Tag: international art English

PARASITES, CANT, SHALLOWNESS

PARASITES, CANT, SHALLOWNESS

CAREER SUICIDE

Joseph Devlin’s book from 1910, How to Speak and Write Correctly, is like many similar books in that much of its advice still has relevance and is still ignored by (or unknown to) many people who describe themselves as writers or work as writers but are not worthy of the term except in the most literal sense.

“Don’t imagine that a college education is necessary to success as a writer. Far from it. Some of our college men are dead-heads, drones, parasites on the body social, not alone useless to the world but to themselves. A person may be so ornamental that he is valueless from any other standpoint. As a general rule ornamental things serve but little purpose. A man may know so much of everything that he knows little of anything… Cant is the language of a certain class — the peculiar phraseology or dialect of a…

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WINNING THE WAR, LOSING THE BATTLES

WINNING THE WAR, LOSING THE BATTLES

CAREER SUICIDE

twisters

On Monday of this week I was thinking– with some satisfaction and serenity– that for some time I’d seen nothing but reasonable, factual press releases in plain English and artist statements that actually made sense. Perhaps the day would soon come when I would no longer have any material for Artbollocks Theatre? No. Come Wednesday morning, I see this:

There is no mediation that is lossless—an output is never the pure transmission of a source—but always as much the distance it has travelled, the things it has come in contact with or bounced with or off. She is interested in the consistency of distances that can be traced through an arbitrary sense of material precision: utilising water, viscosity, synthetic carpets, electricity, surface tension, stray socks and chewing gum. This consistency, at times imperceptible and at times palpable, is what the artist describes as “something that I find in my…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E5: AURATIC

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E5: AURATIC

CAREER SUICIDE

“HI K8, H8 UR WORK”

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, at a gallery in Graz (Austria):

An artist “resists artisanal virtuosity” which I think may be someone being polite about the artist being quite crap at all the things she’s chosen to do as part of her art practice.

Another artist is a painter who apparently ignores colours and the canvas, which takes some doing when not ignoring colours and the canvas is pretty much your entire job description as a painter.

The third artist’s works in wood are impossible to distinguish from ordinary bits of wood that are not art, except they are art. All clear? Good.

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E4: PREPOSTAPOCALYPTIC

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E4: PREPOSTAPOCALYPTIC

CAREER SUICIDE

OOO BONDAGE UP YOURS!

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. In this write up of an exhibition from France we’ve not only got OOOers [sic], but also “negative faith”, wax balls, and typos a go-go (underlined in red, as if I’m that paperclip fellow from MS Word.) Multiple typos and grammatical errors are always good in a press release or any other form of official communication, because they really convey professionalism.

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel.

If you don’t know what Object Oriented Ontology is, then a quick look at Wikipedia is probably quite sufficient. If you do

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INTERPRETATION MATTERS

INTERPRETATION MATTERS

CAREER SUICIDE

A BOOK THAT “CHALLENGES YOUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS” OR “INTERROGATES ACCEPTED NOTIONS” OF ART LANGUAGE

Front-cover-Media-1024x680

In addition to making fun of the atrocious, pretentious writing that artists and galleries sometimes issue in the name of art, I also work more constructively and (slightly) less cruelly with people and organisations to improve the quality of their writing and public communications. One such project is Dany Louise’s Interpretation Matters, funded by Arts Council England… so, in case anybody was wondering, ACE are at the very least tacitly concerned about bad gallery writing and gibberish artist statements too. I’ve been working with Dany on the Interpretation Matters project over the past year or so, conducting workshop sessions with venue staff and the public. I’ve contributed an essay to the accompanying book, which is out now.

It also features:

  • Artists Emily Speed, David Blandy and Richard Wilson.
  • Penelope Curtis, formerly of Tate Britain and…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E3: VOCABULARY

CAREER SUICIDE

“I’M SORRY, HE’S FROM BARCELONA”

fawlty-towers-hd-images-7

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, an artist expresses his utter disdain for and rejection of the fetishised, unique art object and the mystique of the all-powerful curator by working with a curator to create and display unique, fetishised art objects at a gallery in Barcelona. Under some of the pretentious self-importance there’s actually quite a lot I agree with in the text that follows. However, I rarely go to the trouble of writing lengthy screeds against certain practices or attitudes only to immediately turn around and take part in them with gay abandon. At least not knowingly.

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E2: INSTRUMENTALIZED

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E2: INSTRUMENTALIZED

CAREER SUICIDE

thunderdome

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, two artists in a Belgian “overall installation” that seems to be about interfering with virgins. You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel.

“From the stock of a museum, Sophie Langohr unearthed fifteen statues of the Virgin Mary in the Saint-Sulpice style, which today represent the purest form of religious knick-knack and the beginnings of a semi-industrial art. The artist confronts the outmoded faces with the ones found on the internet of the current muses that incarnate the big brands of the luxury industry.
 As diptychs, these transfigurations give us the consummate illusion of a…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE 3: SUPER COP

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE 3: SUPER COP

CAREER SUICIDE

ABT3_Copper

S3E1: CONTEMPLATIVE

Yes, it’s back. Even more dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism, this time with a police show-on-VHS-tape twist. Watch new arty farty perps and syntax villains brought to justice every two weeks or so. In this episode, we learn how it’s possible to write four paragraphs and nearly four hundred words about a man who built some walls. But wait… he built some walls in an art gallery that already had walls. Is your mind completely blown?

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel. I tried really hard to mispronounce all the foreign words and jargon, but I think I still accidentally said some of them correctly. Sorry about that.

Presented at ISE Cultural Foundation, the site-specific installation Time Would Not…

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BAD WRITING WORKSHOP

BAD WRITING WORKSHOP

CAREER SUICIDE

WITH ART-AGENDA

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Courtesy of one Nickolas Calabrese and the Art-agenda [sic] mailing list from the reliable nonsense mongers at e-flux. There appears to be little or no information available online about Mr. Calabrese, although in May 2012 he was described as an “artist and philosopher”. Please, no. By this week he was just an “artist and writer in New York.” Maybe the philosophy didn’t work out. Somebody’s intern, possibly? His oeuvre so far amounts to three reviews, but each of them is loaded with clumsy metaphors, malapropisms and other examples of what not to do in professional writing. Art-agenda apparently has editors. I feel like invoicing them for doing their job. I’m just reproducing the greatest (s)hits here; you can read the reviews in full elsewhere if you’ve nothing better to do.

ART BASEL MIAMI BEE-ACH

“The site of the apocalypse is not spatial, but temporal…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: BANAL

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: BANAL

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week. This week’s artist is doing a lot of boring stuff. ON. PURPOSE. My mind is blown.

Play Artbollocks Bingo!

Sofia Hultén (b. 1972 in Stockholm, lives in Berlin) delicately occupies herself in her videos, installations, sculptures and photographs with the wide variety of opportunities for action. By reconstructing or rearranging courses of events she explores in the process banal everyday procedures like eating an apple as well as the character and history of profane objects with little value like a worn piece of wood or an old toolbox she finds at construction or demolition sites. She hence regularly succeeds in breaking through conventional patterns of perception and tracing unknown dimensions in the everyday.

The second sentence is nearly fifty words long and completely unpunctuated. Try reading…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DECOLONIAL

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DECOLONIAL

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week. This week we erase the lasting and iniquitous effects of colonialism by vandalising high school textbooks. Who knew it was so easy? Somebody should have told Gandhi. Montezuma? The fool should have just done some cut ups with the Conquistadors’ books and everything would have been OK.

Bonus: play Artbollocks Bingo with me!

The ongoing exhibition and production project titled Margin of Error, now opening as a show at Tasneem Gallery in Barcelona, constitutes Magnetic Declination’s first public intervention, and premieres the first instalment of the group’s planned cinematic work, which will include further releases in the future.




Magnetic Declination is a research and production group formed by theorists, curators, and visual artists. DM’s work is based on post- and de-colonial approaches that seek to dismantle…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: MACROCOSM

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: MACROCOSM

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

Do you like soil? Are you interested in the self? Not soiling yourself. That’s a different thing. No, this is how one of the artists describes his oeuvre as represented in an exhibition of South Korean artists at Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami. For the purposes of this week’s reading I’ve mashed up several of the artists’ statements into one incoherent whole. In as much as one can generalise, I’ve rarely come away disappointed from exhibitions by South Korean artists. Whatever the Korean equivalent of je ne sais quoi is, I think many of them have it. Google unhelpfully translates je ne sais quoi as eotteon 어떤, “any”. Yes, Korean artists have any. Thanks Google, you arsehole.

Where was I? I think Korean artists are…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: HETERONORMATIVE

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: HETERONORMATIVE

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

Last time, we discovered that having a baby makes a woman magic and gives her special insight into the very fabric of reality. Sorry, I should have written “giving life”, not “having a baby”. This week, a call for presentations and conference papers, but only if they reinforce the organisers’ prejudices that certain very narrowly defined types of gay men and lesbians are also totally magic!

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters *, pseudoscientific claptrap *, bad grammar, typos or misused words *, telling us what we see or think *****, spurious appeals to art history (0), art world jargon ***, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: FEMININITY

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: FEMININITY

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

This one gets four out of five stars for its “women are magic” rhetoric. It would be five stars in the “X is magic” category if I didn’t know that next week I’m doing HETERONORMATIVE. I’m sure you can imagine just how magic having a minority sexual or gender identity must be when this week’s artist “giving life herself” is held up as a remarkable occurence. I’m reliably informed that pregnancy and birth can be a painful, difficult and stressful process. I respect and love my own mother. I have great admiration for all the other mothers in the world who do the best they can to raise their children. But for fuck’s sake get over yourself, woman. You weren’t “giving life”. You were carrying out…

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EXCUSES, EXCUSES

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

CAREER SUICIDE

CareerSuicideBlogArtbollocksBingoCardI don’t only do Artbollocks Theatre because I’m a horrible person who likes mocking idiots mercilessly. Although as it happens I am also a horrible person who likes mocking idiots mercilessly, over the six months or so I’ve been doing it live and as videos online I’ve had lots of really interesting and thought provoking conversations with artists and art people because of it. While I was in the shower yesterday morning and not particularly thinking about anything else (no, don’t bother thanking me for that image, you’re welcome) a related question percolated through: why do some people feel they need to do so much special pleading on behalf of contemporary art and artists? Why is an artist whose paintings all look more or less the same “exploring the poetics of seriality” and not just repeating himself? Why is an artist who copies old science fiction paperback covers a…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: TRIANGULARIZATION

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: TRIANGULARIZATION

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week.

This week’s artist is asking “how can triangularization contribute to the ever-increasing signification of subject formation?”, certainly one of the most pressing issues in the world right now. At least someone is dealing with it instead of just sitting around and ignoring the effects of triangularization. Come on everybody, let’s get it sorted out.

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters *, pseudoscientific claptrap ****, bad grammar, typos or misused words **, telling us what we see or think ****, spurious appeals to art history *, art world jargon ***, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] (0), justifying nothingness or lack of…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: SPACE

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: SPACE

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleArtbollocks Theatre is back! As a friend of mine said last week upon hearing the glad tidings: “Oh shit, I’m scared.” More dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week. Today we’ll learn about places in spaces being in spaces that are places. Or something.

International Art English tropes in this episode of Artbollocks Theatre, rated on a scale of one to five stars

Tongue twisters ***, pseudoscientific claptrap *, bad grammar or typos *, telling us what we see or think **, spurious appeals to art history ***, art world jargon **, pretending artists are more [superlative adjective] than people who are actually [adjective] ***, justifying nothingness or lack of work ****, [gender or sexual identity/motherhood/minority status/nationality of the artist] is magic (0), “between [random noun] and…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: GESTUS

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: GESTUS

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleThis week, the “anarchic wit” that arises from the revolutionary, hitherto unknown act of drawing with a pencil. My original commentary on this text is here: One Dimensional.

“He meets his counterpart as a discreet partner…” It’s rare for an art text to accurately convey how blithely sordid, mercenary and pervy many artists are about exploiting other people to make their work, but this is a pretty good distillation of it. It almost sounds like a phrase from a disturbing Craigslist personal ad.

See some Artbollocks Theatre videos and a live discussion of bad artist statements and egregious press releases at the artist-led Sluice Art Fair this weekend (19th-20th October) in London.

Previous episodes: LacunarySchwittersianEphemeralInvestigationPschogeographyHapticNoesisOscillating

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: SCHWITTERSIAN

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: SCHWITTERSIAN

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitle

“Schwittersian” is a brilliant made up non-word. I know people (artists especially) whose houses are totally Schwittersian in the sense that there’s a load of crap everywhere and random shit stuck to the walls, and they seem pathologically averse to tidying up. I’ve also seen lots of art exhibitions that were just a load of old junk, but neither of the aforementioned things necessarily amount to visual poetry. OCD, possibly. Incipient full-blown mental illness, occasionally. Sheer laziness, often. The prospect of a gallery show but they haven’t done enough work, frequently. But visual poetry? Rarely. And if it is visual poetry, we the audience will decide that for ourselves by looking at the work, not just because somebody tells us so.

Read the rest of my original commentary on this text here: Artbollocksonate.

Previous episodes: EphemeralInvestigationPschogeographyHapticNoesisOscillating

Some forthcoming victims: Artbollocks Panorama

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ARTBOLLOCKS PANORAMA

ARTBOLLOCKS PANORAMA

CAREER SUICIDE

The interest in Artbollocks Theatre has been so great– including the prospect of some live onstage thespianism later this year– that I’m making a special effort to collect more of the worst press releases and artist statements for future performances. Here are some recent acquisitions that have attracted my wrathful gaze like the angry lighthouse in the Lord of the Rings films. Meanwhile, there’ll be a new episode of Artbollocks Theatre tomorrow (27th September) at 12.30 GMT.

FILLS THE SPACE, CONTAINS THE SPACE INSIDE ITSELF

“The space of the white cube is normally used to display objects. What Senstad is showing us are different works that have the removal of the object as a theme. In Color Kinesthesia and Color Synthesthesia IV she shows us light perceived as color. Small technically [sic] modifications in the perception can alter even an empty space into a massively colored place.

In…

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