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I have a different view of art. I see it as a very general methodology, as a metadiscipline that includes all other disciplines. In fact, I see science as a minor accident in the acquisition of knowledge. I see science as a field that is seriously limited by having to use logic, causality, and repeatable experiments. There is nothing wrong with any of this, but art is all of this plus the opposite. Art also includes illogic, the suspension of laws, absurdity, non-repeatability, impossibility, and the search for an alternative, not-yet-existing order. This means that art should inform science and everything else as well.

I believe art should do so because it’s the only methodology that allows for unhampered imagination and wonder, for asking in an unrestrained way the question “what if?,” for challenging the given systems of order and speculating about new ones. It’s the ultimate tool for critical thinking.

In other words, art is education. Even if as artists we continue acting as the producers of objects, we should also realize that we are educating others for the purpose of challenging, reorienting, and expanding knowledge. We may keep on polluting the world with things called “art,” and more particularly with “my art,” but we should understand that we are ultimately preparing the space for the development of collective policies that generate the freest and most empowering form of what we call “culture.” We must accept this responsibility and act accordingly.

Luis Camnitzer (e-flux)


“I recently had the opportunity to check out a screening of the Beautiful Losers movie. It was amazing to see the artists behind the work that we’ve all seen and love. What was really impressed on me was the personalities, the honesty and life that each of these artists had/have to give. This is the reason why their art is so good, it’s not because it’s original or rebellious or whatever, it’s because it’s human and these artists know how to truly express themselves.”


But a reluctance to talk about personal struggles might explain her oeuvre’s intriguingly inscrutable character, as if the lived experience that held it all together was something that she was trying to reflect only indirectly. This note of aloofness, in fact, makes Genzken’s messy contemporary work very classical in spirit, an example of the rhetoric of art being used to elevate us above the tangle of life.

– Ben Davis (Isa Genzken review)

“Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences. (Roy Ascott’s phrase.) That solves a lot of problems: we don’t have to argue whether photographs are art, or whether performances are art, or whether Carl Andre’s bricks or Andrew Serranos’s piss or Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ are art, because we say, ‘Art is something that happens, a process, not a quality, and all sorts of things can make it happen.’ … [W]hat makes a work of art ‘good’ for you is not something that is already ‘inside’ it, but something that happens inside you — so the value of the work lies in the degree to which it can help you have the kind of experience that you call art.”

– Brian Eno (Absolument Moderne)

Today the most fascinating place to look for transgression in painting is at the junction of the picture plane and in the space around it. Artists are working at the intersection of related action and focusing on the installation and the circulation of the experience. Not only is the physical space for display an aspect to activate, but the performative and virtual spaces in which reproductions are placed as well. The ways in which these representations are stored, endlessly reproduced, and discussed on such virtual platforms as the Internet have created infinite possibility for painting.

– Greg Lindquist (Brooklyn Rail Article)

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.” (Alice Thorson)

“…I am sure that human beings cannot remain human without art. How, otherwise, can we explain why art has existed among them at all times everywhere, why they have expended so much time, effort, and emotion in its pursuit, and why they are, with their senses, brains, and bodies, so often preoccupied with it? If I ask myself why art has existed everywhere among humans, I have a short and a long answer. The short one is: it is because art satisfies the inescapable human hunger for imagined experience in all of its imaginable variations. This hunger is our need to create, contemplate, possess, and repossess at least the shadow of what we do not have fully enough to satisfy us. Art is the instrument we use in order to give virtual presence to everything that interests us but is not effectively present enough to overcome the restlessness of an imagination too idle for its own comfort.”

Ben-Ami Scharfstein (Art Without Borders excerpt)

In the film The Cool School about LA’s game-changing Ferus Gallery (the gallery that all but created their now-dominant art scene by supporting and nurturing local artists), founder Walter Hopps mentions that there are five things needed for a healthy art city:

“1: Artists to make the work
2: Galleries to support it
3: Critics to celebrate it
4: Museums to establish it
5: and collectors to buy it”

– Nathaniel Smith (letoile arts article)

Blumenthal proves that creativity and reason are compatible. He is a truly scientific food artist and a truly artistic food scientist. His lucid physical explanations for the effects he creates (why serve red cabbage gazpacho with mustard ice cream? Because cabbage contains mustard oil) do not undermine what amounts to a banquet of the imagination. It is through cogent, clearly explained analyses of the physical world that Blumenthal deepens our wonder at it.

The more I think about this, the more he seems a model for modern art. Here is a creative approach that truly enriches our perceptions, that opens eyes (and mouths) to the wonders of the world in just the same ways modern science does. Art can learn so much from this guy. Failing that, give him next year’s Turner prize.

-Jonathan Jones (Guardian article)