“Without its special language, would art need to submit to the scrutiny of broader audiences and local ones? Would it hold up?” So asks online art publication Triple Canopy’s widely circulated essay “International Art English,” in which the authors catalogued the death of meaning in the language of contemporary art. It’s a perceptive study, though after offering a half-alternative (“the elite … will opt for something like conventional highbrow English”). the article ends in media res with a sarcastic shrug: an evocative morsel of IAE — a press release — reformatted into a prose poem.
By so abstracting their position into parody, the authors misread the most significant consequence of this new language, loosed upon a world in which prisoners of conscience languish in the jails of the world’s emerging contemporary art superpowers. The unsurprising reality is that a specialized language fraught with euphemism and obfuscation is better known as propaganda.Continue Reading →