Saturday, April 24, 2004

Quick hits, from almost everywhere


I just got back from the ballgame, and despite the Expos continuing suckiness, I quite enjoyed myself, thanks to the company. Maybe they'll win tomorrow? Naw, it's unlikely, they really do suck. But, it seems like as good time as any to clean up some of the accumulated backlog.

Yesterday Le Devoir ran an article that is available to non-subscribers (surprise, surprise) about the creation of the Guido Molinari Foundation. On the surface it sounds like a cool idea, as they haven't done anything yet, other than promise to follow what Guido Jr. says were his father's wishes; to sell paintings by Sr. and help young artists. I'll believe it when I see it. There are way too many tax advantages to having and/or running a charitable foundation, and I'd like to see this one work, but the wait and see game is what I will be playing for now. We can revisit the situation in a couple of years, ok?

I have no clue how I came across this site, where they proudly state that they want to be "making history as well as reporting it. spiked stands for liberty, enlightenment, experimentation and excellence." Hmmm, maybe we should wait for the jury on this one, too. But while we're waiting, somebody named Josie Appleton writes about cultural diversity in the UK. It is a way long article (with the 26 footnotes, more than 5,500 words! Woo-Hoo!) Basically she summarizes her point thusly:

Instead, cultural diversity policy represents the end of cultural policy as we have understood it. The pursuit of aesthetic or historical understanding, of attempting to distinguish good paintings from bad or correct interpretations from false ones, is deemed impossible. Instead, all cultural institutions can do is to revel in 'diversity', by promoting different kinds of art and competing judgements.

Today's cultural policy rejects the ways of the traditional cultural elite, and presents itself as far more enlightened. However, if we examine the legacy that cultural diversity policy has rejected, we find that some valuable principles have been lost by the wayside.
I won't get into a point by point criticism of what she says, but suffice it to say 26 footnotes, is 26 footnotes too many. And I could also give the off the cuff snarky retort, that British Culture ceased to be meaningful to anybody but the British after the Beatles broke up, but I won't.

The we go all the way across the world, where the LA Times (I think you're gonna need to register to read it, sorry) published last Monday an Op-Ed piece by Thomas Crow. As they say Mr. Crow "is the director of the Getty Research Institute, where "The Business of Art: Evidence from the Art Market," is on exhibit through June 13." First off, I've been watching with more than a passing interest the stats for this site, and it seems that every time I write about the Getty's exhibit, The Business of Art" that every intern at the Getty and their mother are swarming all over this blog - ok, maybe not swarming, but I figure it can't hurt to write something deliberately that will garner me another half dozen hits.

Now I've already written tons about how much I like the idea of the show, and would dearly love to get out there to see it, and just to keep everything above board, Maria Gilbert just sent me a copy of the booklet that goes along with the exhibit, and an offer of a tour, cool, eh? But back to the article, it serves pretty much as high toned fluff that could have been an ad for the exhibit. Some of the better lines are: "The papers of this larger-than-life character provide a portrait of Gilded Age manners worthy of Edith Wharton." And "Looking at a painting and seeing only its price is like going to a film and seeing only its opening gross receipts." Yes, Mr. Crow can write, but the article doesn't add any illumination, pity.

While we're on the west coast, one of the bastions of east coast liberalism, The Nation, paid Abby Aguirre to review "LA's Early Moderns: Art/Architecture/Photography" a book by Victoria Dailey, Natalie Shrivers and Michael Dawson. I'm certain that the folk at the Getty were all over the book when it came out, as for me, the review is a simple enough thing. It duly lists what I assume are most of the names dropped in the book, but doesn't do much about the critical analysis. I'd much rather read Arthur C Danto's articles in the Nation, if anybody is listening.

Then from the Nation to the National Post. Now, I probably should say something nice, because that National Post is reviewing Art. But, unfortunately it is the National Post. And, I probably should save it for tomorrow's review round up. But, this looks like to much fun to save for a rainy day. On Thursday, somebody named Samantha Grice wrote 1,127 words about the Bill Burns exhibit at the Saidye Bronfman Centre called "Safety Gear for Small Animals." She plays it straight, which misses the entire point and purpose of the show. If you're not out there busting a gut with a 95 db belly laugh while viewing the show, you're better off watching one of those Sally Struthers infomercials about saving some malnourished kid from Africa. In a nutshell, Mr. Burns is flipping a mighty large bird at both the current art world, and the petaphiles. Ms. Grice, takes his whole concept hook line and sinker, and reports it straight, which has the effect of turning what strikes me as a mighty tasty show into grist. It just makes me grimace. Ok, enough with the really bad puns.

Then over to other side of town, Sarah Milroy was able to re-use a story she filed in February of 2003, in order to rationalize her expense account for the trip to she the Biennale at the Whitney (hey! Two stories for the price of one! Maybe next time she'll be able to stay at a better hotel). With the upshot being, she continues her crush on Matthew Barney, nothing new there.

Then, staying at the Globe & Mail, Lisa Rochon gives a tourist-eye view of the Terminal 1 in Toronto. She doesn't mention the Jonathan Borofsky sculpture. Makes it easy for me to say her review sucks. I hope that they published it in the travel section.

Since we are traveling, we might as well wander over to the International section, Reuters published an article two Thursday's ago about the "Dali and Mass Culture" exhibit that is happening in someplace in Spain because they needed something as an excuse for Dali's centenary. The biggest news in the article is that according to Carlos Sentis Dali weighed his press clippings. Who? Who cares?

More tomorrow, all local. I promise.

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