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??


The Urgency, the new DVD release from Extreme Animals (Jacob Ciocci and David Wightman), is a "visual album," like Beyoncé by Beyoncé, but any similarity to Beyoncé begins and ends with format. Beyoncé is too serious, too straight—the wrong kind of urgency. Her hooks have never found their way into the pop-punk power ballads of Extreme Animals, which mix club disco, heavy metal, and chiptunes with maximalist, strobing montage. 

If there's a diva who is muse to the duo, it's the fickle Katy Perry, whose songs are sampled on two of The Urgency's eight tracks. Inspirational Katy Perry, who dedicates a rousing anthem to everyone who has ever felt like a plastic bag. Party girl Katy Perry, who gets wasted every Friday night. Bisexual Katy Perry who kissed a girl and liked it and wants to see your peacock-cock-cock. Dom/sub Katy Perry who yearns to be poisoned by aliens and is also the tiger who you will hear roar.  

The Unfinished Business of a Yugoslav Internet

Aleksandra Domanović, From yu to me (2014). Commissioned by Rhizome, Abandon Normal Devices, and Fridericianum.

Aleksandra Domanović used to own an international sampler of domain names:,,, It's usually enough for an artist or other public figure to claim their name on .com, and Domanović did, but by staking out real estate in the top-level domains governed by Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the European Union she reminded herself, and anyone else paying attention, about the friction of states and networks, names, and domains. Domanović was born in Yugoslavia, and when it was gone her citizenship drifted. If for some of its users the World Wide Web appears boundlessly ephemeral in comparison to the permanence of statehood, in Domanović's experience of recent history, states and domains alike are tools of control that can be surprisingly fragile and flexible.

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 ...


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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.


Tool Time: Cory Arcangel at The Whitney

You mention the scale of Beat the Champ, but not whether that scale makes any sense - it doesn't. The work has one step too many: Arcangel takes the games off the throne of technological grandeur by programming them to fail, but first he has to declare them grand himself through the presentation."

The funny thing about bowling games is that they model a very specific form of physical activity with another kind of movement that is totally different -- it's a switch from a walking start and a swing of the arm to stationary manipulation of a keypad. That's how gaming systems move it from the bowling alley to the home. The scale of the Beat the Champ installation enlarges videos games to the size of bowling lanes. In the big dark gallery, multiple simultaneous games create an echo chamber, like the cacophony of a windowless bowling alley, while also evoking memories of sitting in a dim basement with a game console. But the viewer is in the passive position of standing and observing. Beat the Champ collapses three spaces of leisure--the museum, the bowling alley, the game room--and makes it feel like what happens inside the museum's walls isn't that different from what's going on outside them.

"Where's the mention of the abysmal Seinfeld supercut, which hovered somewhere around the level of things you think to say, then think again and don't?"

When I went to "Pro Tools" there was a crowd of people around the Seinfeld supercut, watching it and laughing. I vaguely remember a line from Warhol about how he made pictures of Campbell's soup cans because people like Campbell's soup. It follows that he produced images of Marilyin Monroe, Joe D'Allessandro, and so on because people like looking at them. The supercut of Seinfeld's "coffee table book about coffee table books" subplot is an indirect reminder of the show's biggest subplot -- the one about Jerry's pilot for NBC, when Seinfeld became a show about a show about nothing. And millions of people liked (and still like) this show about recursiveness and emptiness! It turns out that Duchamp did for the contemporary comedic sensibility what Eisenstein did for MTV. Like Beat the Champ, the Seinfeld superset collapses distinctions between forms of leisure pursuits, but this work looks at how ideas invented in art's avant-garde have permeated pop culture.

I could continue arguing that the show makes a pretty coherent statement about contemporary culture by discussing more works, but I don't want to write another review. I'm just trying to demonstrate the laziness behind Will Brand's opinion that Arcangel's gestures in "Pro Tools" are meaningless or failed. A hallmark of Art Fag City criticism is the frequency of phrases like "It's not clear why the artist does x." Here's a weird old tip: Artists do everything for a reason. It might not be accessible on the surface, but if you spend enough time thinking about it, you can find an explanation. Now, I'm not saying that the critic has to serve the artist by identifying and explicating his intention; more often than not, an artist is working with a variety of complex ideas and cannot necessarily articulate all the associations they conjure. But it's important for the critic to recognize the care the artist has put into a work, and--whether his ultimate evaluation is positive or negative--to demonstrate an adequate effort in his response. If a critic is unable to do that, it's not clear why anyone would care about what he has to say.


Making Word: Ryan Trecartin as Poet

I've been alerted to a flaw in my Re'Search. Dismagazine's online premiere of Re'Search Wait's includes a pull-up script so viewers can read along as they watch. There is even a time stamp! A great resource: