With budget cuts affecting all parts of the art world, it’s always good to keep an eye on what’s happening here and abroad. Afterall just published an essay on the state of Scotland’s art funding, and it looks to be a fascinating, if somewhat dry, expose on what’s been described as “half-baked” and “damaged at the core.”
There’s all sorts of debate, like whether Creative Scotland should’ve granted 15 thousand pounds to a reality TV show about chefs. Another problem seems to be the council’s shift from government grants, which have been cut, to sourcing its funds from the national lottery. All this fracas resulted in a damning public petition, signed by artists like Martin Boyce and Douglas Gordon. That letter called out Creative Scotland for its “ill-conceived decision-making; unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture.” Ouch. Maybe things aren’t so bad here in the States?
The Sixties in a Cube, Social Text
What the hell is a flash cube? It’s a battery-operated, cube-shaped device for flash cameras, with was used from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies. Marget Long’s 2012 book Flash+Cube (1965-1975) documents the forgotten technology alongside images from the flash cube’s lifetime, as well as Long’s own photographs and blog entries. Anna McCarthy’s image essay makes the book look like an elegy to “the modern fantasy of portable culture.” It’s also proof that we can festishize almost everything; the flash cube itself doesn’t seem like a particularly compelling piece of technology, but we love what it represents.
The End of Us Versus Them, Cluster Mag
Brad Troemel noticed a trend in contemporary art: net artists are adopting corporate brands instead of outright critiquing them. Once upon a time, it would’ve seemed more radical to go off the grid, and do something alternative to the mainstream. Now, we have Ryder Ripps as an unofficial spokesman for Underarmour.
Overall, what we appreciate about Troemel’s piece is that it’s not a strict takedown of corporate interests, or artists. He never outright slams Ryder Ripps; he just announces that he’s one of many taking part in a trend. A movement, as they might have called it once upon a time.
An article sent to us twice by artist William Powhida, and an uncharacteristically easy read for October, a publication known for its lengthy and dense texts. In it, Greer observes Modernism is experiencing a renewed popularity and influence amongst many contemporary artists. He suggests a return to foundations is common in times of great anxiety and upheaval, (though this seems to characterize almost any time in contemporary history).
Neo-Modernism is the term for the trend Greer observes, and much of the paper is dedicated to describing its characteristics. Fittingly, only male artists are mentioned (Marina Abramovic not withstanding).