From the category archives:

Opinion

Replace this Very-Awkward Thanksgiving with Thank Immigrants Day

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 11, 2016
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This Thanksgiving is going to suck for a lot of people.

Most city dwellers really can’t stomach the prospect of having to sit with one crazy racist uncle who’s going to be gloating about Trump’s win. Why not stay in the city and inaugurate a new tradition?

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Unexpected Election Revelation: Joy Can Be Found in a Brooklyn Call Bank

by Paddy Johnson on October 7, 2016
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Art and the presidential race don’t often collide. Every once and a while we can report on an artist who’s rendered Trump with a small dick, or more recently, the bizarre Twinks4Trump art show. But mostly, the election replaces the art news on our feeds, rather than intermingles with it.

This past Wednesday I experienced a rare intersection of art and electoral politics in the most unlikely of places—Hillary Clinton’s campaign office.

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NEW INC’s “Public Beta” Showcase Is Incubating Something Weird

by Rhett Jones on July 29, 2016
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It’s been about 35 years since we were first promised a viable, commercial virtual reality headset. The time for that promise to be fulfilled seems to be upon us with major technology companies going all in on the research and infrastructure that will be necessary to make it happen both as a technology and a product.

NEW INC, the New Museum’s ambitious effort to fuse artist residencies, coworking spaces and business incubators into one singular program, has had two years to become a fully-formed innovation. It’s tough to say whether that’s happened yet, but the latest “Public Beta” (on through July 31st, part 2 will run from August 4-7th) is certainly different than any exhibition going right now and indicates that what’s to come could be a weird and original niche between several disciplinary worlds.

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I Won the Housing Lottery & Got a Poor Door

by Joyce Yu-Jean Lee on June 10, 2016
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One of the most common questions artists ask each other at openings is, “Where do you live?” Perhaps equivalent to the typical New Yorker’s “What do you do?”, most of the artists I’m meeting these days live in Brooklyn. On the rare occasion an artist like me answers “Manhattan,” eyebrows raise.

At least this has been my recent experience, so I quickly caveat with, “I won the housing lottery.” This usually provokes responses like, “Wow, that’s like winning the lottery!” Yes, it is. In fact, the odds were approximately 0.06%.

But being a lottery winner isn’t all limos and 6,000 square foot living rooms.

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Some Thoughts on the Turner Prize Shortlist

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on May 13, 2016
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The prestigious Turner Prize shortlist has been announced, and true to precedent, provides plenty of fodder for the British tabloids. GIANT BUTT SCULPTURE UP FOR £25,000 ART PRIZE. RIDE A MODEL TRAIN AND CALL IT ART? But the four artists selected ,Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten, and Josephine Pryde, aren’t quite what we’ve come to expect from Britain’s highest-profile art circus. A lot of this work is dense, nuanced, and less overtly attention-grabbing than the butt cheeks would have us believe.

The prize won’t be awarded until December 2016, but in an effort to get out front of the nominations and award game, we’re debating the merit of these nominees today.

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Can the Term “Gentrification” be Applied to the Internet?

by Rea McNamara on April 6, 2016
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On Monday, luxury lifestyle website Amuse published an interview with Petra Cortright, in which she used the term “gentrification” to describe how the internet is now less weird.

“I think the internet is becoming this really gentrified place,” the LA-based digital artist told writer Iona Goulder. “Today’s forms of social media feels more like people’s personal brands. Now it’s just people promoting their shit constantly and it makes stuff on the internet less weird. Everything feels more censored.”

Boosted by the interview’s SEO-driven headline — ”Petra Cortright on the Gentrification of the Internet” — the story circulated through my social feeds this week, eventually provoking a dust-up within some of my internet art circles. Cortright is among the increasing number of artists whose practices were shaped by the surf club era and who have gained bricks-and-mortar gallery representation and Rhizome cataloguing, so an overarching criticism of her statement stemmed from the perceived entitlement of an early internet user. There is an enduring fondness that borders on immaterial fetishization for a time when the internet was this unfettered, non-indexed boon of online amateur cultural production.

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Light City Baltimore Happened to a Resounding “Meh”

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 4, 2016
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For the past year, residents of Baltimore have been bombarded with hype about Light City, a free festival of music and “light art” in the Inner Harbor. The organizers have repeatedly compared it to South by Southwest and Art Basel (two extremely dissimilar events) and secured roughly $4 million in funding from a mix of public and private sponsors. But it seems like the only people excited about this thing are the people who paid for it.

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Philosophers and Donors Invited to MoCA’s Living Room

by Paddy Johnson on March 30, 2016
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Say good-bye to the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MOCCA). Henceforth the institution will be referred to as “The Museum” — or The Museum of Contemporary Art, or “everyone’s living room”.

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A 10th Grader’s Artwork Is Setting Off a Shitstorm of Ridiculous Controversy

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 25, 2016
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On March 15th, an exhibition of high school students’ artwork went up in the atrium of Denver’s Wellington Webb Municipal Building. And now a lot of grown men are crying crocodile tears about it. An unnamed 10th grader responded to an assignment to recontextualize a piece from art history with contemporary themes by combining Goya’s “The 3rd of May 1808” with the more recent “A Tale of Two Hoodies” by Michael D’Antuono. Those paintings commemorate the execution of Spanish resistance fighters by Napoleon’s armies, and the murders of African American youth by police and vigilantes, respectively.

Predictably, the #BlueLivesMatter reactionaries are out in full force to cry victim.

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The Willful Fantasy of a Robot Art Critic

by Rea McNamara on February 25, 2016
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Scientists, we’re told, have invented a robot art critic. Joe Berenson is a four year old robot-cum-research project currently rolling around the galleries of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris clad in a black bowler and white opera scarf. His robotic exoskeleton supports a camera for an eye; Berenson uses the camera to view hung works, and expresses his opinions with a frown or a smile. He’s the art world equivalent of Short Circuit’s Johnny Five, with a reportedly evolving, algorithmically-determined “artificial taste” thanks to his Rotten Tomatoes-like processing of the responses he observes in other museum visitors.

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