Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cheering for Cynicism . . . The Critics

Organized by Daniel Birnbaum, this 53rd version of the venerable Biennale is tidy, disciplined, cautious and unremarkable. If any show can be said to reflect a larger state of affairs in art now, this one suggests a somewhat dull, deflated contemporary art world, professionalized to a fault, in search of a fresh consensus. It has prompted the predictable cooing from wishful insiders, burbling vaguely about newfound introspection and gravity . . .

. . . But the Biennale is meant to be a survey of new art, and while conscientious young artists now dutifully seem to raise all the right questions about urbanism, polyglot society and political activism, their answers look domesticated and already familiar. They look like other art-school-trained art, you might say, which is exactly what Pape and Matta-Clark and the Gutai group didn’t want their work to look like, never mind that the art market ultimately found a way to make a buck off what they did, as it does nearly everything, eventually.

For some reason, I continue to be fascinated by a current of extreme cynicism in the writing by art critics since the financial bubble that was forming around art collecting in New York and London nominally popped.

There is a companion article about Art Basel from that week, it follows the same tone but is much more absurd in details. I will have to find the hyperlink so that you can read the quote about all that high falutin arch-consumerist art from those long past "Bush Years."

1 comment:

Pete said...

Since I've known about him, Gordon Matta-Clark has grown in my esteem. The building cuts are some of the most imaginative and poignant pieces of Architecture of the 20th century.