Another week, another edition of Artspace's Weekend Reads. This time around, we looked at the "Blurred Lines" controversy, the realative youth of new media poetry, museum construction, and more. Enjoy!
We Won't Stand for Video Art: The Art Newspaper's Ben Luke considers the explosion of video art since its inception more than 50 years ago, suggesting that the typical museum/gallery/art fair set up is inadequate for displaying and appreciating the increasing (and increasingly lengthy) output of video artists worldwide. Far from decrying this move to the screen, Luke cites time and comfort as the main hangups for the would-be video art viewer, arguing that "avant-garde films don’t lose any of their power when viewed from the comfort of a cinema seat; neither should video works." (The Art Newspaper)
Where's Warburg?: The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik reports on the fate of the University of London’s Warburg Institute, a strange, sprawling library of philosophy and art history founded by eccentric banker’s son and Renaissance obsessive Aby Warburg in the waning days of World War II. Warburg invented and pioneered a novel approach to art history that focused on recurring images, symbols, and motifs as evidence of a semi-Jungian universal consciousness, a methodology reflected in the idiosyncratic, decidedly non-alphabetical organization of the library’s massive collection. Though his techniques have largely fallen out of favor in the academy, the controversy over the University of London’s attempt to integrate the Institute’s collection into its own raises questions about what Gopnik calls "what we owe the past’s past." (The New Yorker)
Mo' Museum, Mo' Problems: In the London Review of Books, Hal Foster takes a sharply critical, historically informed look at the art museum building boom. Taking note of the new downtown Whitney and planned expansions at the Met and MoMA, he reflects on the sudden increase in performance, dance, film, and other live events in museum programming, arguing that efforts to "activate" the museum wrongly imply that it’s an inert, funereal place. "The upshot is this: viewers are not so passive that they have to be activated, and artworks are not so dead that they have to be animated," he writes. (The London Review of Books)
"Reappropriate It": Artist Nick Mauss interviews memoirist-of-the-moment Kim Gordon for Artforum, touching on her relationship to the art, design, and music worlds of New York over the past three and a half decades. The pair share memories and discuss creative concerns in a long, free-flowing conversation that highlights Gordon’s varied body of work outside the auspices of Sonic Youth. As Gordon says: "I always felt outside of the art world. It’s interesting how the art world for so many years seemed so closed off to me, and now suddenly it isn’t." (Artforum)
Williams and Thicke "Got to Give It Up," Says Court: Call it what you like: appropriation, remixing, intellectual theft. Whatever your preferred term, the act of incorporating another’s creative output into your own has proven to be a crucial artistic strategy of the 20th and 21st centuries, one that is central to the work of many of our best loved artists, especially musicians. The outcome of the "Blurred Lines" case (spoiler alert: musicians Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have been ordered to pay $7.3 million to Marvin Gaye’s family for the copyright infringement of Gaye’ 1977 song "Got to Give It Up") should therefore send a shiver down the spine of anyone concerned about the future of creative freedom. (The New York Times & The New Yorker)
How Old is New Poetry?: Poetry is re-entering the conversation in a big way recently—the New Museum's "Surround Audience" includes Brian Droitcour's collection of new (and new media) poetry The Animated Reader, in addition to an online-only exhibition "Poetry as Practice," co-produced by the Musem and Rhizome.org. Rhizome’s Kerry Doran looks back on the earliest days of programming-as-poetry, citing the work of Barrie Phillip (better known as bp) Nichol as one of the first example of coded poetry in a pre-digital world. (Rhizome)