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Monthly Archives: May 2013

“I don’t necessarily feel part of a specific movement, but I do feel like there are kindred spirits out there among my peers. What’s at stake is that each generation has the opportunity to reevaluate narratives of the past in a manner that makes sense in the present. Ideas tend to recirculate, but they might mean something completely different in today’s context. It’s important to restate them in new ways in order to better communicate them, and to engage with them not always in opposition but in response.

Specifically, I consider myself to be coming out of and responding to the Robert Ryman camp of how-to-paint over the what-to-paint. The BMPT group [Daniel Buren, Olivier Mosset, Michel Parmentier, Niele Toroni] was very significant to me in grad school, as well as Supports-Surfaces. From these artists, I took away an understanding of painting as an apparatus that could be dismantled and rebuilt toward new meanings. I was also influenced by many of the artists featured in the exhibition High Times, Hard Times. Artists such as Ree Morton and Howardena Pindell were a revelation for their insistence on experimenting with materials and injecting subjectivity into the work without turning out overtly historic, expressionistic artworks. I see myself as building from all these perspectives, not just one singular history.”

– Alex Olson (Walker Art Center Interview with Eric Crosby)

Drawing from these incidents and precedents, an “ethical turn” in art criticism might mean redefining the role of a critic to function more as participant-observer, a facilitator, or even a griot, with critical duties shared or handed over to participants. Criticism might be more durational than episodic. Art magazines and newspapers are still tied to the institutional exhibition format—and advertising dollars—but the Internet offers freedom to invent new genres, from blogging and social media to ad hoc or formalized discussion groups, Tumblrs, and other forms of culture-jamming, beyond the review, feature, or the proto-canonizing “critical essay…What ethical criticism demands is that we look more closely at the “container” or context as well as the object, performance, or action; that we move beyond Eagleton’s Marxist “cultural politics” to consider our affective attachments to the current systems of art and writing; and that we take a truly radical (i.e., root) approach to changing these things.

It is scary to think about ethics, just as it is frightening to think about change. And yet, it’s really just another branch on the same Western-philosophical tree (just the one that doesn’t support capitalism). We have “mastered” aesthetic criticism. Now it’s time for an ethical one, because, as usual, artists have already gotten there first, creating work that either proposes or implements new modes of focus, value, and exchange. It’s not just a question of altering the world for the sake of it, out of boredom or caprice: change, in many other forms, has already found us.

-Martha Schwedener “Ethical Criticism” (Brooklyn Rail)

“It might be that there won’t be a center any more,” said Sinclair, who was recently named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. “He’s going to be a tough act to follow. The (West Bottoms) gallery was such an amazing space — people from L.A. and New York would come in, and they couldn’t believe that in Kansas City there would be a space like that. If I think about it selfishly, it’s bittersweet. I feel lucky to have been a part of it.”…

“My hope is that it opens up room for young people to start up and get going,” Silva said about the closing. “I feel like there’s lots of talent and people who would be able to step up. It may be the end of an era, but I don’t see it as the end of the arts in Kansas City.”

-Kansascity.com (Alice Thorson)