to how you feel about art i can tell you really admire works that have meaning and are more complex with an underlying message and not what this artist conveys. I like the fact that you at least gave her enough respect at the time to check out all of her work before completely passing judgement and recoginizing with Rosa does Joan she had a great idea but still couldnt fully pull through artistically.

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