That the frozen of the image is always in part a memento mori is an endlessly complex trope of the last century, because of the parts of the captured subject that remain alive. How various modes of documentation—video of film in conversation with photography, installation work—differ from straight photography is the subject of the Guggenheim's current survey from its collection, Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance. Read More
This season Bravo introduces a reality television series, Work of Art
, billed as a contest to find the "next great artist." The show collects 14 trained and untrained participants, all of whom responded to a call for submissions by submitting zany autobiographical videos, screened by three judges: critic Jerry Saltz, dealer/advisor Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and dealer Bill Powers. That this show so enthusiastically adopts the structures of another show, Bravo's hit Project Runway,
makes it seem like a program about conventionality—and whether or not the art world craves it. Only the first episode is available for screening. Read More
A fashion show generally begins with dead time as people file in, chit-chat, and have their picture taken. A publicist screams or a light is dimmed; men and women assume their hierarchical place in the rows, culminating in an approximately ten-minute organized procession of models up and down a runway (the announced occasion for the gathering); then the audience makes a mass exodus. Order builds, and then explodes as the audience becomes suddenly intent upon congregating elsewhere, another fashion show. Read More
In 1980, Benjamin Buchloh published "Beuys, Twilight of the Idol," criticizing the artist's public, didactic and even messianic-style performances as symptomatic of a new post-war German identity built "by pardoning and reconciling itself prematurely with its own reminiscences of a responsibility for one of the most cruel and devastating forms of collective political madness that history has known." The piece determined the reading of Beuys' work through his personae, ostensibly reading the former as artifacts of the latter—without, perhaps, a significant study
of the self-consciously fragmented nature of any documentation.
A caveat given me by David Salle before seeing, Your History is Not Our History, the show of work from the 1980s he co-organized with Richard Phillips: "Journalism creates generalizations, and generalizations are (generally) the enemy of art." Which, to be generous to my own craft, seems doubly like a warning at the threshold of text and image at the heart of any curatorial project.