Earlier this week I posted a review of MCASD’s current show Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface. Reading this, you might have thought, “Cool! Perceptual deprivation! Now I’ll know what it was like doing LSD in the 1960s and 1970s without worrying about passing a drug test at work!” Which is all well and good. But you also might have wondered, beyond the entertainment factor, why should you care. What exactly is the Light and Space movement and why is it important?
WTF Is…Haute Couture?
More often than ever the term “haute couture” pervades department stores, small-scale boutiques and celebrities’ clothing lines, but the appropriation of the term does not make it anything special.
WTF Is… Primitive Art vs Tribal Art
Where do the terms “Primitive” and “Tribal” sit in our art lexicon? For the past few years I have understood these both as pejorative terms, but have consistently seen the labels applied to exhibitions, artworks, online and in galleries.
WTF is… Performance Art?
You may have heard that James Franco and Lady Gaga are performance artists, that their careers themselves are art objects built up over a lifetime. You may also believe that your Uncle Bob farting the alphabet is performance art. And maybe it is! Really, it’s up to you, there’s no quick and easy chart to tell what is performance art and what isn’t. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines to follow when defining performance, in the context of the medium’s history as well as its current practice. Despite what you’ve heard, there are good reasons that getting carried into the Grammys in an egg isn’t really an act of performance art.
WTF is… the Secondary Market?
Throughout the course of NYC’s art fair week, I overheard questions over what art work was being sold, and who it was being sold to. Of course, art fairs exist to sell work, and the work on display is there to be sold. But where do these works come from? This is where the secondary market comes in. Though most galleries simply sell work from the studios of the artists they represent, the secondary market deals in works that have already been sold, at least once. Fairs like the Armory’s Modern section focus heavily on secondary market works, as do auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
WTF is… an Art Fair?
Okay, so, this week is New York City’s art fair week. This may sound like a carnival replete with Ferris wheels, clowns and cotton candy, but it’s not, at least in the literal sense. An art fair is like a carnival in that there’s a lot of excess noise, visual information and people yelling over each other. But an art fair is actually a clearinghouse for art works, a pow-wow of dealers, galleries, curators and collectors that’s part tribe meeting and part shopping mall. n the US, the major players are basically Art Basel Miami Beach, a sister fair of Art Basel founded in 2002 occurring annually every December, and New York City’s Armory Show, founded in 1994 and taking place in March.
WTF is… Relational Aesthetics?
The standard cliché summary of modern (and contemporary) art is that now, anything is art. Jackson Pollock threw paint around. Duchamp strung up a shovel, upended a bike wheel into a stool, put a urinal on a pedestal and called the resulting three “sculptures” art of the highest order. After so long, we’ve started to run out of things to suddenly deem “art.” But relational aesthetics, or the posing of an artist-constructed social experiences as art making, is the latest step in this process of turning everything into art.
WTF is… Superflat?
You may have heard the term “Superflat” tossed around in relation to some paintings reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons on crack, or maybe a series of drawings that look familiar, but with an extra dash of foreign, outer-space weirdness. You’ve probably heard of “kawaii” culture or maybe even Kaikai-Kiki. And if you haven’t? Fear not, because we’re going to go through all this vocab together to marshal what exactly Superflat is.