60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC
FREE OF CHARGE; RESULTS NOT GUARANTEED POSITIVE
by Lori Waxman
I am a part-time art critic. In this capacity I have mastered the art of the short review, which form is at once a challenge, an insult, a record, and a piece of advertising. It pays very little, but it affords the writer the opportunity to think pointedly about a predetermined body of work, put those opinionated thoughts into carefully selected phrases, and have them dispersed throughout the art network. Does anyone bother to read them? Probably not, with the exception of the artist in question, their gallerist, family, and friends, and a handful of other readers. The purpose of the short review is debatable and arguably quite different for the various parties involved: the writer gets a tear sheet, $70 (if that), and some editorial gratification; the reader, in the best-case scenario, gets a succinct, opinionated description of a body of work they probably did not see in person; and the artist gets published recognition and an entry for their bibliography.
But think for a moment of the artist who has never been reviewed. Do you need a review to get a show? You need a show to get a review.
The 60 wrd/min art critic provides efficient, on-demand art reviews to artists who would otherwise go without. Installed in an easily reached public location (e.g., museum lobby, institutional project space, bookstore alcove, store window, gallery district sidewalk), the critic works set hours, at a desk furnished with a laptop computer and printer. Artists are invited to submit their work for review between the specified hours. Submissions should include adequate materials, such as reproductions of artwork, an artist statement, and a brief biography. Time-based art is nevertheless welcomed as a challenge. Reviews are ready for pickup at a given hour.
Reviews are free of charge, but are not guaranteed to contain positive responses to the work submitted. Critics, despite what some may think, are not cheerleaders or educators or advertisers; they are opinionated, thoughtful, informed commentators. Or so we try.
10/15/05 12:32 P.M.
FRANTISKA + TIM GILMAN: THE BOOK
Artist couple Frantiska + Tim Gilman reproduce banal reality in sculptural and painterly formats, via divergent means but to similar effect. While their oil-on-canvas paintings take a photorealist approach, darkly copying straight from our mediated, minimalist age, their sculptures make the point from the opposite direction, getting no closer to the real thing but more explicitly so: flat felt cutouts of chair and table shapes lie as inert as their materials insist they should. Meanwhile, the trompe l’oeil paintings hang overhead, offering a more convincing dose of the way the world looks, but only if you’re willing to ante up the suspension of disbelief demanded by such paintings.
10/15 12:51 P.M.
MARIE-CHRISTINE KATZ + DAVID ABIR: SPINNING MY WEB
New York–based artist Marie-Christine Katz mapped her movements for one year and wove them into this suspended metal wire web, macramé for the digital set. The floating net entangles bits of glass within its fibers, crystals meant to mark important points upon the year’s journey, though they remain entirely abstract to the viewer, who sees them but as colorless glints, allusions perhaps to a path more spiritual than physical, a desire to catch something far more elusive than a taxi cab. An accompanying sound piece made in collaboration with David Abir melds Katz’s voice with other noises, again evoking not an urban wandering but something more ethereal and immaterially searching.
We hope you enjoy this excerpt.To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.
This installment of the 60 wrd/min art critic featured Frank Olive as receptionist. The performance was part of PerFORMance over Function, an exhibition curated by Frantiska and Tim Gilman-Sevcik for the DUMBO Arts Festival, October 15 and 16, 2005, 12–6 p.m.