Anyone else tired of Extra Textual Art? By this I mean work in which the value of the object unduly increases with the weight of its material’s history. Cornelia Parker‘s hanging mud balls escavated from the Leaning Tower of Pisa serves as a good example, as do her drips of mud on a glass panes, supposedly taken from Freud’s garden. I’m not a fan of art borrowing on the cultural cache of other workers.
Film also finds itself afflicted by the extra textual phenomenon, though the problems change slightly. In Alfredo Jaar’s Muxima, the artist creates a video so rife with obscure references, only viewers who have actually lived in Africa will get the full meaning. Offering up one of the more crushing criticisms I’ve heard recently, an anonymous friend described the work as “an even more boring version of a PBS documentary on Africa.”