Sally McKay's comment about the blog's specialty--"elegant sculptural installations crafted well from non-precious materials with interesting but tidy content and an unquestioning relationship to art institutions," pretty much nails it. She says she loves/hates the site and that's what I've been saying but the unceasing tide of conceptual projects is starting to get painful. It's depressing because you see artists trying so hard, all over the world, to make their conceptualist schtick--based mostly on '70s premises but with a digital gloss--projects that document well and photograph well and might catch the eye of a curator (or omnibus art blog)--and when you show them all together like this it starts to look like a disease. Please, make it stop (or vary it with some videos of cats and sloths from YouTube)!
Update: The comment thread is now closed (to all but steve, who has magic powers) but worth a read, thanks to all who contributed, will try to synopsize some of what was said for a later post--the topic is bigger than just picking on VVork and gets into by-the-numbers conceptualism and its relation to computer workflow.
"you see artists trying so hard, all over the world, to make their conceptualist schtick" ...that sounds a bit more bleak than necessary. It does manifest as a syndrome when its all put together, but that doesn't mean that each artist is being calculated about positioning their work within it. Pull some of them out and put them in other company and you may get something very rich. (I'll go and try this when I have time).
Thanks for the sloths. Here's the baby one I posted again, from [YouTube] F*cking aaaawww, as Amazon might say.
point(s) taken. I do take issue generally with your Attack of the Clones project, and that's where I was coming from in the Burden/Banner thread (which was a mess, I fully admit). In this instance I think we are mostly in agreement, I'm just trying to clarify my own position (since you quoted me directly) not to cast aspersions on yours. Sorry that it has taken the form of argument.
Hey, I said you love/hated it--it's not like any individual artist is going to get mad at you because of my bleak spin. Or maybe they will--touchy lot.
"and when you show them all together like this it starts to look like a disease"... i think this post is a very good summary of whats going on at vvork. in my mind ive started calling a lot of it "smart ass art", where the conceptual cleverness is the only content. (of course perhaps its more vvork's format and curatorial choices which emphasize the smart ass-erry)
I had never thought of internet-folk-clichés in that context (officially)--"cats on the internet" as a digital pallet cleanser for saturated internet websites
maybe someone can help me a bit cos im failing to see all the cleverness in the art/concepts on vvorks front page...couple decent one liners tho. most dont seem clever to me in the same way that most mashups dont seem clever...hard to find the right language here...
Shortly after I moved to NY an artist/writer/gallerist told me "you do your thing here as as an artist but then you look around and there are 10 other people doing that thing because NY is crawling with artists. So you think hard about how to differentiate your thing from their things and in the process you think harder about what's important to you as an artist and eventually you become You, the artist. Whereas in less populous scenes there's only one person doing a thing and other artists give you lots of space to do that thing (while they do their things) and you're not in that pressure cooker evolution situation."
doesnt a jpeg capture an idea, almost as well as "being there" when the idea is the point of the piece. especially if they mention the materials involved. arches paper and india ink for instance.
sorry, my above comment is largely personal opinion (and i wouldn't be as peeved if vvork wasn't so massively popular..)
all said VVork is an epic fail. I wasn't aware it was popular, and have been somewhat surprised by the debate here.
VVork is popular because they show lots and lots of pictures of art from around the world without a bunch of commentary. I love that! It's kind of weird how rare it is. But the structure implies a promise it can't fulfill. Unlike, say, magazine editors, bloggers have neither the resources nor the mandate to represent outside of their own cultural constructs. I think the feeling of sickness comes from the fact that we feel like we are seeing some kind of general trend, but really its just some dudes posting pictures. There are masses and masses of other art options, not to VVork's taste, crowding in the wings. If they wrote on the work, the subjective filter would become explicit, but the unique aspect of the site would be gone. If they took submissions it might get closer to an evolutionary model, but without an editorial mandate it would make no significant difference. Maybe a post-your-own art wiki would do it.
PS. Snobby snob snob! But seriously, is this modernist agenda stuff really still going on in New York? I thought there'd been some kind of purge.
For Mos, poMos and nonMos a critical environment puts the edge on things, as opposed to an environment of back slapping and mutual support.
seems to be two thingies going on here, one is vvork's presentation [sally] the other is the guthrie's nicely phrased "X - Y - Z" style of archetype vvork art.
Thanks for covering this--it's true that in addition to the elegant sculptural installations crafted well etc VVork's specialty is the type of digital one-liner you're describing. (Choir singing the NASDAQ)
thanks you just gave me an idea - "100 wack pieces of new media art in 24 hours". altho we've been dressing down art about art on here lately...
whoa, totally perfect comparison to MIT/ITP stuff... "algorithmic" to the extreme... how a computer would interpret conceptual art
I hadn't actually thought of vvork this way, and it's a little like noticing Shannon Doherty's got one eye that's crooked. Once you see it, not only can you not unsee it, but you wonder how you never noticed it before. That said, I still think this is incredible. Maybe it's art about art (since I do look at those things and think of Corot drawings), but they're much uglier than those. I think the wall of trees is great.
Nah, art about art leaps out at you and says "I've been to college!"
I agree with Paddy, the Woodland Trilogy is a stellar piece.
guthrie i was thinking more like a performance/installation...like i'd set up a little system - rolling 12 sided dice or a modified Boggle game or something - to randomly determine what X Y and Z are going to be, and then make the pieces one by one as fast as i can...hopefully making 100 wack pieces of new media art in 24 hours. then leave them all installed as a show.
If it's any help these have already been done:
And as if inspired by this discussion, today's XYZ from VVork:
Black Spot, 2005, was a process in three stages. The first stage was to obtain a Satellite image of an area - in this instance Hyde Park, London. The second was to pinpoint a single pixel on that photograph and replace it with a black square of Polythene. The third was to take a second satellite photograph of the same area."A process in three stages" is a quote, I didn't add that.
Added to my list above.
I would be tempted to simply link to VVork.
thats amazing - keep em comin t.m.
"I would be tempted to simply link to VVork."
Choir sings every frame of Titanic color-averaged
forgot about all the more literal data translations too...
Most of those would just be XY, but yeah.
XY chromosomes too
this are all interesting but pretty obvious criticisms. may i add to the list of grievances also that there is certainly a preference at vvork for art with ambiguous or uninvested use of ready-made cultural signs. but this is like antlers or deer showing up in contemporary drawings. it's just a sort of silly trendy on a wider scale.
Antler drawings rock.
the other end is useful too.
Good God--very Bataillean, or should I say butt-alien.
dennis oppenheim kind of owns art deer.
Thanks for reminding me--in case I see any deer sculptures with gas jets for antlers from artists who didn't google first.
Let's not forget Bruce Nauman's deer-head grinding carousels.
Update, June 11, 2010: Am reopening this thread to respond to bxk's question ("are they dealing out grant money or shopping prospects to art dealers really psyched for net.art and a new 21st century conceptualism?"): Vvork has organized at least two gallery exhibitions of the work it shows on the website. Its members are no longer anonymous and are showing in galleries and museums. "Eastern european 20-something art kid bloggers" isn't accurate now and it's doubtful it ever was--not that age or nationality should be a reason for suspending criticism.
The thread got spammed again (in cyrillic!) so....