Tag: pretentious

CHARLIE HEBDON’T

CAREER SUICIDE

Marines_do_pushups

Occasionally it seems there might be some kind of counter-performance art organisation, one that actively does everything it can to bring performance art into disrepute. A bit like SPECTRE from the James Bond books and films. As suggested by their acronym Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, SPECTRE mainly just wants to instigate conflict and benefit from the chaos that ensues. I propose that there is a secret organisation called SPESPA (Special Executive for Shit Performance Art) and it exists solely to make the general public think all performance artists are twats.

This week’s covert SPESPA operative bent upon ruining live art’s reputation is Chinese performance artist (and “former television presenter”, which gives you some idea of his likely intellect) Ou Zihang, who has been doing push-ups in the nude at the sites of recent terrorist attacks in Paris. No surprise that he’s a fellow traveller of…

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LOW ART, FAILED ART

LOW ART, FAILED ART

CAREER SUICIDE

they_live_25

Some reflections on the mainstream versus the highbrow by David Foster Wallace, from his collection of non-fiction A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. I always liked his factual writing and journalism much more than his fiction. Thanks for asking, happy to set the record straight. The eponymous essay is not related to the subject of this post, but it’s also worth reading because I think it’s one of the best and most incisive things ever written about the baffling, illogical, mindless conformity of package tourism. The supposedly fun thing is a holiday on a cruise ship, which makes him wretchedly, hilariously miserable and confused.

The original context of Wallace’s discussions were mainly related to film and television, but I think the quotes are applicable to any medium including contemporary visual art. That’s why they’re here. Duh.

“Art film is essentially ideological: it tries in various ways…

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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: DOG LOVERS SPECIAL

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DOG LOVERS SPECIAL

CAREER SUICIDE

doge

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real! Oh how I wish they weren’t. In this super special edition with added PERFORMANCE ART that will make Marina admit defeat, pack her money bags and retire at last:

Q: Does your promotional material and critical text need to have any relation to or mention of what is actually in the exhibition?

A: Apparently not. Just write about looking at a dog in a sort of vaguely prose poem that reads like some stoned high school kid’s notebook scribbles. Apart from listing the names of the artists and mentioning that it’s an MA degree show, there is no mention whatsoever of what we might see, what’s interesting about it, what media the artists are working in, or why we might want to go. So it’s not just a horrible, pretentious piece of writing, it’s also…

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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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WHEN CRITICS ATTACK

CAREER SUICIDE

800x450xchristian-bale-american-psycho-800x450.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.xsXn5zWG88

MOMA COMPLETELY BJÖRKS UP

I’ve often compared the art world to the mafia, with their mutual general secrecy, their deliberate cultivation of mystique, and their maintenance of respectable fronts for money laundering and worse. Then there’s the code of silence– certainly we don’t criticise our self-appointed superiors for fear of blackballing, but we should avoid offending our peers too, just in case they’re of use to us later. Whether somebody is of use, of course, being the psychopathic standard by which the most successful artists, curators and gallerists judge each other and everyone else. Most reviews of contemporary art are so bland and uncritical (in every sense of the word) that they could charitably be called reports rather than reviews, if we quite reasonably define a review as a critical assessment. Very often supposed art critics or arts writers seem to be following a prim “if you can’t say anything…

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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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“LUDICROUS ANALOGUE NOSTALGIA”

“LUDICROUS ANALOGUE NOSTALGIA”

CAREER SUICIDE

Fumeo9250

I’ve been saying for years that old projectors and other modernist paraphernalia in art galleries are tropes, affectations, bourgeois set dressing rather than meaningful vehicles for a 21st century artist to express themselves. Here is artist Hito Steyerl’s splendid volley against the practice. She nailed it.

Next time I see another 16mm film projector rattling away in a gallery I will personally kidnap it and take the poor thing to a pensioners home. There is usually no intrinsic reason whatsoever for the use of 16mm film nowadays except for making moving images look pretentious, expensive and vaguely modernist, all prepackaged with a whiff of WASPish art history. It made sense to use Bolexes in 1968, and indeed people used them to brilliant end. But today people use cellphones, Kinnect sensors and After Effects to deal with the present and shape it. And if artists do not expose themselves to…

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METASTUPID

METASTUPID

CAREER SUICIDE

LBAmsterSted

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is having an intellectual navel-gazing session and a nice jolly for boring people who work at universities a symposium called Metamodernism at the end of September. Sadly it’s sold out, or was not open to the public in the first place, so we plebs will probably never know what happens when they “draw a cognitive map of our present in order to grasp the changing contours of our everyday lives, towards a paradigmatic shift lived by a generation born in the 1980s’, whatever that means. They’ll be answering a random collection of baffling questions that absolutely nobody ever wanted answered, such as: “What precisely constitutes a historical moment and/or rupture? What defines this generation that was born in the 1980s?” Ooh, I know… is it being in their late twenties to mid thirties, age wise? Do I win something? Oh shit, Francis Fukuyama’s had a…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: VECTORS

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: VECTORS

CAREER SUICIDE

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. This is the last one for the time being, but I’ll be back soon with more highfalutin claptrap and a new dinner jacket. The art work being described (or not, as the case may be) was a “one nigth event” [sic] that took place in Lisbon this January. I suppose they could have further minimised the chances of anybody actually seeing whatever the hell it was they were showing by doing it in a boat 100km off the coast of Portugal or something, but theirs was certainly a brave step towards the high-end art world’s ideal of art not being visible to the general public at all.

Play along with Artbollocks Bingo!

The title ‘Aula de Ginástica’ [Gymnastics Class] evokes a notion of time, a unit, a moment, a class, an exercise or set…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DIRECTRIXES

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DIRECTRIXES

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 time: a flurry of neologisms that aren’t helping, and a lengthy explanation of the internal layout in a building over 99% of us will never see. Art criticism in a nutshell, basically. The exhibition was in Milan.

Play along with Artbollocks Bingo!

The traits of manifold colours which the artist creates by spreading acrylic colour with a brush, no longer using aerosol sprays as he did with the works produced in previous years, emerge from their grounds following vertical and horizontal directrixes and extend beyond their own physical limit in order to break the closed and defined limit of the canvas.

Artist is so magic! He creates “manifold colours” (there are lots of colours) and he spreads “acrylic colour with a brush” (a miracle never…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: TACTILITY

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: TACTILITY

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 have a creepy hair fetish? If so, it sounds like you missed a good craic in Lisbon at the start of 2014, my friend. If, however, you like good art then you probably dodged a bullet by not seeing it. Actually I know nothing about the art or the artist outside of this text. The art itself may be great, just overexplained and ruined by the ghastly, awful stuff written about it. It’s not unusual for that to happen.

It’s also not unusual to have fun with anyone, but when I see you hanging about with anyone it’s not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die.

Play Artbollocks Bingo!

Surprised by a piece that can only fully be appreciated in proximity and whose…

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ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DESUBJECTIVIZATION

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DESUBJECTIVIZATION

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 time we’re going to demystify the inflated artist person. Look, we just are, OK? Don’t ask me how.

I seriously doubt that anybody could tell from the text what (if anything) the press release pertained to or was meant to promote, so I’ll have to explicitly say that it was a group exhibition in Vienna at the end of 2013. We all missed it. What a shame.

Play Artbollocks Bingo!

Keep watching after the credit to see all ten of the takes that were required before I could correctly say “a critique of institutional structures of authorship or their representational politics of normative gender roles and ethnicity.” This is a perfect opportunity for me to air out one of my favourite quotes about writing and…

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THE ARTISTS FORMERLY KNOWN AS ARTISTS

THE ARTISTS FORMERLY KNOWN AS ARTISTS

CAREER SUICIDE

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the word “artist” has been so repeatedly gangbanged in recent years and its openings are so stretched out that it can accommodate almost anyone or anything now… and therefore it means almost nothing. A friend (who actually is an artist of the increasingly rare kind who makes art) recently received an email from a job mailing list, featuring this astounding opportunity for an artist:

Sandwich Artist Subway – Subway is now hiring for full and part time Sandwich Artists. Duties will include: Prep, making sandwich and customer service. We provide uniforms. No experience required… Salary is based on experience, we have great opportunities for advancement! Positions available immediately.

Yes, the word “artist” can now accomodate six inches of bread, generic processed mystery meats and your choice of salad. Or you can try a foot long, if you’re really a sad old…

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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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THE INSUBSTANTIAL IN PURSUIT OF THE INSUFFERABLE

THE INSUBSTANTIAL IN PURSUIT OF THE INSUFFERABLE

CAREER SUICIDE

MartyInterpretiveDance

Following her recent ouroboros of star-fuckery with Jay-Z at his minstrel show for New York city’s art royalty, insufferable has-been and exploiter/abuser of low paid performers at LA MOCA Marina Abramović (brilliantly and succinctly demolished by Hrag Vartanian in this article as “the art world’s version of late Elvis”) has recently engaged in another act of “Abramović Method” mirror-in-mirror narcissism with the prolifically untalented Lady Gaga. The original video is absolutely bloody ghastly and evokes every bad undergraduate performance art piece ever made, but luckily somebody jazzed it up a bit with a Yakety Sax soundtrack. Much better.

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HE’S A CELEBRITY, GET HIM OUT OF HERE

HE’S A CELEBRITY, GET HIM OUT OF HERE

CAREER SUICIDE

There’s a frequently heard complaint in contemporary art galleries: “He can’t even draw. My five year old could do better.” Usually they’re perfectly and excruciatingly wrong, but finally an exhibition has come along where it would be entirely apposite and correct to make such a comment. It’s Bob Dylan’s Face Value at the National Portrait Gallery in London! And yes, your five year old could do better. Dylan even uses school art cupboard supplies to craft his masterpieces, just like a five year old. Alas his drawings did not find their proper home, i.e. stuck to the fridge door with a magnet.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘Bob Dylan is one of the most influential cultural figures of our time. He has always created a highly visual world either with his words or music, or in paints and pastels. I am delighted that we…

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