This week, guest host James Yood and Duncan interview Derek Guthrie, co-founder of the New Art Examiner for an illuminating history lesson.
New Art Examiner was a Chicago-based art magazine. Founded in October 1973 by Derek Guthrie and Jane Addams Allen, its final issue was dated May-June 2002.
At the time of the New Art Examiner ‘s launch, in October 1973, Chicago was “an art backwater.” Artists who wished to be taken seriously left Chicago for New York City, and apart from a few local phenomena, such as the Hairy Who, little attention was given to Chicago art and artists.
Called in Art in America “a stalwart of the Chicago scene,” the New Art Examiner was conceived to counter this bias and was almost the only art magazine to give any attention to Chicago and midwestern artists (Dialogue magazine, which covered midwestern art exclusively, was founded in Detroit in 1978, but it has also ceased publication). Editor Jane Allen, an art historian who studied under Harold Rosenberg at the University of Chicago, was influential in developing new writers who later became significant on the New York scene and encouraged a writing style that was lively, personal, and honestly critical.
Over the next three decades Chicago’s art scene flourished, with new museums, more art dealers, and increased art festivals, galleries, and alternative spaces. Critics asserted that the New Art Examiner “ignored, opposed or belittled” Chicago’s artistic developments, that it was overly politicized, overloaded with jargon, and did not serve the Chicago or midwest arts communities.
The critics and artists who wrote for the New Art Examiner, included Fred Camper, Jan Estep, Ann Wiens, Adam Green (cartoonist), Robert Storr, Carol Diehl, Jerry Saltz, Eleanor Heartney, Carol Squiers, Janet Koplos and Mark Staff Brandl.
New Art Examiner
Art Institute of Chicago
Jane Addams Allen
University of Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art
Art in America
Lake Forest College
Defilement: A Story of the Art World
Proximity magazine Ed Marszewski
Illinois Art Council
Kossoff is superior To Auerbach…..in fact out of all the great painting to be found from the London School….I think he is in many ways, the most sublime.
I have seen many of them myself as LA Louver shows Kossoff and handles his estate.
Totally out of context, of course, but a great quote from a Xerox uncovered and referenced by Lynne Warren on Sharkforum:
â€œâ€¦the cityâ€™s rich people, unlike their counterparts in California, have always kept a close eye on the eastern establishment and eastern ways. They send their kids to eastern prep schools. They swoon in the presence of eastern art professionals, artists as well as art intellectuals. They rarely forsake the lakefront to venture west of Halsted Street where Mayor Daleyâ€™s [pÃ¨re, of course] real Chicago spreads for a light-year. Chicagoâ€™s patronsâ€”whether the Art Instituteâ€™s Gentiles or the Museum of Contemporary Artâ€™s Jewsâ€”are totally devoted to Chicago at the level of their business and commercial interests, but forever envious of the culture of the Atlantic seaboard. Hence, when supporting the arts in Chicago, their impulse is to go national, not native. The better collectors have bought most of what they own in New Yorkâ€¦â€.
She notes this piece of writing was from 1976, and wonders what happened to those who sought to navigate the choppy waters that this piece of writing evidences as Chicago culture. She broods on Derek in this context.
I think some new energy, a long view of the culture, some devotion to real intelligence and art engagement, mixed with resources dragged kicking and screaming from the city’s elite, could cause a big bang here in the Midwest with real prospects for a new, constantly trickling universe. If that wouldn’t be nice, I don’t know what is.
Michael this of course is a famous anomymous document that Lyhne has made known. I woner who wrote it ? It is some gravitas given the key position that Lynne has occupied for many tears as a curator at the Museum of Contemopary Art.
Lynne is the best curator in Chicago, and also the most knowledgable when it comes to Chicago.
While we are on the topic of Michael Workman’s posing of Lynne’s posting of an anonymous and dead on observation: and so what happens to Chicago artists in this equation?
Two things: emerging artists are given precedence over professional artists here (though one could and should ask, what exactly do they have to emerge into?)
And, a very small group of people decide which Chicago artists will be given continual museum access……this access has nothing to do with quality but rather, if you are in the circle of say, The Society For Contemporary Arts -M. Curator-lite (aka James Rondeau’s) coterie.
How many Chicago artists are given serious museum level attention if, they are not part of the Kirchner/ Rhona Hoffman/Manilow/Ghez soiree? The answer is very few -and most of those who have, have probably had the good fortune to have Lynne Warren behind them.
Solution? Simple: the artists of Chicago should organize a boycott of both institutions -and be serious about it -take out ads in the major art rags saying why we are doing so-
A long time ago 17 artists did just this in NYC -the irrascibles -and changed the art world forever. We can do this.
Union? I don’t know about that Jill, but I am talking about people gutting-up and realizing that keeping quite is exactly what the James Rondeau’s of the art world want us to do -so that he can fill the very few walls that will be allocated to Chicago art in the ‘new wing’ with his pal Judith Kirchner’s artists. This, is a simple fact.
I want artists here to quit rolling over, and demand better for themselves.
i’ve been wondering about that new wing. seems umseemly.
Bottom line: if the artists here in Chicago stood up and told the institutions here, NO MORE! We are going to boycott you until the museums here begin to treat us like LAMOCA LA County, MoMA,The Whitney, treat the artists in their respective communities, creating canon and serious discourse with whats going on in both LA and NYC..until we get that here in Chicago, we are done. And we are going to pool our money together, buy magazine space and nationally advertise that we are done….there would be results.
BTW THE ABOVE POST IS OBVIOUSLY NOT MSB MARK! YOU LEFT YOUR INFO ON MY FIREFOX!
Chicago society=gentry envy. Too rich (no pun intended). Explains the gangster fetish, and the presence of that godawful Chicago Social magazine.
Anybody who’s in Miami next week, come by and say hello. Represent! (Although we only have a few Chicago galleries), we’re definitely going to have some fun down there this year.
I just listened to Derek’s interview. The most important thing he said has not inspired much discussion: that the printed page is more infulential than e-publishing. (Exceptions I found are Kathrine in 151 and Fern in 199; I might have missed others.)
Derek argued that the reason for the printed page’s greater effectiveness is that it is more permanent. I agree. In the end, the internet is not much more than dots on our screens.
But there is an even more important factor: the internet is like the “landfill” Derek says the art world has become. Anything and everything exists there. There is nothing rare about a website, there is nothing rare about a series of comments like this one, there are billions of them. There is no “good, better, and best”.
Printed publications are rare, and for that reason also they generate more respect than dots on the screen.
It does not matter that the reason for rareness of the printed page is the difference between the cost of publishing on paper and publishing on the internet. It is just a matter of fact that people give more respect to stuff that is not common.
Frankly, there is a lot of junk in this thread that must be waded through to get the good stuff. Editors and publishers gain respect when they do that for the readers, as they must because it costs too much to print every damn whim on paper and because they will lose readership if they fail to sort out the good from the junk. I am absolutely amazed at how tolerant of crap the internet is. The “Information Highway” is the archetype of litter gone wild.
I am not rejecting the internet, not at all. (I run a few sites of my own and create them with text editors.) I am just willing to put it into its proper place, a place that is not as high up the food chain as the printed word.
By today’s standards of what is important, this may sound like the statement of a “loser”. I think it is a statement about reality.
Good books are good by virtue of their goodness — not by virtue of their bookness.
No? The next time that you purchase groceries, look at the publications on display near any American supermarket counter: newspapers, magazines and books.
They all cater to the very basest sorts; and they all have editors. National Enquirer? Dean Koontz? Hustler, perhaps? Indeed.
“there is nothing rare about a series of comments like this one,”
Please, provide a link to one other similarly frank and lengthy conversation about contemporary art [late-2008] in Chicago.
No, sir, this exchange of comments in text is/was rare. And the long-form audio documentation offered by BaS is quite precious. Thank you, and good day.
exactly Paul -just as good contemporary painting is good by its goodness, not contingent on a before and after criteria of meeting up with Clement Greenberg- as Mr. Link rather perfectly demonstrates-
Blogging is a messy affair, it does have the down side of extraneous dialog which can either add color, humor and offer a sense of conflation, or, which can begin bad and devolve into the kind of inane trash one would expect from an obsessed fan wanting nothing so much as attention from his hero.
I think one easy solution would be to insist that all people use their full, real names -or that their real names be readily available somewhere on the site- for those who need to post anonymously, perhaps there should be a panel that accepts or rejects their need to do so based upon merit.
online articles are more permanent in the sense that they don’t get lost. i can always search for an article online even if i’m not home or i don’t remember exactly who published it or when. and much easier to share and there’s almost always someone willing to talk about it for an extended time rather than the one-shot, no-response letter to the editor.
i just can’t see that being the most important thing he’s said, considering he’s just learning about online publishing. it’s the one thing we know better than he does.
This has been a good argument/discussion -but the problem is Paul, that any number of these discussion have taken place -here, Paul Klein’s Artletter -sharkforum…
All of which brings us back to a question I asked earlier in this discussion; what is the nature of legitimate authority? What makes something true?…To go further, is there such a thing as a masterpiece, or is everything subjective and only a matter of opinion?
Is one man’s meat really, another man’s poison? I don’t believe that- I think there are of course masterpieces -just as, I think its fair to say that in concrete terms of inimitable reality, the Chicago art world is at this point, an embarrassing disaster…….don’t believe me? Think the MCA is a great building that draws people here? Does anyone regard it as an architectural masterpiece?
Action speaks louder than words, with the recognition that concrete reality is what it is, unique, inimitable, universal, we can perceive that our little bit of it in terms of the Chicago art world, is inadequate, that we need change here in Chicago.
Shark, meeting Clement Greenberg is a fact, not a criterion. Look the word up. While you are there, check out the difference between the singular and plural forms. Or get a good editor to do it all for you and your prose will improve with no effort on your part. If I were editing your statement, I might suggest that you just come out and say you think my paintings stink – a more direct approach that might serve the reader better than your poorly chosen words contrived in a twisted fashion to merely suggest same. And if the Chicago art world is a disaster, I’d be interested in your take on how that differentiates it from the larger art world.
Paul, you are quite right. There are many bad publications. Derek’s point (and mine) is about the difference in potential for influence, not that every printed publication has influence. Blogs have their place and I have respect for them, or I would not bother to comment on this one or theothers I contriubte to. But it is starry eyed to think they will replace printed publications. Especially those connected to art, which by its nature is elitist. That said, when my baser self is hungry for stimulation, I love the Enquirer (and Star) and have never found a web site that satisfies those instincts as well as the supermarket rags.
Jill, the inverse of one of your statements is that Derek knows publishing better than we do (notice I include myself). That’s why I pay attention to him. Maybe you should too.
Look, I have written successful commercial software, been system administrator for unix networks, built computer labs for my former university, taught computer imaging, and done other stuff that cause some to label me a propeller-head. I am not biased against dots on the screen, but I know them well. The medium has limits.
And I said and meant criteria John- as you seem to argue the facts of hard copy and your meeting Greenberg as paradigmatic…..
To get back to Derek and the NAE. I’d like to point out what we all owe to Jane Addams Allen.
I am often asked if I miss Chicago. I have to answer, “which one”?
When you speak of the music, the literature, the little bars, any place Tony Fitzpatrick would hang out, the Mexican neighborhoods, the African-American cultural influence, just plain walking down the streets at night, Wrigley Field, — and so on — the cities whole history going back to things like Hull House — then I would have to answer “Yes, I do.”
But the small, crabby, consensus clique-ed, keep-quiet-and-keep-in-your-place, one-horse, small pond, back-stabbing, ANTI-meritocratic artworld?!!!! No way in hell.
My point — Jane was a highly skilled recall or echo of the virtues of that first Chicago, including things like her ancestor’s work. Morals and individuality, in short. We owe her for that when she attempted, with Derek, to bring some real discussion to the other small-minded “artworld” (artpond) Chicago.
uh, john link, i said the one thing he doesn’t know better than we do is computer and online stuff. which he doesn’t. and i only said that to argue your point that his point about online publishing was his most important point. i meant that i wouldn’t out of an hour of talk, choose his weakest area for his most important point as you did. thanks for the tip, though. maybe i will listen to him. or maybe i should anyway. school marm pants.
You know what I just thought about the other dayâ€¦ anyone remember â€œCoterieâ€, from the Gallery 400 gang? They put out one issue and never explained why they didnâ€™t put out another. They did a c.2,000 word review of a gallery exhibit that closed 6 months previously. It was all very strange, the writing was so complicated I couldnâ€™t get through more two paragraphs. That was attempt #947 to replace the NAE.
Print is wonderful. Print is the best. Having print AND web is ideal. But â€¦ if youâ€™re been reading the news the last few years and weeks you may have noticed that the print industry is tanking. Newspapers are in crisis, New York Times is firing 1,000, Time Magazine firing 600. Christian Science Monitor and PC Magazine; online only.
The world is changing.
This is interesting, http://www.cmswire.com/cms/web-publishing/web-publishing-rollup-downsize-merge-spell-correctly-003466.php
Meanwhile, on the web, blogs are thriving, yet lack credibility:
â€¢A recent BuzzLogic-sponsored study revealed that the number of those who read blogs at least once a month has grown 300% in the past four years, and what they read strongly influences their purchase decisions, playing a key role in moving them to the point of actual purchase.
But only if the blogger has used proper grammar and punctuation:
â€¢A survey run by a crowdsourced copy editing service â€¦ concluded that spelling, grammar and factual errors have a material impact on the success of a bloggerâ€¦
Blogs are sloppy, but thereâ€™s no rule saying they couldnâ€™t be better. Like people are saying about the comments being hard to read, they could be posted pending administrator approval, like lots of sites, then it would be a tight, civilized, on-point discussion. That would be lovely.
Think of Slate Magazine, here is a post on their numbers. 90,000 people look at (at least) one page of Slate every day. They edit, they have great writers and they pay well. http://www.slate.com/id/2547/ They used to try to get people to pay for content, now they give it all away.
BAS makes a choice to be non-professional and loose: we use profanity, we donâ€™t always take out the Ummms, we donâ€™t have the resources to do anything more with the podcast than we do today. Weâ€™re so dispersed, we canâ€™t organize a trip to the bathroom together. We had our annual Christmas get together in October of the next year. BAS makes choices based on life realities and personal preference.
But the web can be anything.
Hereâ€™s Slate: â€œEvery Friday, 20,000 people get a print-out version of Slate delivered to them by e-mail. Several hundred others download the print-out version directly from our site every day. A few hundred determined traditionalists pay $70 to get this version of Slate printed out and mailed to them each week via the U.S. Postal Service. Hotmail delivers Slate’s table of contents to 106,000 of its customers every week.
http://www.slate.com/id/2193003/ here they say they have 6.5 million users.
Not so bad for an online magazine.
Oh, gosh, I wrote that whole thing and forgot my point.
The problem, regardless of print or web, is that the way to have real NAE-style criticism is to have soldiers of criticism who are willing to (metaphorically) sacrifice their (art) lives (aka art career) to write the truth as they see it. You canâ€™t critique a gallery honestly if youâ€™re hoping to show there.
Iâ€™ve grown to feel that we do need a group of independent critics who are willing to say negative things and willing to become alienated from the art establishment.
“Iâ€™ve grown to feel that we do need a group of independent critics who are willing to say negative things and willing to become alienated from the art establishment.”
Kathryn -now that is a fine post…
…one thing I have been made aware of late is the burgeoning ‘on demand’ printing industry: you can order up a fancy coffee table book of your own making for roughly 38.00 -42.00 hardcover…..things are changing……I said to Derek why not an online ezine -with each page having a print to copy function-
This whole thread has caused me to rethink how sharkforum should be, to begin to add some other voices and move towards some form of ezine….
I do think Chicago is the perfect place for all of this to be experimented with -for reasons I have set forth in previous postings…..
Print is great but, the fluidity and viral nature of the internet is, a powerful thing…..I can see some periodicals and specialized magazines continuing to do well, I bet those where currency is an issue may not-
My orginal idea for CAF was that it be a cyber museum…not some traditional construct….and perhaps we all need to explore this: maybe we need some central site that acts as a glossary for whats being reviewed/discussed on all relevant sites…I think we could via the internet, create the infrastructure that is so badly missing here in Chicago and bring Chicago artists into the international scene -but BUT! we do it! ourselves not the dealers, not the art world gate keepers we, the artists, writers, poets, what have you…….
I think the most important thing about the web is that if you can do it at no cost, you’re not beholden to your donors- whomever they may be.
I’ve excited Paul Klein made his work at McCormick place into a coffee table book. If you don’t know what I’m talking about http://www.artletter.com/html/mccormick_reports.html
I think we should do a apartment gallery online map using Google Earth, and it can be as changeable as the galleries themselves.
Right, and for the Chicago Art Museum, fine it didn’t work out as brick and mortar, but “Chicago Art Museum: The Book”. At least it can start towards the creation of a Chicago art cannon. \
Today’s soldier of criticism is tomorrow’s gatekeeper — with luck, of course, and success. Otherwise, today’s outsider is also tomorrow’s outsider: a schmuck is a schmuck is a schmuck.
The charm of print is its abjectivity: it can go anywhere and is available to anyone. Poser journals like Frieze and Artforum are beside the point and are only read for the ads, so if that’s your model for print you’re already lost. The model for success would be the NAE before it went glossy, and the same for Artweek. The same, reaching back, for Rolling Stone, because this isn’t just about art mags.
Also, your motives seem confused to me. You want to “bring Chicago artists into the international scene…” but you want to do this without dealers and curators. What do you think the international scene is made of, anyway? I mean, as much as there IS one? The “international scene” is all gatekeepers, all the time; it’s turtles, all the way down. You want a journal that’s myopically local but internationally influential. There have been journals that managed that, but their local character was never all that explicit. High Performance, for instance, was a (mostly northern) California journal, and it brought California artists into the international scene, but was that its mission?
Tim, you continually do come off as a schmuck -it might serve you well to remember whether its Kathryn or myself,as divergent as our views may be, we are actually involved in initiating discussion and change here in Chicago- a far different cry from your bellicose mewlings from afar regarding me, my work, which you yourself have amply demonstrated to be little more than prejudiced hate speak pretty much based upon your own ignorance and weird obsession with me.
“There have been journals that managed that, but their local character was never all that explicit. ” Oh really Tim….hhmmmm…… what about Artforum or Art In America? They seem pretty New York-centric to me…….
“You want to â€œbring Chicago artists into the international sceneâ€¦â€ but you want to do this without dealers and curators. What do you think the international scene is made of, anyway? I mean, as much as there IS one?”
……Tim….I don’t know what rock you’ve been hiding under -but I want you to go look up this name: Damien Hirst and what he managed to do with his artists friends in London -curators and dealers came afterwords -but the whole thing began with artists. And whose to say it cant happen in Chicago -and not only happen but perhaps even with more substantial, aesthetically sophisticated work…..
“I think the most important thing about the web is that if you can do it at no cost, youâ€™re not beholden to your donors- whomever they may be.” exactly Kathryn….I don’t want to see a reincarnated NAE funded by the Curt Conklins of the art world here…I don’t think its a good idea-
“I think we should do a apartment gallery online map using Google Earth, and it can be as changeable as the galleries themselves.”…..I would say start with artists studio spaces first then, any kind of gallery situation-
“Right, and for the Chicago Art Museum, fine it didnâ€™t work out as brick and mortar, but â€œChicago Art Museum: The Bookâ€. At least it can start towards the creation of a Chicago art cannon.” -true enough though it was unfortunate how Paul was constrained and really forced to go very bland and decorative with much of the large scale work….where is Dawoud Bey? Kerry James? -I turned it down, refused their money as I didn’t like the project -how the cash was doled out…..how they told me to keep it ‘sunny’, ‘optimistic’, ‘upbeat’ etc-
Just before I started sharkforum, I had lunch at The Arts Club with Allen Turner -Allen of course had been President of the Board at the MCA during construction of the present building, and, whether honor or indictment, the MCA stands on honorary Allen Turner Street today-
I told Allen this: The MCA has two problems, 1. The building sucks. 2. The MCA is perceived as having failed the art community here.
My suggestion was this: create a second Pritzker architectural competition/think-tank whose purpose would be to bring the best young architects together to create a new wing for the building that would address the aesthetic ugliness of the existing structure, and would house an interdisciplinary program of all the arts here in Chicago…..but, the main feature of all this, is it would never be built. That the think-tank would be ongoing with plans made available and that the wing itself would only exist in cyberspace- but what it would do is 1. imaginatively give the existing structures inherrent ugliness new life…..people would be able to gaze upon its failures and say, but…… BUT!….. because of how it fails, it is continually being re-imagined! Re-thought-by exploiting its deficencies as possibility!
And second, create the first serious cyber museum here in Chicago -because what we lack here is exactly what this type of viral, online construct could provide…..the MCA could be at Steppenwolf for a new Tracy Letts play, at Metro for Nick Cave, at Tony Fitzpatricks -or Dawoud Beys for a studio opening -or, at worthwhile gallery exhibitions…whatever- all simultaneously..reaching out into the city rather than dragging art in -and thus reaching out via the internet to the world.
After listening to myself talk to Allen and realizing no matter how well received the idea was it would take years to see some half baked version and also by asking myself, why do we need these people? I began to think about sharkforum…..
-do I think sharkforum has successfully addressed the ideas I put forth above, become that model? The answer is -no, I do not. But it is my hope as time goes on, it will. We are seeking improvement, not, perfection-
All the problems mentioned with the “WWW” are the same that repeatedly arise against democracy, funny enough. Anybody can talk, it’s sloppy, too much this and that. The questzion will simply be to evolve new forms, but greatly increase the quality. The Gate-Keeper days are numbered and that scares many. I can see both good and bad in that fact.
Hmmm. Some Really Good Points above. How about, as a first step, some “Side bar” box on all of our sites giving highlights of what’s on all the chosen ssites? I’v etried at sharkforum to put up post attracting attention to great stuff at other websites, bust I’ve been at best spotty therein. Or a central one page site as a sort of table of contents for Bas, SF, Proximity, etc.?
“Like people are saying about the comments being hard to read, they could be posted pending administrator approval, like lots of sites, then it would be a tight, civilized, on-point discussion. That would be lovely.”
guthrie says that the nae ran every letter to the editor. they didn’t need administrator approval there. why not? i don’t imagine this discussion would have been better (or that your idea of “tight, civilized, on-point discussion” is the ideal) if you or some other administrator had been approving messages before they appeared. (you might though, take some interest in shark’s concern with the alleged stalker but,) for the most part, intelligent articles draw intelligent responses. if anything, you might have a registration, have people use their real names and get email confirmation (similar to the way letters to the editor work), but it’s pretty arrogant to think the conversation would improve with administrative micro-management. what messages would you have cut, kathryn? this could be used substituting a few words, for the art world: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
i got a couple commas wrong there. if you want it tighter, give us a spelling and grammar check for comments, shakespeare. shaksper didn’t necessarily use consistent spelling either though, did he?
There wasn’t any standardized spelling in any form in Shakespeare’s day. I personally seem to have pretty standardized typos.
I think an online NAE would work (this idea stated before), with the set up for a print page for every article written, so that it would be available in hard copy. This would be a good place to start because of the economics at the present time. The ideas (criticism, essays) would come from a larger pool of writers, for it to be read by a larger audience. I would love to see articles from Berlin, London, South Africa, and Colombia to name a few.
Yes, the MCA has a bad building and has had lousy curation, but why do you think being a Kunsthalle for local art was ever a crucial part of its mission?
You’re so eager to disagree with me you don’t bother to think first. Hirst was a success with his peers before he was a national or international success, but you’d never have heard of him if he hadn’t been taken up by the Saatchis. Speaking of gatekeepers… and maybe, if the YBAs and their peers hadn’t been so ignorant of the world outside, Hirst’s blatant and superficial ripoffs of Fluxus artists wouldn’t have seemed so exciting to them.
Do the glossies strike you as too NYC-centric? Well, that’s where the market is, where the ad revenue is, where the shows are. Considering the number of artists in NYC, they have as much to complain about as you, regarding poor coverage. Artforum doesn’t bother, really — they just run the ads with a handful of reviews and some lifestyle columns. The not-New York thing was a dead horse when Derek beat it back in the eighties.
If you want to publish something, civic or regional need isn’t a good enough reason. There has to be something positive.
Paul says I shouldn’t reply in kind to your abuse, so I won’t. I really don’t find you that fascinating.
Thus, to everyone in general:
A sore point in the history of the NEA — and if you revisit Derek’s interview you find his reactions to that are still fresh in his psyche — is that it wasn’t perceived as supportive of Chicago art and Chicago artists. His response is mostly that he’s a critic, has standards, was trying to SAVE the city from its narrowing obsession with imagism and outsider art, and if you can’t take the heat, bla bla bla. The problem, though, wasn’t that he was against the powerful and well-connected — the problem was that nobody could tell what he, or his journal was FOR.
When a journal, or a gallery, or a museum, doesn’t have a positive mission that’s simple and clear enough that any of its members can relate it in thirty words or less, it’s in trouble. Sometimes there will be such an institutional vacuum locally that the problems don’t seem so bad for a while. When there were great traveling shows on offer and the Institute wasn’t going for them, the MCA had a swell little niche for itself regardless of its chronic board issues. So, in the old Ontario space, they had really memorable, great shows: Woelfli, Guston (the first retro, just as he died, when the paint on the late work was still wet), Joel Shapiro, Chuck Close, Leon Golub, lots and lots of others. But those board problems were still there when they auditioned architects for the new building (and chose Kleiheus, for reasons nobody has ever given) and then cheaped out on final production, taking a problematic building and turning it into a disaster. And the board problems continue, with a string of fired directors and curators. I might be out of touch on this: has that situation stabilized? Has the board stopped meddling? Has curation improved? Has the program become more coherent; acquired some kind of visible direction?
Virtual buildings are nice, but some improvements have been called for since the day the MCA opened its new store. The front staircase is ridiculous. They should rip it out and build an entry structure at street level that would include the amenities (which would be made less snotty and pretentious, and would feature a book store, not a mediocre tschotchke outlet) and handicapped access that’s actually accessible.
The big square gallery spaces are jokes, but that’s where your competitive temp solutions can happen: open the spaces to biennial revision and make that part of the exhibit schedule.
And they can do a virtual museum too. It’s a good idea, but why make it an alternative to fixing a bad building?
“Yes, the MCA has a bad building and has had lousy curation, but why do you think being a Kunsthalle for local art was ever a crucial part of its mission?
Youâ€™re so eager to disagree with me you donâ€™t bother to think first. Hirst was a success with his peers before he was a national or international success, but youâ€™d never have heard of him if he hadnâ€™t been taken up by the Saatchis.”
Eager to disagree with you? uuuhhhhhhhh Tim, you are the person who came on this site -attacking me, my work -both of which it became increasingly obvious, you know and knew, next to nothing about. Lets be clear on this.
Given the new global village status of everywhere and anywhere, why would we want the MCA to be a mere importer -turning Chicago into what Peter Schjeldahl recently called us,a receptor city? Why wouldn’t we expect it also to create canon here and export? That is certainly what institutions ion other cities do for their artists -this is btw an old argument -I actually used to agree with you on this point -but no more-
Yes Hirst used the Saatchis of the art world -as I think anyone should….do you see anywhere where I am advocating that we don’t?
“Paul says I shouldnâ€™t reply in kind to your abuse, so I wonâ€™t. I really donâ€™t find you that fascinating.”
uhhhh…there is a disconnect somewhere here, Paul called you out- on what a jerk YOU were being Tim -and if you don’t find me so fascinating -why the continued feverish rants about me? I believe I am far from the only person to point out to you it comes off as your being slightly unbalanced.
Do the glossies strike you as too NYC-centric? Well, thatâ€™s where the market is, where the ad revenue is, where the shows are-
No, once again you completely miss the target….I only mention these magazines to refute your claim as to there being no publications that adhered to a geographical location.
Quit trying to spin what is obvious and completely clear Tim. You came on here -just as you reared your head at sharkforum earlier, trying to pick a fight with me. That is a simple fact.
You obviously have some kind of strange pathology going on about me -even as you feign disinterest.
You have been called out on this by both Paul Klein and Mark -so don’t try and act like Paul Klein agrees with you -he clearly does not -and made a point of telling you so.
Anytime you are ready to stop your stupidity, and quit blaming Wesley Kimler for whatever it is that went wrong in your life, is just fine with me.
I like your idea of a virtual MCA improvement a lot, Wesley — it is a kind of fantastic (in the original sense), imaginative criticism.
Fern, I agree that at least a start web-wise is good — but most of all a kind of cross-over, for serendipity, among Proximity, SF, BaS and so should be aimed at, and perhaps tied in to any NAE that could occur.
So: no reply to content; just the usual egotistical crap.
And by the way, just who is “the shark” in the last post? Not that it matters, but some noise was made about people posting under their real names, wasn’t there?
I have been slimed pretty thoroughly here in response to not much. I’ve been trying to keep it civil for whatever reason. Just going elsewhere would have been smarter.
Are you kidding? So now Tim, you, are going to play the victim: great! Give, me, a break.
Welcome to my life people -where the likes of Tim Porges are a dime a dozen. Like I said earlier, making enemies faster than I can kill ’em
Fern: Your idea of a web site with page printing capabilities is a good one, and does not require much money to launch. In fact, as you know, a site has been launched – http://www.newartexaminer.net – but it does not entirely address the issue Derek brings up in his interview, the power of influence factor. (Nor does it have any content at the present moment.) On the other hand, no one seems to know where the $$ would come from to launch a traditional printed publication.
Mark: you are one of those people who is able to keep his head while everyone around you are losing theirs. That is a valuable trait. But I have to remind you there are still gatekeepers and there probably always will be. That doesn’t mean a blog like discussion should be juried, but that the best sites, like the best publications, reserve part of themselves for stuff that has been selected. To increase quality of a site, gatekeeping is required. Pluarlism reminds us everything is potentially good, but it does not make it all good.
Jill: The NAE ran every letter, true. They could afford too because: 1), virtually all of the time no one wrote more than one letter; 2) few if any wrote a letter every month; and 3), most did not write letters at all. Blogs and other comment threads go on and on and on and on, as this one has. Further, the First Amendment does not give anyone the right to comment on someone else’s site, nor does it require that a publisher publish their material. It simply says the government won’t interfer with those who have the wherewithal and/or moxie to get something out in public.
Tim: Someone way above quoted from the NAE masthead and I always found that clear enough. However, I could boil it down to something a bit simpler, the NAE was FOR a wide discussion. They not only tolerated but they encouraged conflicting view-points. The early Artfourm (under John Coplans – another Brit) did somewhat the same thing, but as it “matured” it became more and more narrow in its ways. Later on Arts, under Richard Martin, also took the route of widely differeing view-points. Like the NAE it ran into financial problems and tried to remake itself (also like the NAE) along the lines of the more successful, more narrow publications, and ultimately folded.
Myself: It may be that financial life being what it is, something as cheap as the web may be the only medium that can support a publication that encourages wide variance in view-point. The NAE may be the best banner to run such an enterprise, because its reputation was so solid in favor of multiple views. Ideally, it would not be explicitly Chicago-centric, whatever form it might take. A printed publication would have more influence, though.
I know I could personally, pretty easily, given six months, work up roughly enough funds to underwrite NAE on it’s old bimonthly schedule and in its old saddle-stitched format for ten years. Throw in enough point people like me, and soon enough you’ll have the Yood standard of international startup funding to compete with whatever’s out there.
Thanks john. I do not, however, believe that “gatekeepers” are needed, certainly not in the sense Wesley and I use that term — self-serving scene-shrinkers who operate for their own power.
However, I know what you mean — EDITORS and good ones like Ann Morgan, Janet Koplos, Betsy Baker, Derek, etc. are needed to keep quality of presentation high, not to censor content. That is necessary in order to have a clear profile.
If you DO start an NAE or the like, let me remind you though, that you need a far greater creativity in approaches than is usual. And freedom. I will help, but I like my full personal control at Sharkforum. If I want to do stuff that is strictly limited in scope I can write for Art in America or a million other top notch ones (who HAVE asked me). So creative freedom is required if you want more profi writers — we can go almost anywhere. So — think about things like what I have proposed unsuccessfully in the past to the NAE and others : dueling reviews, open opinion, intense editorials from oppositional camps, no consensus, — we have to learn from the possibilities of the web even in print.
I also think a consolidation of support is needed in some fashion between Proximity, NAE, SF, BaS, Bridge, etc, or you will simply overplow the same field.
Michael, I’m sure you have watched what has happened to Modern Painters, and I am sure you are watching Art In America in the midst of tanking and the Sun Times and The Reader -to name a few,……the last thing we need to do ifs follow them into the abyss.
As a working, professional artist -who makes his living as an artist, and is watching the impact of the internet unfold…..money well spent on a new level of robust support of analog on the ground sites/events would be the most effective way to initiate change.
john link. i didn’t mean to imply there are laws that allow us to post on blogs. i’m not talking about legality. but freedom to assemble. it’s good to have a free speech zone and it’s too bad when people like kathryn feel their good taste should decide whose statements post and whose don’t. we don’t need protection. anyone who wants to read the comments will. why is it such a burden if there are a lot of posts? if you want to have a forum of invited guests, do it. we don’t need a kathryn bleeping out comments. we’re adults (or kids whose parents allow them here or don’t pay attention and there are worse places they could be) and can handle dumb or politically incorrect comments. it’s a price you pay for no censorship. is that not worthwhile?
and the nae paid to print all the letters to the editor while blog comments cost nothing. i don’t get your logic. or i do, and it’s not very good.
The last damn thing BAS wants to do is start editing these forums. However the amount of personal attack, and old feuds that occasionally get aired here (particularly when utterly unrelated to the topic of the show) gets to be problematic.
Everyone at BAS has a day job or three, some have families, we barely get the show out, and it is more than a little frustrating to have to field LOTS of e-mails about people rising up with pitchforks and torches about what goes on in these forums. If everyone wants to attack each others ideas, awesome! I’m all for it, dialog is great. I do wish this forum was never used to resolve old conflicts, regardless of who started it, who is a factory wrapped douche, who people like and dislike.
My vote, although it is the minority vote in the relentless BAS email flurry I have had to endure in the last week or two has been to simply take down the discussion portion, which would be a loss, for me as well, but would solve the problem.
This is a plea to all who read this, fight all you want, check the personal shit at the door however. Call each other on the phone to resolve your differences. Maybe dueling should make a comeback! Although I doubt I live a week if it did.
Anyway. Thusfar we are not moderating, editing, or deleting anything. The only posts ever removed, to my knowledge, in the last three years, have been with the consent of the poster, and it was due to very personal reasons, and the poster respected the wishes of the person who asked to have the post removed.
Anyway, beat each other up to your hears content, but lets be adult about it all. I really don’t want to pull the plug, or start banning people. Also I am loathe to remove the anonymous post option and have everyone sign up, as the art world is a surprisingly small community and while it more often than not is done with ill intent, I do think people should be able to post without the fear of reprisal.
If we do change our policy we’ll let everyone know.
Be sure to vote in the poll.
you didn’t answer: what posts should be deleted? (they have numbers.)
and why are the “bad” posts so agonizing for those at bas? you act like you have to carve them into stone. you said you’re not doing anything with them so why the constant complaining in really long, boring posts about cluttered comments sections? some of the comments are lame, but how much of the site proper is lame?
reprisal? whatever. like bas is the underground railroad. all the adults here use their real names.
“A Kathryn”? I’m a noun now?
Ok, Jill, that’s it, I’ve had enough. When I become evil moderator of the world, you and all Jills, and any mention of people going up hills with Jack… gone, zip, done, off the comments. Like a BAS version of the old USSR KGB. Black cars pulling up in front of apartments. Zip.
Anyone who says they don’t like me, censored. Anyone who makes fun of my ultimate power status due to my puff segments at chicago public radio, gone. When I rule the world, all these minions will sweep my streets. I aim to be cruel, unfair, biased. In fact, I plan to post positive comments about my own posts under other people’s names just so it will look like I have support. Look for upcoming comments that say things like “Right on, Kathryn!”
If you want a straight answer:
Q. One of my comments has disappeared!
A. There are several possibilities. One is that we may be having technical problems. It never hurts to write and ask. Another possibility is that someone thought your comment would be better gone.
Q. I can’t believe that Boing Boing, of all places, would be using censorship. What happened to freedom of speech?
A. Boing Boing is steadfast in its support of your freedom of speech. We believe that you, O Reader, should be able to have (or refuse to have) anything you want on your own website, as long as it doesn’t deprive others of their rights. Yay, freedom of speech!
By that same token, freedom of speech also means that the people who write and edit Boing Boing have the right to have (or refuse to have) anything they want on their own website. If one of the things they don’t want is a comment that you have posted, they aren’t depriving you of your freedom of speech. You’re free to put that comment up on your own webpage.
Q. Why can’t you just tell everyone to ignore the trolls?
A. Because they can’t. Everyone automatically reads the text that’s there. If it’s nasty or unpleasant, they get a dose of that. If there’s too much of it, they stop participating. There’s far more internet discourse lost to trollage and casual rudeness than is ever lost to moderators.
Q. Isn’t the moderator just enforcing compliance with her own political views?
A. Not at all. You couldn’t reconstruct her personal views from a list of the times she’s intervened in a discussion. The time she invented disemvowelling, it was so she could deal with a flaming leftist.
Right on, Kathryn!
I loved post 256, KB, so, for Kathryn:
I’m not going to get into a discussion of specifics to appease you. None of the posts bother me personally, we were contacted by third parties who had problems with certain non-topic-relevant issues being discussed.
I realise that the blog is winding down now and the discussion is concerned with practical possibilities of restarting the NAE. However an issue has stuck in my mind, that of drawing parallels with the 18th and 19th century Academies and today’s art scene. Derek Guthrie in the interview said the Academies produced kitch. Tim Poges remarked that SAIC is a ‘forward thinking academy’ that is profesionalising art criticism’. In response I’ve been reading Thomas Crow’s, ‘Painters and Public Life’, it makes some very amusing reading. Crow discusses the ‘Split allegience to hierarchical culture and democratic reception’ that motivated the salon exhibitions. The Academy appointed it’s own art critic, the first professional modern art critic. He had limited independence and came under much ridicule. The academy painters found themselves in a situation in the salon where their paintings were judged not by their own aesthetic authority but by an amateur cafe culture that treated the salon like a theatre on opening night, where success was judged with either thumbs up or thumbs down. Here is an ironic account by the play-write, Loius de Carmontelle of the pluralist democratic reception of the salon public:
â€œThe Salon opens and the crowd presses through the entrance: how its diversity and turbulence disturbs the spectator. This person moved by vanity, wants only to be the first to give his opinion; that one there, moved by boredom, searches only for a new spectacle. Here is one who treats pictures as simple items of commerce and concerns himself to estimate the prices they will fetch. Another hopes only that they will provide material for idle chat. The amateur examines them with a passionate but troubled eye. The painterâ€™s eye is penetrating but jealous. The vulgarianâ€™s is comical but stupid. The inferior class of people accustomed to adjusting itâ€™s taste to those of its masters waits to hear a titled person before rendering its opinion and wherever one looks, countless young clerks, merchants and shop assistants in whom unchanging tedious labour has inevitably extinguish all feeling for beauty. Here nevertheless are the men whom every artist has endeavoured to please.â€
In a similar fashion the blog has a mixture of seriousness and frivolity found in cafe culture.
I hang out around east end galleries in London with several critics and have discussed the issue of the academies in the pubs. The clearest parrallel we decided, was that of recent conceptualism where a once radical and highly politicised art form, such as that of Gustav Metzger for example, has become today a prescribed stylistic mimicry for many younger artists. In a similar fashion the grand history painting of the academies deteriorated into highly lucrative kitch versions of classical myths.We agreed that a ‘thin and weedy’conceptualism was a form most easily absorbed by a corporatised culture, including that of the art schools. In Chicago possibly programs like Culture in Action have provided a staged public airing of today’s academy art. What looks like a democratised approach is in reality part of a seamless corporate culture. Koons appears to be the epitome of today’s academy artist.
What’s your take on this? I understand Derek Guthrie will do a lecture tomorrow, perhaps this will come up as an issue? The NAE is a magazine that you might say was ignored by the SAIC academy but today is remembered and is re-emerging this also is reminiscent of a van guard position.