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Wednesday 09.21.05

« Bi*m*rphic | Main | Jen Rybolt on Meow Meow at TBA »

Required Reading

Required reading: Jerry Saltz's latest Babylon article is out.

A few things stood out.

1) He's right New York is kinda bland when it comes to young artists. I've noticed that two rather expensive cities, New York and San Francisco are producing a lot of trying hard to be cheap look'n but crafty art. Like all the trust funder MFA grads (who can afford those places) got the 2002 Whitney Biennial memmo and copped the style as an ironic comment on their situation. I've said it before, Rachel Feinstein did the neo-Victoriana princess thing better back in 1999 and Marcel Dzama draws sullen people mixing with bears, cats and bunnies better than anyone in the United States. Canada won this round back in 2000 folks. This whole unicorn, 80's heavy metal band trend makes me sleepy and Rachel Harrison did amazing clumpy awkward material art better in 2002. Yes Larry Rinder's 2002 Whitney biennial looks to have been incredibly influential but has spawned a hoard of lame wannabe non-chalant-savants who paint a rainbow anytime they cant figure out how to resolve a composition. Greater New York... unimpressive.

2) Matthew Higgs claims he wants to "change New York art world in 24 months."... ummm OK change it by making it less money driven, good luck. Most of us in Portland have met Matthew and he's smart guy but not that radical. He seems to curate people he knows and follows very arid versions of trends that suit him, he has focus.

He's very good at that focused curatorial role, but as a revolutionary he seems miscast (he's too organized to allow radical lack of control dictate the outcome)... still I like the balls it takes to say something like this. I bet some smart ass is going to try and change Matthew Higgs in 24 months. The fact remains artists set the agenda not curators and New York is choking on non chalant careerism and a dearth of new ideas. As long as artists buy into the way things are now nothing will change.

The last time I spied Higgs it was at Greater New York and he seemed as thoroughly unimpressed as everyone else was. Higgs will be in Portland September 30th for the Affair at the Jupiter Hotel. I suggest everyone ask him what the hell he meant or find out what he's been smoking. It's good he's coming to Portland though, we are different and that means something. Port officially extends a welcome to either the bravest or the drunkest new-ish curator in New York.

3) This version of Babylon restates much of the last one (it was Super Babylon) and that odd sense of fuzzy stasis in the essay says something about the New York art world.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 21, 2005 at 23:55 | Comments (0)


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