This week, Triennial opinions, a sliding glass house, theory of the dick pic, Facebook reveals how its users voted on #TheDress, LACMA collects Latin American colonial art, and more.
Holland Cotter at the New York Times:
The provisional as an aesthetic is no surprise, given the curators: Lauren Cornell of the New Museum and the artist Ryan Trecartin, with Sara O’Keeffe and Helga Christoffersen on the team. Formerly editor of the journal Rhizome, Ms. Cornell has been paying astute attention to digital art and the Internet for years. Mr. Trecartin’s laptop-generated pop-epic videos on YouTube, with their whiplash editing, head-spinning script and queer (i.e., nonnormal) spirit, add up to some of the most distinctive art of the past decade.
Andrew Stefan Weiner at Art Agenda:
Visitors to the Triennial will indeed feel themselves surrounded, even overrun by competing appeals for their attention. These bids are so numerous and elaborate that at times the show seems less like an art exhibition than a tech convention or a curated Tumblr. To be fair, such heterogeneity is endemic in biennials, which tend to be at cross purposes in trying to craft a cohesive, timely statement from disparate works chosen for divergent reasons. Depending on one’s age, taste, and stimulus threshold, this tension might be a distracting nuisance, or perhaps a problem worth reflecting on. Those of selective, delicate, or “critical” dispositions should by all means visit the Triennial, but are advised to regard it as three more or less separate exhibitions; these are described below in ascending order of their presumable appeal to such an audience.
Brienne Walsh at Christie’s:
Exploring themes such as sexuality, racism, nationalism, and consumerism, most of the works — by 51 artists from 25 countries, many of who identify as poets, dancers, designers, writers, and filmmakers rather than artists — are highly personal. But instead of connecting with one another, the pieces stand within the museum walls as cloistered units, reading like individual manifestos. The effect is somewhat like reading a blog composed of posts examining completely disparate topics. ‘It was really important to encourage the artists to do what they wanted to do, and not impose too much,’ says video and performance artist Ryan Trecartin, who co-curated the show with New Museum curator Lauren Cornell. ‘I just drop out of that shit if someone tries to do it to me.’
Paddy Johnson at Artnet:
The figure is back. This, according to New Museum’s Triennial “Surround Audience,” which offers a near-deafening obsession with the self, is its main thesis. Curated by Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin, the exhibition takes a look at how technology affects us, a focus that mercifully puts a plug in New York’s seemingly endless supply of non-objective abstraction.
And by the looks of the Triennial, the results of such self-obsession are pretty good. Bold monumental portraits tower over the second floor galleries, while exaggerated interpretations of the present and dystopian trippy visions of the future permeate the show. Activism is everywhere. This is what a strong show looks like.
Truly, I defy you to find a pictorial genre that better reflects an exchange of information and affect. Fuck “semiocapital.” Fuck the “pharamapornagraphic era.” This is Cum Tribute Capitalism. In this economy of images and affective value additions, the dick of the average cum tribute might just provide a silhouette for our immaterial labor, the contours of our collective neoliberal shadow. Is it love? The answer, my darling fuck prisoner, is yes.
Now the museum has made two new significant additions: a pair of rare canvases from Ecuador attributed to 18th century Quito master Vicente Albán.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know a whole lot about him,” says LACMA Latin American Art curator Ilona Katzew. “But we do know that Vicente, along with his brother Francisco, were important figures; 18th century accounts mention them as the most prominent painters of the day.”
The two paintings that were acquired — “Indian Woman in Special Attire” and “Noble Woman With Her Black Slave” — were each painted in the vicinity of 1783. They were part of a set of six canvases that depicted different racial types from the Spanish vice royalty of Nueva Granada (of which modern-day Ecuador was a part) — so-called “casta” paintings because they depict the social castes.
It didn’t seem like things could have changed much. Before my time in prison the world had laptop computers and cameras and address books and Blackberries already. But what’s new is the interpersonal software, and what’s shocking is how quickly and totally society has absorbed its presence. Adult social life is no less mediated by digital help. I was once invited to parties and RSVP’d by phone. Event pages perform that function today, but their interactivity makes them much more than the digital version of a preexisting thing. I can see who else was invited, who declined, and whether my friends are welcome. Googling someone is a digital background check, but once again, the information doesn’t just flow one way. Expecting to be researched, I groom my image and control its presentation. This is important for those with criminal records—thanks to the press, we usually have less say in the matter. Knowing this, I maintain a website telling my own story, along with a Wikipedia entry. Having seen men serve decades under misspelled names, I know the importance of image control.
Etiquette around things digital has developed in silence, with everyone taking for granted that it’s common knowledge. As a result I made several faux pas in the beginning; some of my victims were understanding, knowing about my absence, and some were not. I was taught fast lessons in the propriety of pasting things on people’s Facebook walls and posting photographs without permission. I did my best by asking questions when I wasn’t sure and managed to present my explosive debacle of 2003 in the best light to those who didn’t know. Facebook let me back into the world in a way impossible before it, and I only got blocked by one ex. Of course, she has a felony herself—Google works both ways.
“Peak Brooklyn” is what they’re calling it: the ubiquitous saturation of Kings County-related prose blanketing the internet. Brooklyn has become a touchstone for comparison with places the world over, based on superficial qualities like the presence of busking musicians or so-called “artisanal” retailers. And while there’s always been that pervasive attitude on the part of New Yorkers — you know, how they think they’re living in the center of the universe — “Peak Brooklyn” implies a shift in our collective attention, away from the isle of Manhattan and toward the post-industrial waterfront of Williamsburg, or the family-friendly gourmet eateries in Park Slope.
… Indeed, “Peak Brooklyn” implies that all has been said and done with respect to the borough. “Peak Brooklyn” is a literary notion that once something has been described in painstaking detail, deconstructed to its most essential elements, that thing no longer conveys wonder or novelty or, at the very least, mild intrigue. And yet, the media seems to be frantically and continuously publishing take after take on the borough’s increasingly outmoded stature.
Unsurprisingly, one neighborhood lies at the epicenter of our unending and aggravatingly inundating infatuation with Brooklyn: the hamlet that started it all, that arbiter of cool, of hip — Williamsburg.
Mainly my main inspiration to come to Syria was George Bush, Tony Blair, and the presidents of the West and their foreign policy towards Islam — Egypt, Kashmir, Sinai, Yemen, Afghanistan. Guantanamo Bay. Abu Ghraib. —Abu Sumayyah
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