ISTANBUL — “Gossip,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “trifling or groundless rumour.” I actually like to think of it as knowledge, but the kind that’s not considered true or rational — at least not yet anyway.
The artist list has just been released for New Museum associate director and curator Massimiliano Gioni’s 2013 Venice Biennale, and it features a slew of established names, including Tacita Dean, Carl Andre, and Bruce Nauman. More provocatively, the show will also feature some appropriated objects: “the work of various untrained artists, such as Haitian vodou flags and tantric drawings.”
There’s been much talk in the art world during the past decade about the rise of the curator as artist, a figure who in her or his most overweening moments seeks to render artist and artwork secondary to the vision — or, at worst, predetermined program — for a particular exhibition. MFAs in curatorial studies are proliferating, and celebrity curators have become as powerful, influential, and famous as artists always have been, as collectors have become, and as critics once were. However fashionable of late, the curator as artist existed decades earlier in the figure of Harald Szeemann, partly as a result of his radical approach to Documenta 5 in 1972, where he initiated a multi- and inter-disciplinary format that continues to this day.
Since we’ve been running down the most powerless and most f***able art world figures, now we’re seeing which ones are in dire need a makeover. Anyone in the public sphere knows the way they dress reflects greatly on their work, and art people, fortunately or not, are no exception.