From the category archives:

Opinion

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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The Art Market Is Not a Unicorn

by Paddy Johnson on February 12, 2016
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Looks like people are getting more visibly worried about the market crashing. They are probably right.

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New York’s Foreign-Born Artists Face Visa Headaches, Uncertainty

by Marcelo Baez on January 26, 2016
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As thousands of US artists, gallerists, curators, collectors and critics prepare to visit Mexico City for the February art fairs with relative ease, we thought about all the hoops artists from “south of the border” must jump through to visit or work in New York. Despite the obstacles, a sizeable chunk of the city’s cultural workforce and art scene are here on visas. Unfortunately, those aren’t easy to come by or maintain. We asked musician, DJ, and writer Marcelo Baez to report on the conditions New York’s unsung art workers deal with just to live here.

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Should I Get An MFA? The 2016 Edition

by Rea McNamara on January 21, 2016
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Back in 2011 AFC asked the question, “Should I get an MFA?” At the time we leaned towards “No”. There were a number of reasons cited, the most pressing being that we believed it was too expensive and most artists could get the equivalent experience in the real world.

Five years later, has much changed?

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Why Rhizome’s $600,000 Mellon Grant is a Big Deal for Digital Preservation

by Rea McNamara on January 5, 2016
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New York-based new media non-profit Rhizome announced yesterday it was awarded a two-year $600,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build Webrecorder, a tool that allows users to archive the internet’s “dynamic content”.

It’s a big deal—the largest grant the organization has received in its 20-year history, and a signalling of the importance for institutions to steer the development of tech tools.

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Worst of 2015

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 30, 2015
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What were the top five most scandalous stories we covered this year? The ones people read, shared, and re-tweeted the most, of course. I delved into our site stats to ask why we love bad news so much.

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