The Social Network

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“It’s not what you know but who you know that counts” so goes the saying, which you’ve heard so many times that it’s basically become truth. But why? Among those who have investigated the issue—which sociologists call social capital—is Mark Ebers, a professor of business administration, corporate development, and organization at the University of Cologne. During a recent talk at New York University, he attempted to explain what social capital is, how it works, and what its effects are. Basically, Ebers stated, social capital is resources gained from networks—an incredibly vague, nebulous definition that begged for explanation.

Losing the Plot

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If a bomb had dropped on the building at 1 East 78th Street in Manhattan, the world of modern and contemporary art history would have lost its most respected and erudite scholars. KIDDING! A bomb wouldn’t even have been necessary, as the speakers and audience members who gathered for a workshop called “Is Contemporary Art History” are perfectly capable of imploding on their own.

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?

Picture This

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Following the symposium’s keynote presentation, the first panel featured two figures from the highly influential Pictures Generation—the artists Robert Longo and Matt Mullican—along with Morgan Fisher, a substitute for the absent Troy Brauntuch. The panel’s moderator, Julia Robinson of New York University, introduced the speakers and loosely moderated a discussion on their personal and professional experiences with the artist Jack Goldstein, the subject of a retrospective at the Jewish Museum.

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.

Living Well Is the Best Revenge

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Liam Gillick, an English-born, New York–based artist and educator, sneezed three months ago and became half deaf. He highly recommends the ear flush that corrected the problem. As the recipient of this treatment several years ago, I concur with the artist.

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

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Jens Hoffman began his talk, “Biennials and Curatorial Ambivalence,” by declaring that there are too many talks in New York. I wholeheartedly agree: our abundance of lectures, panels, conferences, and summits has ridiculously saturated the city’s intellectual landscape, and the pedagogical turn in contemporary art and its related disciplines has twisted itself into a knot.

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.

The Future of Art Bibliography

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In response to the uncertain future of the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), and concerned with helping anticipate and facilitate new developments in art scholarship, the Getty Research Institute organized two meetings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the ARTstor office in New York on April 20–21, 2010.