Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Public Forum

At last Saturday's Ambivalent Pleasures forum co-curator Daina Augaitis introduced the exhibition's three curatorial rings -- Surrealism, Abstraction and Conceptualism -- while co-curator Jesse McKee provided the caulking -- introducing the panelists, offering commentary and concluding with a passage from Walter Frisch (?) on "ambivalent" modernism.

What was learned? Well, I learned that people can attempt to proceed surrealistically (obliquely) without supplying a definition of Surrealism, when asked for one, and that because art history is fraught (patriarchal, bourgeois, Eurocentric), definitions are therefore moot and unfriendable. (The difference between growing up with punk as a social expression in the 1970s and seeing it "break" as a retail category in the 1990s.)

I learned also that abstraction is not necessarily a sanctuary for diffidents (abstraction has it that I can make nouns out of adjectives), but, in the hands of those who care enough to get it down as exposition, can result in thoughtful and generative essay presentations.

Finally, I learned that conceptualism can be refused by those who have been thrown into its ring, and of that ring, have it reorganized and renamed to reflect not an artistic style but a critical pedagogy.

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