Tom Moody, BLOG, (Terminal), Photograph AFC
Hi Tom! Sorry I missed your opening, but I’m here now talking to Aron about your work. It looks great! Also, I’m glad it’s displayed in the main gallery space [not the office].
Hi, Paddy, OK, its time for me to come out from behind that white box and admit I’ve been in here the whole time and BLOG is all manually done like the minus space “blog.”
Naturally, I’m thrilled that someone will have the opportunity to purchase the exchange I participated in above whereby New Media artist Tom Moody suggests his “blog” is actually a literalised performance, and locates himself inside his exhibition pedestal. I suspect however that most people bring a good deal more skepticism to the piece now on display at artMovingProjects than I have. After all, why should a blog be sold as a purchasable item when you can look at it for free in the comfort of your own home? Sure collectors now have the opportunity to purchase a more “objecty” version of the blog; a limited edition DVD which features a month’s worth of exhibition related and regular posting, or Terminal which includes a pedestal/keyboard stand and gear with a dedicated hard drive for Moody’s blogging activities during the exhibition, but still…does this not grossly over estimate the importance of a blog?
Well, yes, but Tom Moody doesn’t use a traditional blogging model, so evaluating it within the perimeters of a regular blog will inevitably lead viewers to an erroneous conclusion. To my mind BLOG needs to be exhibited because it represents a portion of one of the most important new media documents on the web today. Perhaps best described as a digital sketchbook, Moody’s site is a mix of his own work, his critical writing, and political thoughts. What’s more it attracts some of the most intelligent comment threads I’ve read on any blog.
Like most work, it’s not that there aren’t other examples of artists who take similar approaches, it’s that nobody has done it as well, or for as long as Moody. Now, evaluating what is essentially a month long performance piece three days in is a little like judging an Eyebeam reBlogger prior to their reblogging (see this post for an explanation on reblogging) , so rather than discuss a couple posts from the opening I missed, I thought I would link to three archived posts written within the last year. These posts are indicative of the kind of work you can expect to see on his blog, and part of the reason his blog is being exhibited in the first place.
- Last year I linked to a post where Moody had distilled the sentiments expressed in Jerry Saltz’s feature on the Walid Raad show at the Kitchen in the style of a Donald Judd review. (Update: To be clear, Moody doesn’t change Saltz’s words, he just condenses/crops his thoughts.) I liked the gesture, not only because it showed the strength of art writing that occurred in the 1960’s but because it drew a connection between the directness of his own writing and that of another artist. I like to think that directness is a result of the critical oneupsmanship that permeates artist culture, (there can be no better sign of a good artist than a highly discerning eye,) though there are so few who do it well, that the theory would be next to impossible to prove.
- I’ve included the above pool gif as a recent example of Moody’s art, because I think the piece deserves attention and underscores the importance of his blog as a means of showcasing his work. I suppose an obvious parallel to this work are David Hockney pools, though I tend to feel the similarities are limited to palette and subject matter as opposed to approach. Unlike Hockney’s works which are typically frozen and even lonely in their sparseness, this work breaths as though alive, and suggests the presence of many both in its movement and construction (the piece is a collage of many pool images found on the web.) I should note before moving on, that one aspect of Moody’s blog that I actually enjoy is the fact that I don’t like all the art he posts. To understand an artists process you really have to be able to view a full lineage of work, because from this a viewer can see what is accepted and reused in later works, and what isn’t. This kind of information really enriches the viewing experience.
- Tom Moody ran the above image with the very appropriate headline Most meaningless use of a religious icon reference in a press photo. The artist’s political posts typically have little to do with Moody’s art or criticism, but for the fact that Moody clearly believes it important for an artist to be at least somewhat politically engaged, but I have highlighted this piece because I think the title alone represents an excellent merging of political and aesthetic criticism. The article this particular photograph ran with in the New York Times detailed congress’s current session which concluded without having done much of anything. Moody makes fun of the photographer, and adds an anecdote from Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man
It occurs to me after having written this post, that I would love to see artMovingProjects and Tom Moody invite a blog curator to put together a greatest hits DVD as another incarnation of this show. The artist has archives listing back to 2001, so a curated version of his blog would without a doubt be something I’d pay to own.