Art in America
My lovely wife gave me a subscription to AiA for Xmas, and I've decided to read every bit of each issue. Usually I dilly-dally and keep magazines around forever - this way I can trash them with a clear conscience.
So I've been slogging through them and so far it's not so bad. The "news" stuff is a little above my station the art world, the auction info means little to me and the main articles are pretty ok.
One thing I am noticing, and I know how often this is mentioned online, is how much crap there is out there, crap that even makes it into the magazines. Over and over, especially in the short reviews at the end, I see what look like junk all puffed up to greatness. One thing deep in my craw is all the hot air around the crap. Apparently, if one mentions, scrawls or off-handedly depicts something, one has "referenced" it, and a whole world of wordy blather can issue forth.
I remember there was an installation here at the UVA museum a few years ago by a famous artist supposedly all about DNA and politics. She had a standard silkscreen reproduction of Darwin on fabric in part of the piece. According to the lengthy brochure justifying the work, that "reference" should have been enough for me to say "ahh, Darwin, evolution, DNA, how insightful, how thoughtful..." Instead it made me think of how corrupt and meaningless the whole thing was (plus Darwin had nothing to d owith DNA). The artist just scrambled up a few "signs" and let the curators write and write on how brilliant it was.
This isn't against intellectual or conceptual work - it's against laziness. This stuff is trivial and weak - its work that stays outside the viewer. It's read, not experienced.
Another thing - if I was a photographer, I'd be pretty pissed about how alot of this kind of stuff uses photography to "document" things with no thought to how it looks - it reduces photography to it's mechanical side, when anyone who has taken a picture knows there's much more involved. It's as if photography is "neutral" because part of it is mechanical, but photography is anything but - it's a distorted way of reperesenting the world, just as distorted as drawing or writing.
Man, I'm really going off here...
Posted by w at 16:46