art, culture, politics, democracy

Month: March, 2016

Prelude to a Residency at the ICI – Part 2

ICI Residency 2016

Notes on the Hidden Avant Garde – Or, If I Was Exhibiting, Would I Give A Shit!

Second thoughts (Beginning 3.24.16):

  1. OK. Let’s start over. Forget about art. Forget about exhibiting. Forget about all of the art world issues that are commonly discussed when two or more artists get together.
  1. Let’s go back to when it was all joy. Go back to when picking up a brush, or a camera, or whatever, was new, exciting, interesting – when what was being done was being done not for the sake of art and all that surrounds whatever that notion entails, but for the sake of doing that thing – that thing that was exciting. When seeing something form and/or appear was the main/important thing; before it needed to be shared or, particularly, justified.
  1. The next step, of course, is the process of becoming professional, of measuring against one’s peers and the rest of the nutso art community. That aspect of competition is where work, and an artist, becomes done or undone.
  1. It is at this point that one is tempted to do a tree, kind of like an organizational chart (By the way, whatever happened to the rule about a or an before vowels and consonants?), except that this chart, or in this case “shedding” tree, would display the various possible paths that artists might take once the idea of professionalism entered their otherwise unprovoked minds. Please, it is just too painful to go there.
  1. So, for a moment, let’s think of the avant garde as originating, not from revolution, but from innocence – from the love of doing, from the uninfluenced time; that true change originates from the idea rather than from calculation, or intuition, or even intention.
  1. I hear that undercurrent of sniggering commentary and chuckle. So this is too polka dot for you, is it? Well, consider exactly what your so called public and populist revolutionaries have done for you lately. Have they at all stemmed the tide of rampant global corporate expansion, dictatorial power, and commercial influence? Do you not feel, inexplicably, that start ups or market manipulation are now the latest current path to personal liberation and freedom?
  1. This is not an indictment, it is analysis (OK, analysis light).
  1. Which brings me back to the avant garde, the idea of the avant garde, and, more important, the necessity of and for an avant garde. Really, what do we want or expect from one?
  1. And when I say we; I mean I!
  1. In his review of Buchloh’s “Formalism and Historicity,” in March 2016 Artforum, a publication whose subscription I am seriously considering allowing to expire, Graham Bader, via Buchloh, discusses today’s myth as depoliticized speech, and then cites Duchamp and Broodthaers as having pursued a sort of “artificial myth;” “the practice of counterrobbery that seeks not to step outside myth’s operation (for any attempted removal duly becomes its prey in turn, as just so much fodder for an ever-hungrier culture industry) but instead accepts and adopts as its essential subject the necessarily mythical status of art itself.”
  1. Graham Bader: “The challenge, rather, is to seize hold of the changing economy of myth itself. . . . . The desire for mythical thinking, we’re reminded daily, is infinitely more dangerous than the individual fictions myth provides.”
  1. Which is why the question about the avant garde is relevant now; because the question, not the avant garde itself, must be used to test ourselves and our beliefs against the status quo: organized capitalism, start-up economy, commercialism and –izaton. Are these nearly overwhelming value structures to be fully, and maybe blindly, accepted? Or is there another agency that . . .
  1. Fame, fortune, financial independence. “The imaginative proximity of social revolution.” – George Yridice
  1. The wobble point was the determination that corporations are persons: as in, when do corporations get to vote?
  1. Personally I have always, and continually more so, felt overwhelmed by living immersed in commercial messaging. And I have wondered just how much that captivation influences my larger societal societal choices.
  1. But there I go again, so easily sliding this discussion into the realm of socio-politics, when I have been struggling, with prolonged hope, to trip upon the protruding stone of some obscure, but lustrous, alternate path.







Prelude to a Residency at the ICI – Part 1

ICI Residency 2016

Notes on the Hidden Avant Garde – Or, If I Was Exhibiting, Would I Give A Shit!

Beginning thoughts:

1. It is not the form, but the intent. (things can still be collectible)

2. Allen Kaprow

3. The avant garde is still the same as it always was; we just don’t know the form it is taking at this time. Yes, it is important to comment on the status quo, as it always has been. It is important that the challenge be of a confrontational nature, per dada? Perhaps not. Perhaps it is just important to alter the nature of things.

4. Where did the word art come from? And when?

5. I have to think about whether i would change my tone with regard to all of this if i was given the opportunity to exhibit in commercial galleries and museums.

6. What makes art revolutionary?

7. Can art be life?

8. Where is the avant garde, and when will its ugly head arise out of the muck?

9. As difficult as it is to see our own society, and our place within it, whatever it is; it is that much more difficult to see what is coming next. The advent of a new avant garde is the same as what others call a paradigm shift. Usually seen in retrospect, it is interesting to look into, and try to calibrate, potential shift might look like.

10. Display The Democracy Album, theartbeautyproject, and DuSable Park: an archeology.

11. Social praxis.

12. Does avant garde necessarily have to refer to the political? or revolutionary? I guess it is always revolutionary, but in what sense.

13. Is art really in trouble? I saw a list of the 100 most iconic art works of the last five years, according to Blouin Artinfo. First was Christian Marclay’s “Clock.” Second was Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist Is Present.” These are great pieces, but not necessarily paradigm busting. But then came works such as, 3, Tino Sehgal’s “This Progress,” and 4, Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds,” and, 15, Paul Chan’s “Waiting for Godot in New Orleans.”

So what is all my bitching about? These are works that redirect the nature of art from the usual commercial vantage point.

14. At some point, during the course of any research project, one must confront one’s own, perhaps misbegotten, tendencies and prejudices in order to clear the path toward an honest conclusion. In some cases, this cleansing leads to a reassessment, perhaps even a dismantling of the foundational premises upon which the project is based.