Running in Circles

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Olivier Mosset was in town for the opening of his exhibition at Parapet/Real Humans, a project space run by Amy Granat in a storefront in the Fox Park neighborhood of Saint Louis. On view was a framed set of four lithographs of two thick black stripes on a square of white paper. The set, it turns out, was made for a Swiss Institute benefit in 2004. Granat said the work reminded her of September 11—I suppose any two vertical lines will do that. The artist compared them to an optometrist’s vision test. As someone who can’t see six inches past his nose without glasses or contacts (and who never skips his annual eye-doctor visit), that made more sense.

Back to the Future

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In April 1968, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York brought together museum professionals, academics, and computer technologists from IBM for a “Conference on Computers and Their Potential Applications in Museums.” A postconference report,” said Ross Parry, senior lecturer and college academic director in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, indicated that participants and attendees imagined their technological future in the year 1980. They envisioned a computerized image-search database that would allow a person to pull up any artwork that depicted, for example, “sailing vessels,” or to get information on objects in storage or from other museums. “This was reverie,” said Parry, of these predictions for a digital institution.

Fun Fun Fun on the Infobahn

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In her opening remarks for “The World Wide Web at 25: Terms and Conditions” at the art fair Frieze New York, the panel’s moderator Orit Gat remarked that conversation about net neutrality has changed in recent years. Indeed, public awareness regarding the controlling forces behind the delivery infrastructure of the web has risen sharply after two pieces of federal legislation introduced in 2011—the House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)—failed to develop, along with the “internet blackout” protest on January 28, 2012, and the onslaught of related op-ed pieces over the last couple years.

Suicide Solution

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Boris Groys presented a keynote address called “The Museum as Gesamkunstwerk” to kick off a daylong conference, “Exhibit A: Authorship on Display,” that explored historical and contemporary approaches to organizing exhibitions. His accent made it difficult for me to concentrate, and he repeatedly chuckled at what seemed like minor disciplinary quibbles between he and other theorists. He relayed that, according to the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner, “the artist of the future must be radically indifferent” and boldly claimed that “dictatorship is a curatorial project” and documentation of it supplies nostalgia for the ephemeral event.

The Emaciated Spectator

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What is an audience? Anyone and anything, really: concert ticket holders, participants in a political rally, a random gathering of passersby. A filmmaker or playwright certainly wants to fill theater seats, and an author aspires to place on a best-seller and/or best-of list. An art dealer seeks both wealthy collectors and gallery foot traffic, and an artist desires the respect of fellow artists or the attention of a powerful curator.

Contemporary Histories of the Historical Contemporary

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This panel celebrated and promoted the release of a new anthology called Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (2013), edited by the event’s moderators, the art historians Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present is a collection of short essays by critics, curators, historians, theorists, and collectives on discursive themes such as biennials, participation, and activism, with three essays on each topic. The contributors—four of whom spoke on the panel—are names familiar to anyone who regularly reads Artforum, October, and related cultural journals.

The Ergonomics of Experiencing a Text

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Paperweight, a new organization founded by the artist Jesse Hlebo, was born because, it seems, people involved in producing artist’s books and related cultural publications feel that something needs to be done but aren’t sure exactly what. This evening’s conversation, involving more than a dozen participants seated at a long single table in the Museum of Modern Art Research Library’s reading room, was held to help pinpoint those purposes.

Streaming as Form

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Since it’s 2011 and we live in a high-tech, wired world, organizations with adequate funding can take advantage of the wonders of the internet. In the case of the “Creative Time Summit: Living as Form,” this means offering live streaming video and the on-demand recall of it. While tuning into the summit yesterday for a couple hours, listening to speakers’ choppy accents on choppy video, I noticed, on a little counter in the corner of the video screen, that no more than 270 people had been watching.

 

IN TERMS OF

Reviews of lectures, panels, interviews, conferences, and other live speaking engagements in the visual arts.

 
Funding for In Term Of has been provided by the Arts Writers Grant Program.