Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Announcing The 2012 Indianapolis Biennial

At left, Maurizio Cattelan, et al, The Wrong Gallery, NYC

Catch your attention with the above title? Don't get excited, it's a joke. Amongst the bevy of comments from earlier posts (thank you very much Cuspers) came the suggestion that "iMOCA or someone in this town needs to organize a Biennial". To which I so eloquently wanted to make myself vomit. Being a person who usually trust's my own gut instincts but cannot necessarily put them into words, I privately held on to this fealing of nausea until the right words 'spilled' forth. Appropriately just a week later, Tim Griffin, aka big pimp at ArtForum, spoke with Chrissie Iles and Phillippe Vergne who are curating the forthcoming 2006 Whitney Biennial of American Art which ironically turns out to have very little to do with Americans or art.

I like Tim, I think he heads a top-notch albeit oft criticized publication, that continues to be the epitome of what so many artists and gallerists strive for. But in this case, one needs to not look beyond the two highilghted quotations to understand why the biennial itself is no longer relevant to the American contemporary art scene or our little community as well.

I will start initially with quote number two. The show comes of two impulses: the cabaret as critical arena, and the space created through the obfuscation of easily assimilable identities and definitions. True, I'm a somewhat educated idiot who's not quite sure what they are trying to say in the second part so I will just focus this on the first part: Why in the hell are we turning the cabaret into a critical arena? If we want to believe this, we need to believe that Cattelan may be the most influential artist's of our time. This is not a huge stretch for me as he is one of my favorite artists doing work in our time, but I'm not ready to translate that into justification of a cabaret revival. I do find it somewhat interesting and have even contemplated doing some sort of cabaret(?) show but I'm not quite ready to dedicate this country's largest showcase for young contemporary art to it.

Tim also asked some pointed questions about why there are some clearly non-Americans in a show that has traditionally been reserved for American artists. The curators basically answered by saying that there are no American artists. In this age of globalism with international art fairs and exhibitions, artists having studios on two continents, who could you truly call American? Well, I know a few. If the Whitney wants to compete with Venice (which it can't), then go for it and just say so. If they want to hold true to their original mission, then how about a trip to Indiana instead of Indonesia?

The second quote: We were very aware that there are some two hundred biennials today. A biennial dies every thirty seconds in the world speaks for itself. The last thing Indy needs is a biennial. We need an attitude. We need to showcase international work that doesn't give a shit (like Cattelan) and promote local artists internationally that convey these similar ideas.

I will go to the Whitney in March. I bet I even really like the show. I'm excited for it to happen. But let's call it what it is, and not think that bringing a similar show here would bring any attention to Indy or the great work being done here.

8 Responses to “Announcing The 2012 Indianapolis Biennial”

Anonymous said...
January 17, 2006 at 2:52 PM

"We need to showcase international work that doesn't give a shit (like Cattelan) and promote local artists internationally that convey these similar ideas."

Right... we need to do that. You don't do that at your museum. What's the percentage of artist shown at IMOCA from Indy against the others you show from other places? Ok I do not want the 2nd best venue in town to start showing only local artists, but I think there is an irony here. There are plenty of good artists here in town that I would like to see getting a grant from the museum and closing the doors for one year so they can produce a decent exhibit. Yeah, yeah, you will come up and say we'll have a show of Presnell or whatever the hell he's name is, coming up. Put out the calendar for the year and we'll see about the local artists that don't give a shit beein showcased here. Stop looking for a week at all these proposals you receive and make some studio visits.
Sounds angry? That's because I am.

Christopher said...
January 17, 2006 at 3:33 PM

ahhh, very interesting. The point of this post was to talk about why I think there are too many Biennials and why Indianapolis should not just jump on the bandwagon. But I hear what you are saying and appreciate the comments.

While I will not use this platform to personally promote any projects we are working on or defend any past projects we have done, I will let you know that in the first two weeks of 2006 I have made studio visits, discussed future projects, and brainstormed about public art projects with 5 different local artists and two film makers and will continue to do so.

And while I wish we could afford to give grants out to a lot of artists we unfortunately can not. I do know that the Arts Council gave a ton of $5000 grants to artists recently and the Efroymson Fund also gave $20,000 to five local artists a few months ago. I'm sure there are many more and I would encourage you to apply for everything you can.

gben said...
January 18, 2006 at 7:44 AM

I don't know if I understand why it is so important to see an artist from Indianapolis in the Museum if we have already been talking about the overexposure of artists here anyways. Don't get me wrong, I am sure any artist in town would jump at the opportunity to get a museum gig, but as an audience member I could see whatever in any of the galleries around.

Anonymous said...
January 18, 2006 at 9:46 AM

We don't need iMOCA showing more local artists, we need them, along with the IMA and Herron Gallery educating the public and exposing them to more than just Penrod and the Broad Ripple Art Fair.

gben said...
January 18, 2006 at 5:13 PM

I totally agree

Liriodendron said...
January 18, 2006 at 7:02 PM

I'm intrigued by the word educate. Exactly what do you mean? How would you educate the public? A "show it and give it lots of press" ( hopefully make them curious) and they will come process? How do you think you would get them to pay to come see different kinds of art?
Also, what exactly is it that you don't like about the art at Penrod and Broad Ripple Art Fair?
( I'm not trying to be confrontational...just trying to understand) Do you want the public to think of art as more than a commercial product they are asked to purchase? I'm just curious, interested....

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 20, 2006 at 4:17 AM

Maurizio Cattelan has been one of my favorite artists for a long time now... and I enjoy just seeing his name in an article that has to do with Indianapolis arts. I would love to see him do some sort of public artwork with other artist that "don't give a shit" in the city... around town like the Otterness exhibit.

When I was in Ghent quite a few years ago they had a great city wide exhibition called
Art over the Edges
that was put on by the cities contemporary museum SMAK.

If we could do a large project like this our city might recieve attention from the outside art world...

Also don't forget the Wim Delvoye sculpture behind Herron and his upcoming lecture at Herron March 17th. A great opportunity for us to hear from an artist who truly gives a shit!

remaining, Jeremy Tubbs

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 21, 2006 at 4:30 AM

Correction Delvoye will be at Herron March 7th.


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