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The Reeler has a report on the Digital Art and Video fair (DiVa) at Miami, penned by Paddy Johnson, who covered all the Miami events this year on her blog. She concludes that and large the ratio of good stuff to crap was much better than that of other fairs. Still, how good can a fair possibly be if nobody knows about it? I met some of the most fascinating artists I had seen in a long time, and I feel like I was one of maybe 20 people who noticed. The odds of something like this occurring during a time where there are 1,400 journalists in the city covering the art seem wholly unquantifiable. In the end, it may also serve well as the most compelling evidence that cinema and digital art are of little importance not only to fair organizers, but also to those who attend and report on them.
Among the reasons cited for the lack of traffic at this fair (which I had work in) were bad weather, remoteness from the main fair locales, and underpromotion via flyers, etc. But as Johnson suggests, the chief explanation is that "Miami" is about selling objects, not experiences. After a couple of decades in which conceptual art, performance art and video made inroads into the art marketing system, we are in a period of conservative retrenchment, greased by "Bush millionaire money" in the hands of undiscriminating collectors, where almost any bad thing flies off the wall as long as it has physical presence and the perception (usually wrong) that it can be easily unloaded later.

Ironically, or as if reflecting some perverse inverse ratio, this tulip mania for painting and sculpture is occurring just as a new art model--one that is neither performance, conceptual, or video, but was reflected in some measure in the DiVa fair--is on the rise: I refer to art made with home computers, as well as (or overlapping with) art being made on and about the Internet. That's where the intellectual juice is now, not the nth repetition of neo-expressionist painting.

- tom moody 12-15-2006 10:01 pm [link] [2 comments]