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Monthly Archives: June 2010

For years now numerous observers have described the process by which the very fundaments of art are changing from the old principle of one man, one creation. Songs have remixes through which anyone so disposed can alter the original music; videos have mash-ups that use footage to reposition and change the original meaning; the visual arts have communal canvases and websites; poetry has Flarf, which allows one to generate verse from random words; , and books have collages, like David Shields’ recent “Reality Hunger,” which was assembled entirely, paragraph by paragraph, out of other authors’ words. Recombinant art is the rage.

…What Wiki-Culture does is dislodge culture from its moorings in art, history, tradition, knowledge, even time and space, and set it afloat either in the ether or in our own consciousness. Traditional culture is memorialized on the page, the CD, the stage or the screen. Wiki-Culture, which is constructed by nearly everyone and is extremely ephemeral, is memorialized, to the extent it is memorialized at all, in our heads and nowhere else. It is there on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter et al, and then it isn’t…these things barely survive outside our own reception and memory…

…That is the direction toward which Wiki-Culture is nudging art. When every book, via Kindle or the iPad, becomes a raw source for the reader to reorganize and edit what he or she reads; when every song becomes a raw source for a remix; when every film or video becomes a raw source for some customized mash-up; and when traditional art itself becomes a symbol of antiquated cultural control, the collaboration is everything, the resulting object very little. In such a world, art may still exist, but we won’t always know exactly where to find it, which can be a scary prospect.

Technology changes how art is created and perceived


How vague and waffly it sounds, to say that the arts “put us in touch with our deepest selves”, or “express the spiritual side of human nature” – especially now that science is threatening to explain (or perhaps explain away) the very idea that spirit and mind has any genuine existence, apart from our physical selves.

… I don’t wish to tar all scientists with the same brush. Many have a passionate, well-informed interest in the arts, and a profound respect for the alternative world-view they represent. It’s the swivel-eyed zealots, who think they’ve found the key to everything, that we should guard against. A civilized dialogue between the arts and sciences would be a marvelous thing, a takeover would not.

The arts can’t be reduced to an equation

“Art is born and takes hold wherever there is a timeless and insatiable longing for the spiritual, for the ideal: that longing which draws people to art. Modern art has taken a wrong turn in abandoning the search for the meaning of existence in order to affirm the value of the individual for its own sake. What purports to be art begins to look like an eccentric occupation for suspect characters who maintain that any personalized action is on intrinsic value simply as a display of self-will. But in artistic creation the personality does not assert itself, it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always a servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the gift that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of self can only be expressed in sacrifice. We are gradually forgetting about this, and at the same time, inevitably, losing all sense of our human calling…”

Andrey Tarkovsky
Sculpting in Time: Reflections on Cinema

“I don’t draft or create models/prototypes, I don’t problem solve and I definitely don’t make things to make life easier…I just want any given project to address issues I am interested in. If I can influence other artists and designers, that’s where I can make the larger change.”

“I get really frustrated with young artists or designers who yap about all the great ideas they have and don’t take any action because they’re waiting for a manufacturer, sponsor, or whatever to help. Or even worse, they’re waiting to “make it big” to realize these projects.”

Tobias Wong interview
Tobias Wong obituary

For me, nudity represents the philosophical human; as soon as you add clothes, you put someone in a social, religious, or geographic category. Like Leonardo da Vinci’s [Vitruvian] man, the naked female for me is the symbol of the human, and not much linked with sexuality. It’s a problem that we leave nudity to the porno industry, and then they have a hold on it. If you look at older art, the figures are always nude. Of course, older art has that abstract step of sculpting the nude or painting it; with video, people take it literally.

Pipilotti Rist


Koh was particularly fortunate to hook up with a dealer able to fund (and sell) anything he conceives. Peres spent nearly $400,000 on an art assembly line in Berlin to produce the 1,400 vitrines required for Koh’s Zürich and London shows. Twenty-eight assistants worked for three months “whiting” the objects Koh collected from sex shops and flea markets. Peres’s investment promptly paid off. The Kunsthalle vitrines, grouped into some ten sets priced between $65,000 and $265,000, sold out. The other objects in the show—a set of white-chocolate paintings, a suspended double-sided mold of Koh’s head, and two towering white-chocolate sculptures (part mountains, part Twin Towers, part phalluses)—brought in $400,000. Likewise, the installation at the Royal Academy cost super-collector Saatchi more than $200,000…It may be tempting to chalk up Koh’s market ascendancy purely to Peres, but there would be no hype if there weren’t something substantive to promote. Koh’s work isn’t all about the easy impact of gold-plated excrement and all-white rooms. What intrigues curators and collectors is that with each installation, he’s constructing an idiosyncratic and visually stunning universe.

Terence Koh

nymag Koh article

“People think curators are very powerful—that if ‘Bonami’ puts an artist in a show, he’s going to bloom.” … “Well, I put one of my own paintings in a show with a fake name a few years ago—nobody gave a shit! People passed by with no interest whatsoever. It’s a myth that curators change the career of an artist. The work of an artist changes the career of an artist.”

Bonami Article

… Marina doubly emphasized that the flesh, however transitory and imperfect, retains the nobility of being all we have and all we are. As such, she put the lie to the cheap death fixation of a Damien Hirst and the tawdry sex fixation of Tracey Emin, by asserting a dichotomy of sensuality/anti-sensuality.

Finally, the most enduring thread in Marina’s show is psychoanalytic, the counterintuitive notion that the path to mental health lies in pain and the discipline to endure it. In the kaleidoscope of oil spills, bomb scares, crushing debt and hooking up, the one fixed point, Marina reminds us, is you (and me). Where you and me are where art as performance rises in perspirating heat and drying tears. This was a show whose resonance will murmur down the ages.

Charlie Finch Article

The concept of a completely new kind of art institution – one that is neither museum nor traditional repository – was born. Maja Oeri called this innovative model a Schaulager (‘viewing warehouse’)…

…Collections of contemporary art need to be more than merely static storerooms. They have to play an active role in our understanding and appreciation of art. At Schaulager, each individual work, object and installation is permanently on view. Schaulager is a unique place where art is seen and thought about differently. A place where the collection becomes a point of departure for creativity and activity, for learning and pleasure.


Today it is nothing exceptional that curators occupy a more noticeable role in the process of producing an exhibition then some decades ago. While their task was historically related to the conservation of art works and the maintenance of a museum collection, curators began more and more to be creatively and conceptually involved in the making of exhibitions. Exhibitions became the creative principle of so-called exhibition makers who were described as exhibition directors and who became catalysts between the creative individual and society. Yet in recent years the focus has shifted and exhibitions in which art works are employed to illustrate the fixations of curators have been widely criticized. The creative and intellectual exchange between artists and curators has, however, been irreversibly changed and created a new condition in this relationship. It is on this backdrop that The Next Documenta Should Be Curated By an Artist is coming together.

The Next Documenta Should be Curated by an Artist