Friday, May 07, 2010

One more time. The images and links are from and to today's edition of The Paper of Record.
"Rationalism now dominates the academy, the arts and humanities, in various forms of baroque specialization, with the result that academic intellectual life has become ghettoized, unable to model the world outside itself. The most well known example of this is standard economics which is called by many something close to formal science while the policies based on it have been ruinous. That term applies as well to other fields now so founded in assumption and the study of others as externalities -and as therefore somehow unlike the authors:”us”- that self-reflection is unheard of. But all the same that’s all there is, since intellectual activity has been reduced to feedback loop. The academy has become dominated by ideas, by philosophy and theory, a culture of reinforcing illustration and content provision.
The contemporary art market, the institutional Avant-Garde, has become ghettoized in a similar way, locked into its own snobbery, built on rationalization and hot air, but without the heavy intellectual baggage. Contemporary art is unable to model the complexity of the world, and yet it continues as a bubble economy. Its way out, its escape from the pressures of high seriousness if not high finance, is in fading more and more into high style, [the article at the link is by the lead art critic of the Times] since static forms can not compete with the dynamic forms of narrative that now dominate the wider visual culture, and the culture at large. And they dominate not because of media conglomerates’ conspiracy but because. Hollywood and MTV or activists giving video cameras to peasants in rural India to document their own lives all do a better job at fulfilling the basic function of art as representation and self-representation than discreet objects on the wall. Hollywood film and culture have always been more democratic than the New York School, which was founded as modern but is to this day also a remnant of the old regime. And the art world may now accept photography but has never come to terms with film as its intellectual rival, we should be clear: as a result of it being also a rival political and economic model."

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