Artforum magazine's website has recently gone interactive; there's a "talk back" feature that allows you to comment on its articles and reviews. So far people aren't being shy (except about using their real names)--there is currently an entertaining thread about Tim Gardner's show at 303. First, we read Frances Richard's Critic's Pick, which is the magazine's typical, nicely written rubberstamp, followed by this fairly amazing post by "Skull," defining Gardner in terms of local (NYC area) grad-school politics:

"If Tim had gone to Y[ale] instead of C[olumbia] his work would have been enormously different because of Mel [Bochner]. Tim did not get accepted even with a positive nod from Catherine [?] and Sylvia [?]. Mel didn't get accepted either. Dick [?] was responsible for this, who coincidentally was Joseph [?]'s TA. Pedro [Barbeito] was Dick's TA at Y but Mel was the big rooster by that time and it made no difference that Dick was no longer the stupid brother among the grumpy old men.

"Ron [Jones], who was formally the big rooster at C while Tim was there, was henpecked out by Archie [Rand]and the older hens; Mathew [?] and Carroll [Dunham] could not help out their fellow rooster. Jessica [Stockholder] now controls the S[culpture] house at Y. Ron has gone west and with a middle-age move Jerry [?] now has finally decided to [stop] switch hitting and is settling at C. He was not allowed to go back to Y in the P[ainting?] program anyhow. The Ph[otography] program is different with Greg [Crewdson] directing. And with all the players acting so independently, the three artists share philosophy that has sentimental found-object photography influencing their paintings. Mel and Pedro with Johns; Tim with Wyeth."
There may actually be a theory in there somewhere, and I confess I'm too blase to fill in all the names (anyone is welcome to flesh out the list with the anonymous, add-a-comment feature below). Nevertheless, the post is amusing because it cuts against the official, authoritarian voice of the magazine and (inadvertently) raises the question of how a recent MFA comes to be showing at a high-profile Chelsea gallery (aside from genius, of course). Artforum may soon wish it hadn't opened the Pandora's box of interactivity, but I'm glad it did.

Tim Gardner, Untitled (Val & Flamingos), 2001
watercolor on paper mounted on panel, 5" x 7"

- tom moody 5-16-2001 5:33 am