Massive Links! Ai Wei Wei Protest, Piss Christ Destroyed, Critics Blathering About Criticism
Ai Wei Wei's Chairs
- Both a tribute Ai Wei Wei’s 2007 installation Fairytale: 1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs at Documenta 12, and a protest of the Chinese Government’s continued detention of the artist for unspecified economic crimes, thousands gathered outside Chinese Embassies in cities across North America and Europe to show their support for the artist. Look to 16 miles, Hyperallergic, Greg.org and Eyeteeth for full reports. Sadly, I missed the protest as I was on an early train to Dia. Robert Whitman’s opening performance occurred later that night, a non-narrative theatrical tribute to slowness. A full report on that soon.
- Former AFC intern Julia Halperin has a new column at ArtInfo titled “Definitions” and it’s generating a lot of discussion. First term to tackle? “Emerging”. Halperin asked Zach Miner of Phillips De Pury and a bunch of artists at Rachel Uffner Gallery how they define the term. “Between unknown and overexposed?” quips the ever-reliable Roger White. White co-founded Paper Monument and is known for his depressingly bleak watercolors of Britta waterfilters. Artist Pam Lins hates the term, saying it’s characterized by a short time span and is therefore “at odds with a lifelong engagement of art”. Professor Terry Smith says the term designates eligibility for grants in Canada, Australia, and Germany, etc. I personally don’t have a problem with the word; I’ve always thought “emerging” evoked both hope and excitement for the future, unlike “mid-career”, a term with relatively little pizazz that also happens to be very close to the hateful designation “middle-aged”. We need to come up with a better word for mid-career.
- There’s been a lot of discussion surfacing again about why the review is a form of writing that either does or doesn’t need an update. To my mind, Roberta Smith recent review of Richard Serra’s’ drawings at The Met is exactly the kind of piece that refutes the idea that the internet has so transformed the art world that traditional criticism is no longer needed. Good reviews provide historical context, hard looking, and critical thinking. From Smith,
It is not quite like anything seen at the Met before: genuinely radical, physically unsettling art installed with a reasonable degree of effectiveness. It proclaims this august institution's commitment to recent art with an encouraging forcefulness.
But there are shortcomings. For one thing — and this is basic — drawing doesn't afford Mr. Serra the same leeway in terms of real space, real materials and audience participation that sculpture does. He is, in fact, a more austere, abstract, hermetic, “difficult” artist in drawing than in sculpture, and this narrowness sometimes accentuates his penchant for bombast and opacity.
When do you ever see this kind of writing and thinking in a reported piece? You don’t.
- Related: Robert Storr pens his final column for Frieze describing critics as agile bottom feeders. He goes on to complain that increasingly participation means little more than getting a word in edgewise. These sound like the words of a critic without an active Facebook account.
- Finally, what’s a Massive Link post without at least one link or screen grab from a dating site? The Internet celebrates OKCupid for deleting someone’s account because he made threatening and racist remarks. I’m sure he’s made a new one by now.