Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Art Predictions

Ellsworth Kelly

It’s the final week of 2015. Thank gawd. So ready for the New Year to begin. 2015 wasn’t bad at all, things in the art world seemed to tilt back and although bubbles didn’t pop, there felt like a sense of equilibrium. It’s still unpleasant in many ways, all that money making everything funny and all but as a whole it was a relief from the years before. What will 2016 bring for the art world? Who knows for sure but below are some of my predictions.

Feminism becomes cache – Oh the women and art conundrum. It’s fraught, it stinks, it is everlasting but I predict this year that the “F” word and all its wrappings will become the legitimizing flavor of the year. This will manifest in exhibitions that pointedly refer and focus on this in both content and artists shown. It will also be the standard which institutions measure their progressive authority. These things in themselves may be wrapped up in tokenism and false intentions but hopefully it will do some lasting good.

Garbage is in – Trash art, sloppy art, dirt art, we’ve been seeing it a lot already but it will be even more plentiful this coming year. It’s not about the eco-system or some other residency applicable write up, rather it is about the pathetic-ness of an object, the limpid lack of necessity and the humor, charm and malaise that can be evoked by that.

Everyone you know will be successful – The older one gets and the longer one stays in the art industry the easier it is to ascend. The art world is strong and will remain thus until something truly calamitous happens as it is linked inextricably with the one percenters of the world and unless they topple (which they won’t) this art thing will be fine. This means that there is a ton of money, ton of opportunity and a ton of ways you and yours can thrive. Are their rules to playing the game correctly so you can cash in? Yes. If you are making the cash, getting the promotion and being profiled then you are doing it right. If you’re not, then you are either an idealist or bitter. The first is commendable; the second off-putting but both are tragic in their own ways.

Lower East Side redundancy – This saturated neighborhood has to lose some weight and it will this year. Not in the amount of galleries, openings, and new things taking up one former shoe box store or another but in the influence it has. It’s like looking at a menu with too many options. Everything looses it flavor. Instead, there will be a few standouts that will be the must sees while the others are pit stops for a free beer before dinner.

PR town – Everyone seems to need a PR agent these days and it’s grossing me out but hey, nothing any of us can do about it. The professionalization of art branding is a big bucks churn. Those that have the money spend it to dominate. Those that want the money feel an anxious ticking making them feel they need it. It’s silly and I think pretty useless but it’s the nature of the beast now. Coca-cola does it, movie stars do it, politicians do it, so why shouldn’t the art world? While doing it though, understand that all that press is becoming befuddled and dull. Like I’ve always said, if there’s a piece about it in The New York Times Magazine then it’s probably, definitely, already over.

Artists from out of nowhere – Every year an art star pops up that seems to have come out of thin air. Lately it has been people from “third world” countries, the former Eastern Bloc or older, almost about to die women that have been there the whole time and someone finally took time to notice. This year will most likely cull from this pool as well but I also think there might be a shift, something more attached to math and science perhaps.

Russia – Russia is going to make itself felt in the coming art year. I don’t know in what way but I can just feel it. It’s not just about all that oligarchical money, but about art and artists. Not sure what it will be like but it’s exciting to think about.

Art Scandals revealed – Can someone, anyone, everyone make a site where it has all the gross things men in power do in the art world? This is more of a wish then a prediction but ya, that would be a fabulous thing and you could probably make a lot of money somehow from it.

Art Malaise – I have it and I think a lot of people have it too. Art – all of it: gallery shows, museum shows, art fairs, curating, art books, art talks, art parties, art art art – all of it seems to be so obvious and dull at the moment. I think sadly this will carry on through the new year but hopefully there will be (I’m sure there will be) moments that tingle the brain and make you remember why you love art in the first place. But I think sadly it will be a slow, annoying, familiar art vista that we have to maybe ride out until it is somehow punctured.

No more cartoons – Art, especially painting, that incorporates cartoon like things has been very successful of late and although that’s an a-ok trend it’s been a bit done to death this past year and hopefully we all get a respite from it. Those that are good will last. Those that are bandwagon jumpers will get kicked to the curb.

Flowers – You can never go wrong with flowers in art.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Boris Groys, The Obligation of Self - Design

I’ve had tough day today. So instead of an aimless, defeated post I will share with you this essay, which seems befitting the season and is interesting to think the production of the self.

Boris Groys, The Obligation of Self- Design (e-flux, 2008)

Design, as we know it today, is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Admittedly, concern for the appearance of things is not new. All cultures have been concerned with making clothes, everyday objects, interiors of various spaces, whether sacred spaces, spaces of power, or private spaces, “beautiful and impressive.”

The history of the applied arts is indeed long. Yet modern design emerged precisely from the revolt against the tradition of the applied arts. Even more so than the transition from traditional art to modernist art, the transition from the traditional applied arts to modern design marked a break with tradition, a radical paradigm shift. This paradigm shift is, however, usually overlooked. The function of design has often enough been described using the old metaphysical opposition between appearance and essence. Design, in this view, is responsible only for the appearance of things, and thus it seems predestined to conceal the essence of things, to deceive the viewer’s understanding of the true nature of reality. Thus design has been repeatedly interpreted as an epiphany of the omnipresent market, of exchange value, of fetishism of the commodity, of the society of the spectacle—as the creation of a seductive surface behind which things themselves not only become invisible, but disappear entirely.

Modern design, as it emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century, internalized this critique aimed at the traditional applied arts and set itself the task of revealing the hidden essence of things rather than designing their surfaces. Avant-garde design sought to eliminate and purify all that had accumulated on the surface of things through the practice of the applied arts over centuries in order to expose the true, undesigned nature of things. Modern design thus did not see its task as creating the surface, but rather as eliminating it—as negative design, antidesign. Genuine modern design is reductionist; it does not add, it subtracts. It is no longer about simply designing individual things to be offered to the gaze of viewers and consumers in order to seduce them. Rather, design seeks to shape the gaze of viewers in such a way that they become capable of discovering things themselves. A central feature of the paradigm shift from traditional applied arts to modern design was just this extension of the will to design from the world of things to that of human beings themselves—understood as one thing among many. The rise of modern design is profoundly linked to the project of redesigning the old man into the New Man. This project, which emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century and is often dismissed today as utopian, has never really been abandoned de facto. In a modified, commercialized form, this project continues to have an effect, and its initial utopian potential has been updated repeatedly. The design of things that present themselves to the gaze of the viewing subject is critical to an understanding of design. The ultimate form of design is, however, the design of the subject. The problems of design are only adequately addressed if the subject is asked how it wants to manifest itself, what form it wants to give itself, and how it wants to present itself to the gaze of the Other.

This question was first raised with appropriate acuity in the early twentieth century—after Nietzsche diagnosed God’s death. As long as God was alive, the design of the soul was more important to people than the design of the body. The human body, along with its environment, was understood from the perspective of faith as an outer shell that conceals the soul. God was thought to be the only viewer of the soul. To him the ethically correct, righteous soul was supposed to look beautiful—that is, simple, transparent, well constructed, proportional, and not disfigured by any vices or marked by any worldly passion. It is often overlooked that in the Christian tradition ethics has always been subordinated to aesthetics—that is, to the design of the soul. Ethical rules, like the rules of spiritual asceticism—of spiritual exercises, spiritual training—serve above all the objective of designing the soul in such a way that it would be acceptable in God’s eyes, so that He would allow it into paradise. The design of one’s own soul under God’s gaze is a persistent theme of theological treatises, and its rules can be visualized with the help of medieval depictions of the soul waiting for the Last Judgment. The design of the soul which was destined for God’s eyes was clearly distinct from the worldly applied arts: whereas the applied arts sought richness of materials, complex ornamentation, and outward radiance, the design of the soul focused on the essential, the plain, the natural, the reduced, and even the ascetic. The revolution in design that took place at the start of the twentieth century can best be characterized as the application of the rules for the design of the soul to the design of worldly objects.

The death of God signified the disappearance of the viewer of the soul, for whom its design was practiced for centuries. Thus the site of the design of the soul shifted. The soul became the sum of the relationships into which the human body in the world entered. Previously, the body was the prison of the soul; now the soul became the clothing of the body, its social, political, and aesthetic appearance. Suddenly the only possible manifestation of the soul became the look of the clothes in which human beings appear, the everyday things with which they surround themselves, the spaces they inhabit. With the death of God, design became the medium of the soul, the revelation of the subject hidden inside the human body. Thus design took on an ethical dimension it had not had previously. In design, ethics became aesthetics; it became form. Where religion once was, design has emerged. The modern subject now has a new obligation: the obligation to self-design, an aesthetic presentation as ethical subject. The ethically motivated polemic against design, launched repeatedly over the course of the twentieth century and formulated in ethical and political terms, can only be understood on the basis of this new definition of design; such a polemic would be entirely incongruous if directed at the traditional applied arts. Adolf Loos’ famous essay “Ornament and Crime” is an early example of this turn.

From the outset, Loos postulated in his essay a unity between the aesthetic and the ethical. Loos condemned every decoration, every ornament, as a sign of depravity, of vices. Loos judged a person’s appearance, to the extent it represents a consciously designed exterior, to be an immediate expression of his or her ethical stance. For example, he believed he had demonstrated that only criminals, primitives, heathens, or degenerates ornament themselves by tattooing their skin. Ornament was thus an expression either of amorality or of crime: “The Papuan covers his skin with tattoos, his boat, his oars, in short everything he can lay his hands on. He is no criminal. The modern person who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.”1 Particularly striking in this quotation is the fact that Loos makes no distinction between tattooing one’s own skin and decorating a boat or an oar. Just as the modern human being is expected to present him or herself to the gaze of the Other as an honest, plain, unornamented, “undesigned” object, so should all the other things with which this person has to deal be presented as honest, plain, unornamented, undesigned things. Only then do they demonstrate that the soul of the person using them is pure, virtuous, and unspoiled. According to Loos, the function of design is not to pack, decorate, and ornament things differently each time, that is, to constantly design a supplementary outside so that an inside, the true nature of things, remains hidden. Rather, the real function of the modern design is to prevent people from wanting to design things at all. Thus Loos describes his attempts to convince a shoemaker from whom he had ordered shoes not to ornament them.2 For Loos, it was enough that the shoemaker use the best materials and work them with care. The quality of the material and the honesty and precision of the work, and not their external appearance, determine the quality of the shoes. The criminal thing about ornamenting shoes is that this ornament does not reveal the shoemaker’s honesty, that is, the ethical dimension of the shoes. The ethically dissatisfactory aspects of the product are concealed by ornament and the ethically impeccable are made unrecognizable by it. For Loos, true design is the struggle against design—against the criminal will to conceal the ethical essence of things behind their aesthetic surface. Yet paradoxically, only the creation of another, revelatory layer of ornament—that is, of design—guarantees the unity of the ethical and the aesthetic that Loos sought.

The messianic, apocalyptic features of the struggle against applied art that Loos was engaged in are unmistakable. For example, Loos wrote: “Do not weep. Do you not see the greatness of our age resides in our very inability to create new ornament? We have gone beyond ornament, we have achieved plain, undecorated simplicity. Behold, the time is at hand, fulfillment awaits us. Soon the streets of the cities will shine like white walls! Like Zion, the Holy City, Heaven’s capital. Then fulfillment will be ours.”3 The struggle against the applied arts is the final struggle before the arrival of God’s Kingdom on Earth. Loos wanted to bring heaven down to earth; he wanted to see things as they are, without ornament. Thus Loos wanted to appropriate the divine gaze. But not only that, he wanted to make everyone else capable of seeing the things as they are revealed in God’s gaze. Modern design wants the apocalypse now, the apocalypse that unveils things, strips them of their ornament, and causes them to be seen as they truly are. Without this claim that design manifests the truth of things, it would be impossible to understand many of the discussions among designers, artists, and art theorists over the course of the twentieth century. Such artists and designers as Donald Judd or architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, to name only a few, do not argue aesthetically when they want to justify their artistic practices but rather ethically, and in doing so they appeal to the truth of things as such. The modern designer does not wait for the apocalypse to remove the external shell of things and show them to people as they are. The designer wants here and now the apocalyptic vision that makes everyone New Men. The body takes on the form of the soul. The soul becomes the body. All things become heavenly. Heaven becomes earthly, material. Modernism becomes absolute.

Loos’ essay is, famously, not an isolated phenomenon. Rather, it reflects the mood of the entire artistic avant-garde of the twentieth century, which sought a synthesis of art and life. This synthesis was supposed to be achieved by removing the things that looked too arty both from art and from life. Both were supposed to reach the zero point of the artistic in order to achieve a unity. The conventionally artistic was understood to be the “human, all too human” that obstructed the gaze to perceive the true inner form of things. Hence the traditional painting was seen as something that prevents the gaze of a spectator to recognize it as a combination of shapes and colors on canvas. And shoes made in the traditional way were understood to be a thing that prevented the gaze of a consumer to recognize the essence, function, and true composition of the shoe. The gaze of the New Man had to be freed of all such obstructions by the force of (anti)design.

Whereas Loos still formulated his argument in rather bourgeois terms and wanted to reveal the value of certain materials, craftsmanship, and individual honesty, the will to absolute design reached its climax in Russian Constructivism, with its “proletarian” ideal of the collective soul, which is manifested in industrially organized work. For the Russian Constructivists, the path to virtuous, genuinely proletarian objects also passed through the elimination of everything that was merely artistic. The Russian Constructivists called for the objects of everyday communist life to show themselves as what they are: as functional things whose forms serve only to make their ethics visible. Ethics as understood here was given an additional political dimension, since the collective soul had to be organized politically in order to act properly in accordance with ethical terms. The collective soul was manifested in the political organization that embraced both people and things. The function of “proletarian” design—at the time, admittedly, people spoke rather of “proletarian art”—must therefore be to make this total political organization visible. The experience of the October Revolution of 1917 was crucial for the Russian Constructivists. They understood the revolution to be a radical act of purifying society of every form of ornament: the finest example of modern design, which eliminates all traditional social customs, rituals, conventions, and forms of representation in order for the essence of the political organization to emerge. Thus the Russian Constructivists called for the abolition of all autonomous art. Art should rather be placed entirely at the service of the design of utilitarian objects. In essence, it was a call to completely subsume art to design.

At the same time, the project of Russian Constructivism was a total project: it wanted to design life as a whole. Only for that reason—and only at that price—was Russian Constructivism prepared to exchange autonomous art for utilitarian art: just as the traditional artist designed the whole of the artwork, so the Constructivist artist wanted to design the whole of society. In a certain sense, the Soviet artists had no choice at the time other than to forward such a total claim. The market, including the art market, was eliminated by the Communists. Artists were no longer faced with private consumers and their private and aesthetic preferences, but with the state as a whole. Necessarily, it was all or nothing for artists. This situation is clearly reflected in the manifestos of Russian Constructivism. For example, in his programmatic text entitled “Constructivism,” Alexei Gan wrote: “Not to reflect, not to represent and not to interpret reality, but to really build and express the systematic tasks of the new class, the proletariat… Especially now, when the proletarian revolution has been victorious, and its destructive, creative movement is progressing along the iron rails into culture, which is organized according to a grand plan of social production, everyone—the master of color and line, the builder of space-volume forms and the organizer of mass productions—must all become constructors in the general work of the arming and moving of the many-millioned human masses.”4 For Gan, the goal of Constructivist design was not to impose a new form on everyday life under socialism but rather to remain loyal to radical, revolutionary reduction and to avoid making new ornaments for new things. Hence Nikolai Tarabukin asserted in his then-famous essay “From the Easel to the Machine” that the Constructivist artist could not play a formative role in the process of actual social production. His role was rather that of a propagandist who defends and praises the beauty of industrial production and opens the public’s eyes to this beauty.5 The artist, as described by Tarabukin, is someone who looks at the entirety of socialist production as a ready-made—a kind of socialist Duchamp who exhibits socialist industry as a whole as something good and beautiful.
The modern designer, whether bourgeois or proletarian, calls for the other, divine vision: for the metanoia that enables people to see the true form of things. In the Platonic and Christian traditions, undergoing a metanoia means making the transition from a worldly perspective to an otherworldly perspective, from a perspective of the mortal body to a perspective of the immortal soul. Since the death of God, of course, we can no longer believe that there is something like the soul that is distinguished from the body in the sense that it is made independent of the body and can be separated from it. However, that does not by any means suggest that a metanoia is no longer possible. Modern design is the attempt to bring about such a metanoia—an effort to see one’s own body and one’s own surroundings as purified of everything earthly, arbitrary, and subjected to a particular aesthetic taste. In a sense, it could be said that modernism substituted the design of the corpse for the design of the soul.

This funeral aspect of modern design was recognized by Loos even before he wrote “Ornament and Crime.” In his text “The Poor Little Rich Man,” Loos tells of the imagined fate of a rich Viennese man who decided to have his entire house designed by an artist. This man totally subjected his everyday life to the dictates of the designer (Loos speaks, admittedly, of the architect), for as soon as his thoroughly designed house is finished, the man can no longer change anything in it without the designer’s permission. Everything that this man would later buy and do must fit into the overall design of the house, not just literally but also aesthetically. In a world of total design, the man himself has become a designed thing, a kind of museum object, a mummy, a publicly exhibited corpse. Loos concludes his description of the fate of the poor rich man as follows: “He was shut out of future life and its strivings, its developments, and its desires. He felt: Now is the time to learn to walk about with one’s own corpse. Indeed! He is finished! He is complete!”6 In his essay “Design and Crime,” whose title was inspired by Loos’, Hal Foster interpreted this passage as an implicit call for “running room,” for breaking out of the prison of total design.7 It is obvious, however, that Loos’ text should not be understood as a protest against the total dominance of design. Loos protests against design as ornament in the name of another, “true” design, in the name of an antidesign that frees the consumer from dependence on the taste of the professional designer. As the aforementioned example of the shoes demonstrates, under the regime of avant-garde antidesign, consumers take responsibility for their own appearance and for the design of their daily lives. Consumers do so by asserting their own, modern taste, which tolerates no ornament and hence no additional artistic or craft labor. By taking ethical and aesthetic responsibility for the image they offer the outside world, however, consumers become prisoners of total design to a much larger degree than ever before, inasmuch as they can no longer delegate their aesthetic decisions to others. Modern consumers present the world the image of their own personality—purified of all outside influence and ornamentation. But this purification of their own image is potentially just as infinite a process as the purification of the soul before God. In the white city, in the heavenly Zion, as Loos imagines it, design is truly total for the first time. Nothing can be changed there either: nothing colorful, no ornament can be smuggled in. The difference is simply that in the white city of the future, everyone is the author of his own corpse—everyone becomes an artist-designer who has ethical, political, and aesthetic responsibility for his or her environment.

One can claim, of course, that the original pathos of avant-garde antidesign has long since faded, that avant-garde design has become a certain designer style among other possible styles. That is why many people view our entire society today—the society of commercial design, of the spectacle—as a game with simulacra behind which there is only a void. That is indeed how this society presents itself, but only if one takes a purely contemplative position, sitting in the lodge and watching the spectacle of society. But this position overlooks the fact that design today has become total—and hence it no longer admits of a contemplative position from the perspective of an outsider. The turn that Loos announced in his day has proven to be irreversible: every citizen of the contemporary world still has to take ethical, aesthetic, and political responsibility for his or her self-design. In a society in which design has taken over the function of religion, self-design becomes a creed. By designing one’s self and one’s environment in a certain way, one declares one’s faith in certain values, attitudes, programs, and ideologies. In accordance with this creed, one is judged by society, and this judgment can certainly be negative and even threaten the life and well-being of the person concerned.

Hence modern design belongs not so much in an economic context as in a political one. Modern design has transformed the whole of social space into an exhibition space for an absent divine visitor, in which individuals appear both as artists and as self-produced works of art. In the gaze of the modern viewer, however, the aesthetic composition of artworks inevitably betrays the political convictions of their authors—and it is primarily on that basis that they are judged. The debate over headscarves demonstrates the political force of design. In order to understand that this is primarily a debate about design, it suffices to imagine that Prada or Gucci has begun to design headscarves. In such a case, deciding between the headscarf as a symbol of Islamic convictions and the headscarf as a commercial brand becomes an extremely difficult aesthetic and political task. Design cannot therefore be analyzed exclusively within the context of the economy of commodities. One could just as soon speak of suicide design—for example, in the case of suicide attacks, which are well known to be staged according to strict aesthetic rules. One can speak about the design of power but also about the design of resistance or the design of alternative political movements. In these instances design is practiced as a production of differences—differences that often take on a political semantics at the same time. We often hear laments that politics today is concerned only with a superficial image—and that so-called content loses its relevance in the process. This is thought to be the fundamental malaise of politics today. More and more, there are calls to turn away from political design and image making and return to content. Such laments ignore the fact that under the regime of modern design, it is precisely the visual positioning of politicians in the field of the mass media that makes the crucial statement concerning their politics—or even constitutes their politics. Content, by contrast, is completely irrelevant, because it changes constantly. Hence the general public is by no means wrong to judge its politicians according to their appearance—that is, according to their basic aesthetic and political creed, and not according to arbitrarily changing programs and contents that they support or formulate.

Thus modern design evades Kant’s famous distinction between disinterested aesthetic contemplation and the use of things guided by interests. For a long time after Kant, disinterested contemplation was considered superior to a practical attitude: a higher, if not the highest, manifestation of the human spirit. But already by the end of the nineteenth century, a reevaluation of values had taken place: the vita contemplativa was thoroughly discredited, and the vita activa was elevated to the true task of humankind. Hence today design is accused of seducing people into weakening their activity, vitality, and energy—of making them passive consumers who lack will, who are manipulated by omnipresent advertising and thus become victims of capital. The apparent cure for this lulling into sleep by the society of the spectacle is a shocklike encounter with the “real” that is supposed to rescue people from their contemplative passivity and move them to action, which is the only thing that promises an experience of truth as living intensity. The debate now is only over the question whether such an encounter with the real is still possible or whether the real has definitively disappeared behind its designed surface.
Now, however, we can no longer speak of disinterested contemplation when it is a matter of self-manifestation, self-design, and self-positioning in the aesthetic field, since the subject of such self-contemplation clearly has a vital interest in the image he or she offers to the outside world. Once people had an interest in how their souls appeared to God; today they have an interest in how their bodies appear to their political surroundings. This interest certainly points to the real. The real, however, emerges here not as a shocklike interruption of the designed surface but as a question of the technique and practice of self-design—a question no one can escape anymore. In his day, Beuys said that everyone had the right to see him- or herself as an artist. What was then understood as a right has now become an obligation. In the meantime we have been condemned to being the designers of our selves.

1 Adolf Loos, “Ornament and Crime” (1908), in Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays, ed. Adolf Opel, trans. Michael Mitchell (Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 1998), 167.
2 Ibid., 174.
3 Ibid., 168.
4 Alexei Gan, “From Constructivism,” in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds., Art in Theory, 1900–1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1993), 320 (translation modified).
5 Nikolai Tarabukin, “From the Easel to the Machine,” in Francis Frascina and Charles Harrison, eds., Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology (New York: Harper and Row, 1982), 135–42.
6 Adolf Loos, “The Poor Little Rich Man,” in August Sarnitz, Adolf Loos, 1870–1933: Architect, Cultural Critic, Dandy, trans. Latido (Cologne: Taschen, 2003), 21.
7 Hal Foster, “Design and Crime,” in idem, Design and Crime (and Other Diatribes) (London: Verso, 2002), 17.
Translated from the German by Steven Lindberg.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Everything Is So Passé

It’s December and I don’t know about you all but for me it’s the most grueling of months. Holidays, New Year, winter is coming. It’s a month that you just wait for it to be over. One you endure in order to start again. In addition to the boredom of it all, there is a grumpiness that has seeped into my bones, making everything feel so blasé. With this being my mental state, I will share with you the things that irk, blah and are to me so passé in art, life and culture at the moment. Out with the old! And hopefully the New Year will bring some sparkle that doesn’t quickly fade.

Ai wei wei – Why? The art world’s frothing/fawning over this overrated artist truly reveals how impotent the art world is with politics and also how cliché.

Art Fairs – Hate em 4eva.

Artforum – It just seems so dull these days. The writing is barely intriguing, the critics choices (for the most part) are just reflection pools of the gatekeepers of a tier of art world that don’t need it as they are the fortress of it already, and the access feels like society pages. It is admirable that it is still so thick in this time of advertising collapse, but darlings, let’s be frank: it is a self perpetuating tome with not an ounce of subversion or challenge to the status quo.

Artsy – The start-up trying to mastermind art’s online platform. The most agg thing about it is its pricing schemes and it having galleries pay to have editorial written. Please, art writers of the world! Do you not have any dignity?! (As I write on a stupid blog and make no money) BUT still! Have you no dignity! It’s your brains, don’t co-opt that.

Art World Cliques – Yes, yes, yes, you are all ravageingly cool and attractive. Yes, we get that your squad rolls deep. Yes, we understand that you know the ones to know and those that others don’t even know they should know. Your Matrix like entering and exiting the building has been noted. Now. Why don’t we all just relax, make eye contact and remember that people are interesting and have a lot to offer and learn from.

Being “Triggered” –Please stop self-anointing yourself and victimizing oneself in order to circulate a masked form of trolling. If there is a conversation to be had, of course have it. If there are strong emotions stirred, of course air them. Creating a tone or dialogue that only preaches to the choir or is one-sided is not a conversation but just a version of the things that one should detest.

Bragging/Self Promotion Online – You are fabulous and somehow are at every party, opening, and time zone all at once. Your CV is a blistering docket of accolades. You work hard. You deserve your rewards but maybe just on occasion chill on the need for affirmation. It’s not a good look and it’s tiresome for those repeatedly exposed to it.

Bushwick – Always hated it. Still hate it.

Celebrities at Art Fairs – Who Cares???!!!! And if you do, you are in the wrong industry. And if you do and you have power in this industry, then F-you for making this into farce.

Contemporary Art Daily – I don’t think I have checked this site for months. It was a hot little thing but its function has faded (was there even a function?). There is nothing surprising, it is just creating a catalog that feels like a photography/installation shots lighting handbook.

Ceramics – I really don’t need to see anymore sloppy, wobbly, smiley-faced ceramics for at least six months.

Dating – Like, Jesus, h, oh my god. Dying alone. Also, dating in/around the NYC art world is possibly the most, dull, cringe thing ever.

Gagosian – It’s become so big that it’s become irrelevant.

Gluten Free – Fine you have something wrong with your guts or it makes you have gas or you are trying to skim off some pounds. Fine. But it is nearly killing me when I see things like seltzer, peanuts, bags of carrots say “Gluten Free” on them. If you don’t know what is gluten free, you are probably doing it wrong.

Group Shows – When reading off the list of artists in a group show and you can already imagine what that show will look like, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘Do we really need to do this.’ If you look at a list of artists for a group show and you think, ‘This might fail,’ then definitely do it.

Karaoke Art After Parties – If you’re going to sing – Love these. If you’re going to just look cool in the corner and sip vodka sodas – Go away.

LES Galleries – Some are good of course but the overall feeling when one pops into the hundreds of spaces in this area, it feels a bit sad and reflects poorly on the state of contemporary art, especially young artists. Everyone is so good at making the money that there is little edge left. But hey, that’s the goal right?

Social Media Jobs – Can we all collectively agree to stop trying to use social media in such fascicle ways? I’m not sure how to make it better but what’s happening surely is dull.

This Blog – Every time someone tells me they read my blog a little part of me dies inside.

V-Files – When something that could have been cool just became a glorified cultural accessory. (I am obviously not here to make friends).

The Whitney’s Current Shows – Seems like sucha downer compared to it’s opener. Here’s to hoping things get better the next time around.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Today I’m an ENFP

When one’s life becomes a series of shifting elements things can start to get weird. There is a form of levitation that occurs and you start to look at yourself from outside yourself. This is produced from the unknowing, the expectancy, and the ambiguity of what is to come and what that might mean. This is where I am at the moment and it is producing good things, like an energized appreciation for New York, art  and frankly just living, but it is also producing bad things, like me drunk calling/texting the bulk of my contacts at 3am (tragic). Anyways, that being said, in this, at times, muddy middle of waiting and anticipating for what may mold the near future for you, one can’t help but be, well bluntly, self absorbed.

The, ‘Who am I?’ ‘What am I doing?’ ‘What’s going on?’ plus other whiney and rhetoric pleas are like oxygen to anxieties fires. In order to distract, chill, or amuse oneself in this state, doing things like kvetching to mates, writing in a diary, tarot reading and muttering to oneself are fine ways to cope with this. Another to add to that list is doing a funny little thing called the Myers Briggs Test.

It was once used by companies to assess worker’s personalities and now it flourishes on online dating profiles and worn as badges for the socially marred. It was created by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in 1944 and it cues and incorporates Carl Jung’s theory that there are four principle psychological types that underlie human personalities; sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking. With this foundation they created a test and you can take a derivation of this online here, for free, and find out what you are in their scale of personality types (there are sixteen).

I just did this 64 question test and was resulted as being an ENFP. I have done this test before and have gotten other results so I am assuming that at this moment and time my life, mood and brain are veering towards this type. Knowing this doesn’t really change much of anything but sometimes it is fun to be distracted by yourself through yourself so that you can see how cliché, absurd and possibly true one can be.

Below is the write up as given on the test’s sites. I agree with some but also have a strange feeling that I am very good at falsifying and performing myself even to myself sometimes.

Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving

(ENFP stands for Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving and represents individual's preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung's and Briggs Myers' theories of personality type.)

Your Type Preferences: Extravert(12%) iNtuitive(12%) Feeling(25%) Perceiving(6%)

by Marina Margaret Heiss and Joe Butt

ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality.

ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.

ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, "They light up my life." But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.

For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.

In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.

ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.

ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.

One study has shown that ENFPs are significantly overrepresented in psychodrama. Most have a natural propensity for role-playing and acting.
ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends. This penchant may be why many are attracted to journalism. I kid one of my ENFP friends that if I want the sixth fleet to know something, I'll just tell him.

ENFPs are global learners. Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice ("three quarter notes or four ... what's the difference?") Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics.

Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, moreso even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.

One ENFP colleague, a social worker, had such tremendous interpersonal skills that she put her interviewers at ease during her own job interview. She had the ability to make strangers feel like old friends.

ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results. More than one ENFP has abruptly quit a job in such a moment.