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 don't have a clear answer to why, but if I were to develop one it would build on what I wrote in the response above. Though I wish it were otherwise, I'm a slow thinker and a slow writer, and I haven't put time toward shaping my reactions to the show into a coherent statement. If I think of something I'll let you know.

Call me Pollyanna, but I'm reluctant to conclude that career advancement is the main thing an artist is thinking about when he chooses to make the work he makes. For one thing, itcan be said about virtually any artist, which makes it meaningless. Secondly, it's insulting to the artist. And while I suppose it might be true in a few cases, based on my experience talking to artists I'd estimate that in the overwhelming majority of cases it is not.


Making Word: Ryan Trecartin as Poet

I would love to see a Romney campaign video directed by Ryan Trecartin.


It’s Only Humanist

I don't think a yin yang is humanist! Also I think that its use in net art is about New Age and hippie culture, i.e. a Western phenomenon that borrowed from (and distorted) Asian culture, and not about Asian culture. I think this could be a topic for another discussion thread.


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?