I have the cover of the L Magazine this week, with a story on the Internet art bubble, as the hype engine behind the mad buzz Cory Arcangel and Ryan Trecartin have received. Hopefully, this will in part, explain the common Trecartin lament expressed by a friend last week, “This stuff has been a staple of drag shows for 20 years now. We’re all wondering why he’s the one to get famous.” An excerpt,
The internet finally seems to have made a dint in New York’s institutional art world. Cory Arcangel, an artist who began his career manipulating old computer technologies and critiquing web culture, has an entire floor to himself at The Whitney. At the age of 33, his show Pro Tools makes him the youngest artist to receive a solo show at the institution since Bruce Nauman in 1973. Meanwhile, over at MoMA PS1, 30-year-old art starRyan Trecartin is gathering steam with his four hour-plus video exhibiton of fucked-up child-adults on Blackberries, titled Any Ever. The show at PS1, chock full of internet jargon, is just one stop on a world tour that includes the Istanbul Modern Museum and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Given the ridiculous level of buzz now surrounding these shows, one has to wonder just what we’re expecting from the art. Although local critics have mostly panned Arcangel’s exhibition, initial press included profiles in The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and the New York Times—a barometer of significant pre-show hype. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to proffer an opinion about that show, even if they haven’t seen the exhibition or don’t know anything about the art, a sure sign of The Emperor Has No Clothes syndrome. While Ryan Trecartin’s pre-press was a little more subdued, once the show opened critics basically queued up to laud it. The Times‘s Roberta Smith described the show as a “game-changer,” praise topped only by The New Yorker‘s Peter Schjeldahl, who described Trecartin as “the most consequential artist to emerge since the mid-eighties.” Apparently, he’s our Jeff Koons.
Two questions come to mind: First, is it really the art that’s prompting this clamor? And second, how did Arcangel and Trecartin end up garnering such a focus in the first place?
To read the full piece click here.