two curators from Australia. This is their exchange between two continents separated by the Atlantic.

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A Postscript to Isolation: ‘On Practice’ and ‘The Provincialism Problem’

Institutions by Artists - Next Weekend - Vancouver

http://arcpost.ca/about/inclusivity-and-isolation-artist-run-initiatives-in-brisbane

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Mutables


Curated by Ashley Stull

In times past, the portrait was about capturing reality, not to mention status and attitude. In this exhibition, noted photographers including Diane Arbus, Pieter Hugo, Cindy Sherman, and Gillian Wearing play with the genre, using costumes and props to add a layer of camouflage and deception, setting up tension between warring realities, outright lies and the ambiguous territory in between.

Reception 4-7 p.m. Saturday. Through Oct. 27. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Eli Ridgway Gallery, 172 Minna St., S.F. (415) 777-1366. www.eliridgway.com.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/Mutables-Sept-20-3878669.php#ixzz2734FsTyJ

http://www.facebook.com/eliridgwaygallery?ref=stream


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grupaok:

Zbyněk Baladrán, On “Theory, Practice and Reality, a Few Remarks on the Micro-Politics of Curating,” 2010—as seen in Manifesta Journal 8. We’re reminded (somewhat) of the infamous Powerpoint slide assembled for American strategy for stability in Afghanistan; and as Gen. Stanley McChrystal is reported to have said in response: “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

grupaok:

Zbyněk Baladrán, On “Theory, Practice and Reality, a Few Remarks on the Micro-Politics of Curating,” 2010—as seen in Manifesta Journal 8. We’re reminded (somewhat) of the infamous Powerpoint slide assembled for American strategy for stability in Afghanistan; and as Gen. Stanley McChrystal is reported to have said in response: “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

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schizms

http://www.neuschaefer-rube.de/index.php?/ongoing/the-wizard-of-oz-experiment/

http://oliverlaric.com/displacement.htm

http://www.kenichiokada.com/projects/2006/pixelfactory.html

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Month of Goodbyes

Another loss for the art world. The brilliant Robert Hughes.

Jennifer Higgie on Frieze blog writes warmly on his influence on her career and the realm of art criticism.

———

Robert Hughes: 1938 - 2012

by Jennifer Higgie

Robert Hughes in 1963

I first came across Robert Hughes at art school in Canberra in the mid-1980s.

His extraordinary 1980 documentary, Shock of the New, was screened for us in art history class over one semester and it gave me a sense, for the first time, that art history was not only something alive but something that had a profound relevance to the way you could think about contemporary art. I had never seen anyone talk so vehemently or passionately or eruditely about how pictures – and Hughes mainly talked about pictures – could function, or how they might convey meaning, a sense of place, an opinion. He also made me realize – for at that stage writing wasn’t something I was comfortable with – that writing could be as creative as the object it was discussing.

In the years that followed, I kept reading Robert Hughes, and even when I strongly disagreed with him – especially about contemporary art, which he became more and more impatient with – I loved reading him. His writing was never less than seductive and it was also frequently funny, the value of which in the often po-faced world of art criticism can’t be underestimated. (He loved Robert Crumb, describing him, with his usual understatement, as ‘the one and only genius the 1960s underground produced in visual art, either in America or Europe.’)

But of course, he didn’t just write about art. As an Australian – some of whose ancestors travelled to Antipodean shores as ‘assisted migrants’ (as my family jokingly likes to call it) in the 19th century – Hughes’s 1987 book on the country’s convict past, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding was a revelation to me. Things are very different now, but, when I was growing up, the complicated nature of my country’s settlement by the British, along with its indigenous history, was only ever glancingly referred to. This book quite simply changed the way I thought about where I came from; it gave me a fierce sense of compassion and understanding about the journey so many of my long-ago relatives had travelled.

The last book I read by Hughes was his 2006 autobiography, Things I Didn’t Know, which my mother gave me a few years ago on my return to Australia. It’s an extraordinary book which begins with the near-fatal car accident Hughes had in a remote part of Australia – an accident that inspired him to write his 2003 book on Goya, visions of whom he saw as he lay waiting to be rescued from the tangled wreck of his car, expecting to die. It then travels back to his evolution as a writer and an art critic. It also describes his childhood in Sydney in brilliant, hilarious detail. His old friend Clive James reviewed the book, quoting the following line – which describes one of his aunts who became a nun – as typical: ‘At the end of these audiences I would be expected to kiss her, which meant craning my neck to get my lips inside her elaborately starched and goffered ruff, its hive-like cells prepared, no doubt, by some wretched, rosary-clicking slavey of a postulant sister with the kind of iron last manufactured in the 1920s.’ You get the idea.

I could go on, but I actually have deadlines to hit, and so I must be off. And I blame Robert Hughes for the fact that I have deadlines at all, because, without his example, I might not have become a writer. He made me realize how interesting, and how necessary, it could be. I am very sad he has died.

––––––

‘The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.’
Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New

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Goodbye

Marker’s creative use of sound, images and text in his poetic, political and philosophical documentaries made him one of the most inventive of film-makers. They looked forward to what is called ‘the new documentary’, but also looked back to the literary essay in the tradition of Michel de Montaigne. Marker’s interests lay in transitional societies – ‘life in the process of becoming history,’ as he put it. How do various cultures perceive and sustain themselves and each other in the increasingly intermingled modern world?

Chris Marker obituary

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grupaok:

Joseph Beuys and Douglas Davis at documenta 6, 1977. As published in From Europe: Art Contemporary 9. Vol. 3 No. 1, 1977.
Clicking the photograph links through to Julian’s short essay for Mousse’s special issue on documenta, titled “Documenta, Stationary.” The editors’ challenge was to consider the history of documenta in general, which the essay does, more or less. Certain among its writerly peculiarities, however, will need to be attributed to the quirks of Mousse’s editorial process — starting with the title, which they’ve rendered as “Documenta Stationery.” I intended the title as a play on the title of Louise Lawler’s artwork Documenta Stationery (1982), in order to suggest that this exhibition, a so-called “archive in motion,” needed to be stilled, stopped, in order to be considered. But the distinction between “writing material” and “motionlessness” has been elided and the reference to Lawler’s work made regrettably literal. (Other such slippages dot the writing beyond.)
Still, I hope the essay retains some value, even if it requires that the reader “squint” to see the argument’s original form behind its somewhat inexact image.

grupaok:

Joseph Beuys and Douglas Davis at documenta 6, 1977. As published in From Europe: Art Contemporary 9. Vol. 3 No. 1, 1977.

Clicking the photograph links through to Julian’s short essay for Mousse’s special issue on documenta, titled “Documenta, Stationary.” The editors’ challenge was to consider the history of documenta in general, which the essay does, more or less. Certain among its writerly peculiarities, however, will need to be attributed to the quirks of Mousse’s editorial process — starting with the title, which they’ve rendered as “Documenta Stationery.” I intended the title as a play on the title of Louise Lawler’s artwork Documenta Stationery (1982), in order to suggest that this exhibition, a so-called “archive in motion,” needed to be stilled, stopped, in order to be considered. But the distinction between “writing material” and “motionlessness” has been elided and the reference to Lawler’s work made regrettably literal. (Other such slippages dot the writing beyond.)

Still, I hope the essay retains some value, even if it requires that the reader “squint” to see the argument’s original form behind its somewhat inexact image.

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HAPPY JUBILEE

HAPPY JUBILEE

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K, an exhibition curated by Kadist Curatorial Resident Juan A. Gaitán at the Wattis Institute.

In the world of literature, K is the alternative to both the “I” of psychoanalysis and the “we” of politics. In Franz Kafka’s books The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926), K signifies the simultaneous and reciprocal emergence of the institution and its subject. Without K there is no process, no bureaucratic machine, and vice versa. And while it may affirm itself as the one who provokes the system, K is ultimately a figure without agency.

More recently, in J. M. Coetzee’s 1983 book Life and Times of Michael KK is a character who possesses no character, and ultimately no will, but without whom there is also no plot, no development, and no prose. “Life” and “times” are absolutely separated, and Michael K’s cryptic and esoteric life is constantly at odds with the classifications of everyday life that are characteristic of his times.

In the reading suggested here, K is neither a passive subject nor an active agent of power, but an impassive medium, a figure who is essential to the system to which it belongs, and through which one may explore the space in which the individual oscillates between the singular existence (“I”) and the plural (“we”).

K is the unqualified subject who is also the citizen, fully determined, though engaged in a process without aim, without direction.

Artists: Johanna Calle, Chen Shaoxiong, Liam Everett, Ceal Floyer, Claire Fontaine, Ken Lum, Ciprian Muresan, Pedro Reyes, Gabriel Sierra, Carey Young

Exhibition dates: May 31–June 30, 2012. Opening reception: Thursday May 31, 6-8PM. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-8PM; Saturday 10AM-6PM

Original at kadist

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SOMETHING BUGS ME ABOUT MONA

Overland Literary Journal

I was reminded of it last night when Brian Ritchie, former bass player for the Violent Femmes and curator of Tasmania’s newest and most talked-about museum’s Festival of Music and Art, was a guest on the Hobart edition of ABC’s Q&A. The discussions about MONA on that episode – like the majority of profiles on the museum and its creator – were unfailingly positive. Upfront about and yet accepting of the challenging content, the panellists talked about how good MONA had been for the local economy and for the social landscape, and how wonderful it was that the museum had been embraced by the famously conservative Tasmanian community.

Still, something bugged me.

It’s not that the man who owns and runs MONA, the strange and reclusive David Walsh, made his enormous fortune gambling. It’s worth noting (although it’s by no means the end of the debate) that MONA’s existence is only possible due to that private bankrolling – the $80 million building houses a $100 million art collection and costs an estimated $7 million annually to run, and yet the museum was free entry to everyone until October last year. (On the day we visited, in May 2011, the young guy at the ferry gate told us it was making an annual loss of something closer to $10 million.)

It’s not even the scatological, explicit, irksome or onanistic nature of so much of the content. There’s a lot to like in there. One of the most beautiful pieces by far is a sculpture of a taxidermied bird, falling through thousands of dandelion seeds, suspended on taut, translucent threads from floor to ceiling. The most prominent piece in the collection – if only because of its size – is Sidney Nolan’s extraordinary 1620-frame work Snake. I felt I could stand in front of it for hours, and yet, seeming to care less about the work itself than its potential as a drawcard, Walsh said of the 45-metre giant: ‘It was designed to lure people in, and then I get to make any statement I want.’

It’s that message – or more precisely, the lack of it – that bothers me.

Deliberately structured around a subversion of hierarchical education systems, MONA shirks framing in the traditional sense, arranging the items in its collection without labels and with deliberate disregard for context. In the juxtaposition of old and new, sublime and ridiculous, the individual works are stripped of their history and any externally imposed contention. Whether the juxtaposition is insulting or simply jarring is a debate in and of itself. Aesthetic or conceptual links are deliberately ruptured or confused. Viewers are provided only an iPod guidebook which may or may not have an interpretation of the piece (‘art wank’) included.

‘It’s like a rich man’s soapbox,’ the Australian quoted Walsh as saying. ‘I’m standing on my soapbox and I’m shouting my views like they mean something.’

Walsh claims he structured the museum this way because he wants to make people think, but in some ways this seems like a cruel trick: such juxtaposition can’t help but undercut the work with meaninglessness. You came here because you care about art, it seems to be saying, because you’re interested by art, because art makes you think and feel and grow and learn and change. But these things you care about are as arbitrary and transient as those words dropping from Julius Popp’sBit.Fall installationPolitics. History. Peace. Justice. Gotcha.

In the subcultures I inhabited as a teenager, ‘alternative’ also meant sex and death, a kneejerk rejection of the status quo. We were obsessed with the visceral and the animalistic because it rendered the perfunctory rituals of everyday life – jobs and money, schoolwork, pop music, fashion, everything from peer pressure to politics – absurd. It reminded us that we were temporal. We might be alive but we are cogs in a machine. Critical and theorised in only the crudest way, we rushed towards the ‘other’, whatever the ‘other’ happened to be, simply because we were dissatisfied with what we had. But such incessant focus on the quickness of life/death, coupled simply withrejection, no matter what that was or meant, seemed to lead inevitably to nihilism. Those people I knew who embraced existentialism did so because it gave them an excuse not to care about anything. Instead of taking full responsibility for the burden of their own life’s meaning, on how their actions affected other people and themselves, they slid into emptiness and apathy. There was no point to politics or society, there was no point in arguing or struggle for change, there was no point in caring about other people when there was no point in caring.

‘I’m pretty well anti-everything,’ Walsh says.

That the Tasmanian community has come to claim this thing that, at least in part, seems to have been set up as a comprehensive ‘fuck you’ to establishment and established model, is perhaps a positive development. Much of the positive commentary around MONA seems to be couched in discussions about the state’s pervasive social conservatism and the business enterprise opportunities that this new institution might present. And perhaps MONA has, as Natasha Cica suggested on last night’s show, meant the ‘arrival of a critical intensity’ in the community. People who once shied away from certain kinds of confrontation are now embracing new ideas, and that can only be a good thing.

Nevertheless, I still can’t shake the feeling that this ‘temple of secularism’ is, at its core, a monument to reaction.

http://overland.org.au/blogs/lfmg/2012/04/something-bugs-me-about-mona/

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On Apology

April 19–May 19, 2012

Artists Include:
Erick Beltrán, Mark Boulos, Keren Cytter, Omer Fast, Shaun Gladwell, Ragnar Kjartansson, Amalia Pica, Slavs and Tatars, Cassie Thornton, Dawn Weleski, Artur Zmijewski

On Apology is an exhibition produced by the graduating class of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts with the support of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.

The public apology has in recent times become a widely prevalent phenomenon. Politicians, corporate and pop-culture figures, from Bill Clinton to Toyota’s chief executives, have openly expressed remorse for everything from minor private indiscretions to major corporate wrongdoings. The mechanisms for “saying sorry” are crafted for broad public consumption and conveyed through the mass media, and are accordingly all-pervasive. The effectiveness of the broadcast apology is complicated by public expectations for reconciliation or recompense, and the unlikelihood of these expectations being met. Despite the fact that overuse has arguably rendered the apology a bankrupt form of meaningful expression, it persists as a means of damage control, and, ironically perhaps, of enshrining a kind of idealism.

On Apology, references Jacques Derrida’s 2001 essay “On Forgiveness,” which provides an insight into views on the act of forgiving, and the possibility of genuine forgiveness versus the complexities of amnesty, apology, and contrition. Similarly, the show itself seeks to outline the multifaceted perspectives and exchanges of power that are central to the formulation of apologies, with the works navigating the integrity of sincere regret, fraught apologies or even the absence of contrition. It intends to question, under what circumstances are apologies warranted? Can one person apologize on behalf of another? Is the value of the apology contingent upon written or spoken language, or do symbolic, performative gestures speak louder than words? On Apology investigates public and private iterations of the apology, examining how apologies are formed, their subtlety or lack thereof, and their potential, if any, to accomplish real change.

For information on opening reception click here

———-

Congratulations Peta and all fellow CCA Curatorial Graduates xx J

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time, space and objects

Putting me on Saturn would certainly kill me, and so would injecting my body beneath the surface of the sea, but neither scenario would change the nature of the person being killed. By contrast, changing my component pieces (if pushed far enough) could change who I am even if the resulting creature survived for thousands of years, or even for eternity. My success depends on my environment, as do my partnerships and my physical survival, but my nature is not thus dependent. I am the same real object whether I endure on earth for forty more years or perish instantly on Saturn. But I am not the same real object if my pieces are shuffled beyond a certain point.

—Graham Harman

'Time, space, essence, and eidos: a new Theory of causation', Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy,  vol. 6, no. 1, 2010

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precarity

James Lee Byars at documenta 5, curated by Harald Szeemann and team in 1972

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Soul Food

spirit cooking 1996

marina abromovic 

"do it" catalogue - e-flux

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Video of Google’s Art Project.

Brian Barrett. 2011. ‘Google’s Art Project: Tour the World’s Finest Paintings In Eye-Blasting Resolution’. gizmodo.com weblink

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