Maureen Mullarkey

THIS IS A SOBERING LABOR DAY. We have seen the employment statistics. Somewhere under the rubble of numbers are artists—semi-employed, underemployed—supporting themselves with every imaginable odd job: a part-time adjunctcy here, another there; waiting tables; house painting; dog walking; carpentry—you name it. Yet institutions of so-called higher learning, keep turning out M.F.A. candidates on the false assumption that a faculty position awaits them. Exploiting popular delusion, Texas Tech University trumpets itself as the first to offer a doctorate in fine art.  Continue Reading
Manual Labor in the Age of Academe

PRESENT AN ALIEN FROM OUTER SPACE with an illustrated time line of Western art—from, say, Theodoros of Samos to selected offerings from any museum of contemporary cialis online no prescription Ask the fellow if he can tell which end of the time line is the beginning. [It is not a trick question. We just do not know whether aliens read from left to right or the other way around.] If the frequencies along his optic nerves run as ours do, and if he has his wits about him, he will choose, with confidence, the contemporary stuff as the slime from which Theodore eventually emerged. Continue Reading
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?
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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.
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