Art & Development, Community

Points of reference: 15 Feb 2009, 1306 GMT

This video of artist Ryan Gander talking about his exhibition, “Heralded as the New Black” at IKON Gallery, Birmingham’s top-notch ICA.

Drawings by Donald Urquhart, an Edinburgh-based 2-D artist. His older works (online at Maureen Paley Gallery, London’s Bethnel Green) remind me of Candyass’ jokey text works (see them at Alexander Gray Associates, NYC) and Tony Garifalakis‘ heavy metal-influenced work. Drawings like “An Alphabet of Bad Luck, Doom and Horror” (2004) are charming, if a bit juvenile and 1990s. So it’s interesting to see Urquhart’s successive turn. Newer works look like Vija Celmins’ photorealist drawings conceptually paired with monochromes (see a photo and review on The List) Interesting!

Maria Fusco’s “Report: Contemporary Art Writing and it’s environs” on Map Magazine, based in Scotland.

Why didn’t [the] Brooks [Memorial Art Gallery] — and other museums that practiced racial segregation de jure — create two collections: one for whites and one for blacks? After all, segregation laws had doubled other public facilities: water fountains, schools, hospitals. This answer is more obvious. If there had been two collections — or two museums — the ‘white’ one could no longer make a claim to be universal. Art for ‘whites only’ would be particular, representing only white taste. Letting ‘negroes’ into the public museum one day a week was an unavoidable way to guarantee the universality of what was, in effect, purely white culture. It was not enough to marginalize African Americans; they were required as silent witnesses to their own exclusion by a supremacist culture masquerading as a universal one.

Jenifer Allen’s “Colour Theory: The history of racial segregation in American art galleries and contemporary identity politics.” Frieze Magazine. Issue 120. January-February 2009.

Allen does a great job of articulating the privilege of white racelessness. In art, white (often male) figures are sometimes used to convey universal emotions, truths or experiences. You see this a lot in combinatoric mass culture kitsch (as Johanna Drucker puts it). I’ve been guilty of this before. Which maybe explains why I no longer relate to art that employs stylized raceless (read white) figures to get at vague, larger truths or somehow hint at the subconscious.