Massive Links! Social Media/Credit Default Swap Edition

by Art Fag City on April 3, 2009 · 1 comment Events

Jerry Saltz, Art Fag City, Facebook
Facebook Screengrab AFC

Art critic Jerry Saltz asks Facebook “friends” which critics they liked best, why so few of those chosen are from ArtForum, and what art magazines they prefer. Probably the most interesting piece of information culled from the thread on critics came in the form of Dave Hickey love– I had no idea people were still reading him so religiously. I imagine his recent column at Art in America helps, though comment threads are often directed by early or frequent commenters. Simply reading his name can inspire a like-minded vote. By contrast, Howard Halle at Time Out showed up infrequently at best in Saltz’s conversation, though few critics come anywhere close to approaching his consistency. [Disclosure: I occasionally contribute to Time Out, though my opinion would be in no way different were this not the case.]

Art Fag City, Richard Allen Morris, Howard Halle
Richard Allen Morris, For Mexico, Photograph: Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Speaking of Howard Halle– a set of well-put observations on the state of the art world from the editor,

Not too long ago, while conversing with a Chinatown gallerist, the subject of where art was headed came up. I offered that things seemed to be moving in a more subjective direction, though I added that I wasn’t sure what I meant by that. “I think I do,” she interjected. “One of my artists came into the gallery recently and said, 'I’ve started making art for myself.'”

A wise move given the economy, but also an indication of just how far we’ve drifted from what had been a core tenet of modernism: that first and foremost, you created for yourself. If society caught up with you, so much the better, but it wasn’t an expectation.

Today, artists set out to cultivate audiences from the get-go, mainly by rehearsing well-worn conventions of edginess. While this approach can produce good art—Pipilotti Rist’s MoMA installation is a prime example—the more typical result is a Jeff Koons balloon dog. That such work represents the visual equivalent of a credit default swap seems to be lost on people with otherwise excellent taste, but then, the Wall Street mess was created by supposedly smart folks too.

Even though I think the lede is great and generally on point,  I don’t agree with the Pipilotti Rist – Jeff Koons contrast. There’s no way to say this without sounding elitist, but the Rist show felt hopelessly 1999 candy-raver bourgeoisie, while “the-height-of-pop-culture” idea of Koons inflatables still seems salient.  Lump me into the group of people with otherwise excellent taste, I guess.  Halle goes on to offers a lot of great thoughts on the work of Richard Allen Morris.

Art Fag City, Time Out chicago, social media, Art Babble

In related social media news, Time Out Chicago reports the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) will launch ArtBabble this month– a website dedicated to art-related videos. Apparently six or seven big name institutions will participate, so I’m looking forward to using the database. I will, however, lodge some initial font and design reservations. [Editor’s note: I’m quoted in this article, so I’m naturally invested in it.]

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