Prelude to a Residency at the ICI – Part 1

by Martin Gantman

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.

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