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MIT is going to save art from what, exactly?

Post #827 • July 10, 2006, 4:41 PM • 16 Comments

The MexiCat - a scruffy feline sporting a poncho and sombrero - was originally a black and white creature. He was sold off, and his new owner colored him in. A later owner posed him next to a giant Corona bottle. In the future, somebody might decide to stick the MexiCat inside a beer bottle, or give him taco shits. The possibilities are endless.

And endless possibilities mean freedom: freedom for art to do anything. Including suck.

The aforementioned creature is an entity haunting the OPENSTUDIO, as reported upon by Paul McMorrow. In a nutshell, the idea is to fold art creation tools into a social networking application, and create a play-money marketplace for the art that people make inside the community. They hope to discover, among other things, new models for supporting the creative process.

On one hand, I wish more contemporary art theory was trying as hard to generate ideas that apply to the real world. I prefer this infinitely to what passes for advanced thinking about contemporary art much of the time: semiotic analysis that amounts to image streaming, and is excused from all rigor as long as it employs the approved jargon, tone, and talking points. At least they're doing real research. On the other hand, well, look at the work. The project seems to be proving, in spite of itself, that collaborative art-making is no more productive than collaborative breathing. As is the case in any relationship, the best unions consist of strong individuals, people who can function at a high level on their own. Otherwise, they tend to do better by themselves.

Update: I meant to add that work on the OPENSTUDIO site needs to be compared to the cover art of the issue of Dig in which the McMorrow piece appeared, Pin-Ups After Work by a French illustrator named Bengal.




July 11, 2006, 5:31 PM

"The project seems to be proving, in spite of itself, that collaborative art-making is no more productive than collaborative breathing".

How can this project alone represent all collaborative art-making? Perhaps this one is not productive (I have no idea, the link did not work), but how is this representative of all creative collabs and whether they are successful or not? Sweeping generalization, no?

"As is the case in any relationship, the best unions consist of strong individuals, people who can function at a high level on their own. Otherwise, they tend to do better by themselves".

Quite telling.
However, a union consist of 2, whereas collab is limitless. I would say that one cannot measure the other.

Looking forward to new commentary from your local Boston art making crowd. Does the weekly dig have a broad readership?



July 11, 2006, 5:35 PM

The link is fixed.



July 11, 2006, 5:45 PM

I wonder what Paul Graham would say about this?

Actually, he has already said it, more or less, in several of his essays. I think one of his rules for any kind of digital startup was "do what people want".



July 11, 2006, 7:55 PM


What's the scoop Miami, is Castro dead? or is it just another rumor.


Marc Country

July 11, 2006, 9:09 PM

From Is It Art?
Innovation invites skepticism in science and art.
By Katherine Bourzac

"When MIT installed a sculpture next to the East Campus dorms in late 1975, the reaction was decidedly mixed. Some students expressed their feelings about Louise Nevelson's Transparent Horizon by painting its black metal with bright colors, burying it in snow several times, and covering it with toilet paper, pumpkins, and cardboard boxes."

So, the question should be, who's gonna save art from MIT?


Marc Country

July 11, 2006, 9:18 PM

Related to previous comment:

“CAMPUS ART WALKING TOUR WITH LIST VISUAL ARTS CENTER CURATOR BILL ARNING,” which departs from the List Visual Arts Center on July 20 at 6 pm. Come prepared to listen carefully — Arning is a notoriously fast talker — but do come; his popular tour promises to illuminate, among others, Matthew Ritchie’s 2002 Games of Chance and Skill, which overlooks the pool at the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, Mark di Suvero’s 2005 Aesop’s Fables, II, in front of Frank Gehry’s Stata Center, and Louise Nevelson’s 1975 Transparent Horizon, on the East Campus. And wear comfortable shoes!

What do you think, Franklin... got any comfortable shoes? Beside, we're all sick of painting, let's get on to the 'real' artform (sculpture that is, of course)...



July 11, 2006, 9:47 PM

"a notoriously fast talker"

Thanks. I'll pass.



July 11, 2006, 10:29 PM

Paul McMorrow quotes Brent Fitzgerald, OPENSTUDIO developer:
“Suppose your kid tells you he wants to be an artist,” Fitzgerald says. “For you, it’s a dismaying thing to hear—there’s no economic future in it. Creativity is valued in our society, but it isn’t economically rewarding. We want to see how creativity can play a role in an economy.”

Wrong in so many ways...



July 11, 2006, 10:33 PM

That said...their project isn't so much about the 'art' itself
and as such the 'stuff' they are making shouldn't be judged
as such...



July 12, 2006, 12:02 PM

so is everyone just ignoring mek's comments? hmm.



July 12, 2006, 12:25 PM

What do you have to say about mek's comments, Craig?


Marc Country

July 12, 2006, 12:29 PM

Indeed, oldpro.

There appear to be many comments on this thread, by different commenters, that have not been responded to (3,4,5, 8, and 9, at least..) why do you single out mek's, CF?



July 12, 2006, 12:49 PM

Because, dare I say it, we are sexist pigs?



July 12, 2006, 12:57 PM

I answered Mek in #2.


Marc Country

July 12, 2006, 1:19 PM

So you did, Franklin. Good.
Now that we've settled that, isn't anyone disgusted with these MIT-wits desecrating public sculptures!



July 14, 2006, 12:24 AM

oh... I get it. I just read through some of the Round Up comments from a few days ago. I'm out of the loop I guess.



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