Friday, January 02, 2009
Attended a unique performance recently, a public “critic vs. artist” styled as a boxing match. Kevin Frietas critiqued the work of four artists, inviting input from the gallery audience. The artists defended themselves and their work.
No actual punches thrown.
I have to say it was strange, a performance of something I do for a living. Kevin was not unkind, but I think he’s a rather nice type of guy anyway. I’ve witnessed scathing crits, where the work is embarrassing, and the critic/teacher has called the artist/student on the b-s.
The format was/is problematic. Was it performance? Should it be dramatic somehow, ie yelling and cussing? Is this academic exercise worth showing to the real world? One artist muttered he hadn’t participated such discussion since he’d left school.
At least one guy was still in grad school, and it showed; he could really talk the talk. He seemed almost bored, explaining it all again. Some topics seemed off limits, like why were all the artists young? Why all white? Why avoid talk about the straight guy stuff (mad-scientist, skate culture), the soft-spoken guy appropriating traditionally female craft (crocheting), the token woman?
But that said, I admire all those who participated. Kevin could be a bit harsher next time, which would entertain us more, and also feel more like the real art world. Life’s a bitch for us--on with the show.