When considering the art field as being a raft in speculative time, the tendency is to seek comfort in numbers, regressive ideas such as another return to painting or hedging bets on all sides whilst pursuing an unreasonable personal growth fetish.
These are classic reactions to a perceived risk that arises as a result of readjusting to new data. Uncertainty, if left unmediated, will pose a risk not just to market stability but to conceptual stability as it becomes more and more difficult to differentiate between artists and ads; artworks and hype-objects; or content and sponsored content – keeping us in a state of high drama too complex to decode. For example artists who consciously use marketing strategies as art are contextually mixed up with masses of artists who simply run a marketing strategy. Or, equally, galleries with a reputation for long-term quality regularly use their weight to inflate very short-lived speculative art. It is in these differences that art barters itself off very quickly to sometimes uninteresting effects holding us in a certain inappropriate narrative if we are not careful.
Up until a hundred years ago, it was normal to assume that all art aimed at “beauty” or varying degrees of “representation” and that anything but, would not be considered art. Later, after The Fountain, this evolved into the politics of mass production leading to whatever fallacy that we have today – perhaps a speculative bias targeted at an erroneously projected future consensus. It may be worth considering ditching all retroactive rhetoric about “safe places” in favor of heightening one’s own form of perception (perhaps even through enhancement), to adapt to the new environment and to filter through informational debris.
Inside the art world […]
Kenny Schachter – Art After the Apocalypse
Linda Yablonsky – Plus Ça Change
A Conversation with Michael Gross – Quid pro Quo – How the sausage gets made at the Met
Joseph Walsh – An Image that is Nothing to be Desired
Image spread by Natasha Vita-More
Paul Mason – Eleven Theses on Postcapitalist Art
Christian J. Haye – More Art
Casey Jane Ellison – 2 Ones Chat and Then End
Armen Avanessian – Present Tension: Notes on Preemption, Hyperstition,
Contemporary Art and the Post-Contemporary Condition
Artist edition by Phillip Zach
- Art Against Art #2
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Art Against Art
London, Paris, New York, Milan, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Palo Alto – art is moving faster than capital like a god wind that no-one can stop let alone control. Meanwhile a lot of art writing and ‘critical theory’ is stuck in the comfort zone of the 70-90s when there actually was an avant garde or subculture.
For art writing to get back on track it needs to shake out of this nostalgia and start engaging with the nuances of what is going on by covering the new breeds of involvement that have emerged since 2009 – the new sincerities and ironies, the more subtle art practices and social variations of market participation that have developed to deal with the institutional grip. For some time an aesthetic suspension of disbelief helped to provide an alibi that allowed us to participate as if we did believe the market was the key to “validation”, but then quickly vanished into feelings of depression after any agency seemed like an impossibility. As the contradictions got wider, different problems have emerged such as whether art is concurrent with the transitional moments of our present culture or technology, or whether art altogether has reached its informational limit.
The art world has slowly transitioned from modernist pretensions that seem like delusional excuses to the public, to developing a new sensibility – one of silent, shared communion, retributions and confessions. It has taken the step into a reality that is more in keeping with the real world of business, design and branding than creating stark ‘alternatives’. Beyond short-term pragmatism and adaptability, how can artists aesthetically work alongside their authentic desire to participate in a logic of the market that by necessity must scale? How can we realistically judge the work of art institutions if they are frozen into following instrumental logics rather than relevance? With the availability of information online, there is no way these logics are not transparent to a committed internet user.
Narratives like these happened in Pop Music years ago. Just as the Music Industry had to face up to its own protocols, the Art Industry needs to be judged on its changing developments; the ways art is being used as a financial instrument, art’s new marketing techniques, art as representation of different sociological interests, art as access to power, status, fame, participation and the rest of it. Until art writing gets really into these driving forces, it won’t be able to say anything interesting about art. It also won’t be able to grow or be writing that anyone really wants to read.
Art Against Art marks a turning point – the one that says by breaking from the overbearing logic of what seems like an inevitability, we can get closer to the conceptualizations we would like society to experience but don’t.
Marion Maneker – Art is Not an Asset, It’s a Reserve Currency
Ben Vickers – Strange Objects and Their Discontents
Martin G Fuller – A Sociology of Art for Artists
Steven Shaviro – Feed
Taslima Ahmed – Left to the Mercy of Roussel
Image spread by Michael Farin
Roberto Ohrt – Needle and Balloon
Manuel Gnam – Centralization and Globalization of Art leading to One Global Hierarchy That Creates Less Options and Forms a Function of Limited Growth
Carles – Creativity vs. Scalability
Artist edition by Megan Marrin
- Art Against Art issue #1
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