Worst Art Show of 2012

Well...I usually don't write about art I don't like. So that is the disclaimer I am going to start with....and now I am ready to present the contenders for Worst Art Show of 2012!

1. MoMA. Meta Monumental Garage Sale by Martha Rosler
Well, guys, just in case you didn't know: a garage sale is, apparently, art! Yes. I get the whole "anthropological artifact" angle. The questioning of community & commerce. The class issues inherent in the need to hawk one's own wares. The idea of skewing commodity/art object/trash/treasure/aura/curation...all that, whatever....but really? Rosler has been staging her garage sales for decades now and, frankly, I find her approach kind of offensive...take this quote from this interview (an interview which I couldn't bear to read all of): "...I saw many so-called garage sales—a phenomenon I was completely unaware of. I was struck by the strange nature of these events, their informal economic status and self-centeredness, but also the way they implicated the community in the narrative of the residents' lives." I'm sure everyone loved it when Rosler showed up at their garage sale and looked upon them as strange, unearthly events that she- the artist- could inevitably use as a medium, taking a pure American ethos and putting it on view as her own personal "art." Bullshit! I may also be a bit sensitive here since I know that Rosler is a difficult artist, going through a quick clip of assistants each with their own horror story to boot, making any realness or genuine-ness in this piece strike me as even more ego-driven and false...And, speaking of realness...MoMA: $25 ticket price to go to a garage sale...?

2. New York City Gallery. Hot Potato by Ben Gocker.
The first time I saw work by Ben Gocker it was in the Miami art fair hub bub and I remember thinking "O...cute...I guess?" The second time I though "Yeah..." The third "Ug, really?" and then I started to read the "press release" to this show and I wanted to vomit. Immediately.  Multidisciplinary artists- mostly those with degrees in nonart- often brilliantly fool the art world...with a background in library science everyone assumes that, since he has (probably?) read books there is meaning behind Gocker's objects. But, after hearing the artist at a group show which he was a part of, joke about his own meaningless-ness, chuckling away at the absurdity of the awful sculpture of crap he presented. This work is cutesy pseudo intellectual garbage at it's best and, well, it is a thing we need to shut down people! I don't want to see the pastel machinations of a cloying white man-boy anymore...! Especially when the government is making robots with the ability to think about murdering on their own!

3. MoMA PS1. Just Knocked Out by Laura Faveretto.
"A sense of resignation to the forces of decay and obsolescence runs throughout her work—most visibly in her minimal cubes made of confetti, which decompose during the period of their display." Well....so...basically the confetti block is like the trash left after a parade but without the candy, moving floats, or marching bands...? I saw this exhibit. It was terrible. At one point I saw a man turn to his partner and say "You MUST see the next piece. It is ah-MAZE-ing!" Do you know what it was? It was the scrubbers from a car wash spinning around. Yup. That was it. And, even though they photograph well, there was nothing interesting about them whatsoever....If it was her own obsolescence and resignation (see laziness) that the artist was grappling with in this exhibit then job well done! Decay, change, monument & form (and the biggest cop out of the current contemporary sculpture landscape "play") all lurked around as potential themes/meaning but in the end all attempts just left me without feeling, engagement, or wonder...which, again, I think might be the point but was so un-fulfilling that I left this exhibition with a sense of dread, so un-stimulating in every way...it felt like the negative space my brain enters when I have spent too long in Ikea. And there weren't even Swedish meatballs to make up for it....! Un-nourishing on all counts!

Ok...so these are the most offensive art shows of 2012! And I am not saying that these artists are the worst artists by any means! Rosler's war-centric collages are beautiful, haunting, pop-y, vital wonders! Faveretto is also responsible for large kinetic social sculptures that (potentially) sound incredible- weaving a rope out of her own hair, hanging it in a gallery and allowing the viewer to move it around as it whips into an interactive creative frenzy! And Gocker...well, um...I guess I kind of like the way he makes those sculptures look like drawings...maybe-cough-Dubuffet-did-it-best-why-bother-o-it's supposed to be a comment on that probably-so-lame-art-about-art is so bad-cough? Either way, these shows are some kind of blaring warning signal to me that art institutions/galleries need to step up the game! Think of it this way: if a poor American family decided to go see some art, to gain cultural appreciation from the minds-and hands- of our current creative thinkers are these the things they would want to see? Are these ideas progressive? Inspiring? Interesting? Will this art stop wars? Spur children into action? I kind of don't think so...or maybe it will, what do I know?! But, I do know that I personally want to expect more from both the viewers and also those making the work on view. I want the elite-ism of art (even the garage sale has an inherent snobbery to it for goodness sake!) to cease. I want those profiting from it to give back more to their communities. And those funding it to hold the content accountable. For the insides of the book to be valued just as much as the way they look on a shelf. If the world does end at the end of 2012 (which it probably won't guys! Just an FYI!) I certainly do not want these shows to be the artifacts of our minds that are left behind...! So, 2013 anyone...?



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.