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Monthly Archives: November 2010

“The secondary market is the colossus that is drowning the art baby,” says Christian Viveros-Faune, a former dealer at the now-defunct gallery Roebling Hall, and now an art critic with the Village Voice and other publications. “The Ponzi scheme is getting ever more obvious. This is a perfect illustration of this. That work is not worth that money. It’s worth it if the main players in that scheme will buy and sell it back and forth and make it worth that money. The fact that auction results are driving the bus now is significant and problematic.”

Jacob Kassay artinfo article


“Often, after my work has been executed, it doesnt want to be executed again. By existing, it truncates the reasons for doing it. Thats why Ive jumped around a lot in my career. Ive often wondered how these serial artists can do it! How can Sol [LeWitt] sit down on another day and do another one of those drawings? My God!

I think its a basic psychological characteristic. Some people can make something many times, and some people cant. And the ones like me who cant will find many reasons not to.”

-Dennis Oppenheim interview

“An artist is a trigger, making something happen between you and the work. Art is not a property of things, it is the site of a relationship with things.”

-Brian Eno (dinner conversation)

The MFA in Contemporary Art Practice with an emphasis in Art and Social Practice at Portland State University is a program that encourages students to develop and utilize their artistic skills to engage in society. Social practice might appear to be more like sociology, anthropology, social work, journalism, or environmentalism than art, yet it retains the intention of creating significance and appreciation for audiences in a similar way to more conventional art. Students learn about a variety of working artists and non-artists who have engaged in civic activity, and apply their knowledge and abilities to initiate, develop, and complete projects with the public—individuals, groups, and institutions.

-(PSU) MFA in Art & Social Practice

AM) It can be almost impossible for an artist with any contemporary art-world orientation to do projects with small communities without a knee-jerk negative response from critical studies academics, that you’re somehow using people for your own ends, that there’s something “colonialist” or patronizing about working with everyday folks. People suspect cynicism. Do you run into this kind of criticism?

HF) That kind of response to my work came up until recently. I’m not sure what’s changed, but I think there has been a climate shift in the art world with regard to socially engaged work. My response to the question of exploitation is that in many ways the people I work with are actually using me. There is at least a certain amount of mutual exploitation in the projects, or in other words, reciprocity. That’s a good thing. We are helping each other out. I work with people to give me different perspectives and content than I can come up with on my own: they work with me to be enabled to do things they otherwise wouldn’t have access to or the skills to do. In other professions, that’s a normal dynamic. Even in something as closely related to visual art as theater, it is normal for a director to have overriding control while actors play their part and add their individual abilities to a larger piece. No one suggests that a regional theater director is exploiting non-professional actors by casting them in a play. Sometimes exploitation is a justifiable criticism of socially driven art, but in my case I don’t think it is.

Allan McCollum interviews Harrell Fletcher (Bomb Magazine)

Since Donald Judd died in 1994, the Minimalist artist’s enormous ranch and sculpture museum in Marfa, Texas, has been a necessary pilgrimage site for artists, scholars, and other devotees willing to travel to the former desert Army base. Now the Judd Foundation has returned the favor, bringing a compelling slice of the artist’s enclave directly to his fans — specifically the artist’s extraordinarily rich, idiosyncratic library, which is now available in virtual form online.
Consisting of 13,004 books in 40 languages, the library — divided between two spaces in the city-block-sized residence — was the product of four decades of collecting, and was meticulously arranged and tended exclusively by Judd himself.

-artinfo article (Donald Judd library)

I do feel that there is a basic human drive to see something new. We don’t want to listen to endless cover bands playing Beatles’ songs, why should we look at the same abstraction or still life, the same photograph or Conceptual performance piece being done again and again by different artists with only slight variations?

At the same time, “newness” or originality are often matters of subtle degree. The new doesn’t have to be an epoch-shifting breakthrough. Just as we all have different fingerprints and handwriting, we all have a potential for some increment of originality. I am always on the lookout for a spark of necessity — a feeling that this particular artist had no choice but to make this particular artwork this particular way. That is the only way authenticity or even originality can start to emerge.”

-Roberta Smith (Bad at Sports interview)

“Copyright laws are terrible for culture. It’s illegal to respond to the imagery that surrounds you; you’re bombarded every minute of the day with mass-media sludge. It should be the opposite: Everybody should have to respond to it. This is what should be taught in the public school system.”

Mike Kelley Interview Magazine