Contemporary Culture from the Bottom Up

Cultural Kaleidoscope: What is Art? And More

Gothamist reports on a cool new restaurant that just opened on the L.E.S:

Preserve 24, a new dining destination on the Lower East Side, wants you to know that it’s not just another restaurant. The sprawling space, which takes over three 111-year old tenement buildings, is also a multidisciplinary art installation, a social club, and a sitting room. All this is to say that artist Brian Goggin’s design isn’t just background noise in the newest locavore restaurant to hit the dining scene; in many cases, it’s the star of the show.

 NY Magazine reports on the 6 anxieties of social media & it’s pretty funny:

Because each social media network rewards different elements of human behavior, each gives rise to a different inferiority complex. Let us explore the unique forms of oppression we willingly subject ourselves to when we join and engage the following social networks. Some of the fears are wholly new. Others have IRL precedents from decades — even centuries — past.

Art business gives tips for artists trying to promote themselves on their websites:

One of the greatest advantages of the Internet, and one that artists consistently overlook, is that complete strangers can land on your website or discover you and your art entirely by chance or accident. We’re not only talking about art people here, but about anyone! The truth is that the more people who are able to land on your website and see your art– no matter who they are or how they get there– the greater your chances of ultimately advancing in your career, receiving invitations to participate in shows, getting gallery representation, making sales, getting commissions, being featured on blogs or art websites, and more.

The Daily Muse offers advice for those who want to become entrepreneurs right out of college, but most of the advice is generalizable to others as well: 

So, take it from these brave Gen Y-ers: If you’re passionate about your business, have a support network, and are ready to work hard, there’s nothing stopping you from launching your own company right out of college. In fact, right now might be the perfect time. “It’s going to be much harder to start a business when you are already committed to a secure ‘real’ job and have a family to provide for,” says Kelsey. “Now is the time to do it!”

The Flaneur discusses the interesting sound installations at Frieze this past week

Haroon Mirza has been investigating the generative power of sound and noise in a series of architectural installations and kinetic sculptures that play with our perceptions of space. For Frieze Sounds, Mirza will work closely with the fair environment and the sounds generated by the visitors of the fair. Microphones installed inside the fair’s tent will absorb background noises and the sounds of people moving through the booths, bringing the listener to focus on that universe of unheard voices that pervade public spaces.

Hyperallergic discusses the death of context in the ever proliferating art fair world:

With the permanent invasion of art fairs into the art world economy like a plague, most galleries, no matter how cutting-edge or avant-garde, seem to believe (whether from actual or perceived necessity) that they must participate in all of the increasingly frequent art fair seasons. This endless stream of fairs forces smaller galleries that show conceptual, abstract, or experimental work into a setting devoid of context, stripping the art of its desired impact or importance. While I’m certainly not the first to point this out, nowhere was it more noticeable recently than at NADA New York.

The Observatory looks at the contemporary anxiety of the intersection of commerce and curation:

In the mid-20th century this particular anxiety did not exist. Curators were happy to point out where, and for how much, you could buy the items in their galleries. The hope was to change public taste, and to reward manufacturers doing it right. What was the impetus behind such shows? Who paid for them, and who went to them? And when did the idea of putting a price tag on a museum label become anathema? In each case, alliances between cultural institutions, manufacturers and sellers of objects were made transparently, with the common goal of facilitating access to the products that met the curators standards.

The Queens Muse has an interesting series currently running about why we can call certain acts art:

My initial impulse was to try to convince Kim that Immigrant Movement International is art. After all, I have spent many years working on projects like that, and I have just published a book on the topic!  I talked about some aesthetic dimensions of the place – not physical characteristics, rather the improvisational and orchestrated patterns of interaction.  But a lot of what goes on there is not so different from a community center in an immigrant community – citizenship classes, English language classes, workplace-safety seminars for construction workers, and so on.  Despite my best efforts, Kim kept pressing – aren’t these activities (to which I am ascribing aesthetic qualities) ones we could also naturally experience in a community center down the street?  Why does one place get to be called art while the other is not?   It was at this point that I decided I needed to step back and reconsider.  What would Immigrant Movement International be if it were not art? How would that change things?  At the time I was talking a lot to Tania Bruguera about Arte Útil, and we were preparing for the Lab at the museum.  The idea of the project is that art can indeed be useful, that it can serve as a social tool without losing its status as art.  So, a collection of Arte Útil projects would be an excellent moment to contemplate what is art and what is not.

Happy Friday!


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Written by Nicole Casamento

Nicole Casamento is the founder of Culture Grinder.


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