Monday, September 24, 2007

...more. (sorry)

Roberta Smith - well, I had said Roberta's lame article criticizing Mass Moca was "disappointingly redundant", adding zero insight + zero new information, but I hadn't realized exactly how redundant. Did you see the correction printed by the NYTimes? Greg Roach says on his blog -

Cherry picking quotes from old articles and using them out of context is much harder to get away with in the modern age of the internets.

The 9/16 NYTimes (on-line) article was further misleading in including the old slideshow, undated but from an earlier (5/22) feature, with the new article. The third image of the slideshow includes in it's caption "the show will open on Saturday, without Mr. Büchel’s permission or cooperation." Anybody new to this, reading the 9/16 article and clicking through that slideshow, would be misinformed, with any negative impression from the article incorrectly reinforced.

Robert Storr's irrelevance - I'm sorry, Robert Storr. Your affidavit was useless.

Roberta Smith and Robert Storr were two of the three "artworlders", along with Ken Johnson, quoted by Mark Elliott to prove that "the artworld is up in arms". Mark, please take note - three people who live in New York City, none of them artists, two of whom work for the same newspaper, is NOT a representative slice of the artworld.

Yes, there are many artists sympathetic to Buchel, including very good artist Amy Wilson. Earlier I linked to Amy's drawing/paintings made after her visit to Mass Moca, and she has since posted a blog entry expressing her outrage at the decision and hoping for Jenny Holzer to cancel her upcoming show. I mention this because I like the defense made in the comments, and the conversation that follows.

Brent Burket has snapped. Brent works at Creative Time, as does Nato Thompson, the curator of the Buchel show (Nato Thompson left Mass Moca for Creative Time early in 2007). Brent's venom has me wondering how much he is hanging out with Nato, what Nato might be saying, and under what terms Nato left Mass Moca.

UPDATE - Brent volunteers at Creative Time, doesn't work for them, and has little contact with Nato. It is true that he's snapped.

(Weirdly, Nato's current Mike Nelson show for Creative Time sounds like it could be a Christoph Buchel show. Look at these... Mike Nelson 1996, Mike Nelson 2000).

I wonder what Buchel's disclaimer language will say, assuming he adds anything? Maybe Buchel could auction off something, kind of like he did with his Manifesta slot. Like, the disclaimer could say "This is an installation by ____", and he could auction off the space for a name. Maybe Maurizio Cattelan would bid on it, or he could trade a stuffed squirrel for it.

If I had Joe Thompson's ear I would suggest that the best course of action at this point would be to NOT remove the tarps, and to dispose of the materials. There are a lot of smart artists right now that are angry at the museum, in a knee-jerk way, and it would be unwise to further exacerbate any tensions, regardless of principle.

Buchel had abandoned the installation and it was five months past the opening date. The museum had no option but to go to court. Does anybody think that if they had simply called it a loss back in May and removed the materials to a dump Buchel would not have sued? They could not open the gallery, they could not get rid of the stuff... they were at an impasse in which it appeared Buchel would be keeping the installation closed throughout the entire run. They had no option but to go to court and seek a resolution.

UPDATE 9/24: Buchel is appealing.


Heart As Arena said...

HaHa. Yes. Snapped. This one really bothered me. And I didn't think Roberta's article was lame. For me its power resided in the way it exactly echoed my own path to anger about the whole situation.

I do need to make a big clarification to what you've said though. I don't work at or for Creative Time. I do their blog on my own as a volunteer. I've met Nato a couple times socially and that's about it. I know nothing about why he left Mass MoCA or why he came to Creative Time. I certainly haven't talked with him about the Buchel situation. Partly because I have no idea if he was even involved and partly because it's none of my business.

And actually, I HAVEN'T snapped. I really do believe that fire would be an appropriate ritual. But to be clear about it, I don't mean the villagers showing up with torches. I think that Mass MoCA should do it themselves. That way we'll know that they mean it.

JL said...

Does anybody think that if they had simply called it a loss back in May and removed the materials to a dump Buchel would not have sued

He might have, but he would have had even less chance of succeeding legally than he did trying to stop them from displaying it. Donn Zaretsky is quoted in comments over at Ed Winkleman's site as saying that it's been their position for months that the museum should dispose of the work. I don't think it was always so, but if back in the beginning of the year Mass MoCA had told the artist, "You are refusing to finish the installation, so we've cancelled the exhibition. Either come claim the objects or we're throwing them out," I don't think he would have had much of a leg to stand on.

martin said...

yeah... if. and maybe.

that zaretsky quote also makes it sound like they didn't do the "begging" to remove the stuff until AFTER the whole legal thing had started.

what happens now? can the museum just chuck the stuff? or does the appeal mean no, it has to stay there until the whole thing has run it's legal course?

what happens at the date that the exhibition was originally scheduled to end? i think it is mid-october.

JL said...

It's very possible they only began asking to have the exhibition disposed of once the legal papers got filed, I don't know. I'm not sure it matters--the museum could have taken the path I suggested even while Büchel was being more truculent and I think they would have had an excellent chance of success. After all, he's not even able to stop them from exhibiting it over his objections, there's no way he could get a judge to agree that Mass MoCA should have to keep the installation set up indefinitely even though he refuses to lay claim to it. And since the time he apparently asked the museum (and with the court's knowledge--it's in their brief) to destroy it, there's presumably not been any risk in their doing so. They'd have to pay for it, but they've always been on the hook for paying for it--that's not a change.