Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Art Curator as Artist

At the Solomon R. Guggenheim a few days ago, wandering, fiddling with the iPhone, stepping into an annex gallery with an instantiation of the work to the right, surround by customers of the enterprise who, walking too close, were shooed away by the guard, lest they befoul the befouled floor, and, stepping back, looking at the work: a power cable to a bulb of light, once ensconced in a block of frozen ink, now lying at the bottom of a dry black lake, meandering to a puddle against the far wall, struggling a bit to find explication, note the text written by the curator and move quickly to it, presented on the white gallery wall in a carefully chosen and carefully kerned font, spending more time observing it than the forms on the floor, and so do we. Do they find what they are looking for? Let's check. Some quotes, not quite as beautifully presented but nonetheless here they are:
Kitty Kraus (b. 1976, Heidelberg, Germany) ... works in a spare, elegiac vocabulary of monochrome forms ... possess an internal volatility that can prompt their gradual fragmentation or sudden collapse ... The trajectory of dissolution at the heart of Kraus’s work ... a young artist defining her career at the beginning of the 21st century—a time of profound questioning and global crises—Kraus rehearses the trend towards degradation and chaos known as entropy, finding a mournful beauty in the literal and symbolic failure of form.
Probably the curator meant to say something about nature's trend toward increasing entropy, but still, that is a minor point. The writing is lovely, meaningless, mournfully beautiful itself. If I could write half so well I would die this instant just to be sure of my ascension into heaven. Like the new-music program note, it is the work, it is more interesting than the work, the writer is the artist, the writer is the giver of justification to the art-industrial complex for the money they have laid out to purchase that which they don't understand in and of itself.

2 comments:

Michael Czeiszperger said...

I've long thought this to be the case for too large a percentage of contemporary work, especially photography. It's especially true of universities, where the ability to write about one's work is more highly prized than the work itself.

Office of the Cultural Liaisons said...

I always enjoyed Duchamps comments on his own work. attributing everything to his infatuation with his sister. It directed the attention away from the work with this diversion for those who need such explanations forcing the rest of us with no other choice but to look and react directly to the work. I think all artist should outright lie if they want their works to be seen and maybe heard.

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