10 Must-Read Art Essays From November 2015

Sizing up Hal Foster's latest, and more.

Image from Christopher Clary's sorry to dump on you like this.zip (2015)
Image: Courtesy Rhizome.org
<em>Bad New Days</em> by Hal Foster (Verso: 2015)

Bad New Days by Hal Foster (Verso: 2015)

1. “Are We Post-Critical? Hal Foster’s Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency” by Gilda Williams, Frieze blog
An informed and generous—but not too generous—take on the latest from Foster, putting the defense of “criticality” in his recently published Bad New Days into context with the rest of his critical output.

Artist in Residence Clifford Owens meets with YI Writers at the Whitney Studio, October 2013. Image: Correna Cohen.

Artist in Residence Clifford Owens meets with YI Writers at the Whitney Studio, October 2013. Image: Correna Cohen.

2. “‘…But We Can’t Pay You:’ Performance Art and Money’s Knotty Relationship” by Hannah Ghorashi, ARTnews
Thoughts on the contradictory ways that performance is and isn’t valued within art, featuring the following, staggering kicker from Clifford Owens on the commodification of performance: “My homelessness would suggest that I don’t do it successfully.”

3. “Down with Romance!: Correspondences on a Performance Curation Convening” by Claudia la Rocco and Chris Sharp, Walker Art Center blog
This epistolary dialogue, responding to the Walker’s “New Circuits: Curating Contemporary Performance” symposium, proves a lovely way to capture the doubt, confusion, and creative perspective-shifting that attend the project of presenting movement-based works within a museum context.

Image from Christopher Clary's <em>sorry to dump on you like this.zip</em> (2015)<br> Image: Courtesy Rhizome.org

Image from Christopher Clary’s sorry to dump on you like this.zip (2015)
Image: Courtesy Rhizome.org

4. “The Download: sorry to dump on you like this.zip” by Paul Soulellis, Rhizome.org
The article proposes that download-based art offers a tradition different than browser-based web work, and with distinct potentials, a proposition that may be even more interesting than the inaugural example offered for the series, Christopher Clary‘s archive of thousands of jpgs of gay erotica, porn, and dating-profile images, which function as a fragmentary diary of more than a decade of fantasizing online.

5. “How to Read an Art Magazine” by Andrew Berardini, Momus
“Most people don’t,” Berardini cautions in his opening line, before offering a wry tutorial on the mechanics of the art-reading ritual.

6. “Showing People Around” by Timothy van Laar, Infinite Mile
An artist reflects on how the strange images that people have about life in Detroit impact actual life in Detroit.

Image from Martine Syms's <em>Solitude</em> in Triple Canopy<br> Image: Courtesy Triple Canopy

Image from Martine Syms’s Solitude in Triple Canopy
Image: Courtesy Triple Canopy

7. “Solitude” by Martine Syms, Triple Canopy
This essay-as-art-project—one of the Triple Canopy’s artist commissions—centers on Junie, “a hermit living in a city,” who is looking back at the history of the community of Altadena, California, from the perspective of a virus-laden apocalyptic future.

8. “Stuffed: How Hoarding and Collecting Is the Stuff of Life and Death” by Douglas Coupland, e-Flux Journal
What is the difference between hoarding art and collecting it, anyway?

9. “TL;DR: No One Reads Art Reviews Anymore” by David Balzer, Canadian Art
The modest traditional exhibition review is dying, faced with the web’s real-time evidence of what people are actually interested in. Is that because the Internet killed it (through a global flattening of the economy of attention) or does the Internet just reveal what always wasn’t there?

10. “There Goes the Neighborhood” by Jonathan P. Watts, Frieze
The Clash once asked, “Should I stay or should I go?” Artists in London can’t afford to do either, and Watts considers the history of the problem in detail.


Screenshot of <em>South as a State of Mind</em>

Screenshot of South as a State of Mind

South as a State of Mind/Documenta
In preparation for the upcoming Documenta in Athens, curator and writer Marina Fokidis’s magazine South is a State of Mind has partnered with the big art festival, offering an ambitious hodgepodge of art projects, critical essays, and political reflections on debt, cultural restitution, and more.

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