PS1 Contemporary Art Center
That low hum of discontent you hear around the art world is over the quality of New York's museum shows. Over the past few months, that persistent problem has started to clang and now resembles something like a car without a muffler. No one's saying particularly good things about the state of museum curating in the city, but on the plus side, the fact that so many people seem more interested in the practice is elevating the discourse surrounding what it means to put on a show in New York City.
The past year has seen a significant amount of change occur in a short period of time, with established curators named directors at our city's major institutions. The Metropolitan Museum, our gold standard, named Thomas Campbell as its new director (an accomplished curator with a specialty in European tapestry) and Klaus Biesenbach, a former curator known for mounting displays of performance and conceptual art, is now the director of P.S.1. Although not typically in the same league, the overlooked Cooper-Hewitt even named an actual designer, Bill Moggridge, instead of another bureaucrat. Curators and practitioners, instead of showmen with big renovation and expansion plans but little functional experience, seem to be de rigeur.
Then there was the kerfuffle over the New Museum's decision to show a selection of works from the collection of museum trustee Dakis Joannou, curated by superstar artist Jeff Koons. Led by James Wagner and Tyler Green, the soon-to-launch Skin Fruit exhibition troubled many, myself included, and erupted into heated blog posts denouncing the precedent-setting move. After all, the exhibition stands to increase the value of Joannou's Athens-based collection quite a bit when it opens March 3, though Koons may throw a wrench into the proceedings: His inexperience at both viewing and curating contemporary art could very well yield poor results. It seems size, however, does matter: Joannou's collection of contemporary art may well be the largest in the world, and the exhibit will include more than 100 works by 50 international artists. And less than a third of the show contains female artists.
To read the full piece click here.