Here are some of the better recent art bits involving charisma out there:
The sarcastically charismatic Joe
Queenan writes about Ron English
in the Guardian.
Kuspit's Girodet piece on Art Net
raised my appreciation for the artist and his use of "charisma"
but I'll still take David any day. This kind of pandering still makes me queezy.
thread on Art Dish about Portland's proliferation of art radio and its various
cults of personality
is interesting for its discussion of things that Portlanders'
take for granted (and sometime bemoan). Cults of personality only have meaning
when serious ideas are behind them, then act as advertised or better yet, exceed
Coupling persona with activities of consequence creates a kind of civic agenda
and frames the discussion. In this case Portland is in the midst of defining
itself as an art city. But what kind of art city, one that rewards bluster over
content and attendance over probing intellectually relevant cause and effect
scenarios? The two go hand in hand but the ratios of content to promotion are
very important. Id rather hear intelligent provocation backed up by actions
and a track record, over posturing and endless promotion. This could apply to hundreds of art scene entities here.
The problem is the more generalist the media source the more they will focus
on the least common denominator for their audience, which will usually be persona.
I think the best example was Jennifer Gately's 1 pager in Portland Monthly a
few months ago, pretty much a harmless bit of cheese that told us nothing. (btw.
Camela that tennis pun? "Love at first sight"...) Still in no way
did I consider it definitive of either Gately or Camela Raymond in any way but
an excuse to take a photo and publish it.
Yes, persona does expand the rather narrow scope of the art world but all demagoguery
eventually leads to polarized camps and conflict (its important to turn it into
critical discussion rather than tabloid propaganda). I remember when the YBA's
were still young, Hirst was very generous and built up more than just his own
career. I personally differ with focusing so much on playing to the media's
expectations of a bad boy image, but it served a purpose in his case. In general
what I like most about Portland is how people tend to look at what others do
above all else. Portland is a practical place that is trying to define what
a 21st century city can be... not through buildings as much as by the activities
of its citizens. So yes, there will be a cult of personality in the model Portland
has adopted, but the idea behind PORT is to help refocus the debate on critical
thinking through honest subjective evaluations. Considering the # of readers
(which has continued to grow even during the summer with most art schools are
out of session) we must be doing something right. Really the trick is to be
honest and up front, everyone has a bias. The trick is to present content intelligently
and provide a coherent rationale.
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