Monday, July 30, 2012

there is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do

we'll be back in a week. 
we'll miss you. 
keep safe.

miamian tatiana suarez in juxtapoz

Tatiana Suarez is a Brooklyn-based Miami native. Her charming style is distinctive; first, the trademark eyes that draw the viewer into a beautiful and surreal world. Suarez takes full advantage of the oil paint's ability to create creamy, soft images on canvas. Rich with symbols that stem from her Brazilian and El Salvadorian heritage, subjects appear as if they are under water, frozen in lovely stillness. The doe-eyed figures look childlike, but also exude sexual overtones, ornamented with plants, insects and other unsettling accompaniments. Beauty is presented concurrently with exotic -even creepy - creatures to create enchanted narratives.

Friday, July 27, 2012

libor & artlibor & redundancy

atRifF

we know that libor is a rate, but that doesn't say much. let's problematize the mea$ure & rip it at the seams.

imagine 4 axes representing utility, need, satisfaction and cost:

1. the actual utility of a good i possess and contemplate surrendering = UTILITY

2. the sacrifice i must undergo if i cannot secure possession of the good i wish to buy = NEED

3. the potential usefulness of the good i wish to buy = SATISFACTION

4. the sacrifice i am willing to make in order to get the object i wish to buy =  COST

with libor we get the following symbolic results:

* 2. is central & seeps through all. 
* 2. & 3 are antinomies, i.e., 2. never brings about 3.
* in opposition to utilitarian economic theories 1. & 3. appear as inversely proportional.
* 1. is a minimal variable, dependent of 2. & 4.
* even if 3. obtains because of 1, or as result of minimizing 4. it always appear as subservient.
* we always obtain 2 > 3 no matter what 4.
* presently 4. is an outsourced rate of exchange dependent of cheap foreign labor & waste of local resources. 
* though 3. appears as truncated by 4., 4. has no real power over 2.  
* 3. appears a strong constant, yet its value is ∅. 3. never obtains as a result.

being that 1. is minimally nominal and 4 is outsourced & since no equilibrium can be found between 2 & 3, we denounce the following (unavoidable) redundancy:

1. & 4 are travesties. 2. is false & 3. is empty.
    
_________________
note: all of the above consequences apply to artlibor, which is a subset of libor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

moca, deitch, binity & roberta smith's artlibor hallucination

binity makes one big smile
atRifF

roberta smith has a piece in the nytimes. read it. the present crisis at MOCA has the best ingredients of our epoch: the cachet of contemporary art & the melodrama of a mexican novela. pure behind-the-scenes artliboring.

who's the culprit?
Jeffrey Deitch, who closed his SoHo gallery in the spring of 2010 to become director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, an institution with an enviable curatorial record but historically plagued by financial problems.
as a precaution, let's bracket deitch-ditching for a moment. how can "enviable curatorial" be "historically plagued" with financial problems? from the market perspective, a curator reflects a natural selection process of arthoodication whereby art commodities become legitimized, i.e., ready for circulation. however, let's not take the part for the whole: a curator is a mere cog in a mechanism. smith contrasts "curatorial record" with "financial problems" as if that reflects an (exceptional) institutional problem at MOCA. as we'll see, she plays by the art market book:

to draw a parallel, j. p. morgan's ceo james dimon's argument for the bank's 2 billion lost to trade is that it was the mistake of traders at a london office, a typical example of avoiding the truth. but when 2 billion become 9 billion you run out of excuses.

is there a logical explanation for dimon's überdisconnect? unless he is a victm of libor hallucination!   

let's come back to smith's article. she never probes the REAL cause of the crisis at MOCA. instead we get a simplified story. the new york times critic plays naive twice. first by advocating Deitch:
I considered it “a brilliant stroke,” I wrote at the time, calling it an example of a museum thinking outside the box, and also an appropriately desperate measure for desperate times. 
then, by making it look as a truncated misstep (twice naive makes it self-deception):
I didn’t buy the idea that someone from the gallery world cannot cross over into the museum sphere or that advanced degrees in art history are essential, and I still don’t.

as we'll see, smith will forget her "and I still don't" when she gives deitch a final advise at the end of her piece.  next, who would think of making this a non-begging distinction??
Rather than encourage and cultivate curators much the way an art dealer encourages and cultivates artists, he has frequently chosen to assume the role of curator himself, when he wasn’t commissioning celebrities to do it.
we get -what appears as- a binity (in red and blue):   
For all his missteps, though, it is much too simplistic to blame Mr. Deitch alone for the air of crisis that now surrounds the museum. He has certainly hurt its image and he has failed to make much of a dent in its more urgent financial problems.
would we be having this discussion if deitch had solved the blue part of the binity?

then smith lets the mea$ure fall:
The museum has long been financially fragile; its board has rarely provided the kind of financial support that an institution of its quality requires and deserves. It continues not to, which brings us back to Mr. Broad.smith points to eli broad's  possible ulterior motives.
the text ultimately betrays the writer's intentions: "has long been financially fragile" needs elucidation & the whole blue above screams for more explaining, which smith simply won't do. for her, it's all about characters in a one-dimensional play. now mr. broad gets the attention:   
His bailout of the museum four years ago gave him a dominance on the board that caused some trustees to leave and suggested to many people the possibility that his bailout might someday morph into a takeover that would merge the museum’s exemplary collection of art with his own, more predictable, market-driven one. It didn’t help that within months of Mr. Deitch’s appointment Mr. Broad finalized plans to build his own museum across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art, now scheduled to open within a year or two.
where is the libor-side of this crisis? by the way, none of this is new. back in 2008 a MOCA merging was very much a possibility. 
Los Angeles' prestigious but chronically underfunded Museum of Contemporary Art has fallen into crisis. Museum Director Jeremy Strick said MOCA is seeking large cash infusions from donors, and this week he did not rule out the possibility of merging with another institution or sharing its collection of almost 6,000 artworks. 
 at some point, everything comes undone:
For his part Mr. Deitch has to become a real museum director. He has to stop organizing exhibitions — in part to create more of a firewall between his new job and his previous identity. He has to hone his fund-raising skills and hire and cultivate curators (...) which of course will take money.
this trivial advise to mr. deitch contradicts smith's earlier remark: "and I still don't," i.e., deitch was really hired by MOCA's board to do exactly the opposite of what she advises now and -by her own admission- believed at the time! the predictable result of all this is that in the absence of dealing with the REAL problem, the claim "deitch has to become a real museum director" ends up neutralizing -even- deitch's perceived responsibility. smith's solution to the problem points to the least imaginable target: "los angeles cultural world." 

what to do with this hallucinating finale?
The Los Angeles cultural world cannot turn its back on an institution that has been so central to its stature as one of the world’s greatest art capitals.

Friday, July 20, 2012

artlibor happens when art profit accumulation takes precedence over the interests of the public

atRifF

before there was libor. now, there's artlibor.

it has to be a mea$ure, that is to say, a perception of a perception (never mind redundancy at this point).

of what? the art newspaper gives us a hand:
Before the global economic crisis, the art world saw a number of high-profile defections from non-profit to the commercial sector, including Amin Jaffer, who left the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to become Christie’s international director of Asian art; Lisa Dennison, who, after 29 years at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (including two years as director), resigned to become executive vice president of Sotheby’s North America, and Emma Dexter, who gave up being the senior curator at Tate Modern to become director of exhibitions at London’s Timothy Taylor Gallery.
what happens when high-profile non-profit art personalities rush to the profit sector? profit and profit-accumulation becomes more important than benefiting the public.

we call this perception of art profit accumulation over the interests of the public artliboring.*

____________
* artlibor presents an interesting, if perversely unyielding characteristic: the more one hides it, the more it manifests itself.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

curators of the world: curate!

Nancy Spector, of the Guggenheim, speaking, and curators listening at a training program in Manhattan

atRifF

fresh from the new york times. if you love art and need a dependable & reputable profession this is your opportunity:
While not exactly lucrative —the most recent snapshot by the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the estimated mean salary of a curator, broadly defined, in the United States at $53,540 — the profession has grown rapidly in cachet. The word itself has seeped into the language, a little too deeply. (“Curate your Facebook profile like you curate your life,” a social media blog counseled recently.) 
lucrative is a matter of perception. cachet is future money. in today's world of arthoodication curators are the jobbers between cultural commodities and the public. let's call E the display of art commodities within a particular context (exhibition spaces, gallery, museum, etc). curators are entrusted with two fundamental tasks:

1- the "production" of E (arrange, organize, negotiate & manage)
2- researching & conceptualizing E as culture production in the form of a catalog essay
3- 1 + 2 bring the arthoodication of E  

because curators conceptualize and advocate the cultural side, they keep the most cachet (better being with the art side than the profit side, i.e, dealers, gallerists, etc).
And while the term “independent curator” is misleading — curators are usually attached to institutions or programs, if only temporarily — the example of itinerant curators who have become art-world celebrities in recent years, like Okwui Enwezor, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Neville Wakefield, has had an effect.
see how cachet and "independence" appear as directly proportional. the "itinerant" plays the game as having no ties with institutions. being "outside" the system carries the most prestige. but are they really federal reserve material?

they still have to produce E for the same institutions that hire their services*.

let's defer all these compromising topics for now. who doesn't want the best part of the show?
“This whole phenomenon is really a post-millennium thing,” said Kate Fowle, a longtime British curator who took over as the executive director of Independent Curators in 2009 after working for a year as the curator of a new art center in Beijing. “It’s a profession growing at a very, very fast rate.” 
a new development. art curating now rivals anthropology in the exploration of that intractable cipher of the geisteswissenschaften: understanding
Ms. Spector spoke about the difficulties of “grappling with the authority” of the Guggenheim’s architecture (“I sometimes think that I can’t install in a square room anymore”), but also, more extensively, about the dangers of the “helicopter model of international curating,” which too often leads to superficial understanding of cultures and their art — and to bad shows, she said.
you don't believe me?
Emilia Galatis, a curator from Perth, Australia, who spent part of last year in the desert meeting aboriginal artists, said that visiting New York and talking to curators from around the world underscored for her how far off the radar of contemporary art aboriginal art remains, and how narrow the focus of the curatorial field can be despite its size.
imagine all this new blood ready to do as they're told, the breed that will take arthoodication to its vertex. jeffrey deitch's dream come true:  
The market place has become so dynamic, and the media coverage of the market place is now getting so good, that the market place itself is creating the critical consensus ...You have now ten thousand people following these auction results very closely, even artists. The market place is now communicating in a broader, more specific way than art magazines and art critics."**
curators of the world: curate!  
________________________
*the typical paradigm of the representatives of the SYSTEM: in order to represent THE PEOPLE, they "appear" as independent, yet, in order to keep their duties and office, they need to make concessions to corporate interests. ** Gilda Williams, "Interviews with Jeffrey Deitch", Flash Art (Summer 1990) p. 169.

Economies of Translation: A Discussion of Critical Theory, Curatorial Practice, and Contemporary Art

  Dan Attoe, Something New, 2011, Oil on canvas

A (friendly) discussion

Tuesday July 24, 7pm
Fredric Snitzer Gallery

Hunter Braithwaite, Clayton Deutsch, Fredric Snitzer, Alfredo Triff

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

arthoodication & artliboring make such a bond

Jan Vermeer, Das Glas Wein, 1661
atRiFf

an interesting development in berlin offers a rare glimpse into the generally off-limit internecine power struggles of the art world. the Gemäldegalerie plans to empty its old masters wing and fill it with 20th-century art, which has left cultural chiefs facing accusations of irresponsible neglect.

is this another ancient vs. moderns? more like collection A  vs. collection B (A = modern, B = old), power struggles remain a pervasive, if dependably discreet symptom.
Opponents accuse cultural chiefs of bowing to pressure from Heiner Pietzsch and his wife, Ulla, whose collection, valued at €150m (£120m) is described as an outstanding selection of classic modernism. It includes paintings by Mark Rothko, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst and Salvador Dalí. The Pietzsches say they simply want to ensure their paintings do not end up in storage.
all art historians care about is disinfected history:
These plans … rob one of the world's finest and, despite its wartime losses, most comprehensive collections of Old Master paintings of its unique capacity … to present more than 500 years of European painting history in encyclopaedic scope in works of the very highest quality," the letter says.
how are historians so disconnected from the arthoodication process? --as if artliboring has no precedence before the 20th century? arthoodication is a false cobra. here it plays as a kind of historic remediation. hermann parzinger, president of the prussian cultural heritage, puts it this way:
The wonderful Pietzsch collection fits perfectly into this concept and will help reinstate Berlin as a superior art capital as it was before 1933 and the rise of the Nazis – who labelled much of its art degenerate – when it was itself a role model for museums like MoMa. (...) In short, we're rectifying the wrongs of history and re-establishing our cultural landscape, which is our calling card to the world.
nice pitch parzinger. true, hitler hated modern art, but that's not the old masters' fault.
why does modern masters arthoodicate over old masters? it libors better.

arthoodication and artliboring make such a bond!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

the art of libor

atRiFf

libor? 
... a measure of how much banks must pay to borrow money from one another in the short term, is set through a daily poll of the banks.
what a nice deal. banks set their own "measure" which is decided though a poll (of the banks). the circle feeds itself: the banks being polled preempt the future state of things, they report a low number, they assume that if they had to borrow from another bank, their cost of borrowing would be low. but banks are banks! what if one arm of the bank responding to the libor poll manipulates their number based on what another arm of the same bank wants?
The efforts to calculate potential losses are complicated by the fact that Libor is used to determine the cost of thousands of financial products around the globe each day. If Libor was artificially pushed down on a particular day, it would help people involved in some types of contracts and hurt people involved in others.
circulation sweating money commodity from every interstice: a little bit here, a little bit there & multiplied exponentially.
(...) more than a dozen banks that are involved in setting Libor each day, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. Last month, Barclays admitted to regulators that it tried to manipulate Libor before and during the financial crisis in 2008, and paid $450 million to settle the charges. 
let's explode banks' vicious redundandy: setting libor is liboring together, which makes fraud institutional. as always, banks do what they do best:
If the banks submitted artificially low Libor rates during the financial crisis in 2008, as Barclays has admitted, it would have led cities and states to receive smaller payments from financial contracts they had entered with their banks, Mr. Shapiro said (...)
so, liboring is inside consent for self-profit & crisis is the new normal --and banks run both.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

from organic to BIG ORGANIC

atRifF

a very good article in the NYTimes about how BIG FOOD coopted organic. what transpires from the piece, written by stephanie strom, is the corporative process of coopting. democracy is fair game for all.

u$e it! 

bottom line: organic is BIG ORGANIC. shhh, you shouldn't believe it
The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.
how do BIG corporations do it?  own the power = own she show

BIG's coopting is not a sudden taking over (i.e., a revolution). instead, it reigns over a period of confusion. then, BIG takes the appearance of demand-for. in other words, BIG provides "a way out," a "much needed solution."
Over the last decade, since federal organic standards have come to the fore, giant agri-food corporations like these and others — Coca-Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Kraft and M&M Mars among them — have gobbled up most of the nation’s organic food industry. Pure, locally produced ingredients from small family farms? Not so much anymore.  
democracy is a tool. 
politics is a function of access: getting-at and what-you-want. 
power is an incremental proce$$ of ownership.
BIG FOOD has also assumed a powerful role in setting the standards for organic foods. Major corporations have come to dominate the board that sets these standards. As corporate membership on the board has increased, so, too, has the number of nonorganic materials approved for organic foods on what is called the National List. At first, the list was largely made up of things like baking soda, which is nonorganic but essential to making things like organic bread. Today, more than 250 nonorganic substances are on the list, up from 77 in 2002.
power consists in testing )(flexible)( ethical limits.  
The board has 15 members, and a two-thirds majority is required to add a substance to the list. More and more, votes on adding substances break down along corporate-independent lines, with one swing vote. Six board members, for instance, voted in favor of adding ammonium nonanoate, a herbicide, to the accepted organic list in December. Those votes came from General Mills, Campbell’s Soup, Organic Valley, Whole Foods Market and Earthbound Farms, which had two votes at the time.

it's all in the label, or better, a label is not a label

now that ORGANIC rules, what can we do as consumers?

1- be informed. suspect the label (all).
2- when it comes to food, follow the freshness of farm.
3- keep it tough. stop playing the victim. things will get worse.
4- adopt the minimalist credo: less is more.

are the waning of organic & democracy related? 

Friday, July 6, 2012

god & plato are always good company

albrecht schneider, untitled, 2012

atRifF

i bump into this review by ryan steadman, of albrecht schneider's solo show @ marc jancou contemporary, for art forum.

right in the first paragraph you smell something lofty:
Schnider’s conflicted relationship with his medium has produced a solemn show of memorials to three genres of painting (portraiture, landscape, and abstraction) via sinuous arcs and curves that divinely form his distilled yet seductive images.
divinely? yeap, supremely good, which refers -if i read the print correctly- to schneider's painted arcs and curves forming seductive images. god excelsus! but not a superhuman quality; more in the common use of "extremely pleasant," as when people talk about good food en passant.

which brings forth an opening for a conversation on taste & mereology: can painted arcs &/or curves (parts) in a painting (the whole) be "divinely" formed and not the rest of the painting? could we compare it with an actor's good performance in a bad movie. what separates the good in the part from the bad in the whole? oddly, i picture "divinely" as an optimistic adverb shooting energy into the semantic inexorability of "curve" & "arc," turning each -predictably- to optimum.

untitled, red frame, 2005

let's come back to steadman's divinations: he really enjoys scheneider's curves and arcs, which is why they call it critics' pick, and the critic drops it:
What lures one deeper into this body of work is how deftly the artist articulates his Platonist aesthetic over a variety of media.
platonist aesthetic? plato + aesthetics makes binity divine.

you're supposed to get it. & don't think steadman will help. these are hard times for elucidations.

bottom line (in case you're glued to bernard bosanquet's history of aesthetics). god & plato are good co. for schneider's paintings (or anyone else for that matter).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

we play with your money for no other reason than to enrich ourselves. when it comes to your money, we are not objective


atRifF

time and again you get the obvious signals, but the system plays its ponderous mantra: capitalism plays by the rules. america is the richest country on earth. with the next president, the economy will improve. don't panic we've been there before. work hard, spend, don't ask questions.  

soon, you stop paying attention to the dirty dealing & politicking. you don't listen to economists, scholars & social activists' call on the danger of our increasing social disparity. you don't really believe that this obscene concentration of power will choke our future growth. 

just listen to this anonymous voice. this is the voice of truth that speaks from within the beast's self:
“I was selling JPMorgan funds that often had weak performance records, and I was doing it for no other reason than to enrich the firm,” said Geoffrey Tomes, who left JPMorgan last year and is now an adviser at Urso Investment Management. “I couldn’t call myself objective.”-- a fund researcher working for J.P. Morgan
this is wall street's impervious message. clear as a bell:

1- we play with your money for no other reason than to enrich ourselves
2- when it comes to your money, we are not objective

a solid brick in your face,

do you see it now?

Monday, July 2, 2012

the pleasure of obscure circular elegance

illustration by leif parsons

atRifF

interesting piece by jim holt for the stone in new york times.

according to holt, following novelist evelyn waugh, literature is "the right use of language," and must exhibit "lucidity, elegance and individuality." he then defines elegance as "the quality in a work of art which imparts direct pleasure." am not so sure how to neatly fit "direct pleasure" with elegance. there are so many things not necessarily elegant that elicit direct pleasure.

while holt goes for the elegance of analytic philosophy. i prefer the redundant obscurity of german idealism.

like in w. f. hegel: isn't this cogitation darkly pleonastic
The Idea can be comprehended as Reason, as the Subject-Object, as the unity of the ideal and the real, the finite and the infinite, the soul and the body; as the possibility that holds its actuality in itself, and thus as that whose "nature" can only be grasped as "existing."  (...) The Idea is itself the dialectic which eternally keeps the self-identical apart from the different, the subjective from the objective, the finite from the infinite, the soul from the body, and precisely because of this dialectic is eternal creativity, eternal vitality, and eternal Spirit.
how about this circular brainy morsel by hegel's friend (and later rival) f. w. schelling, on reflection
If reflection is expected to restore the finite particular to the All from which it has been derived, it recognizes the nature of its task, though it does not know how to bring it about; it does not comprehend that in this renewed dissolution what is being restored will lose precisely what reflection had obtained only through and in the process of disjunction. For reflection, then, this identity of the finite with the infinite remains a mere synthesis and no genuine dissolution of one into the other. 
care for one more, by schelling's teacher, the alleged atheist, master of self-awareness, j. g. fichte?
The self posits itself, and by virtue of this mere self-assertion it exists; and conversely, the self exists and posits its own existence by virtue of merely existing. It is at once the agent and the product of action, what is active and what the activity brings about. Action and deed are one and the same.
i could go on, but as with acquired tastes, prefer to leave you wishing for -more of- this kind of obscure teutonic elegance.

nota bene: no wonder that brilliant cold-blooded misogynist from königsburg, immanuel kant, always argued that the self cannot be an object of awareness. this is why: to make the subject (self) an object of categories is to reason redundantly since it is this very subject that makes it possible for anything to be the object of the categories, kind of self is selfhood, a kantian insight that unraveled the romantic revolution in philosophy.