Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tower of Bable

 Arts criticism in graphic novel form from Evertson, Shulman and Vanden Eynde.
Kalicorp Art Mysteries #3 (detail page 7)

Or...perhaps the better title is "Who hijacked the Bollocks?"  Lately I've been geeking out to the flip side of making art and thinking about those who write about art.  Over the course of the rise of the Internet we've seen the decline of the print media and fewer dedicated arts writers in print.  Blogs, Internet versions of former print titles and more alternative net niches now fill the void, but not without the soul searching of those that write for a living.

Just for fun I'm listing a few of the links I've read over the course of the last month.

Critic Dave Hickey calls it quits on arts writing: from GalleristNY (interview with Sarah Douglas)
On why he hates group shows, contracts and other forms of art-world bureaucracy, why art critics have no power"

More on Hickey by Edward Helmore and Paul Gallagher in The Guardian.

Excerpt - Criticism is..."calcified, self-reverential and a hostage to rich collectors who have no respect for what they are doing."
Excerpt - On collectors - "They're in the hedge fund business, so they drop their windfall profits into art. It's just not serious," he told the Observer. "Art editors and critics – people like me – have become a courtier class. All we do is wander around the palace and advise very rich people. It's not worth my time."
Predictably this is followed by artists and fellow critics shouting don't let the door hit you on the way out. This Charlie Finch post from Artnet is typical.

Good essay by Jackie Wullschlager in the Financial Times on critics, jargon and collecting.
"...the faster and louder the art world spins, the more it harbours doubt about its obvious froth and mediocrity.  And that doubt hides behind two things: prices and professional jargon."

Also in the news (news in the art world at least since the rest of the world is concentrating on Lindsay Lohans latest meltdown) was Sarah Thortons top ten reasons to quit writing about the art market.

Hint - it's boring, repetitive, unhelpful and it doesn't pay enough.

 Plus it involves a painful level of pandering. Kalicorp Art Mysteries, issue #5 - detail page 12

Recently New York Times art critic Ken Johnson faced accusations (and an online petition calling for more sensitivity) amidst of buried racism and sexism.  Kyle Chayka gives us the lowdown on the blogazine Hyperallergic.

So while the critics sort out their brave new world artists will go on doing what we always do; bemoaning the market and taking criticism poorly while kicking back with wine and espresso after a day in the studio.

Seeking Kali Artist Collective in Paris (Susan Shulman, Ria Vanden Eynde and William Evertson)
PS - The first five of the limited edition Kalicorp Art Mysteries are almost sold out.

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