We’re going to dole out this week’s blogger prize for Most Offensive Post one day early, because we’re pretty sure no one’s going to top GalleristNY. Yesterday, the blog celebrated Jayson Musson’s first show at Salon 94 with a two-page profile on the artist full of racist undertones. That’s an awfully strong word, and because we don’t use it lightly, we’re going to highlight exactly what we don’t like and why.
The piece is loaded with brush-offs like “only a million [YouTube] views,” and at times is just plain inaccurate. Jayson Musson’s actual speaking voice is described as sounding “like Hennessy imitating a white person.” “Hip-hop” is reliably conflated with “idiotic,” which leads Gallerist to point out (over and over) that Hennessy is an idiot:
Hennessy wears cartoon-character caps and pharaoh chains, often introducing himself as “the pedagogic pimp,” and lectures in over-the-top thug speak on art world absurdities presented as pure fact. He’s seemingly too stupid to be angry about any of them.
As GalleristNY would have you believe, Hennessy couldn’t possibly understand the subjects he’s talking about because he’s not angry about them. But as Marina Galperina points out on Animal, this is to fundamentally misunderstand the character Musson has constructed. Hennessy isn’t playing a moron; he’s an amateur art educator who’s bringing his DIY classroom to YouTube.
That’s why the artists he mentions are, by and large, household names. Damien Hirst, Bruce Nauman, and Louise Bourgeois have all come up, precisely because Hennessy is explaining art to people who may not know those names.
Failing to understand this leads GalleristNY to claim that Hennessy discusses those artists solely on a “name-drop level.” That term suggests Hennessy isn’t adequately discussing the issues, which underestimates his videos. Meanwhile, GalleristNY itself ends its discussion of Musson’s new work in the second paragraph:
Last Thursday he was still stretching the Cosby ephemera over wooden frames like canvases for paintings. He said they were inspired by Jackson Pollock. I said they reminded me of David Hammons. “That’s because you’re a racist,” he deadpanned. “It’s okay, a lot of people don’t know that they are.”