1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Is It An Ism or Is It Art – Niki Daly

Is It An Ism or Is It Art – Niki Daly (More sophisticated than the arse-elbow debate)

Living In The Suburbs by Niki Daly

Living In The Suburbs by Niki Daly

Sometimes quirky songs can end up being just embarrassing. The best way to avoid that is to consult your nearest ‘Encyclopaedia of Artists From The Late 1800’s To Early 1900’s Who Have Unpronounceable Names’ (available in paperback from any reputable bookstore), and sing about them. That way you can be quirky and have your song featured in the list of 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. It’s called weirdism. But is it art?

Well, in the case of Niki Daly and ‘Is It An Ism Or Is It Art?’ he certainly turns it into some kind of an art form. There is a looping synth sound over which Daly’s sardonic and strange accented vocals ask the question that’s been asked by many when confronted by modern art – is it art?

Most of us have asked this question about ‘A Few Blobs Of Paint On A Canvas’ (which can be seen at the Tate Modern in London) and it’s that questioning that Daly has tapped into and made us a feel a kinship with him. We all sit there listening to the song going, ‘Yeah, you tell ‘em Niki. ‘Portrait Of A Mother In Scribbled Crayon’ (which can be seen in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris), is NOT ART!!!!’

No matter what you regard as art, it’s worth listening to this song purely to be able to tell people that you know a song with the phrase ‘real hyperism’ in it. It’s groovy, it’s funky, it’s quirky. But is it art? You decide.

Lyrics:

Maholy-Nagy, Maholy-Nagy
I love his ism, but is it art?
Tell me my Bauhaus baby
Is it art?

Is it an ism or is it an art?

Marinetti, Filippo Marinetti
I love you ism, but is it art?
Futurisms so dynamic
But it is art?

René Magritte, Mr René Magritte
I love you ism, but is it art?
I’ll eat your black bowler hat
If that is art

Is it an ism or is it an art?

Oskar Kokoschka, Oh Oskar Kokoschka
I love you ism, but is it art?
I’m chilled by the cold blue black of your nights
But is it art?

Neoplasticism, Automaticism, Televisionism
Uh oh, Uh oh
Is it art?
Post Picasso-ism, hyper-realism, real hyperism
Oh oh, oh
Is it art?

Keep looking for a sign
For our own time
There really isn’t any ism
That I can call mine

I know what I like
But I don’t know if it’s art
I really don’t know
My ism from my art

Is it an ism or is it an art?

Oh Mr Mondrian, Mr Piet Mondrian
I love your ism, but is it art?
Your Boogie-Woogie-Woogie’s Jazzy
But is it art?

I know what I like
But I don’t know if it’s art
I really don’t know
My ism from my art

Oh, Is it an ism or is it art

Salvador Dalí, I adore Dalí
I love his ism, but is it art?
It’s metaphysically superb
But is it art

Romanticism, minimalism, Disillusionism
Oh oh, oh oh
Is it art
Supreme-tism, exoticism, simultanousism
Oh oh, is it art?

Keep looking for a sign
For our own time
There really isn’t any ism
That I can call mine

I know what I like
But I don’t know if it’s art
I really don’t know
My ism from my art

Is it an ism or is it art?

(Written by Niki Daly)

Where to find it:
Living In The Suburbs –  Niki Daly (1984), Warner Brothers Records, WBC9027

SA Artists Top 40 Hits Of All Time Volume 6 (2002), Sting Music, STIDFCD 037

Video:

Website:

http://www.rock.co.za/files/niki_daly_index.html

About the artists:

László Moholy-Nagy (Constructivism):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1szl%C3%B3_Moholy-Nagy

Bauhaus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (Futurism):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_Tommaso_Marinetti

Rene Magritte (Surrealism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Magritte

Oskar Kokoschka (Expressionism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Kokoschka

Piet Mondrian (Neo-Plasticism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian

Salvador Dalí (Surrealism): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD

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4 thoughts on “Is It An Ism or Is It Art – Niki Daly

  1. Pingback: Is It An Ism or Is It Art – Niki Daly (via 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf) « Music Fan

  2. Pingback: misc.ience - science-related ramblings and whimsy

  3. Annette on said:

    I use to love this song!!! Haven’t heard it in years.

  4. Pingback: Man In A Bowler Hat – John & Philipa Cooper | 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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