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...for one, when people say ironic, they often mean that something is being used rhetorically--like the presence of the expressive brushstroke in the show---rather than its simplest terms, the opposite of literal---though that statement is itself ironic...Irony has also been too easily cornered into insipid, unremitting cynicism, a willful displacing of affect in return for absolute neutrality---afforded by class---and arrogant negativity---afforded by over-education----breeding a kind of shared cultural code: I know, that you know, that I know..etc...What are missing are engaged forms of productive irony, like Flaubert or Bernhard, or Polke, or the function of irony in Johns...this irony directed at barbarism or at the vulgarities that really threaten to derail liberal values. We are perhaps a bit to comfortable with the fruits of negative liberty, just as we are with the demand that we disclose or express ourselves...
In the last decade, commercial spaces have arguably done more to support what can even loosely be called 'difficult' work than non-profit spaces...that dichotomy, qualitatively, probably doesn't even really exist anymore...that being said, the proper contextualization of work only takes place in non-profit spaces I think...but both of these notions belie a profound historical shift...you know, Kahnweiler, Picasso's dealer, tried to argue that museums should neither show nor collect contemporary art, that the market should sort it out and let history determine things...is it old-Left nostalgia to hold on to this romantic, pre-lapsarian notion of the alternative space?