Friday, July 8, 2011

Art as a political game of redundant stereotypes in The Economist

Thomas Hirschhorn's Crystal of Resistance, 2011 

In the Economist, see Art as a political game. The observations reach a plateau of obscene redundancy. As a way of engaging these platitudes, find, below, different excerpts each with my replies in color:  

1- The scale of the Venice Biennale means that artists, cultural institutions and individual countries all vie, not just for attention, but for international recognition.  As if one doesn't presuppose the other.

2- The fairground atmosphere puts a premium on art as a memorable experience rather than as a precious object.   As if one excludes the other?

3- Pavilions that offer a convincing conceptual environment are the most celebrated. A number of veteran exhibitors have chosen this route, including Germany, which this year won the coveted Golden Lion award, the fair’s highest honour.   "Conceptual environments" (i.e., curators' choice of environments) are the most celebrated, which is why "veteran exhibitors" (i.e., curators' choice exhibiting curators' choice environments) have chosen this route. Why are the most celebrated? Because they have chosen this route! (LOL)

4- ... few understand why this year's Italian pavilion looks like an amateur art bazaar in a suburban mall. Curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, an art historian better known as a pompous television personality, it is entitled "Art is not Cosa Nostra".   Never a negation played its opposite better!

5- By contrast, predictable political gestures invariably come across as grandiose or hollow.  The reason is that they're as invariable as they are predictable.

6- Anarchic and politicised rather than orderly and neutral the pavilion defies Swiss stereotypes. Mr Hirschhorn is an independent spirit who refuses to pander to political authority, fashion or the art market.   In order to praise Hirschhorn, the Swiss become stereotyped, yet the artist shares his compatriots' fate. Being at the 2011 Biennale, exhibiting a prototypical installation refuses a trifle, except the chance to pander to  political authority, fashion and the art market.