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Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by david b, Mar 9, 2007.
Here is an interesting read. You can also get the podcast.
hmmm. I need some time to digest the message as well as the context of some of the posters. It is certainly interesting.
Might take me a day to get through that lot with all those references !
As quick as that!
An interesting view, presented in a spectacularly uninteresting torrent of low-grade artspeak.
As someone who is in communications for a living, I want a special place in hell for those who insist speaking and writing in artspeak along side those who use MBA jargon.
I read the article and I pined for clarity.
Name-dropping artspeak. After reading it, I still have no idea of why it was written. But I suppose that these are the people who determine public taste in photography. (I hope not.)
If at least it was using REAL jargon. I find some of the ideas interesting (hey, I've had them myself too, so how could I disagree with myself?), but the tone is annoying, and the analytic powers a bit thin. Oh, and way too many epithets too.
For instance: "Perhaps the pungent and effective double act of sex and violence that had been slickly conveyed by the heavily retouched fashion imagery of the late 1990s was more dangerous, unpalatable and un-commissionable in post-9/11 austerity. The classic, neo-conservative production values of recent studio-based monochrome might actually be another point where black-and-white's reprieve from potential cultural extinction seems to be felt."
Interesting how someone writing about black and white also sees the world as black and white, eh?
The "point" of artspeak escapes me; for what purpose does it exist, apart from serving to obfuscate the text's subject?
Perhaps to hide the fact the speaker has little original thought to convey?
Well, grey-and-grey, anyway. An essential prerequisite of existential artspeak is the reduplication of incompletely realized sub-meaningful and heavily-hyphenated(1) near-statements in a manner reminiscent of hysterical fugue (a state first described, albeit in other terms, over two centuries ago as ' a perverse humour for gadding') in such a manner as to re-create the illusion of reading a bad translation of Proust while stoned out of one's head on opiated Afghan black, the resonances of which [23 pages of the same sentence omitted here] are such as to lead the uninformed, unsophisticated or merely literate reader, to say nothing of the competent photographer, to give up before grasping the argument.
(1) and footnoted, or hypertext cross-linked
All I know is G Clooney's new film, The Good German, is a good try at film noir style cinema (even if the story is weak). The director, Soderbergh, deliberately used very old lenses and harsh lighting to get 'the look'.
The reason why it exists is that people are too pusillanimous to speak of art in plain terms. They feel it would somewhat diminish the importance of their beloved object to use topical sentences linked together in a coherent manner. It's an excroissance of everyone's general tendency to switch to poetic mode when they must talk about art, only it is mingled with intellectually bankrupt academic clichés, sophistry, and meagre analyses.
I must add also that the pre/sentation of modern art/speak also depends heavily on (re)vealing the complexity underlying the apparent simplicity of ordinary langue-age by trying to say at the same time a thing and its contrary (not), or by spurious etym-o-logy, puns, and silly port/manteaux words that are supposed ex/pose the seams of language itself and (re)veil its contra/dictions.
I never got very far through that article before I voke up with a keyboard patterned cheek :confused:
a brief for us whoes native language is not english?
Oh, good! I thought I was the only one ... :confused:
I may have noted here once before that a woman I knew who was writing her doctoral thesis had a major set-to with her adviser because she refused to use the kind of academic language of which art-speak is an idiom. He insisted that such language was imperative to maintain the tone of academic rigor...she insisted that that was bullshyt. She prevailed and has her PHD.
Is there an academic discipline that doesn't foster such language?
I confess myself out-(art)-spoken!
I totally disagree.
Exactly why is this considered empty, obfuscatory, or objectionable?
Big colour prints are on the way out & B&W is looking cool again.
What? Waste so much space so say that??
Ok, now I've read it (its dull in hospital!)...
... that was just on the tip of his tongue? Jeezuss! I'd hate to see an article he'd had to research!
A couple of interesting observations were made but 99 percent was waffle. It was like reading Stephen King!
Nothing brings out the circling sharks like a little "artspeak", eh? Interesting!
I've read this thread like others of its kind... with amusement and wonder at what threatens people so about those that use such language to convey their thoughts about art. I really don't get it at all. Sure it is wordy... perhaps she was being paid by the word! Seriously though, I am surprised to see some of the more critical and vociferous posters among those I consider to be the more "intellectual" and wordy this group has to offer. It makes me wonder why people feel the need to tear down something they do not, or choose not to, understand. Perhaps they feel themselves better, or more qualified? Why not simply turn the page... or channel?
By the way... not that it means anything to those taking such issue, but have any of you taken the time to read the author's resume? What is it you do that makes you feel superior to this person?
CHARLOTTE COTTON is the head of cultural programs at Art + Commerce in New York. Previously, she was the curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1992-2004), and head of programming at The Photographers Gallery in London (2004-5). She is the author and editor of several books, including Imperfect Beauty (2000), Then Things Went Quiet (2003), Guy Bourdin (2003) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004).
Lighthearted, but still serious,
PS. Have any of you experiencing trouble digesting the words in print listened to the Podcast?
I wasn't trying to criticize what she had written, more that the text seemed rather verbose. I actually think writing about art can be a very valuable (if somewhat difficult to do well) endeavor.
I'll have to listen to the podcast at some point, I imagine the language might come over better through that medium.
Some folks think in words, others (including me) think in pictures. To me, the article is a jumble. I suspect that the author, asking me to explain a photograph in words and receiving the reply "Well, it's that." and seeing me point at the photograph, would be equally confused.