Brian Droitcour
Since 2008
Works in BROOKLYN, New York United States of America

Rhizome curatorial fellow September 2008 - April 2009, staff writer April 2009 - December 2011, poetry editor January 2012 - 20??

Businesslike: DIS Magazine's Stock Database

Shawn Maximo, from Neighboring Interests, 2013

Last month, DIS Magazine made The Suzanne Geiss Company, a gallery in downtown New York, an open photo studio. Don’t worry if you missed it. There wasn’t much to see. The first time I went, the main gallery was empty, save for some dark bags on the floor. In the office, a few people chatted and looked at a laptop. “The photographer is on break,” they told me. “Come back in an hour.” I did. It was just as deserted. (Later, I learned that Frank Benson was taking photos in the dark back room, to avoid interference from the main gallery’s skylight.) I returned a few days later, on a Sunday morning when the editors of DIS were there. One of them was polishing a prop fridge. An intern busied herself with a vacuum.

But the substance of the show wasn’t what was happening in the gallery but the result of it:, a fully functional online stock-photo database. The project received its initial funding in the 2011 cycle of Rhizome Commissions, and once DIS secured the rest of the necessary capital and set up the site’s framework, they started production at Suzanne Geiss. will continue to expand its offerings as the contributing artists finish retouching their work. For now, visitors can peruse Shawn Maximo’s surreal interiors, where domestic spaces are enclosed by planes of sky and beach; Ian Cheng’s 3D renderings of heads with the DIS Images logo mapped over their contours; and Katja Novitskova’s insertions of safari animals and Powerpoint clip art in white-cube galleries.

Katja Novitskova, from Future Growth Approximations, 2013

DIS Images marks a significant shift in the way artists approach stock photography. Onlines image databases proliferated in the ...


Artist Profile: Jeff Baij

It seems like artists who were actively making and showing their work online a few years ago have either started making objects and pursuing the familiar career path of the artist—gallery shows, teaching engagements, studio assistantships, grants, and so on—or they gave up and went into another field, like programming or web design. You haven’t done either of those things. You’re still making internet art. What’s that like?

its really weird brian

like really really weird

lemme give you a few reasons why my life has ended up like this, and also a few reasons why its weird

um i mean to be honest the first reason i dont show really is because being around gallery people for more than 5 or 10 minutes without being absolutely shitfaced is literally (Literally) in my top 3 least favorite things in the entire world.

teaching could be cool? i actually love the idea of molding (moulding?) young minds but how does one start this career path? maybe you can give me some pointers. even in an [ed.] if you'd like. [I think you’d have to get an MFA. But based on your answers I don’t think you’d like being in an MFA program. – BD]

assistantships are the same deal as showing- artists are gross, both mentally and physically (trust me on this, i am one) and i like making actual money

which brings me to why i dont make objects: im poor

so maybe i should apply for grants? is that how artists get money to work? i have no idea im really bad at the art thing, except that my work looks really nice and makes a lot of cute girls super happy.

ok so its weird because when im at an opening or out with new people they always say OH WHAT KIND OF ART DO U MAKE and i always say UHH I TAKE OTHER PEOPLES SHIT OFF THE WEB AND CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT AND CALL IT ART and its awk my g, so awk.

another reason why its weird is because i get super wasted with a lot of like "cool" and "up and coming" artists on the regs and being the net guy/ coolest person in the room is like, pretty exhausting u know?

i just wanna use this space to say plz dont remove any of the swearing from the interview, ive waited a very very long time for this

also plz dont correct any spelling or punctuation, they arent mistakes (im just that cool)

also please leave the above note in the interview (also this one)


The People Code

Installation view of pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁ at the Goethe-Institut Library. Photo courtesy of Jenny Jaskey

The mission of the library could be described as calibrating the optimal ratio of signal to noise, by eliminating as much noise as possible. This description would cover both shushing and the extensive cataloguing that eases readers’ paths to the information they want. But what becomes of that mission when so many people carry a gateway to vast expanses of knowledge in their pockets (even if they mainly use that gateway to take selfies and play Angry Birds)? Does the library of bricks, mortar, and bound books effectively bracket the search for information by offering a specific set of physical resources, with a corresponding language of signals? Or is it yet another backdrop for selfies and Angry Birds—the constant noise of everyday life?

This fall the Goethe-Institut Library, an outpost of the German cultural ministry in SoHo, enlisted curator Jenny Jaskey to organize “The End(s) of the Library,” a year-long series of artists projects that rethink the library’s mission. common room redesigned the floor plan to open up space and introduced a modular exhibition apparatus; David Horvitz established an electronic archive of artists’ books—both scanned works on paper and ebooks—to supplement the Goethe-Institut Library’s catalogs both here and in Europe. The latest project is pΓσ₠§§℩η⅁, a collaboration by Juliete Aranda, Fia Backstrom, and R. Lyon that directly tackles questions of signals and noise. They began by processing the library’s raw database through Safari 5.0.5 and printing out the results, in which catalog entries are cluttered and stretched by symbols and glyphs—representations of the metadata that the computer needs to process catalog entries. A reading was held on January 5 where participants vocalized the print-outs, glyph ...


Painting by Numbers

Bruce Sterling recently suggested that it no longer makes sense to talk about “the internet” as a whole. Instead, we ought to refer to the distinct corporate structures that define the topography of experience online: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. These companies provide users with similar services and, increasingly, they organize them in self-sufficient “silos” to encumber disloyal users with incompatibility issues. Sterling’s claim that there’s no more internet sounds premature and calculated to provoke buzz (cf. Wired’s September 2010 cover story, “The Web Is Dead”), but it’s useful nevertheless as a reminder of the limits on the user’s agency as these companies attempt to consolidate their control over information and bind the net to their devices.

With that in mind, Michael Manning’s Microsoft Store Paintings might be seen as a proposition about what happens to internet art when doesn’t make sense to talk about the internet. The digital abstractions are painted at locations of the retail chain named in the series’ title, sometimes at the first-ever Microsoft store in Mission Viejo, CA, which opened in 2009. Microsoft’s retail outlets are, of course, a riposte to the success of Apple’s stores, launched after two decades when the software giant happily dispersed its products through Best Buy and CompUSA. They herald the non-internet seen by Sterling.

An image of a Microsoft Store from Michael Manning's Instagram

Demiurge in the Cupboard by Bradley Benedetti

Bradley Benedetti, Demiurge in the Cupboard, Circusology of Native Leadership Piece 1, 2012

 Orca Tears Turquoise( Wish'd We'd Ha'd) 

 "How can I retry when I was a watermarked birth? I was a global write, universally speaking. My only choice is to image search. rch, sea. Can you smell the past? It is yours. Commercial help gonna fix this Etc.?"


“Nostalgic For captivity…Scent of an orca's tears. Anti-virus wishing wells

 If you haven't had your first familiar encounter

please refer to the catalog.

now that I’ve slowed down your 3 dimensional momentarium

I can let you in on something.”


“Toyota arctic

sea u kiosk museum efficiency baby


if you take your TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME . I’ll wait for


breeze and ufo- take your time

we were supposed to grow old together"




Trademark Applesdottir

Sanrio Erikkson

Nintendo Cloud

Ancient Purell

Sarcophagus St.Chateau

Libra von Katzengiest

Pegasus Bromwell

Oreo Mitsubishi

Astrology DeCordova


“I just, I just, I just toed this rope, you know , I just tied this

rope three times, well 6 really because I said it and then did it, but I

mean I tied it while saying it, well hahah you know what I mean,

anyway, the point is it WORKED

This dimension is feeling stuffy

I’m tired of living moment to moment, GET ME OUT OF HERE

I feel really 3 dimensional, I’m looking for something more, I felt

nervous not knowing what came next

In the 4th dimension I get to see it all, people from the past, the

future, really its the continuous present ever flowing around me and

you into one big ball of energy.

5th dimensional living felt too complex, the text was fifth dimensional

5 feels really dark velvety, red, very red ...


Discussions (59) Opportunities (0) Events (1) Jobs (0)

Tool Time: Cory Arcangel at The Whitney

[This is a response to Will Brand's comment. The embedding was getting too skinny.]

I'm not interested in a protracted debate about the merits of "Pro Tools."  I liked it. You didn't. It is a question of taste.* I remember your review of Cao Fei at Lombard-Fried, another show that impressed you less than it impressed me. I responded to your comment here because I wanted you to back up your bile with some substance. Now you've done that, and I'm satisfied. (I'm being a patronizing dick, I know, but that's what you get for leaving poorly argued, harassing comments.)

The things you say in the rest of your comment are hard to disagree with. You're not really arguing with me--you're fighting straw men that you stuffed yourself. I did not mean to attack advertising's validity as a profession or to wage class warfare against the bourgeosie; I just thought your words about communication and clarity were wildly broad and I wanted to give you a chance to elaborate. Which you did, so thanks. Re: my criteria for art, I would not say that provocativeness in itself is a good criterion. I meant that all three criteria should be weighed together. It's not enough for a work to be complex if it's soulless and dry, etc. Sorry I wasn't sufficiently clear on that.

*Before you try to do to me what you did to Jacob when you told him that he decided the show was good before he laid eyes on it--and how do you presume to know that?? (don't answer! rhetorical question!)--I will frankly say that I never used to be a big fan of Cory Arcangel and I went to "Pro Tools" without high expectations.  But I thought the exhibition was revelatory and exciting. I left feeling like I understood his work in a way that I hadn't before. Maybe someday I will find a way to express that understanding.


Tool Time: Cory Arcangel at The Whitney

I didn't mean to say that "New Media Art" informed your thinking (but you should check it out, it's a good resource). I wanted to give one example of a common way of writing about Cory Arcangel that I think is partly responsible for the perception of his work as a bunch of art jokes (of course, Arcangel is also responsible for this,  what with Cats playing Schoenberg, etc., but it's the critics who make it seem like it's the end point and not a starting point). Andrea Scott's profile in the New Yorker was full of those kinds of comparisons to art-historical "precedents." I'm pretty sure the wall texts at the Whitney use them too but I didn't pay a lot of attention to them so I could be wrong.

"I don't believe the original industrial designer of those phasing show platforms was channeling Sol Lewitt, or that the programmers who developed Photoshop were studying Rothko":  I don't think these works approach the history of visual cultue in such a linear or literal or academic. Maybe I should have said that Arcangel is interested in questions like "what's funny?" "what's appealing?" "what's beautiful?" "what's impressive?" and finds coincidences the answers to those questions in different subcultures or fields.

Yes, Rothko is an obvious association for the Photoshop gradient pieces and I'm sure it occurs a lot of people. But if your opinion of the work is based entirely on a first impression, then it's not a valuable opinion. You saw what he did there, but do you see why he did it?


Tool Time: Cory Arcangel at The Whitney

I have a beef with Christiane Paul and others who write about Cory Arcangel's work like this: "Arcangel's empyreal imagery suggests art-historical references, from John Constable's 19th-century cloud studies in oil on canvas to [...] Rauschenberg's Erased do Kooning Drawing (1953), in which the artist famously erased a composition by Willem de Kooning to create a new work of art." (That's from the Mark Tribe/Reena Jana New Media Art book, with a liberal elision.) That kind of writing suggests that Arcangel is simply filling old jugs with new wine, i.e. upgrading classic forms to fit contemporary culture. I think that, in most works, he's doing the exact opposite: he's reacting to the migration of ideas and forms from art into everyday life. 

The other problem with that kind of writing is that it sets viewers up to perceive the work as "really bad art history jokes/references" when it's not about that at all.


Tool Time: Cory Arcangel at The Whitney

I don't even know where to start with this "artists are communicators" business. Are you aware that, by your criteria, the greatest artists are propagandists and advertisers? Maybe you'd like to refine your argument?

Re: the discussion of Cory Arcangel's work. With Beat the Champ, you said you didn't see a reason for the increase of scale besides the increase of scale. So I talked about what the increase of scale might be doing. The supercut you just called "abysmal" and left it at that so I talked about its possible implications (and in doing so I tried to demonstrate the thought processes that are required to reach that conclusion, which may not be spelled out in the work itself, but I didn't exactly pull it out of nowhere). In both cases you just dismissed what I said, which isn't helping you refute my accusation that your effort to engage the work is minimal. 

My criteria for good art are: complexity, ambiguity, emotional/intellectual impact. The last one is certainly subjective, but even for you "Pro Tools" provoked a strong enough reaction that you were moved to post here. "Pro Tools" is communicating something strongly. Just because that something is frustrating and slippery and hard to articulate doesn't mean it's a failure.


It’s Only Humanist

Good to know. But why do people who make stock 3D models make them? I have no idea, but I'd guess that it's because these statues and buildings are considered paragons of sculpture and architecture and designers want to prove that 3D modeling software is capable of imitating that. So it fits with what I'm arguing here.