[ Home | Comment | Next | Previous | Up ]

Re: More Frieze dirt

From: CAP
Date: 31 Oct 2010
Time: 05:21:31 -0600


The bitch between Frieze and Ben Lewis is kind of stale JJ. The thread is over two years old. I’m on the fence in that one. I don’t like Lewis and his obsession with prices and I don’t like Frieze and its bland designer view of art. Higgie is the head mistress we never wanted. Dan is the head boy. I’ve had my own run-ins with Fox on threads @ Artreview.com and extended exchanges from there, via emails. It’s to the death now. As an art magazine, it struggles for parity with Modern Painters, lags well behind American counterparts. But the thing with Storr warrants comment, mainly because of the lingering debate over ‘conflict of interest’ that supposedly obtains. See for example, blogger Tyler Green’s (and many others) concerted campaign against The Village Voice’s art critic in 08 - . http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-01-15/news/editor-s-statement-on-art-critic-christian-viveros-faun/ The gist of which was that Christian Viveros-Faune couldn’t be both an objective critic and an active organiser of a NY art fair at the same time. That would be a ‘conflict of interest’. So he quit VV. Then there’s Jeffery Deitch’s appointment to run L.A. MOCA, which was also seen as a ‘conflict of interest’, since he trades in precisely the kind of art L.A. MOCA acquires. But on the other hand, it also equips him – as it did CVF – with expertise in the pertinent area, unobtainable otherwise. They don’t run courses on this stuff – it’s too shifting, volatile and brittle - that’s why it’s cutting edge or avant garde or progressive, etc. They don’t know what it is, yet. How highly we should value it is of course another matter. But the thing is, you don’t get that close to the action without making friends and enemies. What’s that old saying…? Something to the effect that you can’t chase dogs without expecting to pick up a few fleas? The point being, that ‘objectivity’ or an absence of declared interest pretty much rules itself out as a useful benchmark in these cases since the disinterested critic is just that– not interested or interesting. And the point holds more generally for expertise – the expert will tend to be acquainted with others in a field, professionally, socially, and share many fundamental preferences, ideals and references, inevitably self-serving as career advancement. It’s called conformism. A look around at any authority in the art world then quickly reveals any number of ‘conflicts of interest’ – personal friendships, tacit loyalties, old school ties – that bear upon crucial judgements in the public domain. There is big money and power at stake. People’s lives are toyed with. And it all hangs on some very opaque decisions. It goes with the territory and it gets VERY political. So the real questions - where Storr’s vigorous endorsement of his protégé is concerned – are; why should we have expected it to be otherwise? And who would bother to level the accusation of implicit nepotism? Yes, Storr promotes his own team, but don’t we all? It’s a show to his tastes and he likes it – DUH! I find it more interesting to look at who points the finger so theatrically and to contemplate motives.