This week the blogosphere is aghast over ArtInfo blogger Tyler Green‘s tourney style quest to find the best Post War Art Work. Five distinguished guests seed the competition with picks, and you decide who’s tops. Problem is out of 64 art works chosen only three are made by women.
This is shitty for a number of reasons most of which have already been discussed either over twitter or on blogs. c-monster lays out the detailed response on her blog saying,
Green has defended his decisions on Twitter, stating that he wasn't going to tell his invited curators which names to submit and that the list represents the “most-settled” artists in the 1945-60 canon. (Again, here.) To Green's first point: I'd argue that the story a writer tells is colored by the sources he or she chooses to consult. Perhaps a more diverse group of experts would have yielded a more diverse result. To the second, I'd say: if the time-frame here is “since World War II” as originally stated (instead of 1945-60 as later implied on Twitter), then the canon ain't even close to being settled.
The Post War and Contemporary Department at Christie’s defines the Post War art period as 1945-1970, and is the time frame most commonly attributed with the term. I’m not sure this matters greatly — clearly there was a lack of clarity about what constitutes Post War art amongst the seeders and that’s not going to be fixed after the fact — but Christie’s is an apt source, as all the artists named also perform well at auctions. The seeding suggests the market has a greater influence on how we perceive value than we likely recognize, but given the small sample group obviously this is a speculative comment.
Meanwhile, the defined dates would be especially bad news for the women in Green’s tournament had he specified them. Our three representatives — Marina Abramovic, Cindy Sherman and Maya Lin — each contributed works made post 1970, which knocks them off the list along with ten other dudes. The brings thePost War female representation down to zero. Sharon Butler and few other invites at Two Coats of Paint have come up with alternate lists.
My hope is that Green includes the criticism he’s received to the post, and that next year he does something different. Past the problematic results, the blog couldn’t be asking a less interesting question. The answers all lead to artists and art works we already know. For that reason, I asked AFC’s in house sports expert Will Brand to come up with a few games that might draw more interesting results. Here’s what what he suggested:
Collect, Review, Burn: Name three shows. Pick which one you would prefer to do each of those things to.
“This will provide a greater opportunity to launch explanations than brackets” he told me today. Guess what we launch next week?