it's enough to drive you to drink
Post #426 • December 8, 2004, 7:41 AM • 14 Comments
At this sort of event - and at Basel Miami there were many of them - short and sweet was the name of the game. And, besides, the invitation to the 11:30 AM book launch promised cocktails. The sooner it was over, the sooner we could get to the next panel, the next opening, the next glass of chardonnay. I shouldn't be so cynical. After all, the panel offered a certain madcap fun, and it was events like these that gave one an excuse to commingle with immensely talented artists and curators in immensely beautiful surroundings, often with immensely beautiful (or, at the very least, beautifully dressed) people.
Tuesday, December 7, 6:44 pm: an alert Artblog.net reader sends in a link to a story about the ABMB party chez de la Cruz. Lo and behold, the same website. This time I pay more attention. It seems to be titled, or taglined, "Scene and Herd." Hm. Something like reportage ensues:
Before entering the house to see the much-hyped assume vivid astro focus (aka Eli Sudbrack and "collaborators") show, to which the de la Cruzes had given over the entire second floor, I stopped for a brief chat with Jeffrey Deitch. As always, he percolated with infectious optimism. "Miami is the new New York. In ten years, all the key galleries will have branches down here. Artists love it - space is cheap, climate great, collectors plentiful." After a quick cocktail and a last look at the scene in the garden, I almost believed him.
Later, I catch up with Tyler Green.
ArtForum has started a blog -- kinda. It's more of a long-format diary, but at least ArtForum is beginning to revamp their website. The entries are a little long to be true blog entries, there's nary a link to be found, and they're more concerned with scene than art, but hey, maybe with ABMB out of the way they'll become more truly blog-like. Or maybe, given the academic dryness of the magazine, they'll become as stiff and unreadable as, well... let's just see how they do. We're rooting for them.
Oh. This is a blog. Now that you mention it, it has permanent links and comments enabled. This jogs something loose in my memory... wait... right.
...one day, mainstream paper-based art journalism will break down and admit that art blogging exists. When they do, they will want to know how widely the phenomenon has spread and why. They will cite Todd's survey, and then qualify it as probably inaccurate, but that won't stop them from using it. Shortly thereafter, Artforum will start a blog. It will provide an even more horrible reading experience than their message boards.
I'd like to say that I called this back in September, but I didn't really. For one, I was incorrect about it being an even more horrible reading experience than their message boards. This is a wholly different flavor of horrible.
None of these concerns were voiced too loudly at NADA's raucous Friday night party at the Sagamore Hotel, where Art Basel and NADA dealers rubbed shoulders with scruffy twenty-something artists and their friends in the rear garden by the pool. At 1:30 the crowd was herded out the front door so hotel guests could get their sleep, and the party split in two: some headed north to the Raleigh Hotel and others south to Bar Deuce.
You know what? I don't give a shit.
Tyler hopes that ABMB is causing the blog to emphasize the scene, but I looked at last month's archives and found this about some openings in London:
If your evening of private views begins on the gleaming avenues of Piccadilly and officially ends with an undignified scrabble for the last lukewarm bottle of Rolling Rock from a plastic bucket, it's likely you've been on an eastward trajectory.
This report from Brooklyn:
Maybe it was the ice-cream truck dispensing free sundaes out front or the guffawing long-haired dude boinging up and down on the trampoline inside, but the opening of "Phiiliip: Divided By Lightning" at Deitch Projects' Williamsburg outpost felt like a decidedly off-kilter fun fair. Phiiliip - nee Philip Guichard - is the 24-year-old cipher whose home-recorded album Pet Cancer made all the best-of lists in 2001. He's also a club entrepreneur, DJ, and part-time Dior model with one glittery foot plopped in Scott Hug's K48 magazine scene. "P:DBL," organized by John Connelly Presents and produced by Deitch Projects, is a kind of invitational inquest into the persona of an underground New York pop star (that would be Phiiliip) on the verge of releasing a new album titled Divided By Lightning.
And this story about the MoMA reopening:
The sixth-floor bar rapidly established itself as the A-list artists' enclave, with Robert Rauschenberg and Chuck Close surrounded by a coterie of senior admirers leading the way. Nearby a somewhat more youthful contingent including Doug Aitken and Thomas Demand rubbed shoulders with James Rosenquist and Jeff Koons.
Hey Artforum, I have an idea - how about using the blog to expand your art criticism? But on second thought, never mind.
His landscape paintings, as large as twelve by ten feet, and black ink drawings, as small as seven inches square, are sensoriums skeptical of an Enlightenment conception of logic, developing instead by the nonlinear momentum of highly adaptable plants and animals.
In her second solo at this gallery, Lisa Sigal trades in her site-responsive archi-sculptural vocabulary - which has stood out this year in group shows at Artists' Space, White Columns, and Clementine Gallery - for a more painterly idiom that focuses on the internal relationships of each construction.
Lars Arrhenius's closest progenitor would have to be Matt Mullican - both dig into the world of graphics, signs, and symbols and imagine that these ciphers live in an analogous world of life, death, violence, and spirituality. Arrhenius's The Man without Qualities, 2001, amusingly proposes the universal "man" sign that graces restrooms around the world as the embodiment of Robert Musil's existential blank slate.
The art world described in Artforum is a giant cash register lubricated with liquor and horseshit. It is a world that oscillates between party and theory without ever stopping off at clarity.
Artforum would serve the art world better by encouraging connoiseurship: nuanced descriptions, lucid writing, identification of relevant parameters, a skeptical but not cynical eye on the market, hesitancy to coin a phrase, and, most of all, prioritizing taste over idea while addressing both. I would love to read an art magazine modeled on Saveur, from which the following passage about cognac (since we like alcohol so well, apparently) is taken.
The way various cognacs are assembled, however, is also of paramount importance. "Greatness comes from blending," asserts Yann Filloux, the master blender at Hennessy and the seventh generation of his family to practice the art. Because old cognacs have so much more personality and individuality than young ones, blending becomes especially tricky with XO quality and above. Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell, and Rémy-Martin all have quite distinct XO styles - the product of marketing decisions as well as of tradition and inheritance. Martell's best cognacs, always with a high percentage from the Borderies, are invariably dry and crisp, with a nutty taste and a floral perfume. By contrast, Rémy's finest, all from the Champagnes, taste smooth and silky. Hennessy goes farther down that path, emphasizing a round, lush style, while Courvoisier pulls back - its best cognacs seeming, if not austere, then always serious and substantial.
But as such a thing does not yet exist, all we can do is refrain from reading the available dreck, which shall continue to be my practice.