Tuesday, May 19, 2009

nothing says "i'm puking" like getting the ArtForum International newsletter in my email!

It actually says "Heh heh" in the banner of the newsletter. I wonder if they learned that on "heh heh - Wall Street?"

So, i opened the thing up and it starts this way:

Nothing says drama like an auction; even when the market is low the theater is packed. Collectors, dealers, and art-world players swarmed to New York last week to watch (and even partake in) the proceedings; every step of the way was there, bringing updates from the scene.
Ha ha, idiots. They'll even partake in it? How fascinating. What is wrong with these retards? NOTHING - NO NOTHING - SAYS DRAMA LIKE MY FOOT UP YOUR LILLY WHITE PSEUDO INTELLECTUAL ASSES.

Then at the bottom, (i guess i actually skipped the entire middle of the newsletter):
Ruben Ochoa has left a tantalizing amount of empty space beyond the piles of earth; the installation encourages curious viewers to pass beneath the hefty concrete. … READ ON.
But that's not bad enough:
The sparse elements in Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s exhibition orchestrate a sparse lyricism that has surrealist overtones and a refined pop dandyism born of 1970s glam. … READ ON
Nothing makes me want to read on - and on - and on - like a refined pop dandyism.

I guess the third one isn't that bad.

“Rummaging,” the third installment of the Bonniers Konsthall’s yearly salon de jeunesse, focuses on artworks that reshape and reconfigure space. … READ ON
I seriously doubt any space is being re-shaped much less reconfigured at salon de jeunesse...

I am still not reading on - I WILL NEVER READ ON. See my last post if you are interested in contemporary art.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

political art practice has to stop being art

This is an ideological rule: the visitors to contemporary art museums, biennials and fairs, Groys points out, are overwhelmingly non-buyers, searching for an “idealized, curated” image of “contradictory art trends, aesthetic attitudes, and strategies of representations.” “Our allegedly post-ideological age also has its own image: the prestigious international exhibition as the image of the perfect balance of power.”

Saturday, May 16, 2009

dreaming of inclusion

last night i was dreaming - no doubt because i was also listening to - the not at all disagreeable series of rambling lectures -Merriman's France Since 1871- of something i haven't thought much of in a very long time - the feeling of absolute exclusion that most university experience left me with.

Somehow i'd ended up at some very private and expensive - but big and shopping mall styled - private university - somewhere in the eastern United States. I seemed to be hanging around with a bunch of female students. There was a long sequence about boating or about being along a lake and all that i seem to recall there is that we were to be having some sort of fun - but i was not enjoying it at all. We were eyeing some very make shift and nearly abandoned boats that had been docked in a shallow area of the lake.

In looking through some of the semi-permanently attached debris - things that had been stuck to some of the boats by the owners - so that the things would remain there, dry until the next season - i managed to find a book in which an envelope and maybe a pair of glasses had been inserted. A quick jab of a finger revealed that some crisp dollar bills were also in that book, and prying it loose, i was able to pocket exactly 16 dollars.

This small victory was enough to convince my friends to abandon the boating idea, and with no other plan in site, we returned to the exclusive university area to which each of seemed very pleased to be returning. I am somewhat sure that i was essentially indifferent to the idea.

There was this sort of quick local idea generated that the place to go was clearly to the sort of common area - which required a valid ID and god-knows what else - a thorough going-over by guards married to the idea that this was a very special place for the students and it shouldn't be sullied by the likes of me.

Needless to say, they got right in. And as I don't normally carry "credentials" any more, the guards rejected the expired New York drivers license I really do keep in a bag that I only reluctantly carry. After some arguing - and i believe a guard had written down at least part of the social security number that I volunteered - i was swiftly and forcibly removed from the premises while - i can only assume - my friends were already cooling their first sips of cafe latte.

At that - and here the logic becomes a little lost on me - i believe i travelled some 3 or 400 miles to somewhere to which i'd originally been heading but to which I was unable to gain entrance. Rather quickly and i believe against my will, i was returned to the area of this university where I explained my plight to a new and relatively established faculty member. He was somewhat more on the down-and-out side of things too and he carried the tools of his trade - a brief case and some books and papers - on a regular workman's dolly, a sort of a rough handtruck. He seemed to scoff at the idea of the guards escorting me out so abruptly and convinced me that there was a much easier way past some of the guards and by which i could be re-united with my companions.

This involved a normal faculty entrance, some brief explanations to someone else and a detour through some of the more service related areas of the university/shopping complex, all the while dragging the handtruck. There was a period where I was waiting in a sort of a men's room/locker/changing area, though sure enough in not much time I was in fact reunited and more of the girls' plans could be discussed and realized. I believe it was night time by now.

The plans included leaving the university mega-complex for some more remote location. Our new instructor would be accompanying us. In the elevator (?) somehow the idea of the safe-work place came up and the girls each reached into a purse or pocket to reveal a "safe work-place" sticker, some sort of university solidarity campaign they'd been working on. One girl's passport also bore a "Working Families" decal on the outside cover. I guess i rather snidely suggested that the place for the "safe work-place" sticker was on the outside of my totally fucked up right hand, something i also don't often dream about.

Monday, May 11, 2009

On being and doing

So this question keeps rattling around in my head - maybe it has since 10 years ago or so...

Why would you want to go to a school where everyone is forced into an identity? Why would you want to be a part of that? Isn't art-school supposed to be totally individualistic and aren't you giving up pretty much all of your identity by being a part of it?
Answering this one isn't getting any easier. People still think somehow art school is supposed to have been this liberating free-for-all where you really can't possibly learn anything - and yet somehow by mastering it - mastering the bullshit that art school is supposed to be - then somehow you survive with some sort of intact "being."

It's a shame I guess. I never was asked to be anything. In some shitty American schools I guess there was a lot of pressure to be something. Be liberal - be strong - be independent minded - all of that nonsense which no one ever was anyway. Be pretentious.

But I mean really. When I think about it - I was never asked to be anything - but I was asked to do a lot of things. That seems to be the difference between a school where you come out with an identity "intact" and one where you come out angry and ready to leap into the machine. Based on all the things I did - and what I learned from doing them - seems to me to have left me believing in my being - and identifying rather strongly with a particular group of artists whom - I gather - think much the same way.

On the other hand then - are the artists who got the degrees from the schools that give degrees - and who got no coaching in being or doing anything. Here and there are some interesting exceptions, but by and large they seem a pretty un-happy bunch, embittered by the system and angry at how thing are or are not going. Unlike me, who is largely indifferent, though I assume I probably sound somewhat embittered here - particularly since I only tend to write here when I am annoyed.

But that's probably beside the point. I still think we are looking at a very serious crisis. 30 years of Reagan-thinking has not left the USA whole, it's not left the world in good shape and it's devastated what passes for thinking about art.

Yeah - I am not embittered because I never made it in New York. I am embittered cause New York never made it in the world. Sure you can buy whatever art you want there, but you can't possibly buy the thinking. Quite simply - cause there isn't much left - there's really only buying now.

So when I get asked if my "being" is compromised by "being" part of a cultish group of artists who all think the same - well I have to assume that the person asking hasn't looked at the alternative. The individual is, perhaps, more truly lost and more repulsively destructive than ever before in the past. That's not saying a lot for "being" free, for "being" creative, for "being" successful.

If anything, being a free agent, being completely uncompromised by philosophical camaradery has left the whole arts community adrift in a sea of its own making, relishing its own irrelevance.

These picture were not taken in New York City. Hand me my robe and some candles.

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