August 2010

A Reader Asks . . .

IN RESPONSE TO THE EARLIER POST, Art & Money, an astute reader writes to ask:
Perhaps conscientious and knowledgeable critics should try to explain the supply side of this equation, how art is produced to play a role in the continuing cycle.  How does it happen that a woman with no more talent than any teenage girl who draws pictures of rock stars becomes famous, wealthy, and sought by collectors and museums?  Who accomplishes this, and to whose benefit?  Is it for money, or is it that, as O’Brien says in 1984, the purpose of power is power?
Continue Reading
No More Nice Girls

IN HER 2010 MONOGRAPH ON HANNAH WILKE, Nancy Princenthal writes this:
. . . . throughout her graphic oeuvre, the issue of beauty is as central as it is in her photographic self-portraits.
She might really believe that. Nevertheless, Princenthal’s comment is indivisible from the abuse of language that constitutes so much contemporary art writing. It can hardly be called criticism. On the academic/critical circuit, words mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. It is all a rhetorical game aimed at producing judgmentless judgments that have the required ring of sobriety about them. Continue Reading
Art & Money

HERE I SIT WITH A HORRID LITTLE BOOK. Well, not so little at 300 pages but definitely unlikeable. Fine Art and High Finance by one Clare McAndrew was published this year by Bloomberg Press [yes, that Bloomberg]. Subtitled Expert Advice on the Economics of Ownership, it is a handbook on the global art trade meant for the financial sector. Dr. McAndrew explains:
The international art market is estimated to have turned over more than $60 billion in total sales of fine and decorative art and antiques in 2008, one of its highest-ever recorded totals.
Continue Reading
Chapel Americana

THE ARTS ARE AN ENDLESS SOURCE OF CHEAP GRACE. Like the ancient Celtic myth of Dagda’s cauldron, it is the pot that never empties. The most recent ladleful of pop spirituality is Dean Radinovsky’s Chapel Americana, a roughly 13 by 17 foot warehouse version of one of the sacred caves the artist had seen on a trip to Crete. Radinovsky completed his site-specific meditation space in 2008. His faux chapel is lined with formless abstract paintings, as vague and spacey as the word spirituality when it shows up in press releases. Continue Reading
CalArts Graduating Class, 2010

IS THERE A VACCINE FOR ART INTOLERANCE? If so, please tell me where to get it. At the beginning of the summer CalArts announced its exhibition of work by this year’s crop of MFA grads. This next wave of artistic talent washed over downtown Los Angeles’ Chinatown from July 2nd through July 9th at six participating galleries. The culminating exhibition of fledgling master work was called Box Scheme, organized by independent curator Ana Vejzovic Sharp, former curator of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. Continue Reading