Feeling that New Times love
Post #849 • August 10, 2006, 4:10 PM • 23 Comments
I no longer comment at TNFH for a number of reasons, but the overriding one is that I believe that the art world ought to divide into however many factions it needs to divide into, and each one stay out of the others' hair. Arguing and re-arguing basic parameters about art just prevents the conversation that should be happening, within those parameters, from taking place. As I put it more or less to KH, via e-mail, you don't go to the Fairlaine Fancier Society and savage Ford, you don't write into Cigar Aficionado Magazine about lung cancer, you don't come to Artblog.net and dis Greenberg, and you don't go to TNFH and talk about conceptual art as a failed enterprise. Doing so will invite a disproportionate response.
I do read it, though, regularly, because despite differences in taste between me and its author, it's doing an exemplary job covering the art world I grew up in. And from it today I learn that I've been rather nastily slagged by Carlos Suarez de Jesus at the New Times.
Speaking with [Bert Rodriguez] at his studio above a corner bodega and beauty parlor on Biscayne Boulevard, I saw one of his recent works hanging over his couch. It depicted God rolling a snake from a block of clay. I found it a metaphor for some of the virulent commentary on local art blogs regarding his current show.
You can inhale a whiff of the dustup at www.thenextfewhours.com, where hardline modernist pisspokes tried to cornhole Rodriguez with some guff about "fractal wrongness," whatever the crap that is.
Rodriguez laughed it off but mentioned Miami can be provincial, pointing to the paint-squandering, canvas-harming varmints who crawled out of the woodwork to trash his stuff sight unseen.
"Some of these people are stuck in some academic bubble like slaves. It's like they see themselves as keepers of culture or art history somehow and can't bring themselves to grow or allow others to move on. I can't say what art is, nor am I willing to get caught up in the modernist-versus-postmodernist thing. But can anyone describe what art is really? To attempt to seems crazy."
This brings me to the second reason I don't comment there, which I noted in a comment thread here - arguing with those people is like using a stick to attack an ocean of mayonnaise.
Now, Artblog.net circa 2004 would tear CSdJ limb from limb, but these days, realizing that such things are only too easy, I've tried to take a higher road. Which way to go today? I'm not sure yet.
I take full responsibility for being the hardline modernist pisspokes - all of them - who showed up to criticize Rodriguez. I don't know whom CSdJ wants to implicate by association. I was the only guy in the room taking my side, although regular Artblog.net commenter Ahab did opine once.
CSdJ knows who I am. He could easily have contacted me regarding his confusion about "fractal wrongness," assuming that his confusion is genuine and not the kind of pose that afflicts his writings in general. He did not. In any case, the term derives from computer science, and translates as "The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution." I was using it to describe the chain of philosophical co-dependence that was meant to support a recent show entitled "Something" at Locust Projects, in which Rodriguez participated.
I confess to harming canvases and squandering paint. My attempts to make better art have required it, although I realize that making better art might strike some people as retrogressive. However, I'm bewildered by the perceived interest in Rodriguez's cornhole, which indicates quite a bit more about the author than me.
Lastly, Rodriguez's reply serves as a fine demonstration of fractal wrongness. Keunwoo Lee at the link above cautions:
Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one.
For instance, Rodriguez, New World graduate, of the gallery of Frederic Snitzer, New World instructor, thinks of my position as academic, apparently without the irony that drives his work. Miami is provincial, yes, but that's partly why I left. The scene down there regards Rodriguez as the "Miami Duchamp," as Alfredo Triff has called him more than once, without considering what a colossal failure of originality that represents. I have, in fact, seen Rodriguez's work. I can say what art is. But see above re: stick, mayonnaise. There's no point to it. We're talking about an artist who doesn't believe in quality and his spluttering defense by a writer prone to windy inanities. That's what the crap that is.