Trend Alert! Invisible History Art

by Art Fag City on April 22, 2009 · 12 comments Events

art fag city, Alfredo Jarr
Alfredo Jaar, Muxima, video still, 2005, detail  Galerie Lelong, New York

Anyone else tired of Extra Textual Art? By this I mean work in which the value of the object unduly increases with the weight of its material’s history. Cornelia Parker‘s hanging mud balls escavated from the Leaning Tower of Pisa serves as a good example, as do her drips of mud on a glass panes, supposedly taken from Freud’s garden.  I’m not a fan of art borrowing on the cultural cache of other workers.

Film also finds itself afflicted by the extra textual phenomenon, though the problems change slightly. In Alfredo Jaar’s Muxima, the artist creates a video so rife with obscure references, only viewers who have actually lived in Africa will get the full meaning.  Offering up one of the more crushing criticisms I’ve heard recently, an anonymous friend described the work as “an even more boring version of a PBS documentary on Africa.”

  • http://www.unutterable.org giovanni

    Well put! I’ve long been bothered by artwork that assumes that the weight of its subject matter is enough, without taking into consideration that it is what the artist does with that subject matter that is the true content of the artwork. But as you can see from that previous sentence, I haven’t been able to express it as clearly as you have.

  • http://www.unutterable.org giovanni

    Well put! I’ve long been bothered by artwork that assumes that the weight of its subject matter is enough, without taking into consideration that it is what the artist does with that subject matter that is the true content of the artwork. But as you can see from that previous sentence, I haven’t been able to express it as clearly as you have.

  • http://artheat.net Robert Sloon

    The irony is that people who actually live in Africa will never get to see the film. It smells of another artist selling Africa’s perceived exoticism to the highest bidder. And you can guess who loses in that transaction.

  • http://artheat.net Robert Sloon

    The irony is that people who actually live in Africa will never get to see the film. It smells of another artist selling Africa’s perceived exoticism to the highest bidder. And you can guess who loses in that transaction.

  • cody

    maybe it’s meant for africans.

  • cody

    maybe it’s meant for africans.

  • Steve

    good point, but so where (and how) do you place the contextually-specific works of someone like santiago sierra?

  • Steve

    good point, but so where (and how) do you place the contextually-specific works of someone like santiago sierra?

  • cody

    good point.

  • cody

    good point.

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  • Greg Mihalko

    Hmm, I would say historical trajectories always travel with objects. It’s art, when it’s framed outside of it’s banal trajectory as something to be aesthetically noticed. Duchamp, Warhol, Koons, and Hirst et al were/are ‘extra textualists’

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