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Re: <eyebeam><blast> The Net and the Art Media

Matthew Slotover (3/12/98):
>If anyone wants to talk about art, I'm game.

Olu Oguibe (3/15/98):
>today when a new crop of independent curators seem to drive
>the art business, mercurial and loose, undermining the critic as the
>ethical precepts that governed curator-artist-critic relationships in
>the past collapse under their own inherent inconsistency and the
>triumph of free-agency...

Robert Atkins (3/16/98):
>It seems to me that power in the art world is balanced
>among curators, critics, dealers and collectors--never artists--and
>those power relationships are constantly shifting in accordance with
>the zeitgeist. In New York, the international art market
>capitol/capital, the mid-late 80s saw power shift almost entirely to 
>dealers and collectors ...

Two comments:

1) Art is indeed a polyssemic (?) word, meaning different things at the
same time. Certain moments it is necessary to juxtapose an adjective to
know what "art" we are talking about: "net" art, "computer" art, "high
tech" art, "modern" art, "contemporary" art, "american", "russian",
"french", "brazilian" etc. Other times, though, art becomes an adjective
itself, to qualify an "artistic" intervention, "artistic" action,
"artistic" science. Or even philosophy "as" art, medicine "as" art,
astronomy "as" art etc.

Which "art" can we talk about in this forum? The community of artists,
theorists, writers involved here certainly share some common references
through History of (Western) Art, which by now would need to be
re-written to include artists and movements from countries/cultures
outside USA-Europe axis (is this process already being carried on? Is
History, as a discoursive techology, being experienced differently
anywhere?). This can make the scene more complex.

2) "power to artists" I'd like to say, but that would sound naive. After
conceptual art we cannot understand contemporary art without the
mediation of "art circuit" or "system of art", with all the institutions
and the roles of dealers, curators, critics, etc and other instances
like magazines etc. The "values" of the work are no more produced
exclusively by the artist him/herself but added to the work in its
dislocation through art circuit. In this point it is very important to
remember foucaultian conception of "savoir-pouvoir", that shows how the
meaning of the artwork is constructed at the same time it's being
appropriated by institutions, following its particular path through the
politics of art. So "power" in the art market means developing and
selling certain interpretations and meanings attached to the artworks --
what makes artists to face the fact that their work is continuously
tranformed and they can choose to make works more or less permeable to
this continuos dislocation, that is they have the possibility of working
on and conceiving of the "membranes" (what kind of connection and
reception they are intended to) of artobjects.

Managing "savoir-pouvoir" also permits artists to deal better with the
potential their work may have at particular times and contexts as it is
a technological tool that helps in bringing the "cultural values" closer
to artist's projects -- and, consequently, closer to reception, making a
shortcut through art circuit.

"power to artists" I'd like to say.

Ricardo Basbaum
Rio de Janeiro

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