Hello, faithful Filthy Dreams readers, and welcome back to Drag Them To Filth, our monthly wrap-up of the most exhausting, eye-roll worthy arts-related writing on the Internet. Do I hear a faint buzzing sound? Is that your gears grinding? Ours too. So grab a cocktail or five and let’s start hate-reading:
You don’t get to co-found a blog that’s “for minorities who don’t even fit into our own minorities” without realizing somewhere along the way that your sense of humor is not the same as everyone else’s. I came to terms with that long ago, Mary. However, reading Artnet News’ coverage of Rob Pruitt’s decidedly cringe-inducing Rob Pruitt’s Official Art World/Celebrity Look-Alikes, I realized just how different my sense of humor is. Now, granted, the art world isn’t known for being funny and most “funny” art is decidedly…well…not. But, this series, inspired by Pruitt’s douchey Instagram posts that compare art world figures to their celebrity look-alikes, has a way of propping up art world figures as if they matter. They don’t–remember, kids, only about a couple hundred people care about art. Anyway, while some of these comparisons look similar, others have a way of whitewashing artists of color. For example, Yayoi Kusama is suddenly white as Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element. Awkward.
Also many of the black artists and arts workers barely resemble their celebrity “doppelgängers,” which makes me wonder if Pruitt thinks all black people look the same. Do you think Mark Bradford looks like Ru Paul? Me neither. According to the article, the “hysterical” piece was bought by art advisor Lisa Schiff for a client with a plan “to display a selection of 20 of the diptychs in the collector’s dining room, offering plenty of fodder for conversation and chuckles over dinner.” Uh…I’m busy forever and sadly can’t make that oh-so-fun dinner.
2. Artspace Magazine, Pick a Shoe From Opening Ceremony and We’ll Tell You What Kind of Artist You Are
In yet another nod to art humor that isn’t, Artspace attempts to work Buzzfeed’s corner by creating a bizarre vacuous quiz about shoes at Opening Ceremony. Pick a shoe and you’ll get some generic description of an artist. This is no Art World Ken Doll list for sure. I don’t know if it’s the expense of these shoes or the somewhat snooty descriptions, but something about this quiz just seems a tad elitist. For example, if you chose Vans for Opening Ceremony’s BIG CAT OG SLIP-ON LX SNEAKER, you get to be, “Printmaker: You have a tattoo of a printing press somewhere on your body, you have a zine, you’ve ridden a tall bike, and you haven’t shown at any galleries that don’t also have baristas.”
Queer queer queer *click click click* In another example of queerness as clickbait, Artsy delves into the current exhibition FOUND: Queer Archaeology; Queer Abstraction at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Though the show sounds good, Zachary Small’s intro contains some truly bizarre generalizations about queer folks. It begins, “Queer artists are orphans of a different stripe.” Oh are they? Go on…“They have no conventional genealogy or lineage, no family history or record. Instead, queer people write their own history through dreams, desires, and longings; theirs is a history of things, an archaeology that affirms the existence of queerness in the artifacts of centuries past,” he writes. While I assume Zachary wanted to be poetic, this first paragraph is so general it’s insulting. Ahem…first, queer people have no family history or record?
While, yes, some queer people are alienated from their family, others are not. Were queer people just hatched like the egg in this week’s Twin Peaks Episode 8?
Sexism. Oh wait, that was a rhetorical article title? Ok, fine. As strange as the queer clickbait article was, it has nothing on this doozy from Anna Louie Sussman, who, as an aside, refers to herself on her website as “outstanding writer.” The problems with this absurd article start early on, just with the title. I know there’s nothing I’d like better as a woman artist to be referred to as an “old woman” in the title of an article about the resurgence of my career. I look forward to my day when I get to be referred to as an “old crone,” “old biddy” or just “sea hag.”
And fine, I know not all writers make their titles, so I’ll blame everyone involved here. Also, I hate to put a damper on this argument, but women still haven’t replaced young men as art world darlings. Being featured in a couple museum shows, art fair booths and all-women group exhibitions isn’t exactly going to make up for lost time, especially when the institutions refuse to admit their own culpability in these women’s decades long invisibility. And anyway, what do these women get when they finally garner the recognition they deserve? They get referred to, as Sussman writes about Carmen Herrera, “a ripe 102.” Girl, look, I respect the elderly but 102 is not anywhere near ripe. Also, gross.
5. New York Times, A Winning Design for a New York Monument to Gay and Transgender People
While this monument is so hideous that it should probably have its own Filthy Dreams rant, I want to avoid being that angry bitch who just rambles about how much she hates public memorials in New York City. So instead, I’m going to drag this winning design by Anthony Goicolea to filth. Proposed to be located on Hudson River Park, this new monument to the LGBT community again, similar to the horrible NYC AIDS Memorial, seems to strip away any possible queerness from the monument, leaving it with just some generic rocks and crystals. In fact, the rendering looks like something from a defunct Lucky Charms commercial. As the article notes, “the monument takes the form of nine boulders, some bisected with glass that acts as a prism and can emit a subtle rainbow.”
What do you find at the end of that generic ass rainbow? Freeze-dried marshmallows?