Thursday, November 17, 2011


my friend the other was asking me if what the current movements in art were, or if there could be any new movements, new manifestos, new schools. and i've been catching up on artforum (i'm a few months behind,) so i thought i would share two quotes, from the beginning and end of a piece tim griffin wrote for artforum on the venice biennial.

by the bye, who else misses tim griffin as editor in chief of artforum?

from tim griffin's "Out of Time," artforum, september 2011

he begins:
"Among the more puzzling preoccupations of dialogues around art during the past five years has been 'the contemporary,' a seemingly self-evident description that, to date, has operated largely in reverse - that has been put forward, in other words, as a meaningful denomination and subject of inquiry in advance of any actual deductive relationship to the surrounding world. The hope, it would seem, is that the term employed by itself, and evocatively, will help tease out some general understanding of the conditions for artmaking and its reception today. Yet, unlikely as this might be the impulse is easy enough to fathom: Artists, art historians, curators, and critics alike wish to find historical trajectories in art today where none immediately announce themselves; a disorienting air of atemporality prevails instead. Indeed, the imperative for historical precedent or distinction becomes only more urgent in light of spectulative obsessions with the 'new' in a radically expanded art system whose borders have become so porous as to erode the very ideation of art. Hence, large-scale international exhibitions often tend these days toward long durees of low-grade curatorial anxiety, continually setting up historical counterpoints for recent artwork on the one hand - is modernism our antiquity? - and almost daring artists to cross the lines between artistic and larger social contexts on the other. If there is a substantive sense of 'the contemporary' to be employed here, it is likely the 'out-of-jointness' that philosopher Girogio Agamben ascribed to the term: Something is contemporary when it occupies time disjunctively, seeming always at once 'too soon' and 'too late,' or, more accurately in terms of art now, seeming to contain the seeds of its own anarchronism."

and he ends,
"...we would do well to take a closer look at Christian Marclay's The Clock,, 2010, which was awarded one of this year's Golden Lions. An absolute tour de force of research and editing, the piece plots every minute of a day by incorporating scenes from myriad films ranging widely in origin and genre, with each scenario being passed seamlessly to the next. Someone knocks on the door in one frame, and another person from a different film - an utterly changed time and place - answers. Or an alarm goes off in a mid-1950s bedroom, and someone from the 1970s awakes. Yet one must still, I think consider the position of the audience member viewing this film (moreover, this film about cinematic habits and behaviors oriented around time): One never quite lives in the moment being watched, but rather waits, always looking for whatever might be coming next. Or, to cite philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, "What we perceive as present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation." Ironically, anachronism is our foundation. A more apt representation of art's position can hardly be found."

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