Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creative Time Summit report at Art 21

Here is a report I did about the first day of the two-day Creative Time Summit this past weekend.

"The third presenter, Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQF), reappropriated a text by painter Ad Reinhardt about the function of art, using it to present an institutional critique of art world problems and dynamics in regards to the history of the “art school.” This is the fifth time that I’ve encountered BHQF, and each time I’ve seen them, I have had a similar sense that their work is an elaborate hoax intended to express ambivalences and ironies around art’s marketplace and institutions. In this regard, I felt BHQF was miscast with the other panelists who, through their work, have attempted to have a direct impact on how education functions within communities and as a forum for radical socio-political content. In his talk, Jakobsen alluded to a retrograde movement away from the “educational turn” among artists in the 1990s and 2000s. BHQF’s lack of transparency during their presentation (had Creative Time’s curator Nato Thompson not mentioned the organization’s funding of the group, it probably would not have become known to the audience), and their unqualified use of the term “free” (a kind of open signifier during the group’s presentation), made me question the group’s intentions. That BHQF have recently presented work at P.S.1’s Greater New York Show (a pedestal “exchange program”), the Whitney Biennial (an ambulance with video projected inside it about American media representations since the 80s), and have shown work in a prominent Chelsea gallery (an installation of progressive education artifacts such as a paperback of John Dewey’s Art and Education and chalk boards reminiscent of Joseph Beuys’s lecture performances) makes me wonder how they wish to make use of the radical format of the free school."

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