Unreal Nature

May 4, 2017

Coy Relations to Notions of Quality

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:55 am

… Constant and arbitrary reversal of positions have come to be expected like a nervous twitch to keep us intrigued.

This is from Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 by Liam Gillick (2016):

Donald Judd did not identify himself as a minimalist. Artists tend to deny that they are part of something that is recognized and defined by others. Frustrations are always unique. Contemporary art activates denial in a specifically new way. It does not describe a practice but a general being in the context.

… The question is how to categorize art today in a way that will exceed the contemporary. The inclusiveness of the contemporary is under attack, as this very inclusiveness has helped suppress a critique of what art is and, more importantly, what comes next. We know what comes next as things stand — more contemporary art.

… The contemporary is marked by a displayed self-knowledge, a degree of social awareness, some tolerance, and a little bit of irony, all combined with an acknowledgement of the failure of modernism and postmodernism or at least a respect for trying to come to terms with the memory of something like that failure. The contemporary necessarily restricts the sense in which you are looking for a breakthrough.

[line break added] An attempt to work is the work itself. Unresolved is the better way, leaving a series of props that appear to work together — or will do for now. In this case no single work is everything you would want to do. This is the space of its dynamic contradiction. Hierarchy is dysfunctional and evaded in the contemporary, and therefore, key political questions, whether ignored or included, are supplemented by irony and coy relations to notions of quality.

… This has been a style era rather than one of specific moments of change or development. At the edge of practice we only find more things to be absorbed. At the center is a mass of tiny maneuvers.

… Constant and arbitrary reversal of positions have come to be expected like a nervous twitch to keep us intrigued. The contemporary displays a disruption between intentions and results, leaving a contingent gap that makes it futile to look for contradictions.

… The regime of the contemporary is bloated, on the edge of usefulness, and reaching out endlessly in all directions.

My previous post from Gillick’s book is here.




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