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Monday 07.08.13

« Saturday Art Happenings | Main | A cursory arts journalism/criticism discussion »

Monday Links

We've still got all of that content that was backed up in June heading your way (PORTsters tend to travel during the J months), just hold tight. Till then here are some links.

Peter Plagens asks if art schools can remember the "Great Unmentionable"... TALENT. He rightly points out where some pedagogy devolves into group therapy and how the old fashioned way doesn't work either. In many ways I see art schools as victims of their own ubiquitous success in the art world... spawning a mandarin, "Im ok, you're ok we are all ok," world that just looks for a cursory justification. It is fine but Ive also noticed how every single artist who has achieved lasting relevance has avoided academic group think. Even Beuys (who arguably set this new academia based on relativistic research in motion with his kind of earnest/sham hagiography) was an outlier by design at the Dusseldorf Academy where he was eventually dismissed. Without that tension of being outside the institutional stamp of approval he would not have mattered. What to do then as an artist...? Don't buy into the idea that an art institution actually defines what you or your work, while simultaneously not believing your own internal monologue or clique dialect of peers. Overall, talent is a bit of a misnomer... instead of describing raw ability, it is a kind of perpetual unease, which in certain individuals/groups leads to deeper understanding and facility. Others just tear themselves apart or embrace a kind of mediocrity... not because they are bad or have no talent but because they are simply too satisfied. I've found that all exceptional artists (Beuys, Judd, Smithson even 90's era Damien Hirst) are also exceptionally talented at critical thinking in their own idiomatic ways and it is why descriptive art writing doesn't get artists over the hump of mediocrity. In short, never believe your own spiel.

The Guardian has a review of Hans Ulrich Obrist's never ending Do It series in England.

Christopher Knight reviews the Pacific Rim show at OCMA. Noticeably there isn't a single representative from Portland (which has arguably the most active art scene north of San Francisco). I don't blame the curator Dan Cameron that much though, Portland's scene looks bland (or at least redundant to Seattle as far as home grown talent goes) at the institutional and gallery levels and only takes off in the hyperactive alternative spaces (Plagens reported on the alt scene last year). Without a guide one isn't likely to find it. In other words local curators and galleries need to step up their game in presenting relevant artists rather than a bland regurgitation of the idea that Portland art is purely/stereotypically craft and forest obsessed. We can't expect others from outside to see us as we really are if all we do is present unchallenged stereotypes. This may piss some people off but my argument is very sound. Our awards, museum shows and gallery offerings should be challenging accepted ideas rather than pandering to already held beliefs... especially since so many Portlanders merely write off the local infrastructure and jump directly to the more merit based international stage. In short, there a schism that needs addressing locally before those elsewhere can be expected to register it in large scale survey shows.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 08, 2013 at 10:21 | Comments (0)


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