@Print Magazine: Ryder Ripps Searches For Honesty Online

by Paddy Johnson on October 11, 2011 · 12 comments Opinion

Ryder Ripps's iPhone poetry

I wrote a profile on Ryder Ripps for Print Magazine’s latest issue on identity. The whole piece is worth a read, but I particularly liked the quote below:

“Web design and branding is about developing contextual relationships with human beings,” Ripps says, “and being a good artist is about having a lot of friends.” It's an idea seen not just in his M.I.A. websites but in his larger work as well. Most of us like to believe, on the contrary, that the quality of art is paramount to its evaluation; Ripps is simply interested in exposing people to it. “Art lives within society, and society by definition is social,” he says. “So if you're not making an impact on many people, you're not going to be a known artist. There's the folk model, the Henry Dargers of the world who get discovered after the fact, but to me that's really bleak and not glamorous at all.”

I’m not sure how contentious an opinion like this is amongst heavy social media users; nobody’s comparing Facebook friends, but we’re all counting them. It’s good to hear an artist actually say it, even if it doesn’t sound very nice. The full piece here.


GiovanniGF October 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I think his phrase “not glamorous at all” says it all. If glamor is his idea of good art, I guess you can’t get much better than, say, Damien Hirst, while artists such as Chris Martin or Thomas Nozkowski are unmeasurably inferior. Fuck that.

Anonymous October 12, 2011 at 4:54 am

I mentioned this on facebook, but in the case of Ripps, I really don’t think this is an issue. He collaborates with everyone. His work would visibly suffer without a lot of friends. 

Jesse P. Martin October 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm

It makes sense that Ripps measures quality by quantity. The intro paragraph from Sam Pulitzer’s review of Trecartin’s (another nexus that Ripps orbits) PS1 exhibition could apply to Ripps’ practice as well: “Emulating the information networks that are its chief distribution platform, (Ripps’) digital cinema doesn’t tell stories–it generates content. And then some. Like all of (Ripps’) (works), these are replete with the fashion-conscious use of post-gender drag, zeitgeist-baiting sound bites, hyperkinetic montages of live and animated footage, and a troupe of youthful protagonists who nimbly wend their way through a rapid sequence of surreally anarchic situations.”

Sure, ‘having a lot of friends’ is great, but it feels critically important to define both ‘having’ and ‘friends’.

Also, while I enjoy the promiscuous (digital) hemorrhaging of style & content via multiple platforms of our Integrated & Democratic SuperNetworkz, it feels like this arty niche of SuperCulture has already broken into (and been embraced by) the mainstream. Minaj’s video for ‘Super Bass,’ for example & broadly speaking, is full of the chameleonic antics (visually & lyrically) that Ripps and Trecartin (and M.I.A., and Facebook, and dump.fm) truck in as well.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t love it all. And that I’m not really interested in being all of your friends. Honestly (online, that is).

Jesse P. Martin October 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm
John Lithgow October 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm

ryder ripps is not an artist 

Anonymous October 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I think this comment needs a little more substance to survive on this post. Care to explain. 

Anonymous October 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm
Movaco1 October 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm

If “good” is the same as “popular”, he’s absolute right.

Tim Whidden October 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

Meh. All artists working in his vein are heirs of Warhol & Duchamp. Taken in that context, the sentiment seems par for the course, not provocative really. Pretty stale.

Michael Manning October 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

u dont get it

Jesse P. Martin October 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Maybe I’m alone on this, but I’m hard-pressed to imagine a more “glamorous” scenario than having Dakota Fanning narrate your (posthumous, semi-animated) documentary. Or maybe that’s the textbook definition of “bleak”…

Shamus Clisset October 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I totally agree with that last part about the block of color floating across the screen. I loathe that kind of stuff too – but I’m not sure that a barrage of internet junk and a ton of facebook friends is really such a great alternative to that, either. 

I think it’s interesting that he brings up Harry Potter - if he was really out there trying to make something to compete with that I think I’d find it much more interesting (whether or not you want magic wands flying at your face is another question). but I would argue that the tools are already out there right now to create some kind of bigger experience than remixing gif’s or clicking your enthusiasm for something in a new way. and you don’t necessarily need a huge budget, either – it’s more a matter of craftsmanship and patience and hard work. but a lot of “new media” artists just don’t seem to be interested in that kind of effort. the focus is on instant, fleeting gratification; more like a crack fix than art.

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