This week: Marc LeBlanc and Brian Andrews talk to Berin Golonu, Associate Visual Arts Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Mike Benedetto makes his fabulous return. Nathan Rodgers-Madsen interviews Erik Wenzel of the Art or Idiocy? blog and numerous other artistic and journalistical type projects.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
The Visible Collective
assume vivid astro focus
Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom
Scope International Art Fairs
Perpetual Art Machine
Art Basel Miami Beach
Marcela and Gina
Industrial Light and Magic
Royal Art Lodge
Institute of Contemporary Arts (London)
The Zine Unbound
The Black Factory
How to Draw a Bunny
Black Mountain College
Art or Idiocy?
NY Arts Magazine
The Armory Show
GÃ¶lÃ¶nÃ¼â€™s (I hope the umlauts on her name show up — I typed them in) comments on her trepidation concerning “alternativeness” were great, as were many of her insights. Stimulating interview.
It was also fun to hear Erikâ€™s voice after having read him at his blog for so long — and after having argued with him so much about the Klein post. I DID suspect that he was a SAIC lad from many of his opinions and terminology. You grads of â€œthe Schoolâ€ seem to repeat some of the same opinions; I take it they are taught there.
Can I also be pedantic for a moment? Quite a few of the younger speakers on BAS use the phrase â€œbased off ofâ€ something or other, as was heard here. There ainâ€™t no such a beast, dudes. Itâ€™s â€œbased ON.â€ Picture the metaphoric image. A base is a foundation, literally a base. Something based OFF it would fall down. I take it the speakers are making a mixed metaphor with something like â€œjumps offâ€ or so. Saying â€œbased offâ€ is like writing â€œshould ofâ€ instead of â€œshould haveâ€ or â€œshouldâ€™ve.â€ Sounds almost illiterate. So get your metaphor-and-preposition shit together. Clear tropes and correct language reflect clear thinking. Now go stand in the corner after you write “based ON” 100 times on the board.
If you think that SAIC is pumping out a consistent product of branded opinions, it would be nice to hear what you think they are. A list would do just fine.
Based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on, based on… That was fun!
Thanks John! Good boy. You get an “A.”
I’ll mimeograph a list for Alas soon.
Hey, I LIKE Erikâ€™s Art or Idiocy blog. I shouldnâ€™t have left that comment hanging, so that it sounded so dismissive. BUT—
There is indeed a kind of â€œtasteâ€ or â€œodorâ€ to the language and references that SAIC grads use.
So dear “Alas,” here we go.
1. Always saying â€œThe School,â€ and no more, when meaning the SAIC. There are many schools in Chicago, not even to speak of elsewhere.
2. Equating the SAIC with the Chicago artworld. They are overlapping but NOT identical nor coextensive.
3. Using rather adolescent slang.
4. Making grandly incorrect statements about art history clearly serving the â€œcauseâ€ of Neo-Conceptualism.
a) E.g. I have repeatedly heard SAIC folks refer to the painting of the 80s as â€œLate Abstract Expressionism.â€ And then suggesting that it was overcome by something called â€œConceptual work.â€
b) The 80s stuff is called Neo-Expressionism (as in Neo-German Expressionism) by art historians. It was called at the time Neue Wilden in Germany and the Transavantgardia in Italy.
c) After Abstract Expressionism came Pop, Op, Hard Edge/Formalism, Kinetic, Minimalism, Fluxus / Neo-Dada, Conceptual Art, Performance / Body Art, Photo-Realism, Installation, Earth Art / art povera /Post-Minimalism, (beginning of Postmodernism), Feminist Art (beginning), New Image/Bad Painting, Pattern, Neo-Expressionism, various short lived Neos, Neo-Geo/Appropriation, THEN Neo-Conceptual / Video Installation, THAT IS WHERE THE SAIC students remain, BUT after that came Conceptual Painting/New Painting, and who knows what else soon.
d) Please note that it is called â€œNEO-Conceptualismâ€ for obvious historical reasons. That attempted identification with the actual movement Conceptualism is for political reasons.
5. Denigration of printmaking yet acclamation of cloth and sewing-based artwork, calling it â€œfiber.â€ I have nothing against that form, often like it, but it is a cliche to judge one handicraft-based fine art form in one way and a similar one in another — one could also call printmaking â€œmultiple-based art, referencing industrial and post-industrial reproductive technologiesâ€ and thereby make it as cool as fiber art or painting or installation or whatever.
6. Seldom naming any names or having any artist compatriots from other schools or backgrounds, thus basing their personal artworld on shear networking (of a classist nature since it is a private school), rather than mutual interests or style affinities.
7. Referring to suburbs of large cities a lot. Usually where they came from.
8. Using large amounts of trendy deconstructivist terminology generally lifted from October magazine. Often using it incorrectly.
9. A rather latent belief that the power structure of the artworld as it now stands was always so and will always continue to be so. Again, as in No. 4 above, an ignorance of history.
That was just a start. I could name some POSITIVE traits too, no kidding, but I thought Iâ€™d go for the throat since I was challenged. Shall I go on? Or maybe write the positive ones? (Such as Erik’s obvious joy in viewing art, a kind of sense of fun that many SAIC ex-students have.)
MSB we await your next report.
Mark, “The School” is an abbreviation for “The School of the Art Institute of Chicago”. We grads from “The School” use this abbreviation because the actual name is quite a mouthful and one becomes tired of repeating the name fairly quickly. It is an acquired and possibly lazy tendency that can come off as arrogant but, I can assure you, is certainly not intended.
As for the rest of the list, well ……… sure …… we like to have fun …….
Whatever Mike, we all know you think you are better than the rest of the schlubs out there.
Correct!! I’m the schlubbiest schlub who ever schlubbed!!!
Mr. Staff Brandl, your point #9 is excellent, if not just for people from the School but from other Schools and maybe everywhere. (“9. A rather latent belief that the power structure of the artworld as it now stands was always so and will always continue to be so…[i.e.] an ignorance of history.”)
SAIC, like many schools, educate by example, usually tradition. And so their Avant-Gardism 101 syllabi are a few years behind. To note, I have had a few teachers at SAIC who tried to teach revolution but for one reason or another their attempts seemed lazy, maybe because they were lecturing to a room of kids paying money to be there. The point was, REVOLUTION! (right?) An art academy should be a breeding ground for revolutionary thought, no? Is it true, that we assume that this “power structure” is strong and good, and so we are blind to change (simply because we went to art school and didn’t opt to be self-taught or well-read on our own)?
It’s easy to assume that our “power structure” isn’t going to change (and that it’s strong and good) because we need it/can’t exist without it. It sounds so idealistic/optimistic to say that we shamefully ignore history and thus support a power regime. Ok I’m for that! Artists shouldn’t need an MFA to be successful. Or, how will the power structure be toppled or changed? What are you or we doing to change it? Jargon and Neo-whatever isn’t going to cut it. Nor is moving to Canada.
Points #1-8 did not strike me as being specific or indicative of SAIC nor otherwise relevant.
ps- When BAS said they were gonna throw shit at a revered local institution I thought for sure it was going to be SAIC. that could have been fun.
Why would they bother, SAIC is too easy a target. It is always easy to take shots at the big guy.
Someone should beat up on Northwestern, those guys suck eggs.
Cheers to Mike Benedetto!
Jeers to the old Art or Idiocy recording. Taped in October? I thought Eric was a lively speaker. Just wished it wuz current-er.
Although Northwestern sucks eggs, people who live in Evanston rock. Evanston representin’
I did some part-time schooling at SAIC, laughingly culminating in a BFA. I always prounounced it as it was spelled. I’d like to make a motion that we from this time forth prounounce the abbreviated name thusly: “SAY-ik”
Benedetto ol man, I love your suggestion — it beats the joke name Artforum once foisted on the SAIC (“The School of the Art Institute of Chic” — off course pronounced “sheek”). But I think we should do that for all schools. SAIC: Say-ik. UIC: You-ick. UIUC: You-I-uck. NWU: nuh-woo. University of Chicago: You-knee-chee. etc.
By the way, I’m not preaching revolution, nor do I fault teachers for not doing that, rather I am for continuous re-evaluation and often revolt. And simple historical knowledge in order to make comparisons and avoid easy acceptance. I meant the absence of questioning our “local”(i.e. consensus academy now in the artwiorld — everywhere, not just Chicago ) structure anyway, not International Global Capitalism or such bugaboo. We artists have so little effect on that anyway, but we can deal with the illusions of priviledge in our own corner. You are right, Alas, alas, that it is bigger than the SAIC — but that particular take on it with the falsified art history favoring derivative, mannerist Neo-Con has struck me as very SAIC. Other places do have similar illusions, but with different “flavors.”
What’s up with the Hello Beautiful attack?
I disagree with what you say, Alas, about the other statements too. I find my numbers 1-7 to be very specific SAIC problems. Number 8 is also a problem there, but nowadays in each and every art school as well. And I insisit that they are all VERY relevant problems in the artworld, if that is what you take exemption too. Maybe you believe some of them. Or maybe you meant not relevant to the SAIC, I don’t know.
Oh yeah, my family name is “Brandl” — “Staff” is my middle name and my mother’s family (“maiden”) name. So, I would be called Mr Brandl. And I will soon be “Dr Brandl,” although I would prefer “Chief Inspector” or “Your Royal Highness,” but no one seems to go for those. I told my wife she should call me “the doctor of love,” but she told me to forget it. But please call me Mark. What is your REAL name Alas?
Oops, I forgot a couple more “Cheers”.
Cheers to Chief Inspector Brandl’s shark attack on Say Ick.
Also Cheers to the Dead Kennedys song at the outro. As Mr. Mackenzie can attest, the Kennedys were criminally omitted from the cool Documentary, “American Hardcore”.
At first I found MSB’s initial post pretentious, condescending and blow-hardy, and I was AGAINST him!
Now upon reading his point-by-point hilarious ball-busting of The School, I am FOR him!
MSB’s (Euroshark’s) point 4 a. is particulary cogent for us here in Chicago and especially on this particular thread to Mark and I who both lived through it, and can point to that particular moment in Chicago art history -when the scene here did become collegiate, parchocial, and provincial -trying to be ‘international’ by creating local proxys of greater things elsewhere- rather than coming to the table on its own terms: I remember full well when the MCA guard and very average Sante Fe landscape painter Mitchell Kane began ‘hiding’ his bad paintings ‘behind’ the sofa at his then girlfriend (the not very bright) Robin Lockett’s gallery- not long afterward followed there by the rest of a group of rather academic and average neo conceptualists. Chicago was in for a long run of mediocre colorfield paintings recontextualized under the auspices of some form of deconstructive/feminist conceit (those aren’t brushstrokes -those are anti-ejaculatory marks)….pullleeeeeeese! -bad photography, and completely specious/insipid dadaesque type promotions……how many of you recall the cast bronze styrofoam cup Mr. Tasset had ‘stolen’ from Rhona Hoffmans? And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more retarded -it did!
This little group -with Judith Kirchner at their head, and a very few collectors here -like Howard and Donna Stone for instance supporting them -succeeded in blocking any other group from even the slightest amount of international recognition. (Kirchner and Ghez -along with Judiths lapdog James Rondeau still represent Chicago behind closed doors at events like Documenta -which means almost none of us are represented-) They managed a complete hegemony of things like visits from the Whitney/Documenta -where the curators -did not ask the MCA and its curators what was going on here -but went instead to Kirchner or her best friend Suzanne Ghez at the ‘Ren’-which is why you have really crappy one idea artists like Gaylon Gerber for instance sleazing his way into Documenta -actually I do admire the guy -how many people have the stomach to spend an entire evening out on the town kissing Howard Stone’s behind? Or, writing love letters to septarian art dealers abroad as a modus operandi for exhibiting the same high school level idea/ grey painting over and over again?
I had come out of a very conceptual program at Minneapolis College of Art And Design -headed by Dr. Jerome Hausman -who turned down the job Kirchner now has -‘MCAD’ was a place peopled by the likes of Siah Armajani, Germano Celante, Robert Irwin…..when the ‘conceptualist takeover’ happened here in Chicago, -my point of view was how in this large cosmopolitan setting, could this conceptual 101 at best! crowd actually be taken seriously- and guess what; the rest of the world didn’t -which is probably a good part of the answer as to why Chicago has fallen off the map when it comes to the art world at large.
Time has moved on, most of ‘the smart set’ are either forgotten or well ensconsed in academia here -at UIC, UC and as noted by John Smith, a once terrific and unique program gone to generic shit at Northwestern…….SAIC has some of that genre -sporting particulary egregious examples like Gerber -or the unfortunate Carol Becker -but it also has some really good people -Lisa Wainwright -Suzanne Doremus -Mary Lou Zelazny to name a few-
Things are changing -the neocons are on the way out out- constructs like BAS and Sharkforum (over 1 million hits this month) are rewriting infrastructure here -helping to create a more democratic opportunity for all artists -run by artist -with artists not fucking art educator bureaucrats deciding what has currency and, validity. Sharkforum is about artists being apex -doing what they themselves find engaging and, imperative -as opposed to a conformist doing of what they were told or trained in terms of career opportunity.
MSB: Thanks for your support. One correction: U of C (another Alma Mater of mine) forms the acronym U.O.C. Therefore, its pronunciation is performed thusly: “YOO-ock”
Keep being you, my friend.
I teach at Northwestern. I like Evanston. What does everyone feel about art based off of sucking eggs? Eggggggggggggsited. Spegggggggggggggtacular. Or a sculpture of sucked eggs that forms a monster-Frankegggggggstein.
Please no more fake Jeanne Dunning posts. Or fake posts under anyone’s name at all. She gets mad, rightfully so and I will have to have them removed.
I would rather *not* have this board be membership based so I beg of you, cut it out.
Sorry. I did that. I was bored. I offer my apology.
Richard you NEVER let us have any fun!
Thanks for owning up to it, you have my respect for being on the level.
She complained last time around with the slew of fake posts back in the day, and understandably so. No problem, I just wanted to nip it in the bud before it got silly again. My job as team lawyer is to curb our liability exposure. And to keep Duncan out of the lockup.
Fuck you, get back to work.
Um, Richard, if you are the one invoved in law, why would Duncan have to suffer any consequences (jailing) of BAS behaviour — just ’cause he’s a darn Canuck or what? I like you-ock Mike B! You are pretty cool yourself. I love your reviews — bonus seconds and all. Make sure we run into each other at the fair. I think Wesley is right that some of my (and his too) resentment or what anon read as condescension probably results from us having lived through some serious backstabbing from Say-ick related folks of little intelligence and even less creativity. I shouldn’t be so quick to jump on them now, as some things are a bit more open. Elkins is there and is wonderful, e.g. But I do think my points are correct and should be kept in mind by denizens of “The School,” even if I do tend to be too dismissive. Nasty boy, me. But blinkered-thinking makes me angry (even my own when I see it), and so I tend to exaggerate. So Jeanny Backstabber reads BAS. Hmm. A big smooch from Susannna K to Gaylen. She’ll understand.
Jeanny Backstabber (the only thing interesting about her) and ..”a big smooch from Susannna K”….. I know! How about giving ‘Gerber Gray’ a rest and trying out something new and more apropos -like Gerber brown nose brown……… its a goddamned Shark ATTACK!
C’mon y’all you can’t start a story like that and leave everyone hanging!
Its a real cliff hanger ain’t it?…..we sympathize Bahlzaque -it is kind of hard to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together when they’re all large bite-sized chunks bobbing around in pools of blood…..
I wonder why Mr. Brandl’s list of assumptions about SAICers and their habits hasn’t sparked an uproar from SAICers. I’ll assume it’s because…
1. nobody from SAIC reads this blog; or,
2. people from SAIC who read his comments either
a. don’t care
b. are too lazy to defend
c. too busy to defend
3. nobody wants to read any more references to sharks, their teeth, or their general shark-ish behavior
Anyway, does it really matter if SAIC students just can’t seem to understand that Neo-Painting came after Video Installation-ism? In many ways SAIC pretends to be very academic with their ivory tower lingo but I’ve found that the students don’t give a shit about that; they just want to make art, and they’ll figure out for themselves their own artistic lineage. As for the lingo, I’ve found that after graduating, they drop it like a bad habit, especially when they have to start paying rent.
And you should give examples, Mr. Brandl, for instance, what’s this about: “Denigration of printmaking yet acclamation of cloth and sewing-based artwork, calling it â€œfiber.â€
Well, there’s a show up now at Roots & Culture in Chicago (a newish gallery, very SAIC oriented) that features an SAIC graduate using, get this, BOTH printmaking & fiber. Sorry, I didn’t catch the artist’s name. Also, check out the Fiber department’s upcoming book from MIT press on Textiles and Labor history. It’s going to make waves.
one million hits on sharkforum this month Alas -right around 20 -25,000 unique readers -who it seems, contrary to your supposition, are quite enjoying visiting with the sharks – it seems like your #3 is just about as far off as your #1 and/or #2 but that often happens when one is predicating ideas based upon a defensive posture, a position not something easily (or successfully) accomplished when swimming with a couple of sharks…….as you demonstrate.
How about using your real name -and at least using this platform to work on overcoming your cowardice issue?
-btw -the Theory, & Criticism Dean of Graduate Division at your Alma mater -I’m betting if you stay tuned, you will be reading what she has to say over on sharkforum.org
Hi Mr or Ms Alias-Alas,
I heard about that book on fiber art — it sounds like it will be quite interesting. And for people into that end of things, look for Janet Koplos’s History Of Craft (as art) coming soon.
Another possibility is that many ex-SAIC people are more self-critical than I implied and have noted these problems (I could go into problems I noticed in my education at several other schools — although I liked the universities, many of us are aware of both strengths and weaknesses and not just cheering squads). So “bravo” to those people if they genuinely didn’t write in due to that fact.
Yeah, we Sharkforum folks overdo the sea-metaphor thing, but it’s part of our sweetness and shy charm (ahem…), well, anyway, we find it entertaining.
Thanks for answering and considering my points, but I’m not going on and on with examples — I just don’t have the time. Just let me say that my observations are the result of about 26 years of hearing artists talk. Listen for these points yourself in the future in discussions, or even in your own mouth, you will find them. As I said, I’m not exempting other places, I just wasn’t talking about them here. One should always question the assumptions one was taught in school. You might come to the conclusion that they are right, but you should question them anyway (mensch, and I’m a teaching artist, so maybe I’m passing on some “problems” too — I’ll ask my ex-students when I get a chance.)
I like the idea of printmaking combined with other stuff — as long as it isn’t too cutesy.
You are right about the necessity fo dropping jargon and concentrating on making work, but my point was that too many SAIC people (and grads of other art schools) DO NOT do that. Drop hip theory lingo unless it truly fits your personal drives, but learn history.
HISTORY is NOT jargon or “lingo.” I think the fact that you disdain the mere knowledge of it, and were not even able to make a sensible (or funny) joke on the terminology proves my point. Sorry, I don’t mean to insult you, but ignorance of history is no joke, no excuse, makes us libel our own times (Gustave Flaubert), creates amnesia leading to consumerism, and damns you to farces of repetition packaged as creativity. “Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana. Know your history and you will be in command of it as a tool for making analogies and for stimulating creative thought. The only “burden of the past” comes when you are ignorant of it and thus either worship it or attempt to flee it. Both are destructive. My point is thus DEAD ON. If you think it is a mere detail to think that all that exists is some vaguely “emotional art” past countered by some vaguely idea-illustrational present, then you are not “just doing” art, you are illustrating propaganda for the Consensoriat. And I get the impression, that is certainly NOT what you wish to do.
By the way Mr or Ms Alas, in case you didn’t know, a little etymology, which is a form of history — “Alas” comes from Middle English, out of Old French “a las,” that is, “helas,” or directly translated “Ah! I am miserable!”— eventually all the way back from Latin “lassus,” meaning “weary.” I hope you are not too miserable, nor too weary to tell us your real name?!!
Lets face it -one of the big money making industries of the art world is art schools -university housed or otherwise churning out way more art students than demand requires.
On top of this, the history of art up until and including present day, is that the best art is made by interesting, unique, inimitable, individuals – characterstics that perhaps not only cannot be taught but may be antithetical to today’s educational institution as art patron/purveyor model.
Which, may speak as to why we see such a ubiquity of conformity happening……….
art education and attempting to teach someone ‘how’ to be an artist are clearly divergent fields that suffer from conflation creating con-fusion.
I don’t know that much about Say Ick itself, other than the fact that that the tuition is way too expensive for your average poor artist. From what I’ve heard, the school breeds collegiates and forces them to work in the undergrad mines for low pay and little advancement.
Ad Rhinehardt referred to contemporary art academics/teaching as ‘the racket’
Really, Gönölü and Erik were great! Especially her trepidation concerning the supposed “alternativeness” in curation of such a space. An attitude we need to bring to teaching, studying, production of art, curation and more.
Erik is actually a good example of what is positive and, negative about programs such as some of what is offered up at SAIC -he writes well enough and obviously has a passion for art -but then as evidenced in his review of Thomas Rapai -and his own drawing hand, he doesn’t really understand -at least in terms of painting and /or drawing how its done -hence the language. Erik -Thomas Rapai doesn’t ‘nod’ to Richard Diebenkorn -he bows down humbly, scraping the ground in subservience, hoping that with much dilegence and perseverance, one day his very ordinary art student level painting skills might progress to a point where it is even slightly appropriate to compare, that through hard work he eventually might attain even an iota of the paint handling ability-dexterity -derived from plain comprehension, not to mention draftmanship – of the late master painter Richard Diebenkorn one of the two leading painters of the Bay Area Figurative Movement -Diebenkorn’s good friend David Parks being the other- comparing the two now does both a disservice, shines a light on Erik’s thin to the point of anemic understanding of painting -and is completely and utterly, ludicrous.
Having said this, I do admire his enthusiasm.
Ever since my time at the Milwaukee Art Museum where they have one of his black paintings I have a warm spot in my cold grey stone of a heart for Ad Rhinehardt.
Thanks for spreading the good word about PAM.