Saturday, October 22, 2011

Observations on Art 10.21

It may seem as if OWS is now taking over even the art portions of my blog but I have to mention something that irritates me a little. One of the problems of not yet having a central message is the fact that every small group within OWS is treated as if it were speaking for the whole of OWS. That is what happened this week with Occupy Museums which is the brainchild of Noah Fischer and his Art and Culture Group. It's message seems just heated rhetoric about "a corrupt hierarchical system based on false scarcity and propaganda concerning absurd elevation of one individual genius over another human being for the monetary gain of the elitist of elite." Fischer said in an interview that Occupy Museums isn't a personal project and was approved by the group but really I think the group itself is his personal project. He also said that all statements read will be approved by consensus but again this is in the group and not at the OWS general assembly.

Yesterday Occupy Museums descended upon a strange, and probably befuddled, group of institutions, the Museum of Modern Art, the Frick and the New Museum. I have no idea how they missed the Met other than my theory that Fischer has something there and you don't seem to see anybody from the group stopping the Smithsonian from collecting flyers and signs in Liberty Square. Another complaint I saw was that public museums charge a fee to get in, currently $25 and $14 for students at MOMA. It seems like almost nothing compared to a ticket to a major concert or sporting event. Will the group be occupying stadiums next? Count me in on that one if they protest a Flyers - Rangers game.

Occupy Museum's manifesto also stated, “Recently, we have witnessed the absolute equation of art with capital. The members of museum boards mount shows by living or dead artists whom they collect like bundles of packaged debt. Shows mounted by museums are meant to inflate these markets.” At the risk of stabbing myself in the back I tend to agree with this but they are blaming the entirely wrong people. I think this is becoming a problem the art world will have to deal with at some point but the problem comes more from the larger galleries and art shows and not from the museums. The museums are just an easier target with a much better chance of publicity.

As Kyle Chayka said in ArtInfo's gossip blog, “museums, public institutions as they are, don’t really seem to be fitting targets for such vitriol. Try Gagosian gallery, maybe?”

10/22 update - After I posted this yesterday I found a couple of things that add some to it. The first is a Twitter account I ran into called @OccupyArtWorld that is similar to Occupy Museums. It's about two weeks old and again filled with misplaced rhetoric. Among other things it calls out the art blogs Hyperallergic and Art Fag City for taking ads when these are two blogs that made their reputation before taking any ads at all. It fails to mention ArtForum whose posts seem to go with whoever is buying ad space at the time.

The other thing was a post in yesterday's New York Times ArtsBeat (l) blog that gave a good description of the protest. You can follow the link and read it if you want but I love the last paragraph of it so I'm posting it here.

"At the New Museum, a protester mentioned White Box, a small gallery off the Bowery that was having an opening that night. After a consensus vote, the group marched their protest over to its doors. But the exhibit there, “WALLmART,” turned out to be in solidarity with the 99 percent movement. So after a few minutes, the Occupy Museums group abandoned their sidewalk chants and went in.“We occupied, and now we’re going to schmooze,” Mr. Fischer said."

Artists, what are you going to do with them?

No comments:

Post a Comment