A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

SCHADENFREUDE a wunderkammer of voyeurism curated by Daniel Newman

Brock Enright, Red White and Blue Basket Ball, 2008 & Pink Backpack, 2008. Photograph by Markus Haugg.

This month’s second Saturday gallery walk saw the attention drawn from the hubbub of the Wynwood Art District to the Design District, where artists Aiden Dillard and Daniel Newman combined forces to present a symbiotic gesture of excess and duality: An exhibition of sadism and humor entitled SCHADENFREUDE, curated by Daniel Newman; and DEATH PRINT, a High-Def art-world action movie directed by Aiden Dillard. Conversely, each event harked to the fragility of their common inception yet enriched and validated the others existence, which in the presence of a film crew, a sparkling navy blue Bentley and with a glamorous piece of prime real estate stuffed with hot, outrageous contemporary art as the setting, appeared for all intents and purposes about as official, moneyed and exclusive as any large scale production in Miami could.

Filming of Death Print in SCHADENFREUDE

Both the exhibition and the film’s conception were simultaneous. ‘Death Print’, which stars Ted Vernon, RubberDoll, Otto Von Schirach, Notorious Nastie, TM Sisters, Clifton Childree, and Troma’s president Lloyd Kaufman charts the hyperbolic tale of a rich collector whose daughter is murdered and artwork stolen. As many of the pivotal scenes in the movie take place in and around an art gallery there was naturally a demand for a location. Meanwhile, Artist and recreational curator Daniel Newman had been cooking up his latest project.

Newman recalls: “The deal was that I was to get the work delivered and the show hung by a certain date that Aiden would start filming. We attended school together and have a decent understanding of each others taste and perspective so we really didn’t need to communicate too much. A third party arranged for us to get the space as we were both in full crazy mode on our own respective projects: mine the show; his the film…”

Installation view of SCHADENFREUDE. Photograph by Markus Haugg.

Regarding the exhibition: Philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno defined schadenfreude as “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another which is cognized as trivial and/or appropriate.” The word derives from ‘Schaden’, meaning damage or harm and ‘Freude’, meaning joy. The contributing artists to the exhibition were all very different and yet despite great variations in their creative approach all the works resonated with a more or less unified tone.

Sometimes” explains Newman “I selected work straight from the artist’s studio. In other cases work was made that specifically fit the artist’s own connection to voyeurism or Schadenfreude. Other pieces came to me at random or were leftovers from other projects. As a result of this process there were many merely coincidental dualities and unforeseeable relationships made. Many themes formed out of this chaos.”

Kristina Williamson, Wiz

The works chosen or given with conscious consideration to the theme naturally fell into a certain bracket and their not-so-coincidental success in encapsulating ‘Schadenfreude’ was obvious. It was the ‘coincidental dualities’ between the works supplied with little or no consideration, however, that were the most interesting. Themes of death for example seemed to play a big, if not wholly unintentional part in the show. Matthew Schreiber’s hologram of an electric chair and Martin Oppel’s painting of a skeleton hand reaching down towards a photograph by Kristina Williamson entitled “Wiz” of a white dead kitten tempered one’s experience of the other less weighty subjects with a morbid aspect. Religious suffering too and fallen religious icons also seemed to be a reoccurring yet apparently inadvertent theme. Serendipity or Schadenfreude, works such as Bhakti Baxter’s charcoal rendering of a late Gothic German sculpture known as Rottgen Pieta; Jacin Giordano’s Christ on the crucifix formed by the directional application of black paint in Giordano’s signature cut and paste style; a crucifix necklace hanging upside down on Gene Moreno’s large double sided sculpture “Below Zero” (2008) and a photograph by Sylvia Gyrion of rosary beads draped across a pair of perfect tits, all amounted to a dogmatic, rhetoric filled punch that again added a hitherto unpremeditated depth.

Jan Galliardt. Photograph by Markus Haugg.

Other recurring motifs included missing heads and heads concealed; spelling mistakes in inscribed titles and even artists signatures; and chairs. Some such as the frequent references to voyeurism and genitalia were to be expected. Others such as a running theme of basket ball equipment were not. Whatever the result, one got the sense that Newman allowed the exhibition project to evolve on its own. “Schadenfreude!” He said in modest defense of his own brilliance. A wise move which served not only to galvanize a sense that the show acted under its own volition, but which automatically passed the book of responsibility from him as curator to the spirit of Schadenfreude when four days after the opening night a leak was pouring water into the space, the main video projector had broken and various wall mounted works had torn from their fixtures and crashed to the floor.

Portrait of Lorena Bobbitt by Tina Tyrell, 2008

In addition to the dualities there are also works which had the strength to withstand the usual barrage of intellectual interrogation on their own. A portrait of Lorena Bobbitt taken by Tina Tyrell less than a month before the show opened, for example, recounted the nations obsessive voyeurism regarding her particular liberty with her husbands johnson; and Clifton Childree, whose piece “Tummy Ache” (1998) featuring his signature vaudeville-esq experimental films also fit the theme by virtue of the artist’s slapstick ‘Three Stooges’ style.

Filming of Death Print in SCHADENFREUDE

Essentially there are two parts to the Schadenfreude experience as known by contemporary Miamians. On one hand we have a very over the top film about the glitz and savagery of art world; on the other a very sensationalist, clichéd art show, full of violence, nudity and humor. The well trodden paths of excess, glamor, and personal exposure combined within both the film and the art show were taken by Dillard and Newman to the Nth degree and beyond, to the point where both became a caricature of their time and each other. And yet, bathed in lights and swarming with throngs of gallery walk gawkers who for the most part venerated little other than the spectacle of the event, both the exhibition and the film equally achieved underlying subtleties which were not only very interesting, but stood testament to the abilities of their organizers to communicate on multiple levels the essence of Schadenfreude.

With this exhibition we are provided a wealth of works (including “Death Print”), which quite by chance culminated (almost conspired) to form a unified alert to the presence in everyday life of the taboo themes of sex, death, fallen religious iconography and inherent error or decay. Out of these concupiscible and irascible powers arose mixed affections and passions of anger, which is a desire of revenge; hatred, which is inveterate anger; zeal, which is offended by he who hurts that which he loves; and schadenfreude, a compound affection of joy and hate borne when we rejoice at others mischief and yet are grieved at their prosperity; pride, self-love, emulation, envy and shame[.]

– Thomas Hollingworth




  • Sara

    “Out of these concupiscible and irascible powers arose mixed affections and passions of anger, which is a desire of revenge…”
    I don’t mean to be an anti-intellectual or anything but my little Miami brain sometimes has a hard time with your wordiness. Clear, simple sentences please. Otherwise, keep up the great coverage!

  • Richard Haden


    So should art conform to you simple Miami mind as well as words. I don’t have the time, at the moment, but you can bet that I’ll be back in this box later with a comment for Sara “Palin” and her bourgeoisie or should I say plebeian preferences for the easy, consumable, word compost for the flautist, run way wanton WASP—write it my way please, easy, i don’t like looking up words…my tiara hurts when I think to much.


    Richard Haden

  • Richard Haden

    Oh dear Sara

    If one only gets a single thing from reading the radical theories of politics, social and cultural theory, art theory and so on–it is that these subjects have us look critically at the status quo– how stagnant and pungent life’s decomposition really is…radical solutions to these problems issue forth from experimentation and creative situations. As is, we must always revisit / renew the way our social and cultural climate effects our lives and the world. If we are to be alive and not suffering in lack as Mausoleum dwellers, we must not maintain the posture of amorphous solid situated as best we can on the edge of the bleating flock.

    writing about the world whether it be art or describing the benefits of bloodletting leeches is worth the effort if you are not going to maintain the status quo of me the author and you the consuming reader…that is so, usually why, we all end up being the fundamentalist ridiculous “Religulous” prop…Sara my advice to you would be to change your expectations. For from my gaze I detect the same status quo consuming agent who does not understand the difference between being inside language and out side of it–when you are inside language you understand the outside quite well…not in reverse. So instead of consuming a text as you would a martini try understanding how a text can engage a reader instead of satisfying him or her.

    Words, paragraphs, text are as alive as physical works of art. And as I noticed the author of the above text made reference to Adorno, you would find him or a jaunt through the “Situationist” archives as good a place as any to see how enriching difficult word salad can be. For this review or others above are not press release as a review should be critically alive in spirit (full of honesty, spit and vile and flem if necessary) Sara, excuse me for assuming so much about you but it seems that it was you who seems to find intellectualism a difficult state to be conscious in…and it is not fair of you to blame Miami for you brains meager mindedness. Are these simple enough sentences for you?

    Work at it for Miami needs not the wit of bacillum Cause that face and image turns me irascibly Mercurial.



  • swampthing

    Got one big word for dear sara, dictionary.
    a word bible, I quietly refer to it all the time.
    To find the meaning of schandenfreude, look no further than the Marx Brothers.
    But irony has outlived it’s usefulness, it’s now more disconcerting than ever to see someone derive pleasure from someone else’s pain. Inside jokes are not so funny either.

    Newman is a fine mind-smith.
    Lurker is a fine word-smith.

  • david Rohn

    Seems like busy , complex and contradictory art, responded to by similarly complex language.
    Of course short simple sentences are , like brown rice and beans, the simple staples we all count on… but sometimes it s just not so simple-and thank god for that-or we d be bored out of our minds.
    I think the writer liked the show, and esp some of the work, that comes thru loud and clear.
    If some of the writing isn t clear and simple it is still responding to the art…and it seems as if we ve all been invited to rise to the (art) occaision).
    After all it s not the cheesey’artspeak’ that finally seems to have gone out of fashiion in most quarters-that was never meant to enjoin or clarify, just to mystify and probably to elevate the writer.
    Artlurker has shown a commitment to the values of art as an evolutionary and spiritual force, and hasn t identified itself served as a vehicle of the elitist, money based elements that have (perhaps unintentionally but nonetheless…) tried to hijack and subvert it s fundamental purpose-and if we re in the kinds of transitions we appear to be in now,we re going to need vehicles like Artlurker to find our way.
    So give the guy a break, try to muddle thru, take a stab at what he s getting at, just as he s taking a stab at defining/ elucidating the art.
    An artist or writer who takes us somewhere we haven t been is inviting us to indulge our creativity too.
    After that if you still think it doesn t work you may be right (at least for you)

  • Quagmire Bataille

    the whole “fancy language or not” argument is about as interesting as the “what is and is not art” one to me. I say just drop it. People who are full of shit will appear as such, fancy words or not. Likewise an interesting piece of text will use language appropriate to the complexity of its subject.

  • Richard Haden

    In conclusion: There is a difference between the verbose text that hides the lack of content and the verbose that makes one struggle to open the content’s intent and meaning…the traditional one-way art text as instruction manual leaves the reader in the usual passive, bleating state of consumption…a better strategy is to activate or engage the reader; prying them off of the usual easy chair of zombie brainwashing consumption.

    …vivaciously rascallian Mr Bataille

  • Nita Davidson

    Is your Jan Galliardt one and same artist who did a lithograph of Edouard Manet & another famous artist portrait?

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SCHADENFREUDE a wunderkammer of voyeurism curated by Daniel Newman