Apr 8, 2013


It's long.

That perpetual and sub-haptic feeling of having been sure the writer was juiced.
-a highly compressed version of a preface written.
it’s a preface.

You  hear it all the time, ever present, broadcast on NPR every so often, people talking about how great the art scene in the TC is.
The  exclamation of “rich” or “vibrant”  seems the equivalent of the soviet union saying that the communism is really just going stellar because the peasants have finally stopped dying.  from lack of bread. You’re celebrating that one exists. The peasantry they subsist, the art scene it exists.

In every medium sized city across this country, there are industrious creatives, people just like you, just like me, working diligently and thinking how everything is just fine save for, or, if only, x. 

Each city has those offering up the definitive critique of the Art scene, doing so from a standpoint of being in-the-know to what others obviously lack, and “ruffling feathers,” before serving totally benign and polite arguments for their reasoning why they feel that maybe everything isn’t going so swimmingly.  Wanting to believe that the TC is a fount, or at minimum viable, for art, they assure artists that they, of course, are totally awesome, and then list the stock reasons it’s everyone but the artists faults. This is a trope, and a frustrating one.

Let's be honest. Minneapolis, the TC, whatever, is a terrible place for art.  It's a fantastic place to live, but a terrible place for art.  Let's stop kidding ourselves about that. Most artists here aren’t worth the salt contained in their very low level of sweat. (Except us obviously.)

We’ve got the Walker, And while many lament the Walker’s closed door fortress-of-solitude stance to the local scene,2 it’s pretty much the only holdout against the slow sad descent into provincialism’s true purgatory.

If we didn’t have the Walker, how would we know what culture was?
But it’s not so much the provincialism of the Twin Cs, Cologne seems to be doing fine.  Wopozi is not Texte Zur Kunst, and no one will come looking for the first issue, the way people come looking for the essay Merlin Carpenter wrote about being a studio assistant for Kippenberger and Oehlen in TZK’s first. 3 This, my, writing will never be cited, never preserved.  It will be lost to whatever things are lost to that aren’t history, just lost. 4 So the stakes in a provincial art scene are pretty low, or pretty high depending on how your looking at it, which probably means that stakes in Minneapolis simply don’t exist.  Things occupy time for a while, like pleasant dinners, occupy our time and then go away forever.  There’s not stakes in dinner, besides that momentary pleasure. 

You can go and find Artpolice at the MCAD library. Without any appointment you can sort through it.  Which seems sad, its lack of privation.  That they let me touch it with my grubby hands.  Anyone can.  and Not many people do I guess. Which I guess explains the Walker’s decision to not have a catalog for the show. 

Art history is made to seem all inclusive, like it’s omniscient, but it’s not.  It caters to very select brokers, and is brokered by those in power and those trying to gain power, who can only work within that system that grants them power to do so, conforming to that system whose rules are pre-established, and thus can only reproduce the system, can’t really change it or work too far outside it, the system that grants them the power. Their access is their power and legitimation, because they are standing inside, and one cannot stand too long outside without being outside. The Walker can’t extend its power without also losing some amount of it. Power extended must be cantilevered.  Not only would hoisting a local do nothing for the local, because power is only held relationally, it would hurt the Walker’s cred. I was in Seattle and their art museum, SAM, was holding a show of probably much under-appreciated aboriginal art, and but who is talking about the Seattle art museum?  It sure ain’t one the “big five.”5

You have to work within it, this system, and at least two tall people are needed to hold a string above ground. This is why CAD took off so abruptly, it reified/visualized this network that lay between and not actually on the lines of a CV and used it to great selective effect. It knew what mattered by seeing who could make things matter. That art, really, isn’t all that free. You’re free, and also free from any power over that true means of production (the consecration of it as art).  The only ones able to make amends to the system, or really exert outside influence over it, are those whose power is garnered and held outside the system, the same people who make Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter into the sad eyes they’ve been bought to become, with money, which can be used to create history. This is the real fear of the Dietch-LACMA scandal over there in L.A., that Dietch was willing to receive his power, have his institution’s power granted through populist and commercial means, and that totally rocked the foundations of those whose power was held through the traditional art world strata.  
And like other provincial art cities, the appetites here tend towards fancy fine dinners and gustatory pleasures - dinners less the focus of business indoctrination and selectivity, acceptance, welcoming you to the fold (i.e. a NY dinner,) rather dinner here is a meal of appreciation of this (that) very moment, fleeting but savored and appreciated (moral).
Art is reviewed in the provinces the same as food: without history. And everyone is speaking as they speak of steak: forgetting the last 30,000 years of steak, the same no one is bringing up any history of art, local or otherwise. We live in an eternal present. And but with more to lose for the restaurants, whose livelihood is at stake. Artists, truly, here, have nothing to lose but their time.  Provincial culture, memoryless and ever present, passing, like the entirety of dinners ever consumed through all of civilization.

Here, No one can have anything invested, because there is nothing to possibly invest. What would there be to invest, as there are no returns.  There is no ascension, no accrual of capital, economic or symbolic.  And thus there is no reason for the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone, nor serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk.
There is nothing to be gained and so nothing can be invested, economic means is spent.   No symbolic capital can accrue, there is no power,6 which exists as a transferrable "gold standard" of these multiple forms of capital. I think. There is no economic capital to back power, to invest in visibility for symbolic returns.
 Ours is not capital, a relation, we only have grant money to be burned, we gain nothing on our "investment”.  There is no value in our equation because there is no standard (economic, symbolic, power or otherwise) with which to judge it, everything becomes relative and cloistered, subject to a beholder, subjective, taste, like steaks.  Economy has broken, We have realized our cultural post-capitalist Dreams!

In this way provincial art scenes seem almost gardens of eden compared compared to the hustle of frogs-whose-legs-will-surely-soon-churn-butter of real art scenes of NY, London, et al. There’s nothing cutthoat about the TC art scene. At all. Our Provincial art scenes have adapted to a lush world, like the Eloi we’ve already become, living and provided for by the highest number of grants per artistic capita. 

@petersendavid  It's 12:40pm, I'm still laying in bed in sweatpants in my parent's home, where I live, contemplating Marx's Capital, in relation to Bourdieu's field, in terms of a provincial art scene.  
Where did i go wrong?

How often here are artists called upon here to support the thing which is supposed to be supporting them. 

The general signs of Artworld7 success are arbitrary/null here. The criteria, or categories of success, simply don’t exist.  It’s like living in a cave pond where no cyanobacteria lives, and but so the water is crystalline clear, and any light that comes by illuminates all the very sparse life almost blindingly clear, in our amniotic fluid, and everyone says hello and good show, and the light eclipses, and everyone returns home, waiting, once again, for the next spot of sun. After a while people start to get up and get out of the pond.

er, I

She’s not babeadocious, but more a beauty that hangs about her, floats, like warm lights float gingerly about a christmas tree, never touching down, the smell of cinnamon, with tats and a bitch of a haircut.

I'm totally a little woozy writing this after Bruce's Midway talk because Bruce knows how wrong I’ve got it, his talk and all this writing you’ve aforeread.  and i'm writing this between the talk and the deadline.  like 1 weekend. I'm scared of being misunderstood. Bruce's talk was great.  And,  at certain point, towards the middle end, of the talk, when it was dawning that Bruce could do no wrong, (and which bruce couldn't, do wrong), you could just begin making out the low burbling of cheering, as if the energy was building to a head, or as if the laughter was in some way cheering, people somehow signaling their laughter to express woots and cheers and right ons(!), and it felt like people were not so much rallying behind bruce in support for him, but as if somehow people's woots and cheers and wububbaloos were more an expression of "you preach it," as were expressing not so much sympathy-for but as if morphed to say, to announce, that Bruce was too speaking for them.  i.e. Saying “bruce is ours and he speaks as our representative,” like a congressman or elector, rather than being allowed to speak for himself.  And I know it seems weird for someone to not welcome being the voice of their generation, which seems but,
but The thing that most people didn't realize is that Bruce really was making fun of us. In the best, most critical, and most important way. He was calling us out as a bunch of phonies, us, cheering and hooting and hollering. as phonies. us.
Bruce is a prophet, and like all prophets he is there to point out how beyond imbecellic we've all been acting.  because just because you agree with him doesn't make you somehow free from sin. Bruce is a fucking god and all of us are the plebs, his mythic existence as if there for our own parables.
And because I'd like to point out that Bruce's position doesn't really seem to be up for anyone to grab and to hoist.   His antagonism isn't the rallying cry of us oppressed minneapolitans that we seemed so ready to turn it into, but rather one of nuance and his own. I'd wish for the thing be played over again, to find some quotational support for my argument, but what the Tappy Man was saying, and this is where the nuance comes in, was that it is not a rallying cry.  That this was his own personal position, and not one to let be hung over his head, like a banner or cloud, that it shouldn’t be hung over you head, and that in his own personal opinion, it wasn’t even something to get worked up about, it was simply a force, and you could do what you want with that. Bruce's position couldn't even be called cynical because he refused that cynicism to affect him in anyway.8
Bruce’s posture towards this “cynicism,” that everyone found so attractive, isn’t held above head, but rather held at a distance, the way horror movies and gore exist as a way of holding death, as an idea, at the distance of the screen and so to be able to say, "It won't be that bad"9 and feeling this, the fear (of death), held at the distance of that on-screen death, and to turn it over in your hands to feel its limits and say “it’s not so bad.”  
It's like how everyone says that running for exercise feels so good, the oft proffered endorphins and runner's high.  but running, really, is about forcing your body through some serious grievous pain, to have control over one’s bodily hurt, to be able, after a long day of psyche-draining horrible work at some job which God herself has never even once graced an eye upon, to say “NO, it’s not as bad as what I make my own body endure of my own volition, the asstastic-inducing assault I put onto my own body, running.” but People lie, saying how great it feels, so they don’t look like psychopaths, or masochists. It’s a way of owning the pain of Capitalism, the same as smoking owning one’s death.  And Bruce up at the lectern, telling it like it really is, is saying, "Man, running, it hurts,-" and before he can finish everyone in the audience, looking all around at each other,  and it’s dawning the freshest of suns and the crowd blurts, "Yah running does hurt", "running hurts!" and "WTF!?," and Bruce, still speaking, is forming the f in "baref-" and but gets cut off as it reaches midday and that brightest of bulbs hangs over everyone’s heads making them delirious and drunk, bruce’s talk, and the crowd blurts, "we need better shoes!" and "thick, thick soles!" and "oxygen tanks! for our breathing!" and bruce is like trying to mention something about "working through th-" but everyone is already spraying expanding foam onto their soles and slapping high fives and proclaiming “more funding!,” “more support!,” “we’ll open our own gallery!” 

“You fucks, this is easy,” is the only thing I can remember Bruce saying.

2.  let’s be honest that Gaard show was a token, it was all but what the Walker could do to ignore it.  This is important to recognize.  Acknowledgment through euphemism.  
3.which he (MC)  doesn’t allow to be republished. Reprinting this essay in its entirety, of which I had taken directly from the very first issue itself, taken from the library of [censored for sudden fear of legal repercussion]'s library’s special collections and for which I had to make a special appointment (and sign several documents) and which they would not let me scan for fear of ruining the spine, and I had to take photographs, so I have photographs of the essay which Carpenter no longer allows to be reprinted, but which is used as a source in nearly every Kippenberger monograph, particularly heavy in the most recent textbook sized one produced by Moma, reprinting this essay in its entirety (or photographs of) would have been what I would have submitted to Wopozi if I had gone that route.
4.  It’s not that I’m worried about my personal lack of legacy,  it’s just history is the/a condition of memory, and memory a condition of progress, or at least basic thought, which is of arguable existence, here, history.  Obviously history is not progress, but I’m not sure you can have progress without history. and Obviously: whose progress? what is progress? but i’m not going to get into that here.  The more important question, that I am not stating directly above is, “what makes history?”
5. The
“big five” being  Hirschorn, Moma, Guggenheim, SFMoma(!?), and ours truly.  However a google search for “big five modern art museums,” turns up only references to  the Walker,  Minneapolis tourist sites, and the Walker’s website,  and the wikipedia citation links to an article written by Mary Abbe, whose source is a member of the walker board of directors and whose use of it in the context of Olga Viso’s salary is hard to glean if he’s using the big  five to mean “the  big  5 salaries” or using the  walker’s “big five” status as justification for Viso’s 350,000 to 400,000 dollar/year salary.  Quote: “"This is the going [salary] rate for the big five contemporary-art museums..."  
6.  Let’s say (Art world) power is a generated ability to show artist leverage, by investing in an artistic career, bring them up in the "ranks" of artistic strata showing at venues with higher amounts of visibility power. It is the ability to turn economic capital into symbolic capital, spinning gold out of straw, etc..  This generates Art History, precipitated by the contemporary Artworld’s stuggle for visibility. This exists between the network nodes of relational power positions.  Two nodes hold a strata "up."  One player cannot hold  a position up, they can only hold onto it until others agree and also invest their capital into it and also hold it.  They hold it by adding it to their roster of artists, or volleying it to see if anyone else is willing to play, if no one else serves it, it falls back to its original position, albeit with some invested capital.  One cannot say no to this process, not even a majority of votes is needed, at a certain critical mass is sediments as unrescindable history.

7.  again I  am referring to the capital A Art world which generally writes the history of art, which tends to be its own.
8. Or perhaps cynical in the way of the original greek meaning, but maybe not, and this is where nuance comes in:  It’s like hard to define when you actually start to think about it, supple. but Whatever it is, it’s definitely not chantable, involving like paragraphs in length, the explanation,  obviously.
9.  "That bad" referring to a death by like  dull machete charged through your spine and crunching and screaming and red fluids sprayed while the machete wiggles and you gurgle blood.  It won't be that bad see, death. generally. but really this has little to do with the above, generally.

part I