Get Off the Internet

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From an aesthetic point of view, the term “punk”—whether referring to a music genre, a fashion style, or a nonconformist attitude—has generated an incredibly diverse creative output that ranges from cynical and nihilistic to self-empowered and ethically sound. Tonight’s panel, organized by A.I.R. Gallery and the Women and the Arts Collaborative at Rutgers University, addressed the passionate, potent combination of youth rebellion, women’s rights, and fast, furious music through the stories of five panelists who emerged from various punk scenes in the United States.

The Curator’s Lot

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Back at A.I.R. again, there was at last an exception to panel chaos, perhaps because only two panelists—Marcia Tucker and Barbara Haskell, both of them Whitney curators—showed up. With Mary Beth Edelson moderating, their talk was focused. “Changing and Stabilizing Women’s Art from the Curator’s View” was the title, but discussion was about the woes of the curator.

Body of Work

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Laurel Nakadate’s presentation, a standard chronological overview of her body of work, at New York University was surprisingly underwhelming. Apparently she’s much less provocative in person, which belies the passionate and polarizing dialogue surrounding her work. Is it because the Lolita-tinged, narcissistic scenarios in her photography and video have become thoroughly embraced by mainstream culture? What about the elevation of everyday activities long fetishized by artists that is ubiquitously and glamorously expressed in Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and the like?

Welcome to Post-Modernism

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I went to this really weird panel last night called “Post-Modernism in Art and Literature,” only it was mostly John Simon, Michael Graves, and Hilton Kramer in the same room, so the place was packed. To start off, they had a beautiful lady with long blond hair and a really great black dress who talked about something you couldn’t understand because we were still trying to find a seat in the crowded room. She must have been a doctor, though, because when she finished the moderator said, thank you Doctor Soandso.

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.

Solo Searching

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Moderator Ronald Jones began the discussion promising that “the ’80s changed theory and the function of criticism in major ways,” but the panelists did not address the history of ’80s art criticism. Instead, each discussed his or her own criticism as a personal quest. All seemed to see their occupation as a solitary one; they did not allude to the community of artist, critic, and reader/viewer, nor discuss their position in an art world structure in which they saw all others embroiled.

And Then We’ll Dissolve the State

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The panelists did not all profess to be Marxists, but each addressed the question of being an artist, art worker, or cultural within a class system. The function of art and its translation from a visual object to a Marxist statement were treated from various political and art-world points of view. As with most forums of this kind, alternatives were debated, but no course of action was ratified.

Baby Got Back

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Clearly the editors of a new comics anthology heard the phrase “I’m a feminist, but…” one too many times. Taking a firm stance against the equivocal and perhaps self-deprecating attitude, Shannon O’Leary, a critic, editor, and author of Fortune’s Bitch, and Joan Reilly, an illustrator and comics artist, began work on The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs ANDs & BUTs of Feminism. They commissioned more than forty creators—including a handful of men—to produce work exploring the multivalent meanings and critical relevance of feminism today.

An Influx of Influences

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Influence is a tricky, elusive thing. The organizers of an exhibition at the Visual Arts Gallery in Chelsea, Amy Smith-Stewart and Carrie Lincourt, confront the topic as it related to BFA and MFA graduates from the School of Visual Arts in New York. For The Influentials, the two curators selected nineteen women artists, among them Inka Essenhigh, Kate Gilmore, and Yuko Shimizu, who chose a second artist whose work has had a significant impact on their own.