Fellow netizens, we at Hyperallergic have decided to have some fun with the Worst.Press.Release.Ever. feature that debuted on this site a few months ago.

Today, we announce that our quest to find the worst piece of art PR in the universe has become a contest decided by our loyal readers and fellow netizens. For the first ever Worst.Press.Release.Ever. match up we’ve called on two friends of Hyperallergic to battle it out in a contest that will bestow on the winner bragging rights for eternity.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce the luscious Lyra Kilston, who is no stranger to Hyperallergic fans, and the ambrosial Paddy Johnson, aka Art Fag City, to rumble it out in a contest decided by your votes as to which is the WORST.PRESS.RELEASE.EVER!?!?


Lyra Kilston calling someone who cares … her mother?

CONTENDER #1: Lyra Kilston

I chose this based on the extremely poor quality of the writing. It reads like it’s been fed through Babelfish, but I received it through an “international” source that should, one would hope, employ a proofreader for such things. But I guess not. My major problem with this is that you have to read each sentence about three times to understand what it’s aiming for — and even then it’s unclear. I also dislike statements that say things like how an artist’s work “confronts us with the reality of the banality that surrounds us.” I mean, how stupid are we that we need a bird sculpture to tell us that? Banality we can glean from a quick trip to the nearest Applebees. [Bold & colored text mine.]

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Peter Rogiers at Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp

The sculpture by Peter Rogier (°1967, Antwerp) is anchored in the literal characteristic of the photographic reproduction of reality as it was wrested with the motif of a human pose transformed through photography by the two-dimensional leveling of shortened perspectives.

Peter Rogiers, “The Governess” (2009-2010)

Peter Rogier is toiling through the matter with synthetic resin and cast aluminum attempting to generate an oblique and “different” imagery out of sync with what we recognize in “our” world. Therein lies the core and essence of real artistic production – the desire to mould into a plastic shape undermining visual recognition and shunt man onto the track of imagination. Peter Rogier recently created new so-called “bird sculptures” where the bird is barely an echo of the verbal reference and has become the alibi to freely conjure with abstract forms visually varying according to the place and viewpoint of perception.

The new ‘colourless’ sculptures with an elegant silhouette withstanding the resemblance of a bird transform and “peel” within the sculpture to an abstract skin reminiscent even of the perforated canvas of Enrico Castellani; the Italian artist who in the wake of the zero movement attempted to escape the obligation of formal categories and labels.

The new white “bird sculptures” are less “attractive” than the recent white palm trees: the “birds” are crippled deformities leaning towards Jeroen Bosch where the beauty is hiding in a bolster of artistic recalcitrance. Not the reference is the criterion but rather the full and expansively creative composition of an image not “inspired” by gratuitous feelings, corny moaning or transparent mimesis.

Peter Rogier is and remains one of those sculptors who averse from all personal interests is stuck with his art in brave stubbornness to (certainly) not give into creating any form of languid art whatsoever. In other words, art which does not brighten up but cheers up through the adventure in the form through which Rogier pleases and confronts us with the reality of the banality surrounding us.

His new drawings can further be considered catching thought-moulds where worlds tilt and imagination chases off the grimy reality.


Paddy Johnson thinks she’s a superhero

CONTENDER #2: Paddy Johnson

Olivier Zahm’s absurd claim that amateur porn cannot be found via Google did not appear in the press release for his solo show at Half Gallery this December. It also didn’t mention his predilection for wearing prescription sunglasses indoors, or his life as a socialite, (though it does hint that the dude might be a bit of a dog). Zahm’s show text earns my recommendation in Hyperallergic’s Worst. Press. Release. Ever. challenge not just for its indecipherable art speak –indeed this release is best characterized by its failed attempt to employ it — but for its utter vanity and vapidity. If there’s a part of the art world out there grosser than this, I don’t know what it is.

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Olivier Zahm’s exhibition at Half Gallery, NYC

A few of Olivier Zahm’s photo show at Half Gallery.

…Spending his time between New York and Paris, the man behind Purple Fashion magazine has published, in [his blog] Purple Diary, pictures that read like a guide to some of his favourite places: the Montana, the brasserie Lipp, and the Café de Flore in Paris, Standard hotel and the Omen restaurant, among many others, in NYC[1]. His diary develops an imagery [sic] which transcends the original magazine. Thanks to the new digital support, Zahm’s life is now the very material of this new medium[2]. In this sense, his site is like some sort of[3] immaterial[4] ID card of the artist as it chronologically reveals what he is producing and with who, as well as the creative process at work[5]. Through the representation of a specific microsom [sic] and its codes, he paints a dense social fresco[6], a fictional document[7] appropriate to the end of the 00s[8]. Always navigating between private sphere and public sphere[9] he’s purposely getting us lost through a maze of multiple indications[10] that only reveal the surface elegant and opaque[11]. It all leads to his obessional [sic] paths: bodies of naked and tantalizing women[12], socialite life[13], architecture and contemporary still lifes [sic][14]. An autofictional picture[15] as a matter of fact[16], disclosing [sic] a form of romanticism and mania that show as much in his luxurious approach to aesthetics[17] as in his view on intimacy[18].

1. So many places to list, endless space to do it in!
2. In other words Zahm uses a camera to take pictures of his friends, and then posts them on the internet!
3. some sort of = not sure what I’m describing
4. immaterial = web based
5. Long story short, Zahm has a personal blog…
6. Ooooh, old mediums in new forms!
7. posing as a personal diary or immaterial artist ID card
8. and the dot com boom
9. Wait, the Internet is a public space?
10. Indications of what?
11. Zahm is a beautiful enigma!
12. Soft-core pornography
13. classism
14. naked women
15. Not a real word, but if it were it would contradict the release’s earlier description of the work as documentary-style self-portrait
16. The whole project is a ruse charading as a documentary
17. And class
18. aka quest for tail


So, which is the Worst.Press.Release.Ever?
(Vote until 1 pm EST on Friday, when we will announce the winner.)

The Editors divide their time between Kinshasa, Brno, Goa, and Tikrit. They are fabulous and they will always be at the party you weren't invited to.

23 replies on “Worst. Press. Release. Ever. is Baaack… & It’s a Battle!! Paddy Johnson Vs. Lyra Kilston”

  1. A mistake which is perhaps ironic in light of the content of the entry. Pots and kettles living in glass houses and stuff.

    1. In a perfect world, all blogs & blogazines would have copyeditors (or copy editors … depending on your style guide). Thanks!

  2. PR #1: hiding in a bolster of artistic recalcitrance, transparent memesis, rouse… Just add capitalization and you’ve got Blonde Redhead album titles for decades.

    PR#2: I translate this release as “Half Gallery is showing some photos from Oliver Zahm’s ‘Me and Friends in NYC’ Flickr set.”


  3. I don’t understand the point of this “competition.” What is the conversation you trying to have? It’s callow and idea-less, frankly, and appears to be nothing more than proud insider cattiness…which makes you just as vapid as the press releases you laugh at. Pointing out bad press releases and laughing at them is about as sophisticated as laughing at fart jokes.

    1. Have you met the Internet? Btw, I’m deleting anonymous comments on this post after this one. I mean I didn’t realize Peter Rogier and Olivier Zahm had so many aliases.

    2. it’s not cattiness… it’s freaking funny that idiots who write that kind of trash are actually being paid to do so. It’s also educational, perhaps the writers of these excuses for news releases will realize that they need a couple of journalism classes.

  4. A comment is deemed anonymous just because the commentor doesn’t have his or her own website or blog to link to? That seems a bit unfair.

  5. I voted, but it was half-hearted. It’s hard to vote for any contender who does not use the art world’s two greatest resources: outdated pseudo-Marxist culture/consumer critique or creative misreadings of ye olde Post-Structuralists, in their PR.

    Not that anyone asked, but I think the phrase “unpack” has become the western world’s #1 soul-numbing cliché, finally knocking off “at the end of the day.” Anyway, thanks for unpacking the Half PR Paddy, truly a service to the field.

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