The following article has been circulating around the art-internet of late and I thought I’d repost it here for your consideration.
A Letter to Goldsmiths art students on capitalism, art and pseudo-critique
written by Prolapsarian
Dear Goldsmiths Art Students, I attended your MFA show two nights ago. I apologise to an extent: with so many artworks on display it was difficult to digest any of them. That situation was exacerbated by the fact that so few of the works seemed to have it in them to behave destructively towards the others. Maybe this is where I can begin: that the type of co-operation between artworks, their intellectual co-ordination, is something I find troubling. It didn’t seem to me to be the co-operation of a school thinking together, but instead the co-ordination of the school uniform, of a discipline that had been so fully internalised that all of the artworks, under its authority, might comfortably coalesce. That made those artworks difficult to be with. I want to write to you about a single gesture that was performed by a great majority of the artworks in the show (although there were some important exceptions). It is a gesture that claims to determine a relation between artworks and “capitalism”. It is of no surprise that under the contemporary situation of global capital, undergoing its most profound crisis in eighty years – creating conditions not only of mass destitution but also of mass resistance and protest – that the relation between art and capital would present itself more explicitly in the new works of art than has been the case in the last decades. But the expression of this relation of art and capital in the work displayed at your show was not only predictable, but questionable on both political and aesthetic grounds. The gesture that I refer to is that of artworks that attempt to parody capitalism, and in this parody hope to effect a critical irony through the apparent distance between the artwork (and its social situation) and the forms of commodity or capital that it parodies. In this gesture the artwork proclaims a radicalism, a dissatisfaction with the actually existing. It proclaims that the object of this dissatisfaction is “capitalism”. The modes of making explicit the structure of parody are plural: some take up the bathetic disjunction through a fully instrumental comparison with some hazy far-away classicism or humanism; others exaggerate the shoddiness of capital’s products; others rely on a revelatory mode whereby it is claimed something of capital’s seamy underbelly is exposed; while others are just bits of fixed capital – most often employing the high technologies of marketing – transposed into the gallery-space. But the gesture of this parody common to all of them will, I imagine, be familiar to you. read more
Sara Drake posted a thoughtful essay about Daniel Clowes’ MCA restrospective. Her review opens with a well-considered point about the time line the MCA presents at the beginning of Clowes’ show (“the timeline epitomizes a friction still present between comics and art institutions’ reluctant willingness to accept them as one of their own,”) going on to focus on the show itself:
Comics exhibitions are typically, perhaps even inherently, about process. The work on the walls is unstable and has not yet calcified into it’s final form as a work of art. Clowes’s comics are intentionally built to be read. The focus is on narrative structure and storytelling, as opposed to the flip-side of playing with the visual richness of the medium. Reading desks and large, upholstered nooks with copies of Clowes’s books dapple the space while original pages of his comics span the width of the galleries. The result is claustrophobic in a good way, providing a daunting depiction of the amount of labor involved in comics creation. Clowes’s work is more emblematic of illustration than that of a painter or print maker, albeit his skills as a draftsmen almost render the various changes that occur during printing production invisible: penciling or under drawings are rarely present, Clowes’s adept brush work meticulously cover the initial draft, and the gouache painted covers in the show are breathtaking. The flawlessness of the line work and the confidence embedded in Clowes’s drawings almost seem to undermine the self-doubt and alienation present within his stories.
The week began with our ever fabulous gossip report courtesy of Dana Bassett. Everybody loves Keith Haring, Andrew Santa Lucia covers Logan Hardware, and Anthony Romero published a column about Jay-Z’s performance:
Just when we thought the world was safe from appropriating celebrities (#LoveYouMiley) Jay-Z swags in and tries his hand at the most bodily of professions, Performance Art. This, as you may well know, is NOT his first attempt at a durational performance. HOVA and Yeezus reportedly played Ni**s in Paris a record breaking number of times.* We all did for that matter and in case you were wondering, there are five more works of art from Jay to come. So we can all relax, there’s plenty of newsfeed fodder forthcoming. Word on the street is that there may be images of a Jesus chain in a jar of urine surfacing soon.
Best of Lists in the summer time… WHAT? That’s right. Here is Paul Germanos’ annual top 16 in photos.
Chicago Artist Writers contributed another piece from their most excellent blog. James Pepper Kelly writes about the controversial exhibit, Wierd Dude Energy at Heaven Gallery calling forth other spectral voices to do so:
Walter Benjamin | At the center of this exhibition is man. Present-day man; a reduced man, therefore, chilled in a chilly environment. Since, however, this is the only one we have, it is in our interest to know him. He is subjected to tests, examinations. What emerges is this: Weird Dude Energy (WDE), a layering of men, a group perspective on masculinity.
Thomas Friel also wrote about Jay-Z’s performance at Pace Chelsea last week, reflecting on the performance and place and celebrity via instant, public documentation:
A celebrity’s presence in our space, instead of the media version we tend to see them as confirms our own existence. At the same time, it complicates that existence. We are seen by those we have saw but here unto unseen by. I see (consume one’s image) therefore I am, but when I am seen, what am I? It is mindfuck of Turrell like proportions, as we lose our sense of up and down, left and right. We choke on our own vomit, we are paralyzed. In exchange, or maybe as a symbiotic response, we return them to a mediated image from our cellphone capture. Shrinking them to a 2.5” x 3.5” format, moving at a mere 16fps, they are more manageable as a digital apparition. With Jay-Z rapping in our face – a desire of many to be that close to a living legend, to be acknowledged by He who hath created the current state of Hip Hop – we are quickly overwhelmed, and thus respond with our cell phone’s sad idea of video to return to a sense of normality. It helps us relate to his intangible nature. It is in this way that we treat the celebrity both as a solar eclipse and a stripper at a gentlemen’s club. At at least one point during “Picasso Baby”, a tight circle forms around Jay-Z. We see his professional camera crew which is typically meant to be invisible. They are anything but in the many cell shots taken, reminding us that this is a planned operation, to be dissected and re-edited later. However, their visibility being an anomaly, suggests a future that is somewhat less imminent than the rapidity of the cell phone.
and a list of opportunities….
1. Plan your show proposal for APEX Art in NYC. Between October and November, they are looking for usolicited proposals. What I like about their submission process is that it’s clean and easy, prioritizing clarity and concept over credentials:
• Exhibition proposals will be accepted from October 11 to November 8, 2013.
• Submissions are limited to 500 words maximum, emphasizing and explaining the idea behind the show.
• No catalogs, resumés, cv, or other support materials will be accepted.
2. Artslant offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with its Georgia Fee Residency. If you get this gig you get to go to and live in Paris for free to work on a project. Seriously. Like a situationists’ dream:
The Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency has been established in memory of ArtSlant’s Founder who passed away December 8th, 2012. Georgia was dedicated to supporting and investing in young artists and writers, and she had a deep connection with the city of Paris. This residency, which offers artists and writers the opportunity to create work in Paris, has been created in Georgia’s memory.
The goal of the Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency in Paris is to support and invest in emerging artists and writers, to provide an opportunity for them to advance their work and explore and engage with the cultural landscape of Paris, to encourage experimentation, and to increase exposure of their work to an international audience.
The Residency is open to visual artists of all mediums, art writers and critics, 24 years or older. Recent graduates are especially encouraged to apply. The selection will be made based on the merit of past work and the potential for future success, the ability to independently develop new work, and the proposed project’s relevance to the city of Paris.
Recipients will be required to maintain a blog, which will be posted on ArtSlant.
The Georgia Fee Artist/Writer Residency in Paris provides the recipient with lodging for 2-3 months in an apartment in the 14th arrondissement, travel to and from Paris, and a stipend to be used for studio space, materials, and other costs. Check it out and learn how to apply.
3. CANNONBALL (FORMERLY LEGALART) IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR ITS VISITING RESIDENCY PROGRAM. Applications due August 12.
The Visiting Residency Program provides a platform for cultural producers to think, conduct research, produce new work, engage the local art community, and develop professional relationships in Miami. Who is eligible: Artists of all disciplines, curators, arts writers, scholars, museum professionals, and other cultural producers based outside of Miami-Dade County. More info here.
4. Need a break from the city? Banff Film & Media Artist-in-Residence
Fall: November 18–December 6, 2013
Winter: February 10–March 21, 2014
Apply by September 6, 2013 here: www.banffcentre.ca/film-media/
A big week in the thick of summer, with posts from all around the country — east, west, and my home too: that, large middle part. On the podcast end of things, Amanda Browder talks with artist Michael Scoggins, who has shown extensively, gained international recognition, and has gallery representation in Atlanta, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Vienna and Seoul. Listen to that convo here.
Current LA resident, Young Joon Kwak, posted a great, in-depth interview with Michael Ned Holte Kwak’s current studio/beauty salon, aka Mutant Salon. Holte is a writer, curator, and professor of contemporary art history at CalArts. When asked to describe his practice, Holte replied:
Michael Ned Holte: What I do now is primarily teaching, writing, and making exhibitions, probably in that order. There’s a quote from Lucy Lippard in her preface to the reprint of her book Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, where she talks about being a critic, and starting to make exhibitions when it was unusual for a critic to curate exhibitions, and she would do projects with artists that seemed sometimes to be breaking boundaries of what it meant to be a critic, but she held to this idea that a critic should be allowed to have an expansive project the way that an artist can have an expansive project. So as a teacher, writer, and curator, I can think of those as being a very fluid and expansive project.
If you’re curious about art life in San Francisco, Jeffrey Songco covers the 49 Geary building — a 4 story building chock full of galleries. Songco writes:
This month, as always, the galleries are packed with painting and photography. Most of the art, if not all, can easily fit into the elevators for a quick transport and install onto the wall above your fireplace mantel. The artwork may stay confined in a more traditional structure perfect for moving the product like the garments in fashion houses down the block, but that shouldn’t scare you away from checking out the conceptual frameworks for a few more moments.
Songco goes on to discuss Robert Koch Gallery’s exhibit, IDENTITY: Psychological Portraiture, New Work by Nicholas Nixon at Fraenkel Gallery (where work by Hiroshi Sugimoto is also on view), Jamie Baldridge at Modernbook Gallery, and Michael Jang’s show, The Jangs, at Stephen Wirtz Gallery.
News came from the Twin Cities this week via Eric Asboe:
The McKnight Foundation is one of the major sources of arts funding in Minnesota. The McKnight Foundation believes “Minnesota’s artists are innovators, organizers, and leaders–as critical to our state’s quality of life as other professionals working in business, health, technology, government, education, and other sectors.”
The McKnight Foundation Arts program funds individual artists, artist-service organizations, and all sizes of arts organizations throughout Minnesota. The McKnight Foundation’s Artist Fellowships have recognized and funded individual Minnesota artists since the program’s inception in 1981, and it currently gives around $1.7 million each year through the statewide fellowships. The Fellowships currently fund artists working in ten disciplines: ceramic artists, choreographers, composers, dancers, media artists, musicians, playwrights, theater artists, visual artists, and writers. The Fellowships for each discipline are administered by a relevant arts organization.
I reposted an article announcing Theaster Gates’ upcoming commission for the 95th and Dan Ryan Red Line stope:
The project, expected to cost $1.3 million, would be the largest art project in the CTA’s history, according to the agency. Ten people would be hired for the project that would also establish an apprenticeship program for local students.
You can read *more* about that on the CBS website, here.
H. Faye Kahn reflects on her dynamic and sometimes fraught relationship to critical art theory:
Lately I have found art theory exhaustingly cynical. I suppose the word “criticism” has a lot to do with this, however much of it seems to only a self-serving end. Often as a reader I approach the text with wonder & leave it feeling like a fluorescent light has been turned on to reveal all pleasant things have poisonous blemishes. A person can only take so much of this before becoming fed up or hopeless or annoyed that something prescient about how to live life is being ignored because the art community is busy circle-jerking to their exclusive & privileged (negative) perspectives on the world. That said, art theory ensconces beautiful ideas within its heavy labyrinthine walls of referential grandiloquent & excessively punctuated & footnoted jargon (“International Art English”?), & somehow this keeps me (us?) going. However, more & more, it has been exceedingly reassuring to go to the exhibition & realize that art has been growing & still grows around you when you & intellectuals aren’t looking.
Terri Griffith wrote about a new book, new book Punk Press: Rebel Rock in the Underground Press 1968-1980:
Punk Press is no kind of exhaustive anthology, but rather collection of fanzine covers, show flyers, with a few articles reproduced for good measure. Mostly this book is about images. What surprised me is that some of these images must have become immediately iconic. I remember a few in this collection as reproductions in fanzines of my own youth.
Lastly, this week closed out with a list of opportunities. I’m experimenting to see if it works to keep that up as a regular, weekly event. Feel free to email me if you have opportunities you’d like me to consider posting: email@example.com. I am also always happy to field any and all blog-related questions.
Most importantly, I hope you all had a great weekend and continue to enjoy the deepest part of summer.
1. THE SUB-MISSION 2014 APPLICATION PROCESS IS NOW OPEN. Deadline is August 19th.
THE MISSION presents: THE SUB-MISSION, an alternative installation project space dedicated to the development of artists living and working in Chicago. Located below the main gallery, THE SUB-MISSION is a natural progression toward fulfilling our mission statement. Specifically, THE SUB-MISSION was created to showcase local artists, foster the investigation of new ideas and artistic processes, and facilitate an exchange between artists and the artistic community. Go here for details.
3. Apply to participate in this year’s Chicago Artists’ Month! The deadline is tomorrow, however (the 15th of July) so get cracking. The 18th annual Chicago Artists Month (CAM) is an open call to individual artists and organizations for events that feature Chicago-based artists, in a public venue in Chicago, during the month of October. A marketing initiative of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, CAM showcases the work Chicago’s independent artists and arts organizations, highlights arts activity in Chicago neighborhoods, drives tourism, encourages collaboration and provides opportunities for creative expression and education for all Chicagoans. Get the skinny here.
4. Experimenta – the International festival of Moving Image Art in India seeks artists’ films and videos from any country that challenge popular and conventional modes of cinema. Abstract to obscure compositions produced on the margins of contemporary screen-culture are welcome. Innovative, cutting edge and non-traditional work that attempts to aesthetically extend the parameters of the mediums of film and video is encouraged.
Preview copies must be submitted for selection purposes. All lengths of film are considered. Please submit entries as soon as possible. The final deadline for receipt of submissions is 30 August 2013. The festival programme will be finalised by October 2013, at which time only those whose works are selected will be informed. EXPERIMENTA is a curated film festival, and will be held from November 27th – 1st December 2013 in Bangalore India. Here for deets.
5. If you are interested in curating shows elsewhere, check out Curate, a global competition organized by Qatar Museums Authority and Fondazione Prada to find new curating talent. The program is now accepting entries online at www.curateaward.org until 31 December 2013. Visit the site for more information.