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Wednesday 11.16.16

« Weekend Picks | Main | Post Holiday Art Field Trip Picks »

Post Election Art News and Shifts

Well there has been a political shift, it is not a slight one and this will affect art. PORT was one of the first to write about post election art. A week later there are now some more voices discussing what this might mean:

Jerry Saltz can always be counted on to charge forward in difficult times and like myself he sees this as an opportunity to get away from the recent parochialism that the market and some very soft thinking have lead to. Jerry always has a very New York take and I'm not certain what a Trump presidency means for art in NYC but it certainly means that money wont be going away as part of the equation.

At Jezebel this piece disagrees with Saltz, thinking that the bohemian artist on the outside is gone (neoliberal art school talk). That seems like an argument akin to "painting is dead" but the pessimism is healthy. That said artists find a way and yes radical action can outflank a lot of this very mitigated neoliberal stuff art schools have been cranking out.

This E-flux essay also seemed to see the radicalization in art as a consequence of the election.

Jennifer Rabin writes a good morale boosting piece in the WWeek. That said I do feel Portland now has a duty to up its game, not simply accept what we have as good enough (especially institutionally, Portland needs to up that game). Artists should assay the task of creating culture but the past 10 years have not been the best. One artist that is right on target and incisive is worth more than 100 that arent... that said those 100 may have been part of the collective Weldschmertz that leads to some stronger art. The key is expectations.

News from Disjecta on the growth front, its controversial director will be leaving his post at the helm. As this piece on PORT once chronicled long ago, Bryan Suereth has always been his own biggest asset and weakness. I knew that when Michelle Grabner was chosen to curate the heavily built up but poorly realized Portland 2016 Biennial it would also expose problems. Possibly, it was the way the host exhibition at Disjecta had all the care of an overstuffed estate sale... using the same old more artists = more attendance strategy Bryan has used since the Modern Zoo in 2003. The institution needed to grow beyond the ploy of being big rather than good (being stretched all over the state made the host show all the more feeble and pointless) and Suereth always had people making excuses for him, none more than Meagan Atiyeh (often uncomfortably so, read the comments). Behind the scenes board members have long confided they are annoyed with issues he's needlessly created and this last biennial set off another wave of many artists who were simply put off. True, some artists love him and he's always been an ardent supporter of those he saw as allies but ultimately one needs other skills for Disjecta to grow into something more serious. (*Side note, the last male curator to work for Disjecta was Paul Middendorf who quit in 2005). That said, Suereth a founder (however mercurial) has put in a lot of work over the years and improved to a point. It is exciting that they can move forward building on his efforts and a bit of tragedy that its founder never seemed to learn some of the basics.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on November 16, 2016 at 12:44 | Comments (0)


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