April 19, 2015

Review Panel 4/17/15


Here are my notes from David Cohen's Review Panel on April 17th, 2015. The panel focused on the New Museum's Triennial "Sound Audience" and the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2015 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts.

Some thoughts:

Much critical energy was spent on the Triennial in this Review Panel. It was striking that all the panelists were more or less in agreement that the internationalist address of the show eclipsed the particularity of each artists' cultural point of view with fashionably uniform academic critical theory jargon, aided (or betrayed?) by an abiding concern with the internet-as-subject... John Yau was sharpest, noting that the constant wall labels citing cultural critique seemed to him to be "...imperialist". David Cohen summarized the panel's concern about the (affectlessness?) effect of information age art, "Rather than a stream of consciousness, a stream of Googleness". Sharon Butler likened the internet as a drug in that people usually say "I'm on the internet" rather than "I'm in the internet". She said strikingly that "...our consciousness has changed". The panel noted in passing that this kind of exhibition agenda was perhaps an unfulfilled ambition of MoMA's "Forever Now" show.

I kept daydreaming about the possibility of switching shows with museum venues, what if the Triennial was installed in the American Academy and the Invitational was installed in the New Museum? This would have done nothing to save the homogeneity of academic group think in the Triennial but perhaps the critical voice would have been sharper in a contrasting traditional environment of the Academy's architecture. As for the visual register of the Invitational's entrants mounted in the New Museum, the only way to hang that show would be lower the ambient lighting and focus on each individual piece. (I'm not a big fan of the New Museum's disorientating internal architecture, by the way.)

Another daydream: each show needed the energy and address the other had... the material embeddedness of painting fused with the global disembodiment of our information age.

What would that look like?

Posted by Dennis at April 19, 2015 5:09 PM

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