Just how bad would one of the Republican candidates be for the arts in America? Ahead of the upcoming New York primaries, I decided to find out. It’s looking pretty bleak in the GOP, but at least this race has been as surreal and entertaining as a Ryan Trecartin tribute to Hieronymus Bosch. Below, I’ve researched each of the candidates’ histories and policies on the arts and affordable housing. If I’ve missed something, feel free to contribute in the comments, but keep it a little more civil than a Trump rally.
Add AC Repair & Co. to the long list of galleries now setting shop in Junction Triangle, the city’s newest gallery district. Founded by curators Emma Clough and Jess Carroll, it’s a unique entry in the commercial gallery scene thanks to its small scale and non-traditional walls. It’s literally a 324 square foot garage, with no running water or toilet.
“We were inspired by galleries that were making creative use of unconventional space in cities outside the traditional ‘art capitals’, such as the recently-closed Appendix gallery in Portland, as well as Young World in Detroit,” says Clough and Carroll in an email interview with AFC.
This interest plays into Clough and Carroll’s sales strategy: keeping costs low so they can take a chance on selling work by artists lacking the “kind of commercial legacy that a lot of gallerists are looking for,” says the duo. “Toronto has a lot of great, young artists who find it hard to align themselves with commercial galleries as they find that they’re intimidated or their freedom is restricted. Because AC is such a small, raw space with low overhead, we have the freedom that a larger commercial gallery does not. We want to work with artists who are pushing the envelope.”
I don’t know why, but recently everyone seems to be sharing GIFs of assembly lines. Maybe we derive a masochistic pleasure from “seeing how the sausage is made” or something. Some people are probably subconsciously comforted by the looping format of a GIF, which seems to suggest we’ll never run out of resources to consume. Others might feel a tinge of panic at the speed with which this endless parade of crap is fabricated. A few weeks ago, I was utterly transfixed by this video of a sewing needle factory, which shows all the unexpectedly complex steps required to make this tiny object I handle on a near-daily basis. Perhaps we’re so detached from traditional labor that the sight of a thing being made is exotic.
At any rate, some assembly line GIFs are totally horrifying, like the baby chickens on their way to factory farms. Others, like the ice cream being squirted into bowls are equal parts disgusting and satisfying for the simplicity of an action creating a finished product.
Sometimes, I really miss being an undergrad at art school. You know how there was always that one stoner girl who got along with everyone but you never really see anymore and was just such a reassuring bundle of warmth and humor? Like, she’d be totally zoned-out during a group critique of something ridiculous but manage to give the illusion that she was paying undivided attention to whatever was going on. And if that happened to be a performance art piece that involved the artist dancing topless in her underwear while wearing an oversized bunny head (because, it’s like, about reclaiming the iconography of Playboy or something) she would think it was really good. Until, of course, you made eye contact with her and then neither of you would be able to stop laughing.
Anyway, this GIF doesn’t look like it’s from an art school studio, but it totally captures that vibe. See what I mean, after the jump.
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.
At least half the fun on any spectacle is the after-chat: the armchair philosophizing, the intention guessing, the interpretation, the endless acts of interpretation. The ancient Romans knew that much.
For instance, think of Beyonce’s recent Super Bowl performance, which is now generating MA theses, or Taylor Swift’s over-discussed Grammy speech, or, even more fleeting but just as worthy of spin-offs, that moment during the Golden Globes when Lady Gaga bumped into Leonardo Di Caprio – memes sprung up like freshly watered Sea Monkeys. (And, no, I hardly think it accidental that these three examples are all centred on people who present as female – women are still watched far more closely than men, because men still run the shows).
Paul Pfeiffer’s tri-part video installation, “Three Figures in a Room”, digs into this watch-analyse-watch again circle by distilling one world media event (a televised boxing match) to its core elements – sights and sounds.
Normally a GIF like this would set off my cutesy radar, but living on the 7 line in New York negates pretty much all of that sensitivity. Welcome to the new 24 hour rush hour.