On Occupy Art Museums
There’s been a lively debate online about the whole Occupy Museums protest (starting with Karen Archey’s piece on ArtInfo, Will Brand’s rebuttal in Art Fag City and Hyperallergic‘s follow-up here). As is usually the case, I’m not in 100% agreement with anybody. But I did want to speak out about the blanket way in which the word “museums” seems to be identified with institutions such as MoMA and the Gugg. Those institutions are more the exception than the rule, cultural juggernauts connected to the super powerful. But there are countless other smaller, community-minded institutions — places like El Museo del Barrio, the Bronx Museum, the Queens Museum, teaching museums like the Vincent Price and the Fowler, places that show the kinds of artists that never get seen anywhere else. There’sa lot of grey in this debate. Personally, if there’s one area of the art world that I think needs occupation it’s the art fairs. I can’t think of an atmosphere that’s less amenable to art and ideas than those overpriced flea markets.
- “The wealth of resources we apply to entertainment serves only to shield us from the poverty of the product.” —Tony Judt, on austerity.
- Britain’s draconian visa procedures for artists is making U.S. customs enforcement look warm and fuzzy. (Alec Soth wasn’t allowed to take pictures on his last visit.) Criticismism has a story about the arbitrary nature of the process.
- The rise of the robot writer.
- This story about the growing use of emoticons is fucking hilarious: “If anybody on Facebook sends me a message with a little smiley-frowny face or a little sunshine with glasses on them, I will de-friend them. I also de-friend for OMG and LOL. They get no second chance.” LOL.
- “I attribute my salvation to books.” Reading American literature in Castro’s Cuba.
- I love nothing more than a Shakespeare scholar on a tear. Though I will say that the bong joke is a low blow. #StonersArePeopleToo.
- Love digging up old stories on the internetz, such as this 1993 New York Times article about “The Art World Bust.” The piece is entertaining all around (and strangely relevant). But my favorite bit has to be the quote from Julian Schnabel’s assistant, to Deborah Solomon of the Times, who was seeking an interview: “Julian says he doesn’t have the mind space to think about your questions. He’s busy with renovations.”
- Bruce Davidson’s subway shots.
- Infected needles. Chimpanzee-to-human scrotum transplants. And the Haitian secret police chief who was known as the “Vampire of the Caribbean.” An absolutely amazing story about how AIDS came to be.
- The Art of Film Criticism: The New Yorker rounds up five classic Pauline Kael reviews.
- Today’s Graff: Escif, in France.
- Awwccupy Wall Street. Plus: Writer Caleb Crain, on why he signed the Occupy Wall Street petition.
- Nice profile of Esther McCoy, the “mother” of Southern California architecture writing.
- Speaking of which, I’m insanely jealous that Edward Lifson got to spend the day inside Rudolf Schindler’s Lovell Beach House in Newport Beach, Calif.
- The Day in Art Merch: Guggenheim house paint. For serious.
- The Art of Letterhead.