Talk delivered by Dushko Petrovich at The Armory Show’s Open Forum series on March 6th, 2010.
Decades ago, Richard Serra borrowed an expensive Brancusi book from an artist I know. He kept it too long, ignoring several requests to return it. When he finally brought it back, almost a year later, he casually mentioned he “got forty ideas” off the Romanian.
A friend had gotten fed up with the annual rent increases. He decided to tell his landlord off and move further into Bushwick. It was really satisfying. He hired an agent and they eventually found an acceptable place: about the same rent, three stops further out. When he went in to sign the lease, he encountered the same landlord behind a different desk.
Gagosian has hired a lot of black security guards.
An op-ed in the Times chronicled the decline of a very popular gallerist. They described her eyeglasses, her sales figures, the boyfriend she met online, the saltines she ate for Christmas. They did not go into detail about the thousands of dollars she owes her artists.
A few years ago, everybody “used to paint.” What did we used to do now?
We made ourselves so familiar with the past, learned so much about its modes and movements, diligently collected and studied its images, that it made sense, this persistent desire to be judged as if from the omniscient future. We loved the past, and this (always-postponed) ideal critique would finally allow us to merge with it.
Everyone wants to talk about the MFA as professionalization, the sorry state of art pedagogy, the circling sharks of the gallery system. What nobody wants to talk about is debt. Post-careerist 378 people applied for the job, a two-year visiting artist gig in a small city. Interviews were conducted on both coasts, plus campus visits, followed by much debate on the seven-person committee. Eventually, they voted 4-3 to hire the girlfriend of the guy who had held the job before.
During the Age of Irony, you could be relatively sure it was irony. These days, you check and double check. Now that’s ironic.
Ergo propter boom?