A Brief History of Combining Crap with Crap

by Karen Archey on August 26, 2009 · 70 comments Events

POST BY KAREN ARCHEY

Robert Rauschenberg Dylaby, 1962. Mixed media

Is it only a matter of time before innovative aesthetics are subsumed into meaningless art world drivel? AFC’s recent European tour exposed us to a barrage of art consisting of refuse-piled-on-refuse-then-painted. The aesthetic itself isn’t anything new, but I’ve yet to witness a connection made between the work of younger artists like Rachel Harrison and Brendan Fowler to the Combines or Gluts of Rauschenberg. This isn’t to say that Harrison or Fowler’s work is pastiche. While both artists riff off their art world precursors, an abundance of selections at the fairs this year weren’t as successful. Images after the jump provide a selective chronology of work–some successful, other less so–beginning with Marcel Duchamp and ending with a selection from this summer’s Liste Fair in Basel. While work included in this post is of composed of “crap,” it isn’t necessarily “crappy.”


Marcel Duchamp Roue de Bicyclette, 1913. Assisted readymade. Image via Wikipedia

Though Rauschenberg’s work provides the most identifiable starting point for crap-on-crap art, we could attribute the inception of pairing together banal objects to Marcel Duchamp. The artist, largely thought of being ahead of his time, initiated a shift in Modernist artistic production by coupling such quotidian objects as a bicycle wheel and stool for his Assisted Readymades.


Robert Rauschenberg, Glut, mid 1980′s. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

Rauschenberg’s “Gluts,” all fabricated in mid-1980s Texas, consist of spare metal fused together by the artist. Unlike his Combines which pair non-metallic objects like tires, and sometimes taxidermy, Rauschenberg’s Gluts also aren’t painted. Much of the work here–especially that of Stockholder and Harrison–pairs consumer products with paint of a complementary color.


Cady Noland Mutated Pipe, 1989. Image via kunstmuseumsg.ch

Both Cady Noland’s art work and career are WEIRD. Although she largely exists outside of the “painting on crap” genre at issue here, Noland created her own, uniquely potent visual vocabulary consisting of unexceptional objects like crutches, chains, and wall-mounted steel poles. Curiously, (as curator Bob Nickas has worked to popularize,) Noland “dropped out” of the art world after experiencing major success in the 1980′s. Also, who can forget the hullabaloo surrounding Triple Candie‘s unauthorized, fabricated “retrospective,” Cady Noland Approximately?

Jessica Stockholder from Sailcloth Tears, 2009. Image via Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Jessica Stockholder could be accredited with popularizing the practice of pairing brightly colored consumer products with painted interventions.


Gerwald Rockenschaub Funky Minimal. Image via schulteswien.com

Is Gerwald Rockenschaub the artistic lovechild of Claes Oldenburg and Josef Albers? Largely unknown in the United States, the Austrian-born artist and DJ arranges sometimes inflatable, frequently blocky plastic objects. His installations often read as “blown up” paintings of geometric abstraction.


Rachel Harrison, Consider the Lobster, installation at Venice Biennale 2009. Photo AFC

Rachel Harrison combines painterly and architectural elements with found, sometimes banal objects. I’m not sure if the Richard Artschwager reference that commentor Amory Blaine pointed out in a previous post is intentional, but if it is, I like Rachel Harrison more than I thought I did. While her work is fairly aesthetically pleasing and titles enjoyably jocular, I’m waiting for the artist to let her mish mash of pop culture and art historical references stew into something more dynamic.


Rachel Harrison, Consider the Lobster, installation at Venice Biennale 2009. Photo AFC

Brendan Fowler CANCELLED Fall 2008 West Coast Tour poster (3 w/keyboard), 2009. Silkscreen ink, enamel, paper, C-print, frames, plexi. 46 x 54 x 6 inches. Image via Rental Gallery

I’m not sure if Brendan Fowler fits in here, but he probably matches the trash theme. During my last trip to Rental Gallery, I’m pretty sure I walked by some garbage on the street that looked strikingly similar Fowler’s work. That probably sounded awful and bitchy, but I’ve never before seen work consisting of pictures crashing through pictures in a gallery setting.  It undoubtedly has a precursor of some kind though.

Alex Hubbard Weekend Pass (video still), 2009. Image via Gallery-C.

I’m not sure what to make of Hubbard’s work, but this video still looks similar to some of the above work. Beyond the aesthetic similarity, the artist’s use of material is a little confusing here: is that a hand made out of wax, giving me the bird with flames shooting out of its middle finger on top of a staple gun, on top of a plinth?


Yutaka Aoki. Title unknown. Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo shown at Liste Fair, Basel CH

Ta-da! This work prompted our crappy list. Unless you’re Rebecca Morris, mixing Nickelodeon with Gerhard Richter generally won’t turn out favorable work. In fact, it gets our Piero Manzoni stamp of disapproval.

  • http://www.ethanham.com Ethan

    What about Kurt Schwitters? Oversight, doesn’t qualify as crap-on-crap, or just didn’t make the cut?

  • http://www.ethanham.com Ethan

    What about Kurt Schwitters? Oversight, doesn’t qualify as crap-on-crap, or just didn’t make the cut?

  • Manzoni

    Hi Karen,
    I guess I’m just tired of lazy, haphazard criticism. Thanks for updating your post. This young artist who got your Piero Manzoni stamp of disapproval will now be plagued by google searches for years with your all knowing prowess.
    I’ll admit its not up to par with most of the artists you’ve mentioned, but so what? He isn’t even using crap – he’s using paint, a pedestal, and a stretcher bar. Last time I checked those were used to make paintings.
    Back to the premise of your post, which predicts the downfall of the art world due to a recycled aesthetic, you forgot to mention one young artist who uses refuse and fails at it.
    What is your point? Artists can’t use junk like old Rauschenberg used to be able to?
    I’m struggling to understand why Rockenschaub and Hubbard fit with these artists as well.
    Is this the new criticism? It sounds like you typed this on your blackberry while waiting for your flight from Basel, culling from your personal art history faves.
    This isn’t writing, its your opinion and it reads closer to celebrity gossip than an art blog. Its just sad and pathetic to pick on an unknown artist, I’m sorry to say.
    If you’ve got a real reason to get down on someone’s work, that is just fine, but to say it in passing is just cowardly.
    Hope you find this honest opinion somewhat helpful.
    Very Best,
    The Real Manzoni

  • Manzoni

    Hi Karen,
    I guess I’m just tired of lazy, haphazard criticism. Thanks for updating your post. This young artist who got your Piero Manzoni stamp of disapproval will now be plagued by google searches for years with your all knowing prowess.
    I’ll admit its not up to par with most of the artists you’ve mentioned, but so what? He isn’t even using crap – he’s using paint, a pedestal, and a stretcher bar. Last time I checked those were used to make paintings.
    Back to the premise of your post, which predicts the downfall of the art world due to a recycled aesthetic, you forgot to mention one young artist who uses refuse and fails at it.
    What is your point? Artists can’t use junk like old Rauschenberg used to be able to?
    I’m struggling to understand why Rockenschaub and Hubbard fit with these artists as well.
    Is this the new criticism? It sounds like you typed this on your blackberry while waiting for your flight from Basel, culling from your personal art history faves.
    This isn’t writing, its your opinion and it reads closer to celebrity gossip than an art blog. Its just sad and pathetic to pick on an unknown artist, I’m sorry to say.
    If you’ve got a real reason to get down on someone’s work, that is just fine, but to say it in passing is just cowardly.
    Hope you find this honest opinion somewhat helpful.
    Very Best,
    The Real Manzoni

  • vanderleun

    What I find most revealing is not the well observed history of crap pile on crap that is presented here but the plain and evident fact that, as we move towards the present moment, the crap piled on crap gets crappier.

    With Rauschenberg and Duchamp you at least had the elements of draftsmanship and intellect operating. Now it’s just kids with no talent and a glue gun.

  • vanderleun

    What I find most revealing is not the well observed history of crap pile on crap that is presented here but the plain and evident fact that, as we move towards the present moment, the crap piled on crap gets crappier.

    With Rauschenberg and Duchamp you at least had the elements of draftsmanship and intellect operating. Now it’s just kids with no talent and a glue gun.

  • Pence

    I don’t understand how you would choose these artists. Rachel Harrison was one of the few who was involved in the unmonumental show at the new museum – which would be an interesting comparison to how aesthetics change over time (not only visually but content wise). Though I can understand why you would include her, I would never think of including Brendan Fowler in this article because his work has nothing to do with “ready made” or “Raushenberg aesthetics” in comparison. Though it may look similar I believe we can all agree that his aesthetic is influenced by Punk and other alternative cultural groups of recent decades. I agree with Manzoni (how can one not agree with Manzoni) you got it all wrong here.

  • http://none Pence

    I don’t understand how you would choose these artists. Rachel Harrison was one of the few who was involved in the unmonumental show at the new museum – which would be an interesting comparison to how aesthetics change over time (not only visually but content wise). Though I can understand why you would include her, I would never think of including Brendan Fowler in this article because his work has nothing to do with “ready made” or “Raushenberg aesthetics” in comparison. Though it may look similar I believe we can all agree that his aesthetic is influenced by Punk and other alternative cultural groups of recent decades. I agree with Manzoni (how can one not agree with Manzoni) you got it all wrong here.

  • SHEDBILDER

    Very well-put Manzoni. You echo my sentiments. The writing on this blog has been increasingly lazy as late– so much so that I am going to use it as an example of bad criticism in a class I am teaching this semester. The critical mark is indeed being bypassed for something much less reasoned. I particularly dislike the cheap-shots taken at work that is felt to be inferior, when true criticism devotes just as much thoughtfulness, if not more, to work that is problematic.

  • SHEDBILDER

    Very well-put Manzoni. You echo my sentiments. The writing on this blog has been increasingly lazy as late– so much so that I am going to use it as an example of bad criticism in a class I am teaching this semester. The critical mark is indeed being bypassed for something much less reasoned. I particularly dislike the cheap-shots taken at work that is felt to be inferior, when true criticism devotes just as much thoughtfulness, if not more, to work that is problematic.

  • ____

    If only the art world could look forward to gay baby head porn and gif collages.

  • ____

    If only the art world could look forward to gay baby head porn and gif collages.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Karen Archey

    Ethan — Schwitters just didn’t make the cut, though he’s a good example. I tried to keep this post as short as possible. There’s also Hanna Schwarz and a gazillion other people I just didn’t bring in.

    “Manzoni” — I do appreciate the honest criticism and also find lazy journalism annoying. This piece could indeed be developed more, and I understand that it may read as my “art history faves.” However, due to the ubiquity of artists using refuse as material it would be difficult to provide a relatively small selection of such artists not determined by my personal taste. I’m okay with my taste being part of that curatorial process, though. This post was never meant to be a comprehensive examination of artists using trash as assemblage — as I stated above, the post includes a “selective chronology.” Yes, that means I’ll leave out major artists for brevity, and I suppose the title is misleading. I accept that’s my fault.

    It was my initiative to imagine a starting point for a breed of art I found to be dangerously common at the fairs and elsewhere this year. What I didn’t state, and most definitely should have, is that as the chronology of this sort of art progresses, artists combining such banal objects turn more and more toward plastic and bright coloration. I chose to highlight Rockenschaub because a.) he isn’t well known in the US, b.) he bears a resemblance to some of Stockholder’s work, and, most importantly c.) his work is almost entirely made out of plastic, epitomizing a newer, cleaner version of a breed of art I see being connected to Harrison, Noland, Rauschenberg, etc. He’s on the opposite side of the spectrum from someone like Cady Noland, but the two are connected by artists like Rachel Harrison.

    I’ve recently had conversations with Paddy about blogs being a format for experimentation. By and large, the tone and content of this post was an experiment. Like I mentioned before, I expected a mixed reaction. I’ll take into consideration that a few of our readers didn’t like the post for the reasons stated while writing future posts, and hope to hear sincere, non-trolly feedback in the future.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Karen Archey

    Ethan — Schwitters just didn’t make the cut, though he’s a good example. I tried to keep this post as short as possible. There’s also Hanna Schwarz and a gazillion other people I just didn’t bring in.

    “Manzoni” — I do appreciate the honest criticism and also find lazy journalism annoying. This piece could indeed be developed more, and I understand that it may read as my “art history faves.” However, due to the ubiquity of artists using refuse as material it would be difficult to provide a relatively small selection of such artists not determined by my personal taste. I’m okay with my taste being part of that curatorial process, though. This post was never meant to be a comprehensive examination of artists using trash as assemblage — as I stated above, the post includes a “selective chronology.” Yes, that means I’ll leave out major artists for brevity, and I suppose the title is misleading. I accept that’s my fault.

    It was my initiative to imagine a starting point for a breed of art I found to be dangerously common at the fairs and elsewhere this year. What I didn’t state, and most definitely should have, is that as the chronology of this sort of art progresses, artists combining such banal objects turn more and more toward plastic and bright coloration. I chose to highlight Rockenschaub because a.) he isn’t well known in the US, b.) he bears a resemblance to some of Stockholder’s work, and, most importantly c.) his work is almost entirely made out of plastic, epitomizing a newer, cleaner version of a breed of art I see being connected to Harrison, Noland, Rauschenberg, etc. He’s on the opposite side of the spectrum from someone like Cady Noland, but the two are connected by artists like Rachel Harrison.

    I’ve recently had conversations with Paddy about blogs being a format for experimentation. By and large, the tone and content of this post was an experiment. Like I mentioned before, I expected a mixed reaction. I’ll take into consideration that a few of our readers didn’t like the post for the reasons stated while writing future posts, and hope to hear sincere, non-trolly feedback in the future.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    SHEDBILDER: I appreciate your feedback but there is a tone of condescension that I’d like to see dropped.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    SHEDBILDER: I appreciate your feedback but there is a tone of condescension that I’d like to see dropped.

  • greg.org

    this is the second purely experiential, impressionistic KA post that has completely pissed me off with its uninformed lack of awareness or substance. [the first was "Hans Ulrich Obrist Alien??" Only after reading Artforum's gossip columnist account did I find out there were actual topics of actual art historical interest being discussed at the Guggenheim. Who knew?]

    Chamberlain, Broodthaers, Kienholz, Merz, Genzken, Handforth, Kelley, Noble & Webster, Rhoades, Hirst, &c. &c. &c. you’re right! A lot of artists who incorporate junk, cheap crap, recyled material, flotsam, even outright trash into their work.

    But the only real thing tying these artists together, Karen, is the fact that you encountered them in the last month. Which is totally valid, and would totally support an observation that this looks like that, reminds me of that, formal strategies are whatever, everyone at Liste is looking back to whomever, all this shit starts to look the same, whatever you feel.

    But if you are serious about making sweeping pronouncements about “breeds” and “chronologies” of art, please do yourself and your readers a favor and crack open a book–an exhibition catalogue, a monograph, a history, or a magazine or even a website–first.

    Because you might be surprised to learn that someone at the New Museum just did a relevant exhibition on the topic like a year ago. Or that someone else showed five crap artists [sic] at the Hirshhorn way back in 2007. Or that Rachel Harrison has actually been exploring these formal and material and cultural questions–and many more!–with her sculptures for over twelve years. And on and on.

  • greg.org

    this is the second purely experiential, impressionistic KA post that has completely pissed me off with its uninformed lack of awareness or substance. [the first was "Hans Ulrich Obrist Alien??" Only after reading Artforum's gossip columnist account did I find out there were actual topics of actual art historical interest being discussed at the Guggenheim. Who knew?]

    Chamberlain, Broodthaers, Kienholz, Merz, Genzken, Handforth, Kelley, Noble & Webster, Rhoades, Hirst, &c. &c. &c. you’re right! A lot of artists who incorporate junk, cheap crap, recyled material, flotsam, even outright trash into their work.

    But the only real thing tying these artists together, Karen, is the fact that you encountered them in the last month. Which is totally valid, and would totally support an observation that this looks like that, reminds me of that, formal strategies are whatever, everyone at Liste is looking back to whomever, all this shit starts to look the same, whatever you feel.

    But if you are serious about making sweeping pronouncements about “breeds” and “chronologies” of art, please do yourself and your readers a favor and crack open a book–an exhibition catalogue, a monograph, a history, or a magazine or even a website–first.

    Because you might be surprised to learn that someone at the New Museum just did a relevant exhibition on the topic like a year ago. Or that someone else showed five crap artists [sic] at the Hirshhorn way back in 2007. Or that Rachel Harrison has actually been exploring these formal and material and cultural questions–and many more!–with her sculptures for over twelve years. And on and on.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Just a note to everyone to say that your feedback is appreciated. The commentors on this post have made some really good points — obviously this post has a few flaws. I think everyone here wants to see them addressed, so that’s what will happen going forward.

    Thanks,

    Paddy

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Just a note to everyone to say that your feedback is appreciated. The commentors on this post have made some really good points — obviously this post has a few flaws. I think everyone here wants to see them addressed, so that’s what will happen going forward.

    Thanks,

    Paddy

  • Becky

    Hi,
    Not to dogpile on, but a post containing sloppy spelling errors is not a well-thought-out post.

    “Is Gerwald Rockenschaub the artistic lovechild of Claes Oldenberg and Josef Albers?” — You have misspelled Oldenburg’s last name.

    “…pairs consumer products with paint of a complimentary color” — You want “complementary”, not “complimentary”.

    And from your follow up in the comments:

    “I appreciate your feedback but there is a tone of condescention that I’d like to see dropped.” — You have misspelled “condescension”.

  • Becky

    Hi,
    Not to dogpile on, but a post containing sloppy spelling errors is not a well-thought-out post.

    “Is Gerwald Rockenschaub the artistic lovechild of Claes Oldenberg and Josef Albers?” — You have misspelled Oldenburg’s last name.

    “…pairs consumer products with paint of a complimentary color” — You want “complementary”, not “complimentary”.

    And from your follow up in the comments:

    “I appreciate your feedback but there is a tone of condescention that I’d like to see dropped.” — You have misspelled “condescension”.

  • Sean Capone

    Offended commentators, please note in the first paragraph “while (the work) is composed of crap, it isn’t necessarily ‘crappy’.”

    Art criticism is first and foremost a reflection of a writer’s gut reactions, taste, and encounters. With the exception of the final artist on the list, the author was not negatively critical of the work, the tone in fact, I found, was pretty positive, and descriptive at worst.

    The problem might be that art criticism as a whole is too positive and permissive. There is a real resistance to the idea of admitting that a piece of art might be junk, poorly executed, and derivative. The reactions seem way out of proportion to the sentiments, however off-the-cuff, submitted by the author. “Artists can’t use junk like Rauschenberg used to?” Well, no. Because Rauschenberg already did it. Same with Duchamp. Any new artist abjectly adopting their punchlines might expect to called out for presenting received ideas.

    People, re-read the article, I didn’t see any “cheap shots” except maybe the last one, which was kind of funny.

    And that’s the point. AFC is a blog, a zine, it’s very name signals an irreverent and independent attitude. Lighten up, “crap-on-crap” artwork itself proposes the humble idea that: this is not sacred, this is not traditional, this is fast and loose and energetic.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Comment spelling corrected. Karen will correct the spelling errors in the post.

  • Sean Capone

    Offended commentators, please note in the first paragraph “while (the work) is composed of crap, it isn’t necessarily ‘crappy’.”

    Art criticism is first and foremost a reflection of a writer’s gut reactions, taste, and encounters. With the exception of the final artist on the list, the author was not negatively critical of the work, the tone in fact, I found, was pretty positive, and descriptive at worst.

    The problem might be that art criticism as a whole is too positive and permissive. There is a real resistance to the idea of admitting that a piece of art might be junk, poorly executed, and derivative. The reactions seem way out of proportion to the sentiments, however off-the-cuff, submitted by the author. “Artists can’t use junk like Rauschenberg used to?” Well, no. Because Rauschenberg already did it. Same with Duchamp. Any new artist abjectly adopting their punchlines might expect to called out for presenting received ideas.

    People, re-read the article, I didn’t see any “cheap shots” except maybe the last one, which was kind of funny.

    And that’s the point. AFC is a blog, a zine, it’s very name signals an irreverent and independent attitude. Lighten up, “crap-on-crap” artwork itself proposes the humble idea that: this is not sacred, this is not traditional, this is fast and loose and energetic.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Comment spelling corrected. Karen will correct the spelling errors in the post.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    This is a timely post, as the aesthetic discussed here was prevalent in “Unmonumental,” “Younger Than Jesus,” and the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. There is a tendency *not* to compare these artists, since each has his/her cult of collectors and supporters who want to believe their baby is an original genius rather than part of a herd (especially a herd running for some 80 years). The casual writing style is fine, it’s a blog, it’s OK to be flip if a point is being made. The point to me is this is now “art,” our official culture of museums and art fairs, and as you’ve presented it, it all looks pretty good, so maybe there’s a reason for its exalted status. What remains to be done is getting past the cults–the ugly business of parsing this work, making hard comparisons, and hurting people’s feelings.

    As for the uniform quality–perhaps it’s a tendency of jpegs to prettify and “electrify” everything, but I really don’t see a single bad picture in this post. Even that Yutaka Aoki has its merits–it’s unfortunate that wood frame is a stretcher because the Support/Surface discourse has been overdone but otherwise the punning between the plinth and wall seems fairly witty and the work well wrought–a light touch for a lighthearted piece.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    This is a timely post, as the aesthetic discussed here was prevalent in “Unmonumental,” “Younger Than Jesus,” and the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. There is a tendency *not* to compare these artists, since each has his/her cult of collectors and supporters who want to believe their baby is an original genius rather than part of a herd (especially a herd running for some 80 years). The casual writing style is fine, it’s a blog, it’s OK to be flip if a point is being made. The point to me is this is now “art,” our official culture of museums and art fairs, and as you’ve presented it, it all looks pretty good, so maybe there’s a reason for its exalted status. What remains to be done is getting past the cults–the ugly business of parsing this work, making hard comparisons, and hurting people’s feelings.

    As for the uniform quality–perhaps it’s a tendency of jpegs to prettify and “electrify” everything, but I really don’t see a single bad picture in this post. Even that Yutaka Aoki has its merits–it’s unfortunate that wood frame is a stretcher because the Support/Surface discourse has been overdone but otherwise the punning between the plinth and wall seems fairly witty and the work well wrought–a light touch for a lighthearted piece.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I would like to add my condolences to Paddy and the other writers here for the abusive and pedantic comments you have to endure. To the other commenters: You can disagree with a post but absolutely nothing is added by remarks such as “I guess I’m just tired of lazy, haphazard criticism,” “not a well-thought-out post,” “do yourself and your readers a favor and crack open a book…”

    This is a good forum but not a high and mighty institution such that it has to take these kinds of potshots. I will say from experience that at a certain point a blogger has a limit to how much of this s/he will endure. I reached a point where I got tired of waking up and reading personal accusations in response to things I wrote, and I had comparatively light traffic.

    If the bloggers here can endure these love bombs, fine, but as a reader they make me want to hurl.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I would like to add my condolences to Paddy and the other writers here for the abusive and pedantic comments you have to endure. To the other commenters: You can disagree with a post but absolutely nothing is added by remarks such as “I guess I’m just tired of lazy, haphazard criticism,” “not a well-thought-out post,” “do yourself and your readers a favor and crack open a book…”

    This is a good forum but not a high and mighty institution such that it has to take these kinds of potshots. I will say from experience that at a certain point a blogger has a limit to how much of this s/he will endure. I reached a point where I got tired of waking up and reading personal accusations in response to things I wrote, and I had comparatively light traffic.

    If the bloggers here can endure these love bombs, fine, but as a reader they make me want to hurl.

  • Manzoni

    Hi Tom,
    I’ll admit my comment yesterday was a little bit harsh, maybe even an overreaction. The last straw for me (and what prompted me to write a response) was the cheap shot on the last artist in the post, coupled with Paddy’s harsh criticisms of Sarah Milroy’s review on Thomas Nozkowski. If you can dole it out you should be willing to take it as well. My attack on Karen Archey’s writing is really just personal preference, for all we know it may be an intelligent forecast of things to come. But to be high and mighty of other writers’ work and then to have the so-called crap article, do I really need to explain?
    Yes this may just be a blog, and casual writing is OK, but I don’t think it should be used as an excuse. This is well-respected, well designed blog that I have treasured for the past few years. I think it has been getting a little snippy and sloppy at the wrong people as of late – I just find it distasteful.
    I’m truly sorry my response is offensive to you Tom, but its getting to the point where I don’t enjoy the writing and I wanted to let AFC know.
    Ideally these comment forums are great for further discussing the topic in which they are attached to, but it is also around so we can let writers know if they’ve gone off track. If AFC didn’t want to publish our comments – they just wouldn’t, its moderated, remember?
    Tom, in all seriousness, maybe you should move back to print, where a response is traditionally in the form of a letter – and we all know what is going on USPS.
    So, I still love you AFC. This got a little blown out of proportion and I do apologize.
    xoxo
    Manzoni

  • Manzoni

    Hi Tom,
    I’ll admit my comment yesterday was a little bit harsh, maybe even an overreaction. The last straw for me (and what prompted me to write a response) was the cheap shot on the last artist in the post, coupled with Paddy’s harsh criticisms of Sarah Milroy’s review on Thomas Nozkowski. If you can dole it out you should be willing to take it as well. My attack on Karen Archey’s writing is really just personal preference, for all we know it may be an intelligent forecast of things to come. But to be high and mighty of other writers’ work and then to have the so-called crap article, do I really need to explain?
    Yes this may just be a blog, and casual writing is OK, but I don’t think it should be used as an excuse. This is well-respected, well designed blog that I have treasured for the past few years. I think it has been getting a little snippy and sloppy at the wrong people as of late – I just find it distasteful.
    I’m truly sorry my response is offensive to you Tom, but its getting to the point where I don’t enjoy the writing and I wanted to let AFC know.
    Ideally these comment forums are great for further discussing the topic in which they are attached to, but it is also around so we can let writers know if they’ve gone off track. If AFC didn’t want to publish our comments – they just wouldn’t, its moderated, remember?
    Tom, in all seriousness, maybe you should move back to print, where a response is traditionally in the form of a letter – and we all know what is going on USPS.
    So, I still love you AFC. This got a little blown out of proportion and I do apologize.
    xoxo
    Manzoni

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Manzoni, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be telling commenters where their writing is best suited. Tom maintains an excellent blog, and personally, I’m glad it’s on his own site and not ArtForum.

    As far as what prompted the comment, since my harsh words for Milroy were what started this, I do think it’s unfair to pick quite so much on Karen. She may have written the post you didn’t like, but ultimately I okayed it. I don’t have the same issues so many commenters have pointed out, but some I thought were valid.

    In any event, I think there’s some mistake in taking the “if you dish it out you can take it” line of thought here, if only because the objective has always been to offer up criticism in a fair way. That sometimes means harsh, but we don’t want to be mean and we don’t want to be factually inaccurate. There have been times when I’ve made both those mistakes, but the hope is that there’s a body of work strong enough here that supports and encourages respectful feedback from commenters when those errors occur.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Manzoni, I don’t think it’s appropriate to be telling commenters where their writing is best suited. Tom maintains an excellent blog, and personally, I’m glad it’s on his own site and not ArtForum.

    As far as what prompted the comment, since my harsh words for Milroy were what started this, I do think it’s unfair to pick quite so much on Karen. She may have written the post you didn’t like, but ultimately I okayed it. I don’t have the same issues so many commenters have pointed out, but some I thought were valid.

    In any event, I think there’s some mistake in taking the “if you dish it out you can take it” line of thought here, if only because the objective has always been to offer up criticism in a fair way. That sometimes means harsh, but we don’t want to be mean and we don’t want to be factually inaccurate. There have been times when I’ve made both those mistakes, but the hope is that there’s a body of work strong enough here that supports and encourages respectful feedback from commenters when those errors occur.

  • Sean Capone

    Paddy, Karen, Tom, Manzoni: all else aside, no apologies required, please. As for the subject of crap on crap: Is there any insight into this trend that’s uniquely 21st century? I was really uncertain about the Unmonumental show overall. Same with the last Whitney Biennial. Abject-ness seems to be an important fixture in contemporary art, but I’m unsure how to distinguish most of this work from each other, or even what to say about it. I like Alex Hubbard’s videos, and Sarah Lucas’ pieces of this ilk seem to stand out for some reason, but in general it mostly looks pretty paint-by-numbers. Or assemblage-by-numbers. Get some junk. Attach it, arrange it. Drip some paint on it. Art! How is this new? Why is this interesting?
    Speaking of disapproving trends, if I see one more overly-precious-gridded-arrangement-of-everyday-items on a pedestal or under a vitrine I’m going to scream. Also, I think we’ve seen all the mirror-and-lightbulb installations we need to see. Modernism, we get it. Thank you.

  • Sean Capone

    Paddy, Karen, Tom, Manzoni: all else aside, no apologies required, please. As for the subject of crap on crap: Is there any insight into this trend that’s uniquely 21st century? I was really uncertain about the Unmonumental show overall. Same with the last Whitney Biennial. Abject-ness seems to be an important fixture in contemporary art, but I’m unsure how to distinguish most of this work from each other, or even what to say about it. I like Alex Hubbard’s videos, and Sarah Lucas’ pieces of this ilk seem to stand out for some reason, but in general it mostly looks pretty paint-by-numbers. Or assemblage-by-numbers. Get some junk. Attach it, arrange it. Drip some paint on it. Art! How is this new? Why is this interesting?
    Speaking of disapproving trends, if I see one more overly-precious-gridded-arrangement-of-everyday-items on a pedestal or under a vitrine I’m going to scream. Also, I think we’ve seen all the mirror-and-lightbulb installations we need to see. Modernism, we get it. Thank you.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Manzoni, if you think an argument is off track, offer a counterargument. “It sounds like you typed this on your blackberry” is just weak.

    Moderation of comments doesn’t mean deleting comments you don’t personally like, on a whim. If AFC did that no one would comment. (I’m not including death threats, libel, and other obvious violations of social norms.) Moderation means pointing out when commenters are straying off the track into personal attack and by and large Paddy does a good job and puts up with more sludge than I would before “tearing a commenter a new one.”

    As for moving back to print, I’ve been blogging for eight years and I have come to recognize disingenuous friendly advice from strangers when I read it.

    Thanks to Sean Capone for actually talking about the substance of the post!

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Manzoni, if you think an argument is off track, offer a counterargument. “It sounds like you typed this on your blackberry” is just weak.

    Moderation of comments doesn’t mean deleting comments you don’t personally like, on a whim. If AFC did that no one would comment. (I’m not including death threats, libel, and other obvious violations of social norms.) Moderation means pointing out when commenters are straying off the track into personal attack and by and large Paddy does a good job and puts up with more sludge than I would before “tearing a commenter a new one.”

    As for moving back to print, I’ve been blogging for eight years and I have come to recognize disingenuous friendly advice from strangers when I read it.

    Thanks to Sean Capone for actually talking about the substance of the post!

  • greg.org

    Sorry, Tom, it may be pedantic to call out someone writing a “brief history” for being willfully oblivious to history or context, but it’s not a potshot.

    Take just one statement: “The aesthetic itself isn’t anything new, but I’ve yet to witness a connection made between the work of younger artists like Rachel Harrison and Brendan Fowler to the Combines or Gluts of Rauschenberg.”

    Well, guess what, a comparison by Jerry Saltz, the NY Sun’s 2008 Whitney Biennial review, and a press release in Zurich are all in the first page of Google results for “Rachel Harrison” + “Robert Rauschenberg” + combines.

    The operating principle here isn’t the absence of connections or their suitability as a thesis topic at Bard; it’s that Karen hasn’t “witnessed”–or even Googled–them.

  • greg.org

    Sorry, Tom, it may be pedantic to call out someone writing a “brief history” for being willfully oblivious to history or context, but it’s not a potshot.

    Take just one statement: “The aesthetic itself isn’t anything new, but I’ve yet to witness a connection made between the work of younger artists like Rachel Harrison and Brendan Fowler to the Combines or Gluts of Rauschenberg.”

    Well, guess what, a comparison by Jerry Saltz, the NY Sun’s 2008 Whitney Biennial review, and a press release in Zurich are all in the first page of Google results for “Rachel Harrison” + “Robert Rauschenberg” + combines.

    The operating principle here isn’t the absence of connections or their suitability as a thesis topic at Bard; it’s that Karen hasn’t “witnessed”–or even Googled–them.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Everyone’s apologizing to me and then telling me why they’re right. I’m not the one who got dissed here, just the one has to read everyone’s little lectures to Karen.

    Greg, can’t you just point out what Karen doesn’t know without asking her if she’s ever read a book?

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Everyone’s apologizing to me and then telling me why they’re right. I’m not the one who got dissed here, just the one has to read everyone’s little lectures to Karen.

    Greg, can’t you just point out what Karen doesn’t know without asking her if she’s ever read a book?

  • http://www.justinmata.com Justin

    I’m with Sean, “why is this interesting?” (In regards to the art, not the post) Maybe I just haven’t seen it yet, but it seems we are still lacking the vocabulary to talk about the “crap on crap” or unmonumental work in a complex way. It seems there has been so little talk about the why and how this work has become so prominent (relationship to late-capitalism and production blah blah blah) and more talk about whether it is loved or hated. It’s here, it’s probably not going anywhere, so lets figure out how to talk about it. That’s more interesting.

  • http://www.justinmata.com Justin

    I’m with Sean, “why is this interesting?” (In regards to the art, not the post) Maybe I just haven’t seen it yet, but it seems we are still lacking the vocabulary to talk about the “crap on crap” or unmonumental work in a complex way. It seems there has been so little talk about the why and how this work has become so prominent (relationship to late-capitalism and production blah blah blah) and more talk about whether it is loved or hated. It’s here, it’s probably not going anywhere, so lets figure out how to talk about it. That’s more interesting.

  • mike

    @ Sean and Justin:
    Agreed; can we also illegalize (sic) the use of neon signage (for a little while, at least?)

  • mike

    @ Sean and Justin:
    Agreed; can we also illegalize (sic) the use of neon signage (for a little while, at least?)

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    1. Everybody’s broke and there’s always abundance of trash.
    2. Six years of art education teaches that high art is dead so everyone takes the low road.
    3. Disgust with capitalism and consumer culture.
    4. “Nihilism.”
    5. Genuine love of trash culture and its byproducts.
    6. Avoidance of known art materials.
    7. A way to make formal arrangements of things without being called “Greenbergian.”
    8. A way to be political without sloganeering.
    9. Genuine interest in the lineage of Schwitters/Rauschenberg–considering it an unfinished project.
    10. New trash (web and technology cast-offs) necessitates new ways of arranging trash (and new content unknown to Rauschenberg, et al).

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    1. Everybody’s broke and there’s always abundance of trash.
    2. Six years of art education teaches that high art is dead so everyone takes the low road.
    3. Disgust with capitalism and consumer culture.
    4. “Nihilism.”
    5. Genuine love of trash culture and its byproducts.
    6. Avoidance of known art materials.
    7. A way to make formal arrangements of things without being called “Greenbergian.”
    8. A way to be political without sloganeering.
    9. Genuine interest in the lineage of Schwitters/Rauschenberg–considering it an unfinished project.
    10. New trash (web and technology cast-offs) necessitates new ways of arranging trash (and new content unknown to Rauschenberg, et al).

  • Huh??

    Just to repeat what was smartly pointed out in another comment, Brendan Fowler’s work does not involve any trash. It involves no found objects. How it is in this post or compared to the trash on the street I’m curious to have to writer respond to?!
    Also, WTF is up with calling cady noland and her work ‘weird’!? Really? Really?! That’s just such strange normative language like your on the football team or something taking shots at the art kids? I just don’t get the usefullness or meaning of that at all. It’s almost offensive?

  • Huh??

    Just to repeat what was smartly pointed out in another comment, Brendan Fowler’s work does not involve any trash. It involves no found objects. How it is in this post or compared to the trash on the street I’m curious to have to writer respond to?!
    Also, WTF is up with calling cady noland and her work ‘weird’!? Really? Really?! That’s just such strange normative language like your on the football team or something taking shots at the art kids? I just don’t get the usefullness or meaning of that at all. It’s almost offensive?

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I’m not Karen but I took the “weird” as a compliment to Noland (Dude Where’s My Car as opposed to Heathers). To my eye Fowler’s keyboard bustin’ through picture-framed collages is not out of step with the other images here. It might be different in a room, but we will likely never see all these objects together in real space.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I’m not Karen but I took the “weird” as a compliment to Noland (Dude Where’s My Car as opposed to Heathers). To my eye Fowler’s keyboard bustin’ through picture-framed collages is not out of step with the other images here. It might be different in a room, but we will likely never see all these objects together in real space.

  • Aron Namenwirth

    I am jumping in here late( on vacation)- Karen great topic I think you are on to something here. For all the critics- sounds like you need a vacation. This is an a-list of artists – we love trash art for all the reasons Tom listed. Whats with lazy writing being a bad thing. Sounds like Calvinism. Anyone thinking about art in August is hardcore. Rock-on Art Fag City. Harrison”s Lobster’s are really in Vogue now – kinda like M. Streep killing one with a huge knife as Julia Childs. Funny how fashion changes not long ago lobsters were limited in # per week that they could be fed to servants. One person’s trash is anothers art and vice versa….

  • Aron Namenwirth

    I am jumping in here late( on vacation)- Karen great topic I think you are on to something here. For all the critics- sounds like you need a vacation. This is an a-list of artists – we love trash art for all the reasons Tom listed. Whats with lazy writing being a bad thing. Sounds like Calvinism. Anyone thinking about art in August is hardcore. Rock-on Art Fag City. Harrison”s Lobster’s are really in Vogue now – kinda like M. Streep killing one with a huge knife as Julia Childs. Funny how fashion changes not long ago lobsters were limited in # per week that they could be fed to servants. One person’s trash is anothers art and vice versa….

  • http://www.markcreegan.com markcreegan

    Justin- two books that come to mind that have added much to how we can intelligently think about and discuss works of art that use assemblagist or designating strategies: Martha Buskirk’s The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art and John Robert’s Intangibilities of Form: Skill and Deskilling in Art After the Readymade.

    And to flesh out Tom’s excellent list a little bit, I developed a practice that uses found objects and juxtaposition as both a rejection and broadening of traditional approaches. I cut my teeth in the 90s when artists like Noland, Tuttle, Janine Antoni, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and others influenced many in how we think of the weight and complexity of meaning behind objects, the consideration of materials and context, and employment of attitude.

    For the most part, it is an oversimplification to say using objects and contingent strategies is just a continuation of Duchamp. One would really need to consider precursor developments by Fluxus artists as well as the above mentioned. I am not saying all contemporary artists are aware of the continuum they are working within or that all make significant contributions to that continuum, but the concepts are there. “Crap on crap” is fine as well, a bit pithy and limiting but since I love my friend Deborah Fisher’s idea of “Crapture” I can only embrace everything said in this article as well.

    AS far as the criticism of this blogpost or the blog in general, my 2 cents is that I have been enjoying AFC for years, along with Edward Winkleman’s it is part of my daily routine. It has mostly been an entertaining oultet and a source of some interesting webites, art, and other wackiness, but there has also been some great insight expressed over the years. Its not trying to be Artforum and I dont expect it to have fully fleshed out critical analysis, it has its own quirky, shoot-from-the-hip feel that fits its irreverent title.

    And yes, thinking about art in August is hardcore!

  • http://www.markcreegan.com markcreegan

    Justin- two books that come to mind that have added much to how we can intelligently think about and discuss works of art that use assemblagist or designating strategies: Martha Buskirk’s The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art and John Robert’s Intangibilities of Form: Skill and Deskilling in Art After the Readymade.

    And to flesh out Tom’s excellent list a little bit, I developed a practice that uses found objects and juxtaposition as both a rejection and broadening of traditional approaches. I cut my teeth in the 90s when artists like Noland, Tuttle, Janine Antoni, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and others influenced many in how we think of the weight and complexity of meaning behind objects, the consideration of materials and context, and employment of attitude.

    For the most part, it is an oversimplification to say using objects and contingent strategies is just a continuation of Duchamp. One would really need to consider precursor developments by Fluxus artists as well as the above mentioned. I am not saying all contemporary artists are aware of the continuum they are working within or that all make significant contributions to that continuum, but the concepts are there. “Crap on crap” is fine as well, a bit pithy and limiting but since I love my friend Deborah Fisher’s idea of “Crapture” I can only embrace everything said in this article as well.

    AS far as the criticism of this blogpost or the blog in general, my 2 cents is that I have been enjoying AFC for years, along with Edward Winkleman’s it is part of my daily routine. It has mostly been an entertaining oultet and a source of some interesting webites, art, and other wackiness, but there has also been some great insight expressed over the years. Its not trying to be Artforum and I dont expect it to have fully fleshed out critical analysis, it has its own quirky, shoot-from-the-hip feel that fits its irreverent title.

    And yes, thinking about art in August is hardcore!

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Huh? There’s nothing wrong about using the word weird to describe Cady Noland’s work or career. Did you read the stories in the link to the auxiliary story on the unauthorized Triple Candie retrospective?

    Just last year I used the same word to describe Jeff Koons’ shtick about sense of self in his art work in Art Review, and nobody complained. I’m simply not going to entertain complaints on this site that the language isn’t specialized enough to be meaningful.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @Huh? There’s nothing wrong about using the word weird to describe Cady Noland’s work or career. Did you read the stories in the link to the auxiliary story on the unauthorized Triple Candie retrospective?

    Just last year I used the same word to describe Jeff Koons’ shtick about sense of self in his art work in Art Review, and nobody complained. I’m simply not going to entertain complaints on this site that the language isn’t specialized enough to be meaningful.

  • Manzoni

    Yes I agree my advice was disingenuous, my apologies, I clearly crossed the line. nI do think this is an interesting topic and if I could salvage any conversation I might add a few things.nnnTom, as to your 10 points, I am interested to hear which artists in particular you feel are successfully making work within this criteria. I think some are at odds with others, so clearly the same artist would not be making work with all of the same bullet points, but the ones that interested me the most are:n4. “Nihilism.” (I can only imagine a performance artist here)n8. A way to be political without sloganeering. (I think this can lead to very smart work – I think of Tom Friedman’s styrofoam cup stack http://www.artnet.com/artwork/425972332/424410353/tom-friedman-untitled-styrofoam-cups.html)n10. New trash (web and technology cast-offs) necessitates new ways of arranging trash (and new content unknown to Rauschenberg, et al). (This is something I’ve thought of for a long time – trash changes as technology changes – it becomes a different aesthetic altogether. what was trash like before plastics?)nnI think that Gerwald Rockenschaub’s work is very interesting – nThanks for the introduction, Karen.nalthough I would consider it cheap as apposed trashy. It reminds me more minimal stockholder, in the way she uses new plastic items. I think the interesting tie to these things as trash is that is easy to see items like these in the landfills – they are so abundant and disposable – they may as well be refuse as soon as they are purchased. There is something so temporary about an inflatable mattress. I’m surprised mine has lasted me for 4 years…nnKaren, I think it is out of place for me to judge your writing, I could have seen myself enjoying this piece a lot more if it weren’t for just a few of the elements, clearly I was ticked off by the mention of the last artist. I just think it would have been more effective had you explained your distaste for his work, rather than just stamping it as crappy.nI do think you are setting up some interesting comparisons, but I’d be interested in hearing more on how they relate to each other.nnonwards,nmanzoni

  • Manzoni

    Yes I agree my advice was disingenuous, my apologies, I clearly crossed the line. \nI do think this is an interesting topic and if I could salvage any conversation I might add a few things.\n\n\nTom, as to your 10 points, I am interested to hear which artists in particular you feel are successfully making work within this criteria. I think some are at odds with others, so clearly the same artist would not be making work with all of the same bullet points, but the ones that interested me the most are:\n4. “Nihilism.” (I can only imagine a performance artist here)\n8. A way to be political without sloganeering. (I think this can lead to very smart work – I think of Tom Friedman’s styrofoam cup stack http://www.artnet.com/artwork/425972332/424410353/tom-friedman-untitled-styrofoam-cups.html)\n10. New trash (web and technology cast-offs) necessitates new ways of arranging trash (and new content unknown to Rauschenberg, et al). (This is something I’ve thought of for a long time – trash changes as technology changes – it becomes a different aesthetic altogether. what was trash like before plastics?)\n\nI think that Gerwald Rockenschaub’s work is very interesting – \nThanks for the introduction, Karen.\nalthough I would consider it cheap as apposed trashy. It reminds me more minimal stockholder, in the way she uses new plastic items. I think the interesting tie to these things as trash is that is easy to see items like these in the landfills – they are so abundant and disposable – they may as well be refuse as soon as they are purchased. There is something so temporary about an inflatable mattress. I’m surprised mine has lasted me for 4 years…\n\nKaren, I think it is out of place for me to judge your writing, I could have seen myself enjoying this piece a lot more if it weren’t for just a few of the elements, clearly I was ticked off by the mention of the last artist. I just think it would have been more effective had you explained your distaste for his work, rather than just stamping it as crappy.\nI do think you are setting up some interesting comparisons, but I’d be interested in hearing more on how they relate to each other.\n\nonwards,\nmanzoni

  • ak

    Hi,

    Karen Archey must have been on to something if this post elicited such defensive remarks.

    I think whenever the issue becomes “spelling” the reproached is automatically the winner. (guilty)

    To draw from Tom Moody’s list: for me personally, far and away the most important reason is #6 “Avoidance of known art materials”. I don’t know why this seems so important that I want to universalize it. A friend told me they were eager to get into a wood shop and my initial (internal) reaction was that the resulting work would be too artful and forced, which is obviously idiotic. For me personally, it’s the “air of indifference” and that “I didn’t really try hard,” which isn’t true, but that’s part of it. I want it to look that way. I think this comes out of my few, earnest years as a painter–I would try really hard, and it would show, and still no one would care. (The paintings also weren’t good.) At least this way I can save face.

    I was reading a Greenberg essay recently and it is always nice to read something from decades ago (in this case 40 years ago) that is completely relevant today–it makes you realize you’re not on to something as relevant and “avant-garde” as you think you are. I think a edited extract, although lacking some context, is relevant here. I don’t agree with it all, and I think it can be said that two-dimensional work is no longer necessarily “pictorial”, but there’s something to that assertion.

    “The case of what passes nowadays for advanced-advanced art has its fascination. This isn’t owed to the quality of the art; rather it has to do with its very lack of quality. [...]

    Something like a break in the continuity of sculptural taste has appeared: something that looks, even, like a vacuum of taste. This ostensible vacuum has come in opportunely for academic sensibility that wants to mask itself. Here is the chance to escape not just from strict taste, but from taste as such. And it’s in this vacuum that avant-gardist art has produced, and performed, its most daring and spectacular novelties. But this vacuum also explains, finally, why they all come out so un-new, why phenomenal and configurational innovation doesn’t coincide the way it used to with the genuinely artistic kind.

    Art that realizes–and formalizes–itself in disregard of artistic expectations of any kind, or in response only to rudimentary ones, sinks to the level of that unformalized and infinitely realizable, sub academic, sub-kitsching art–that sub-art which is yet art–whose ubiquitousness I called attention to earlier. [...] Some recent art that happens not at all to be avant-gardist in spirit gets admired precisely when it fails to move you and because of what makes it fail to do so.”

    CG “Counter-Avant-Garde”

    At the end I think he’s talking about “conceptual art”

    Maybe that’s not that interesting.

    AFC #1

  • ak

    Hi,

    Karen Archey must have been on to something if this post elicited such defensive remarks.

    I think whenever the issue becomes “spelling” the reproached is automatically the winner. (guilty)

    To draw from Tom Moody’s list: for me personally, far and away the most important reason is #6 “Avoidance of known art materials”. I don’t know why this seems so important that I want to universalize it. A friend told me they were eager to get into a wood shop and my initial (internal) reaction was that the resulting work would be too artful and forced, which is obviously idiotic. For me personally, it’s the “air of indifference” and that “I didn’t really try hard,” which isn’t true, but that’s part of it. I want it to look that way. I think this comes out of my few, earnest years as a painter–I would try really hard, and it would show, and still no one would care. (The paintings also weren’t good.) At least this way I can save face.

    I was reading a Greenberg essay recently and it is always nice to read something from decades ago (in this case 40 years ago) that is completely relevant today–it makes you realize you’re not on to something as relevant and “avant-garde” as you think you are. I think a edited extract, although lacking some context, is relevant here. I don’t agree with it all, and I think it can be said that two-dimensional work is no longer necessarily “pictorial”, but there’s something to that assertion.

    “The case of what passes nowadays for advanced-advanced art has its fascination. This isn’t owed to the quality of the art; rather it has to do with its very lack of quality. [...]

    Something like a break in the continuity of sculptural taste has appeared: something that looks, even, like a vacuum of taste. This ostensible vacuum has come in opportunely for academic sensibility that wants to mask itself. Here is the chance to escape not just from strict taste, but from taste as such. And it’s in this vacuum that avant-gardist art has produced, and performed, its most daring and spectacular novelties. But this vacuum also explains, finally, why they all come out so un-new, why phenomenal and configurational innovation doesn’t coincide the way it used to with the genuinely artistic kind.

    Art that realizes–and formalizes–itself in disregard of artistic expectations of any kind, or in response only to rudimentary ones, sinks to the level of that unformalized and infinitely realizable, sub academic, sub-kitsching art–that sub-art which is yet art–whose ubiquitousness I called attention to earlier. [...] Some recent art that happens not at all to be avant-gardist in spirit gets admired precisely when it fails to move you and because of what makes it fail to do so.”

    CG “Counter-Avant-Garde”

    At the end I think he’s talking about “conceptual art”

    Maybe that’s not that interesting.

    AFC #1

  • http://hexane.org Patrick May

    In a gallery, any consumer product will stand out as “trash”. There is a tremendous amount of design and meaning invested in everyday items, making them potent but also risky materials. As with all sampling techniques there is a delicacy balance.

    The work can be elegant and tasteful, with a touch of whimsy introduced by the texture of the materials. Or it can become overwhelming and obnoxious when poorly considered.

  • http://hexane.org Patrick May

    In a gallery, any consumer product will stand out as “trash”. There is a tremendous amount of design and meaning invested in everyday items, making them potent but also risky materials. As with all sampling techniques there is a delicacy balance.

    The work can be elegant and tasteful, with a touch of whimsy introduced by the texture of the materials. Or it can become overwhelming and obnoxious when poorly considered.

  • ak

    This might be a good forum to bring to light a forgotten, but important artist from the 80s, Nick Moore. His work definitely owes a great deal to Rauschenberg, but he has without a doubt influenced some of the more established “assemblage” artists working today. He was working much of his career in Ohio, which I think was the reason his career never took off. A good intro to Nick Moore’s work here.

  • ak

    This might be a good forum to bring to light a forgotten, but important artist from the 80s, Nick Moore. His work definitely owes a great deal to Rauschenberg, but he has without a doubt influenced some of the more established “assemblage” artists working today. He was working much of his career in Ohio, which I think was the reason his career never took off. A good intro to Nick Moore’s work here.

  • http://www.anjaross.blogspot.com ANJA ROSS

    A Brief History of Combining Crap with Crap is the best title of earth, but infact I suggest you might do a real exhibition once more: Combining Crêpes with Crêpes as opening menue and Creeps with Creeps as crowd-individuals.

    thanks in advance, anja christine

  • http://www.anjaross.blogspot.com ANJA ROSS

    A Brief History of Combining Crap with Crap is the best title of earth, but infact I suggest you might do a real exhibition once more: Combining Crêpes with Crêpes as opening menue and Creeps with Creeps as crowd-individuals.

    thanks in advance, anja christine

  • http://www.anjaross.blogspot.com ANJA ROSS

    It seems that the next to last point of our “discussion”-comment is a close, a closing of a letter or just closing words which are/is loosing. Do not be angry!

  • http://www.anjaross.blogspot.com ANJA ROSS

    It seems that the next to last point of our “discussion”-comment is a close, a closing of a letter or just closing words which are/is loosing. Do not be angry!

Previous post:

Next post: