Dread 2014 6min10sec now showing as part of Self Help at Galerie Laroche/Joncas

This is a very funny show! I recommend. Two things Robb Jamieson has done in the past: stand-up comedy and working at a health food store. Self Help is a surreal (though often sympathetic) take on expanding the mind and healing the body. Aside from the hilarious video above, the show also includes some surprisingly subtle and delicate collage work that mixes a nimble graphic sensibility with mordant jokes about dicks and death. Look closely and you’ll notice one of the pictures includes cut-ups from Kelsey Grammer’s autobiography. There’s also a few sculptures, including a piece of Tianenmen Square, a pickle, and a self-portrait as stacked hummus containers on a yoga mat. It’s irreverent, but not in a brash, bad-boy way — it’s absurdism is still curious, still sincere. It’s a cosmic laugh.

Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik’s exhibition, Breezy Plaza, opens tomorrow night at Eastern Bloc in Montreal and stays up for three days. This site is the online component, kind of a teaser. It’s a series of three videos composed of stock footage with a voiceover.

Loeppky-Kolesnik’s installation creates a place that is not a gallery; rather a place that emulates a myriad of spaces, familiar to the world of commerce and industry: a showroom, a trade fair, an office hallway, a photography studio, a mailroom, a shopping mall, a waiting room.

The work explores contemporary material culture through the use of handcrafted or manufactured objects that have been modified, stock/found images (used to create print works in the installation) and stock video footage (found on the project’s website).

Breezy Plaza explores the physical and virtual journeys of material goods, the traces of consumer culture, from the online experience of purchasing through sites such as Amazon and eBay, to the shipping and receiving of goods. This work revels in the camp and characteristics of the warehouse, of the consumer products manufactured within, and the interior design of consumer spaces. 

Sounds like it could be aptly compared to Artie Vierkant’s "Brand Innovations for Ubiquitous Authorship" and discussed in terms of the chatter about DIS magazine, corporate aesthetics, and the rematerialization of networks linked to here recently. I’m keen to check it out.

K-Hole is the theory and the Jogging is the practice of capitalist realist conceptual cleverness. While the Jogging’s muteness—or incomprehensibility—subjugates language to the “notes” and reblogs that Troemel tabulates on the site and frequently touts, K-Hole uses language to build a totalizing structure that eliminates possibility outside branding. What K-Hole and the Jogging produce looks less like art than an aggressively hip viral marketing campaign for the means of distributed power. Damien Hirst’s international spot-painting extravaganza of 2012 was likewise closer to marketing than art, a showcase for the global spread of Gagosian Gallery and Hirst’s brand. If what K-Hole and the Jogging do feels fresher or more thrilling than that, it’s because they are closer to newer forms of power, to strategies of personal branding that continually refresh a contagious coolness. A decade ago, in his book No Collar, sociologistAndrew Ross described how tech start-ups borrowed art’s cocktail of work, play and personal life to create a new corporate culture around “self-actualization.” When young incorporated artists borrow this mix back—along with a toolbox of networking strategies—the result is a feedback loop. Business is branded by art and vice versa. What appears to be art is basically business. Nothing else feels possible. 



Aiden Morse and Anna Crews - All Of Me (Perfect Imperfections), 2014

Phone, adhesive felt, plastic, audio, video of every selfie on Anna’s phone arranged in order of attractiveness by Aiden

Watch a short video here

Read a rather oblique text on Aiden Morse and Anna Crews by Flora Dunster at new art writing platform Grey on Grey.

The network should, in theory, provide greater democratization by eliminating the need for a defined set of elitist institutions; however, you point out a number of examples where the network breeds new hierarchies—elevating those with the ability to travel constantly and maintain a myriad of “weak-tied” connections. Do you believe the art world can truly be fully inclusive? Should it?

That’s a big question, but maybe one way to approach it is to go back to what I said earlier about art being a certain type of labor, what labor might become when it reaches a surplus, when it’s able to address not just survival but creativity for its own sake. When it becomes not a means to an end but an end in itself. Well, you can think about how our world now produces a whole lot of surplus or excess wealth, only to then have that surplus appropriated by an infinitesimally small fraction of the population. At the same time, our world also produces more and more artists. That is, If not more inclusive the art world is definitely becoming bigger—in the U.S., for example, you can just look at the MFAs produced each year, the number has been growing nonstop, steadily and rapidly, since the 1960s, it never slows despite all the recessions, the defunding of the NEA, with the withdrawal of more local support, etc. And these MFA programs now spread more evenly throughout the country, which means more and more artists now live in communities with no commercial or governmental means to support them. So not just more artists are being produced, but more have to struggle to survive, their creativity narrowed by necessity, their art as surplus folded back into scarcity. And in lieu of galleries and government agencies they turn to community organizing, philanthropy, mutual aid—they rely on crowdsourced micro-support from colleagues offered through mechanisms like fee-based classes and residencies, raffles and limited-edition art sales, and online fundraising tools like Kickstarter. That is, without the possibility of sales or government grants, they turn to networks.

But it’s important to remember that networks don’t inherently oppose unequal distribution of surplus; indeed, the period of their rise has been marked by dramatic increases in all sorts of inequality. You can even argue that, because of their constant fluctuation, networks threaten certain conditions necessary for bringing about social justice, such as the stability and enclosure required for determining collectivities that can be measured by, and held accountable to, the yardstick of across-the-board fairness. That kind of fairness was one of the promises (seldom if ever met) of government funding of social and cultural life—the arts included. Government, at least according to the socialist-democratic ideal, would differ from philanthropic or private patronage in that it would treat surplus as socially rather than individually produced, and would be mandated to redistribute it fairly across the social body. But today there’s so much less government funding available—so that citizens, including gallery-less artists, have to turn to non-government support like networks, which function according to who knows the right people (and the people who know other right people, etc.).

I just bought Relyea’s book, which has a bibliography so close to my own dissertation project that reading it might be as frustrating as it is exciting. I imagine it will end up being a really major source for me.

“What I think you don’t understand,” I replied, “is that these people really don’t like school.”

By “school” I didn’t mean literal matriculation—many of the artists I knew enjoyed whatever years they spent under the formal tutelage of credentialed elders. Very few, though, had found their operational armature in academic theory. This wasn’t just a trend among visual artists—in the age of Wikipedia, the ability to manipulate specialized vocabularies and esoteric knowledge was commanding less and less authority across the board, from Marxism to indie music. The easy diffusion of information was having ripple effects across publishing, art, and the avant-garde.

This was clear to many students, but not always to their professors, who understandably continued to ply the methods and methodologies that had helped them get tenure. As a result, many art-school grads were coming of age at a time when what felt most oppressive wasn’t consumer capitalism: It was the institutional codes and guild vocabularies in which they had been trained.

Part of this reorientation was driven by technological innovation, but another part was prompted by economic collapse and credentialist backlash. Just as the economy was sputtering, MFA programs were becoming de rigueur, normalizing debt-financed degree acquisition at precisely the time when a degree could no longer guarantee a stable income (or at least not one large enough to repay student loans). For an emerging crop of Insta-queers, lonely girls, and slacker bros, the market—especially the digital marketplace, with its emphasis on clarity, preening subjectivity, and infinite accessibility—suggested an alternative to the onerous grant applications and bureaucratic ring-kissing that drove the art-academic complex. Weary of the rigorless ramblings of adjuncts, many art-school grads found themselves inspired by hot designers and dropout entrepreneurs. It wasn’t hard to see how these figures more readily suggested the cowboy ethos of the creative outlaw than did traditional artists, who came freighted with a “transgressive” framework that often eluded actual transgression.

A super-incisive take on the politics of post-internet art from Christopher Glazek. Maybe the most important and incisive piece of writing to appear in Artforum since John Kelsey’s “Next Level Spleen.” I suspect I’ll be re-reading this for years.