– Holland Cotter’s slightly depressing look back in art of the last decade. Recalls significant culturally diversified exhibitions focusing on African, Latin American, Asian, and Islamic artists. In the end art in the last decade was too plural, too commercial, unfocused and overtly multi-lateral, incohesive and difficult to hold in a singular grasp. “The New York art world is scrambling back to business as usual, which means business before all else. This kind of cautious and conservative thinking made 2000s art at best a thing of only minor excitements, more often simply expendable, and beside the point.”
– Then Roberta Smith goes on to say: “The years 2000 to 2009 saw the emergence of a tremendous number of really good, interesting, promising artists. They came from around the world and every demographic, working in every medium…The number of mediums has expanded, thanks to the continued development of aspects of postminimalism — especially video and performance — and the rise of digital technology and the Internet. So has the ingenuity with which artists fragment and mix these mediums. The ways of being an artist — from membership in an anonymous collective with satire, social improvement or both on its group mind, to entrepreneurial mega-stardom — have also multiplied…The lack of reassuring simplification means that we are experiencing the present in a fuller, less blinkered way. We can now see that most art begins in plurality, even if it is temporarily neatened into movements by artists, critics and art historians…More means more better.” This last sentence kind of kills me but I quote it here anyway.
– Best hubble space telescope images. (via worlds best ever)
– Art Bloggers @ panel was held at Miami in December speaking about what it’s like and what it takes to be an art blogger critic. I am yet to be at par with Hrag, Paddy, Sharon, Joanne, and the ladies at Artblog but soon, I swear, I hope.
– Art Fag City’s best of web 2009.
– Blu and Ellis will forever blow my mind.
– A petition to add Crapomimicry to the OED.
– Alec Soth’s Glass Jar. (via c-monster)
– Art 21’s top 10 entertainers moonlight as artists includes Sylvester Stallone’s horrendous paintings, Kat Dennings’ paintings off MS Paint, Lady Gaga and MIA as feminist interlopers, and James Francos self-meta-performance-acting experiments.
– Tiny moments of varying significance, 00-09.
– My dear Nicole’s superbly informative and hysteria inducing article on art21 about the Year in Meat, meat in art, and art in meat.
– Happy in Paraguay by Dayjob Orchestra. I laughed my ASS off.
– Art shows to see in January.
– Bad at Sports on domestic art space. Pointers: apt shows are more fun and provocative when not imitating a white walled gallery, a successful show depends on a welcoming and socially apt host, and will go beyond networking in producing a legitimate exhibition. Apt galleries provide a sense of community, especially for underrecognized artists and art world vagabonds but does it work as a financially viable and sustainable venture? It is a cultural signifier in many ways, especially in the last year post-economic breakdown where artists took exhibiting in their own hands more than ever in NY, especially in Brooklyn but how can such events be put to a permanent and stable model? Another great article on apt shows: “If this type of space is rife with anxiety and power, then shouldn’t the apartment gallery be an antidote to this situation since the power within these spaces resides with individuals who have broader latitude and more autonomy—because the stakes are not as high as the commercial gallery or museum—to experiment with setup?…Instead of the domestic space striving to be more commercial and always falling short of the pristine effect and voice of authority that the museum or formal gallery embodies, the focus should be on finding inventive and innovative strategies of display that mingle art with living materials.”
– Uplifting. (via eyeteeth)
– On my other hero, Hans Ulrich Obrist: “There’s a certain kind of curator who is really down with the artists, and Hans Ulrich is definitely down with the artists…In effect, Mr. Obrist functions as something like a neutral mediator–a listener who asks questions of others and provokes them to explain themselves while keeping his own beliefs to himself…”The ability to generate excitement, to focus attention and to stir things up in a positive way is a particular skill, you know, and it is not to be taken lightly. We need animators. We have too many of them who have no seriousness and no curiosity, who are just making events and spectacles. He’s an animator who actually creates interesting situations” (via c-monster)
– Winkleman’s top 10.
– Newsgrist’s awesome top 10 most scathing art review zingers of 09.
– Visible pantylines. (via worlds best ever)
– Gothamist’s year in interviews.
– I heart this bug.
– Top 100 craft tutorials of 2009.
– Roberta Smith considers time and how indulging in art, especially inside a museum such as the MET can be an experience of pure engagement or neglect with time and its marking of past, present, and future. Art has “remained intact long enough to be rediscovered, cherished once more, and studied, preserved and passed down through the generations for more of the same. A special condition of art encourages such treatment. Each piece of it is a concentration or distillation of ideas, inspiration, sensibility and craftsmanship into a frozen, obdurately physical moment that focuses our attention and then unfolds in the mind. Sometimes what unfolds is a chronological narrative conveyed by a single representative image or a series of them; sometimes it is an intense experience that seems to takes you out of time, yet persists and reverberates in the echo chamber of personal memory. Usually it is a combination of both.” One disconnect I always find with Roberta Smith’s articles is their incompleteness. Here she breaks up time to various categories; cosmic, material, mortal, real, and takes works from all movements, styles and cultures as exhibited at the Met and how each exemplifies said categorized time. I’ve always felt Smith’s writing never really hit the spot, never went deep enough, merely hinted at a great point. It’s sad to me that the last sentence in this article is: “That’s one of the things art does for us.” I feel this to be juvenile and superficial. I pray not to get ripped for saying potentially blasphemous things but Smith’s writing has little controversy, little spunk. It’s too tame and generalized. I think perhaps I just hate the last sentence of her articles.
– Brent’s Top 1-10.
– NYT Year in Ideas.
– Walking Crowd by Alex Delany
– Peter Schjeldahl on Gabriel Orozco. I’m afraid of what I’ll think of this show when I see it. “the one artist of his ilk and time who stands up to really rigorous scrutiny—incidentally rejuvenating art history as a going concern—and justifies the effort by being delightful.His works aren’t invariably beautiful, but they all bespeak beauty as an operating principle: the catch in consciousness when mind and body merge in a state of praise for existence, just as it is.”
– Best inexpensive restaurants of 2009.
– Artnet’s top ten list.
– On photographing the Unmonumental: ““The photographer,” wrote Susan Sontag, “is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world ‘picturesque.’” There’s a certain pleasure in opening oneself to the fleeting tweaks of vision that transfigure otherwise banal mélanges into aesthetic reveries. Each found sculpture marks the point of multiple convergences, where the trajectories of the city’s detritus cross the photographer’s path. It’s the moment just before the objects recede into the grayness of entropy. In an attempt to record such a heightened aesthetic state, Garnett’s photographs grasp at these moments, but they do not preserve them. The ongoing series continues as an open stream of images, with each new arrival trumping the last, and they end as collections that outline a particular exercise of seeing, one that transforms the everyday into the sublime—if only ironically and beneath a patina of satire.”