Friday, May 5, 2017

Gallery Drivel

Copyright © Edward Riojas

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten curmudgeonly, and the time is ripe.

I find it extremely telling what venues have to say about their visions for this year’s ArtPrize competition. Their not-so-veiled words are meant for artists interested in being hosted by said venues. Those same words, however, are posted only weeks before artists begin scrambling for venues. Never mind the fact that most serious artists are, by now, well into a months-long project that is not easily altered to suit the peculiar wants of a venue.

What follows are a few examples from venues with vision; venues that know what they want; venues with agendas. Realizing that art-speak is not fluently spoken by everyone, I offer a translation after each excerpt so you can understand what the heck they’re saying. Sort of.

“...Our exhibition is titled, "Society of Spectacle". Are we under the influence of spectacular images and experiences? Our artificial reality has been modeled so well that we just mirror the map before us without defining the real experience. We passively identify and commodify our social experiences, accumulating a series of intangible moments. In a world of appearances, the spectacle obscures time by creating a never-ending moment of bliss. Do you remember the real experience? How do you mediate that experience? Actively participate and set aside the artifice or add to the image bank–the choice is yours.” (The Fed Galleries @ KCAD)

Translation: Our exhibition is entitled, “Society of Spectacle.” We like to ask questions, and we use the words “commodify” and “bliss” and “artifice” to confuse everyone who isn’t already confused. Come and make good choices.

“UICA will present a curated group show that uses food as a lens to examine cultural history, social equity, and the effects of globalization on communities. ... Only projects that utilize food-related concepts, imagery, or other forms of practice -- *and* are available for the full run of exhibition dates -- will be considered.” (Urban Institute for Contemporary Art)

Translation: We like hamburgers and hotdogs and culturally-significant soy products -- *and* unintelligible punctuation.

“Once again, Fountain Street Church and the ACLU of Michigan will present an important ArtPrize venue that explores issues of social justice through artwork that demands basic human needs be met, diversity respected, and freedom of expression and action fostered.” (Fountain Street Church)

Translation: We know we did this last year, but we want art that irritates everybody. No Christians need apply. (What d’ya think this is, a church?)

“Cerasus Studio is a gallery located on the Avenue for the Arts that offers a "blank canvas" space for artists 18-30, providing opportunities for experimentation and innovation. For ArtPrize 9, the Cerasus team is seeking passionate works by artists 18-30 that respond to the Trump administration.” (Cerasus Studio)

Translation: Old people suck. We want art that has no basis in stuff they teach in school. We only want crap from people who voted for the Pantsuit Party, and are haters. Another thing: Old people suck. Have a nice day at ArtPrize.

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