New York Times To Chelsea: You've Dropped Dead
The New York Times has summed up all of 2007's visual arts activity in three scant articles. At the back of the paper. Each one of them more of an indictment than a summation.
Holland Cotter played the straight man and attempted a legitimate trip down memory lane, but could only attack such an exercise after deploying a disclaimer, making the gist of his article go something like this:
Art is merely businessy slick marketing. These were the few things that escaped this glossy existential vacuum. Some of them were kind of dumb. But at least I remembered them.
Roberta Smith opted for more of a two-bird salute. Instead of traipsing through the year that was, she wrote a stiff memo condemning us all for sanitizing and professionalizing a business that is best left to dirty unprofessionals who don't quite know what they are doing. She did this by focusing on three words we all use when we talk about art, and yes. This is an effective strategy for dispatching lots of serious problems in a thousand words. Words like reference or imbricate do point directly at (more than) a year of gobbledygook posturing as actual intellectualism. The word practice is an efficient vehicle for unpacking the problem of the MFA; the professionalism it creates; and how that professionalism devastates the artist's ability to make no sense and solve no problem.
Carol Vogel's little back-page ditty on, basically, stuntsmanship as lame visual art, rounded out this trifecta nicely. Consider the gauntlet thrown! Finally, instead of just not covering arts very much, the paper of record has very clearly explained why visual arts receives so little coverage. From the sound of three of its arts journalists, it sounds like there is little happening that is legitimately "fit to print."
There is nowhere to go but up!