You can hear the air sucking out of the Art World at the end of August. It’s the calm before the storm. But I wanted to point out a couple of things. It seems that more and more artists are starting to question the Postmodern art world. Yesterday a friend sent me this link to Bruce High Quality’s polemic on the intersections and connections between the academies and the art world retail sector. It’s a really fun read, and apparently, it was connected to a tongue-in-cheek performance and slide show adding visual irony to the piece. I wish I had seen it. Maybe they’ll put together a video…?
There have been a few other things of interest as well:
This one from the times discusses yet another wave of 80s nostalgia in the fashion industry. The piece is excellent in laying out the toadying and capitulation that is Postmodernism, but what is disturbing is the nostalgic myth that the 80s were in some way a decade full of one-offs. Folks on the cutting edge willing to be different. The truth is the 80s were racked with 40s and 50s nostalgia collaged into a kind of chic multiculturalism – thus ridiculous shoulder pads and Aladdin pants. Punks went the way of hippies and had been replaced by white guys with dreads, Sting in a silk suit singing patois and stealing Bob Marley riffs, Madonna in her first incarnation as a LES Alt Chick, and Neo-Expressionists pretending to be real artists. Sure there were really good artists from all stripes, but innovation was hardly the trend. We were at the height of Postmodern excess, and we were collaging like crazy.
“Anyone who has been in the fashion business for longer than five years,” Amy M. Spindler, the late Times fashion critic, once wrote, “might be feeling like a drowning man whose life is flashing before his eyes.” Ms. Spindler was referring to the disturbingly rapid-fire way fashion had of recycling the recent past.
That was in long-ago 1996, when fashion archaeology was still necessarily conducted in musty used-clothes stores, in Goodwill bins and in caves like the one the vintage-magazine dealer Michael Gallagher ran in the East Village and where designers like Marc Jacobs unearthed some of their better ideas from the back pages of Vogue.
My other new favorite blog is this one by Fluff Chance called The Emperor’s Old Clothes. Fluff tells it like it is in the Fashion Industry which I find fascinating because it has become the new model for the Art Industry. If our institutions had their way (and they do) this would be the way all Art business gets done, and we’re very close to that now. Fluff is the real deal having his own business and seeing things from the arena floor so to speak. Additionally, he is a purveyor and connoissuer of Style something we spent a bit of time discussing and deconstructing not long ago!
It was a dark view of the business being told through The Emperor’s Old Clothes, one that wasn’t being shown on reality shows or in the usually fawning online coverage of Fashion Week — and certainly not one put forth by Mr. Gaskins when he bumped into other designers at industry parties. In recent months, as Fluff Chance began to write about the emotional impact of ending his collection, the blog became a bird’s-eye view of the psychological impact of the recession on a small designer’s business.
And finally I found my teeth grinding into paste when I saw this. A couple of weeks ago there was a cattle call for yet another TV art reality series, and auditions were held at White Columns. James Kalm made a wonderful and ballsy video document of the hopefuls waiting in line for their close ups. I can not condone this sort of behavior by artists (or anyone for that matter,) but in the words of Sponge Bob Square Pants, “Well…Good Luck With That!”