The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

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FEB 2016 Issue
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=: “It’s not ‘your’ painting dude!”
+: You told him that!?
=: Fuck yeah.
+: Right there at the opening?
=: Right there by where it was hanging.
+: But it is his painting you know…
=: Yeah, I get it, I’m not just being a pain in the ass—but when you say: “did you see my painting” and you’re at a museum “my” refers to the person that painted it, not to the person who owns it—what the fuck, this isn’t the 15th  century!
+: Oh but it is—it’s all so very Medici these days.
=: You make it sound like it’s good.
*: Good for whom?
=: Exactly …

+: Anyway—Lorenzo the Magnificent wanabees. 
*: The Medici didn’t invent the museum.
+: Yeah, but by the late 16th century they granted limited access for select elites.
=: Just like some of those private non-profits today.
+: Exactly …            

=: BTW, I saw that work on TV.
*: That used to be the ultimate humiliation, like—like your art is a prop. Now it probably raises the work’s value.
=: You mean its price.
*: Yeah, whatever, you with your accuracies; the point is—it’s product placement.
+: Expensive product placement, with shipping and insurance costs.
=: What will this mean for museums if you can place your work on set to enhance it’s worth?
+: Maybe what Damien Hirst was missing in order to bypass gallery mediation was to place his art on set.
*: Maybe L.A. will become famous for something other than its MFA programs.
+: You’ll have a cottage industry of art storage and moving in Hollywood.
=: Well moving the work would add to its value because transport is productive labor. 
+: You sometimes make a lot of sense, and sometimes none at all.

*: They place art in movies and TV all the time.
+: But 99.9% of it is third-rate and falling, only collectors and the rest of the world can’t tell the difference. Any art student worth their tuition can tell you in seconds what’s bad undergrad art, or plain fake.   
=: Yeah, the Basquiats were fake, that was obvious, but his art—the camera lingered just enough for me to be like: “whoa, that’s real.” 
+: You’d put your own work up there in seconds.
*: Her work would look like garbage on screen.
=: I don’t make work for the market.
+: Bullshit. You’re already part of the network by being in this program, a pawn on our MFA LAnd.
=: No one is outside. The question is what’s one’s relation to the system.
*: Are you two giving me the-market-is-ruining-art type argument?
+/=}: “No!”
=: It’s not a moral dilemma. The market is what it is. The problem starts when they exert power over what we get to see in our museums. They are our institutions. They should serve us not them.
*: Who’s them?
=: Those who know not to whom the art belongs.


Dr. Nizan Shaked

Dr. NIZAN SHAKED is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History, Museum and Curatorial Studies at California State University Long Beach. Her book The Synthetic Proposition: Conceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art, forthcoming with Manchester University Press, is a recipient of the 2015 Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant. Shaked has been a member of the X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly editorial board since 2008.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2016

All Issues