Thursday, May 24, 2012

The WASP: Make Art (part III)


Now imagine the Internet.  And imagine Anton Vidolke.  E-flux and the French theorist and curator Nicolas Bourriaud – “The contemporary work of art does not position itself as the termination point of the ‘creative process’ (a ‘finished product to be contemplated) but as a site of navigation, a portal, a generator of activities.”

That’s what we do in museums, right?  We have an obligation to promote this state as culture workers?

Modern Painter’s article on Vidokle (not this article) goes on to claim, “…the contemporary transformations of influence through social networks -  a truly distributed collective --   and the concept of he commons, in which no single person has control over resources and production but shares them among peers.”  And isn’t this what we are beholden to do with our collections on-line and all the more now on-site?

Vidokle says, “It’s kind of a dream that e-flux could evolve into some sort of structure like this, because really what the Factory produced were social relations, which produced this extraordinary artistic output…there was already this idea in the Russian avant-garde that life itself could produce art – in fact that unalienated life becomes so full of beauty that everything you do is in a sense an art work already.  I’m not under the illusion that I could do that, transform society.  But still this is interesting, and the Factory produced a lot of really interesting stuff.”

And let’s not forget the Factory as a distributed network produced The Velvet Underground.  Interview magazine.  A design esthetic that has had a profound influence on world culture.  Probably birthed MTV and the mass distribution of art, and a sense that all our lives have the potential for art -- or celebrity as Warhol saw it -- which cannot really be disentangled from life in his worldview.  But I am very much of the “Warhol is all” camp.

So what is the greatest challenge to access – in my mind – it is the funding.  How do we get all this paid for in the early part of the 21st century, in a museum industry that’s over built and highly competitive.  But in my world this is not a challenge.  It’s an opportunity.

America’s cultural funding model has historically been based on private philanthropy. Jefferson, Frick, Smithson.  Getty.  Weisman.  Right?  And we gotta figure out how to keep it going for the new and the now.  The Gen X, Y and millennials that will keep it funded, and take the time to rein in what we do, measure against what matters.  There is likely to be a little more attrition, folks.  Museums are over-built as an industry. We gotta make it matter like the veneration of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  And we gotta make it fun, even when it's pretentious.  It is the pleasure principle, is this the way to simplify? Right now, as Brian Eno points out:
Why is it that all of us here – presumably members of the arts community – probably know more about the currents of thought in contemporary science than those in contemporary art? Why have the sciences yielded great explainers like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Gould, while the arts routinely produce some of the loosest thinking and worst writing known to history? 
- Back in 1995, Brian Eno’s opening speech at Turner Prize award ceremony

And it is our job to make or work feel like Rock and Roll to them now.  Like when I get on my plane and I feel the Jim Morrison....reminding me of the earliest part of my life, so it resonates and feels like it will be important to others.

It can be popular.  Though it need not be.  Sometimes it's just necessary.  It just need to be sustainable unto its  purpose and context.

Let me tell you about Texas Radio and The Big Beat. Comes out of the Virginia swamps cool and slow with a back beat narrow and hard to master...

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