With the Weinstein reckoning an artist whose work touches on this reality of abuse has been removed
. Should the prophylactic response be used here? Do we remove anything that might be provoking or address inconvenient truths? It certainly wasnt Weinstein-enabling, if anything it addressed his type of behavior when others wert gym curator
re turning a blind eye. Earlier this year Sam Durant's piece at the Walker made sense to remove... those gallows were simply like dancing on graves though it worked when initially shown at Documenta (why was the Walker so tone deaf and not understand that it worked in Europe but not the USA?). The difference here is the Hollywood day bed was more nuanced... perhaps too much for a retail setting but that's popular culture failure not the artist's or the work's. True freedom requires dissent and the mainstream left can cause greater harm to itself by by policing culture and general dissent. As a critic I try to engineer pressure points where the inconvenient is foregrounded and to try to drive these upsetting things back into the background is a kind of censorship.
The Art Gym names Ashley Stull Meyers as its new Director and curator. Good that she has a background in marginalized communities... but how is she on dissent? Portland is a city of dissonance but its arts institutions are mostly very safe... rewarding those who sit on panels but not work that causes an uproar or provoke discussion. It is a civic weakness that requires correcting rather than mutual congratulation societies. We wish her well and hope she has the full support of the university as these programs have come under increasing pressure. What's more Portland is a notoriously tough place to fund raise and being new often means 5-10 years of proving yourself.
Artnet asks who the most influential curators were
. That's an interesting question, mostly because curators... particularly those at museums have been losing cache (going mostly to directors, most who act like curators but often arent... when they are both the split attention can be a blessing or curse). I wont make a silly top 10 list but here are my picks: My favorite was likely William Rubin (whose time at MoMA explored risk as cultural currency), other MoMA greats like Alfred Barr, Kirk Varnedoe and Robert Storr
all matter. Im a fan of Lynne Cooke and I want to name Ann Philbin who is technically a director. Pontus Hulten, Okwui Enwezor
, Hans Obrist, Germnao Celant, Geldzahler, Paul Schimmel and the brilliant Walter Hopps come to mind as well. We just dont have that many brilliant curators at major museums any more... they typically act like investment portfolio managers managing risk rather than tastemakers who explore the currency of cultural risk. Hmmm, I could play this game for days... There should be more women (almost all the curators in Portland are women) and these lists are very white. Overall, I sense contemporary art needs curators who are willing to curate against type and form, take risks rather than act like custodians of asset class objects. We need curators who are less acculturated and explore the way culture wobbles off its axis... because that is what matters.
Interesting article. Sounds like the sculpture that was removed was taken out of context. However, even if it raised some concerns about the Weinstein abuse it just brings more awareness about the situation, which is probably a good thing. Trust the judgment of the viewers to come to their own conclusions but censoring art is not a good choice.
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