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Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma

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Eating mamey and thinking about the art world [May. 31st, 2009|11:50 am]
Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma

Mexico City Journal

I'm eating a mamey in my friend's living room, which is where I sleep. I wish I could show you pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera's charger, so I can no longer take any pictures until my friend sends me my charger from NYC. Oddly, I couldn't find a charger to buy in Mexico City, even though it's a popular charger for a popular phone. Funny what's easy to buy in one country but hard to buy in another. My friend's pace is very nice. I can hear a helicopter outside, it's rotors spinning outside the Red Cross building. The mamey is sweet, with flesh that has the texture of an avocado and a flavor somewhere between a mango and a pumpkin.

I'm reading the new (New York Times, The Economist, BBC, and various blogs, and NOW I'm watching the helicopter take off, but from above since the apt. I'm in is the penthouse.

But this caught my eye from today's New York Times:
    This exhibition [is] in fact promoting academicism and conformity.

    A scan of the catalog’s biographies confirms that, almost without exception, the artists in the show are products of art schools, as often as not intensely professionalized, canon-driven environments. This may help explain why so much of the work on view comes with art historical references and borrowings, tweaks on tweaks on tweaks so intricate and numerous as to defy listing.

    The same biographies reveal that nearly all of these 33-and-under artists already have substantial careers in progress, with solo shows in commercial galleries, appearances in international surveys and so on. So this isn’t a promising-newcomer event. It’s a market-vetted product and one that, my guess is, entailed relatively little adventuring on the part of its organizers.
It's from a review of the show at The New Museum called "Younger Than Jesus." I haven't seen the show, so I can't say anything about it, but that critique sums up everything I hate about the art world. I hate the professionalizing of the art world; the fact that in order to have a career as an artist you need to have an MFA. An MFA for a creative field. It's something that everyone in the art world knows is stupid and broken, but the system is so entranced that no one can do anything about it, least of all the artists whose career is intrinsically bound in the system that made them.

Anyway... next posts will be about Mexico, but obviously I haven't left my home yet.

[User Picture]From: danschank
2009-06-01 05:36 am (UTC)
i'm semi-willfully avoiding the younger than jesus hype, because it seems to raise all the dichotomies that suck the life blood of art-making (youth obsession vs. hatin-on-folks-cuz-they're-young, art-school vs. no-art-achool, etc.)...
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[User Picture]From: uberdionysus
2009-06-01 07:13 am (UTC)
Eh, I think the art world is tiny enough to check out every "blockbuster" show. It's worth it - or it used to be, to me.

That said, I don't think you can find more than a handful of working artists who haven't gone to art school. (By working, I simply mean consistently showing somewhere and spending a significant amount of their time making art - i.e., making a partial living off of their work.) You really can't GET an art show with out an art degree. Jack Hanley, the Cinders crowd, and the Juxtapose crowd are exceptions that prove the rule.
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[User Picture]From: uberdionysus
2009-06-01 07:15 am (UTC)
Strike that. I don't think you can find more than handful of working artists who don't have an MFA.
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