artfagcity
Since 2005
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

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DISCUSSION

The Page Turner


This reminds me of A Boy Name Thor, which was a blog where Jason Corace wrote a song a day for I can't remember how how many months...I don't think the project is online any more.

http://rhizome.org/profile.php?1029577

DISCUSSION

What?


First, apologies for taking so long to reply to this -- I keep getting stumped here:

Searching, archiving, sharing, manipulating, gaming, disruption, leveling (and on and on) - AND the internet as the field that makes it all act.

I don't mean to be obtuse, but I guess there's no avoiding it -- can you tell me the difference between the on and on list, and the Internet as the field that makes it all act? Are we talking about the difference between an action and the medium itself, a comparable example being say the difference between a brush stroke and the paint?

DISCUSSION

What?


>Anyways, spiritsurfers intro text and Olina’s notes on the vernacular web aside, the scene seems to be in some sort of critical fog. The only rational I hear makes it all sound like formalism and I don’t think that is what going on here.

Curious on your thoughts of what is going on here.

DISCUSSION

Brush-off


Having read this conversation through a few times, it is not my impression that any one was trying to deliberately misread comments made. I have however, noticed a reluctance on the part of both parties to acknowledge that the other might have a point.

To my mind, it's quite understandable that T. Whid might feel attacked, but also quite reasonable that his statement Of course critiques can sometimes be helpful, but public critiques of an artist attempting to market their work? The negative probably outweighs whatever positive comes of it. I suppose that's to be judged on an individual basis. might have ruffled a few feathers a while ago, and need to be revisited (I'm not going to bother with the rest of the quotes since this was the original bone of contention). The point that seems to be unclear in this conversation is whether "critiques of artists marketing their work" = pre-reviews of unseen/yet to be opened shows, or reviews in general. I can't tell from the original thread how it was meant; I had originally assumed the former, based on previous threads at digital media tree, and because the latter sounds as though T. Whid isn't in favor of criticism, which doesn't make any sense because he's already said he thinks it has value, even though he isn't likely to personally enjoy it. (Perhaps you can clarify this issue T. Whid?)

This may or may not be relevant, but my own position on the question of the fairness of pre-reviews: I'd bet negative ones aren't all that helpful to the artist which is one of the reasons why they are typically avoided, but too much hoo-haa in their favor can be annoying too, even if there's a relationship there. The binary set up here though, doesn't take into account that there are more people involved than just the critic and the artist. While Cory Arcangel may not have benefited from threads evaluating upcoming shows, a large number of people did. For this reason, I see more good than harm came out of the discussion.

Regarding the formal characteristics of Proops painting: As Tom points out, it's hard to know too much about the "wow" factor that may or may not be present in these paintings, with a jpeg, but my educated guestimation tells me that the technical proficiency is reasonable, but not exceptional. Places that give me pause are the artist's treatment of the feet, and drapery, which looks stylized out of necessity as opposed to the rationed choice of an accomplished painter. The lack of investment in the subject matter as a whole though, to my mind almost entirely negates the chance of a wow factor. Unless it was somehow "self-aware awful", (which given the artist's thoughts in interview is entirely unlikely - http://www.creativereview.co.uk/crblog/desktop-dan/), I can't imagine being able to sustain interest in this work for any length of time.


DISCUSSION

The Rematerialization of Art


From my blog:

image
Cory Arcangel. Image via: Holy Fire

Ed Halter’s brief discussion of Holy Fire, Art of the Digital Age, an exhibition exploring New Media’s entrance into the art market has generated 67 comments to date on the Rhizome blog, undoubtedly the longest and most invested I’ve read to date on the site. To provide a bit of background, Holy Fire’s website divides the concepts of this show up into three parts:

* Art of Our Time (let’s stop labeling ourselves as New Media artists because the medium is familiar to everyone now)

* Collectible Artworks (Holy Fire may be the first exhibition to show only collectible new media artworks already on the art market!)

* New Economy for Autonomy, (The art market can give us freedom, and this show may be the first to help build the “new economy”!)

Clearly the conceit behind the exhibition has a few problems, even if its artist list, which includes Cory Arcangel, JODI, Olia Lialina and Dragon Espenchied, Paul Slocum, Eddo Stern and Carlo Zanni, to name just a few, suggest there will be a lot of great work. The curators themselves admit as much on the thread, Domenico Quarantax’s first response to Tom Moody’s description of the artworks-already-sold conceit as boring, being “You are right, this is a boring concept.” Naturally he goes on to defend the show, and as a curator that’s to be expected.

The discussion thread is too long to address piece by piece, but it is worth observing the reluctance of many commenters to speak substantively to the show theme of art as purchased commodity, which ultimately resulted in Moody’s visible frustration and in turn, needless hostility towards the artist, presumably for trying to push the issue. Frankly, I’m not sure why granting this point should be so difficult, after all the Joseph DeLappe comment in the thread, “Consider how uninterested we would be in a show about “paintings that sell!””, was proved this Fall with the Met’s hugely unpopular “Age of Rembrandt”. An exhibition organized by which philanthropist bought what, the Negative reviews poured in, not just for its visibly inflated institutional ego and a childish desire to awe people, but for an approach that undermines the art-historical content needed to create a successful exhibition.

In this case, a similar concern exists, because the theme of the show privileges the new materiality of an object over its content and does not provide sufficient historical background (granted, more material may become available at the exhibition, but the website is insufficient.) Perhaps the most promising aspect of the show for this reason lies in the discussion panel, because it gives the participating artists a chance to articulate this history and jump outside a set of curatorial concerns they may not share. On this thread alone, Patrick Lichty, the panel moderator has fleshed out some of this timeline and Olia Lialina, a participating artist and panelist, articulated her opposition to the integration of New Media to contemporary art, saying, “I think that position, spoken by Regine Debaty — forget media, drop new, enjoy art — is sort of reactionary. I don’t enjoy art, I enjoy some of the new media, especially WWW and I find media specificity to be the most exiting thing.”

My own reasons for opposing the erasure of New Media as a label take a slightly different approach only in that unlike Lialina, I support contextualizing New Media within the larger fine art world (I like both). However, I similarly couldn’t be less interested in a conversation that suggests giving up a means of identifying a practice significantly different than traditional mediums, while using the increased saleability of the object as the primary support for that argument. As a sales tool, it may be of some help to gallerists, but as a larger practice it does nothing to move the field forward, because it glosses over the specific skills of the artist. What’s more, the idea that sales should some how become evidence of New Media’s acceptance into the larger fine art world is erroneous. Sure, there’s been progress, some of which has been seen in the market, but it doesn’t negate the fact that when I’ve spoken to journalists this year on the subject of New Media, most begin by asking me (off the record) why well known Fine Art critics don’t know enough to even accept a cursory interview. The fact that critics are paid to know about art and yet have only negligible knowledge of the discipline, is the most basic indicator that New Media is a still peripheral practice within the art world. And Holy Fire won’t change this. Given its location, it may introduce a few attendees of the Art Brussels international contemporary art fair to New Media, but nothing more.