Wednesday, March 11, 2015

e-flux conversations


The essential art and curatorial news digest e-flux presents a new platform: e-flux conversations.

They describe conversations - Think the perfect blend of blog and message board, to host the most urgent artistic conversations of the day. Using a hybrid editorial model, this open forum allows for participation from any user as well as specialized discussion moderated by a rotating cast of invited contributors. We want to be the place where a Beijing art student can chat with Charles Esche.Is your social media feed drunk on likes? Did Big Brother kick you off Facebook for posting medieval torture paintings? Do 140 characters leave you unfulfilled? Us, too. That's why we built e-flux conversations—a new platform dedicated to in-depth discussions of urgent artistic and social ideas.

Scrolling through the current offerings on conversations, there is material as diverse as - Capitalism is draining the earth, and occupy isn't going to fix it / On claims of Radicality in Contemporary Art / MoMA's "Björk problem" is a MoMA leadership problem and more...

I was struck by a particular piece, contributed by karenarchey - Why are we ascribing competitive models to art and exhibitions? 
The writer comments: Now that it's early January and the holiday season has dwindled into a plain old winter vortex, I'm back at my desk, hungover from the gigantic amount of "best of" and "predictions for 2015" listicles that have been written in the last few weeks. Did anyone actually read any of these? While writing year-in-review texts has been a perennial form for critics for decades, it seems in recent years--with the rise of online art news platforms--that hastily written "top 10" articles have started to dominate art writing. I can understand why a journalist would be drawn to using this form. Listicles and best-of lists are easy to understand and fast to read and garner a lot of page views (which in turn generates ad revenue). But, being an art writer myself, I know that these articles are oftentimes written to give shout-outs to colleagues and friends, and rarely represent exhaustive research, despite they're oftentimes confused as such.

How do these competitive models effect the way we think about art? I think that it's human to get caught up thinking about who is the "best" at something (the best young female ceramic artist from New Zealand or the best new cave painter etc.), but I also would hope it's our task as cultural producers to think outside of normal systems of valuation and judgment that these competitive lists perpetuate.

Of course my immediate thought was of the increasingly endless lists of best photobooks that appear before Christmas every year. Their importance or lack of and why so many average books get attention they don't deserve.

You can go to e-flux conversations HERE. And the e-flux site HERE.  And while you are at it why not subscribe to e-flux mailings, they are the best art fix around.

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