April 2010 Archives

Blacklist in a Teapot


Dead finches

About two and a half years ago I wrote "I'm the Next Charlie Finch" in which I spoke about "our own [art blogging] controversy, compared to which a tempest in a teapot is an extinction-level event". It looks like Charlie has wound up another one, and once again it's somewhat smaller than that worn-out teapot metaphor. Charlie wants to know why we "loggorheac know-it-alls of the art blogosphere" haven't been reporting on Jack Tilton and his recent testimony damning the art world in general and Marlene Dumas in particular. I don't honestly feel old Charlie is talking about me since I don't do reportage of any kind. I suppose he has a point, though, picking on all the other bloggers who think they're doing such great jobs while scribbling up posts about, for example, one of the stupidest assemblages of "net art" I've ever seen and how many feed readers they have, not to mention the enormous circle-jerk of linking to each other that was #class. Fucking #class. So hooray for Charlie Finch!

Sadly I can't give a crap about the main story, in which Jack Tilton reveals the evils of the art world. About the only part that really speaks to me is finding out that Marlene Dumas isn't a happy person. As Finch writes, "Far from glorying in her rare success and the attentions of major museums, galleries and collectors, Dumas, in Tilton’s telling, appears obsessed with issues of her legacy, the destinations of her paintings...and the sad idea that someone somewhere might be making a buck off her labors. I mean, where is the joy, Marlene?" I, for one, am thrilled to see that no amount of success and accolades can help the hunched, broken personality of someone who makes their living creating overpriced junk. Truly it gives me hope that the universe is, in fact, proceeding as it should.

The story came to my attention, however, when one of NYC Art's far flung correspondents -- okay, it was Franklin -- pointed me to Twitter. In particular, Oly Lambert wrote:

Does Charlie Finch realize he is the Chris Rywalt of the old guard? #bloggerrevolution @hragv @artfagcity @heartasarena @powhida

Given what I wrote back in late 2007, I find this amusing. I thought I was turning into Charlie Finch but it turns out he's turning into me in some weird retroactive way. I'm so very happy about this. Then, because she's a nice person, Oly goes on to say:

Btw, Rywalt's girl scout daughter I bought Thin Mints from! @artfagcity @hragv @heartasarena @manbartlett @joygarnett #heismysupplier!! ;)

To which Man Bartlett, he of the dweeby fur hat and complete lack of artistic talent, replied

Please tell me you asked her why her father is such a tool. #wasthatoutloud? @olympialambert @artfagcity @hragv @heartasarena @joygarnett

Well, I'll tell you myself why I'm such a tool, Man: Because what you try to pass off as art sucks. If you and people like you went into dry cleaning, street sweeping, or perhaps the food service industry -- any career where you actually perform useful work for society -- I could stop being a tool and spend more time with my Girl Scout daughter. Instead I see you "performing" and become apoplectic, requiring this blog to vent the skull pressure. Thus my toolness.

Oly's final tweet on the subject:

@manbartlett @artfagcity @hragv @heartasarena @joygarnett Nah. I just ate the cookies. #noenemycanconquercookieluv

Oly, dear, I'm not sure why you find it worth sharing that you bought Girl Scout cookies from my daughter. It seems kind of odd of you to bring it up. I think it's the second time you have, too. It doesn't make sense. I offered to sell you a box back before you wigged out on my blog. And you wigged out because -- I want to stress this -- my review wasn't positive enough. You said you wanted the cookies. We didn't connect last year at cookie-selling time so I got back to you this year. No big deal. Nothing to write home about, and nothing worth a tweet. But there it is. Do you feel you've somehow let down your team? Is it like sleeping with the enemy? Do you have some sort of Greek Orthodox need to confess?

Maybe we can discuss it at the VIP preview event for your Escape From New York show on May 2. Unless I've been blacklisted.

Trying to Care


I understand that I haven't been writing much on this blog. I've been commenting here and there, and posting some over at [Post] Artblog.net, but mostly I've been reactive, not actually active. You poke me, I poke back, but otherwise, I just stay settled down in the mud. I've been working sporadically on the follow-up to my Imaginary Gallery and I really should be writing up my reviews of a few shows I've seen. But the going is slow.

Why is this? Every day I go down my list of art-related blogs and I skim the new postings but what I keep hearing in my head, tolling like a bell, is just this: I don't care. I don't care. I don't care.

I don't know why I don't care right now. I simply don't. Maybe that's what separates the professionals from the amateurs -- the professionals give a crap on deadline. Certainly the blogs I've been checking in with have continued churning out pointless posts at professional clip. Blah blah blah Deitch, blah blah blah Skin Fruit, blah blah blah "anonymous comments on the blog lately have not been about building a comment community". Lately? Seriously? Is this 1998 that you just figured this out? More late-breaking news: The obvious is still obvious!

I don't even have the heart to list recent stupidities on the art blogs. None of them have been all that egregious anyway. Minor stupidities hardly count. The good writers are backing off -- Franklin quit and Bunny's been quiet, at least on strictly art-related topics -- and the bad ones, well, they just keep on truckin', don't they? It's like a Yeats poem, but less exciting. Not with a bang, but with a whimper, right?

I'm trying to care. Really I am. It's just not working.


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