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“Colab Redux,” Refried Collectivity

summer exhibition at Brooke Alexander Gallery

Colab (officially Collaborative Projects, Inc., founded 1977) was one in a string of New York City artists’ groups that started most strongly in the 1960s. Artists’ groups have had an escalating impact on the conventional art world. Today a number have roughly equal status with prominent individuals.

[Note of disclosure: I was a member of Colab, and have published on the group’s activities.]

Retail History

My thanks to the editor for pointing out the part of my last post that had some legs...
I'm working on the '70s now, and am never unsurprised how certain problems and conversations reassert themselves. (Oh yes, it’s structural, and the structure becomes clear through the repeated refrain.) In this case it is the late '60s reluctance of U.S. museums to exhibit "tech art," work which then consisted of installations and environments, proto-interactive, with lots of lights, pneumatics and computer control. Collective resentment at this refusal was one grievance leading to the formation of the Art Workers Coalition in New York. Today U.S. museums refuse to have much to do with "relational" work, or, er, social sculpture, the construction of situations – this very vagueness of its naming shows that the museums have copped out. The only way this kind of work comes into institutions at all is under cover of technology. Then it is sidelined into the video/film and media program, with participation limited to the geekily inclined among the museum audience.

Looking at Art with Jacques & Pierre, or Vision Thing

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Artist's Choice: Herzog & de Meuron, Perception Restrained
Museum of Modern Art, New York
June 21 through September 25, 2006

What was Dada? Why is there a Dada Archive? And why, of all places, is it in Iowa?

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Some people over the World are concerned by the Paris riots and some cars burning, I can tell you that everything was always in order, all this was not happening in Paris but in the suburbs where the poor are conveniently located with the poor. In Paris all the rage is about the Dada exhibition at the Pompidou Center, you see Dada was such a revolutionary Art movement from way back, they say.

And it was. At least I was sure of it before seeing this exhibition which is an archetypal example of curatorial ineptitude. No attempt is made to convey the ebullient, lively and volcanic genius of the chaos developed under the non-sensical name of dada. In fact the determination of the curators to circumvent the shambolic bleeding heart of the dada critique is unavoidable as they have systematically laid their lacklustre show within a 3D grid. The 6th floor of the Pompidou is cut into small adjoining cubic boxes which as well as having a map-like reference such as A3 for the "social critique" box provide no relief in their vertical juxtaposition of professionally framed oeuvres. The effect of this perfectly laid out gentrification culminates as the curators seem so proud of the extensivity of their collection that they pin under glass seemingly every single bit of paper ever produced by every Dadaist and their uncle. Thousands of notes, drafts, leaflets are tamingly assembled as so many dead butterflies by an obsessive kid dumbed by his fetishism, blinded from beauty and feeling.

I saw A SoaPOPera for iMacs

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Hey, I saw this show too and it was great. Except I thought it should have occupied the whole space of the Galerie du Jeu de Paume instead of coupling it with a truly misplaced thingy (can't call this an exhibition really) about Charlie Chaplin. I hope the Galerie never indulges again in such audience seeking excesses, Chaplin was drawing lots of people indeed.

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