May 3, 2010

according to nytimes art critic identity-politics are EVIL

"Is it time to retire the identity-based group show?"

WOW. when nytimes critic ken johnson opens his article with this question, panning the art exhibition "Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement" my blood is already boiling. i FUCKING HATE when people act like identity politics are over. according to johnson we are so POST POST POST everything that we don't need to talk about it, make work about it, and certainly not support organizing shows about it.

as case in point, Johnson cites this year's Whitney Biennial as evidence that the art world has fully evolved beyond the relevancy of identity-politics: "Artists of many different backgrounds and sexual orientations have been assimilated into the art world. There are more women than men in this year’s Whitney Biennial." whereas in fact there are ZERO LATINOS in the biennial this year! according to mainstream latino press mezcla, and i QUAHOTE "The roster for this year’s biennial features 55 artists (yes, 55), and not a single one of them is Latino, nor a representative of the Latin America or Latino diaspora." so i think, ken johnson, that you are flat out wrong. and it's appropriate to say that there may be a slightly better proportion of women represented in the art world than there used to be - but for people of color, shit is more or less the same. PROVE ME OTHERWISE PUHLEASE.

johnson concludes:
It has long been said that the identity-based show is an EVIL [my emphasis] whose necessity would disappear in a more equitable world, but museums and grant-giving foundations will continue to support this kind of project because of its appeal to various interest groups. In truth, it as much a bureaucratic artifact as a curatorial one. A more astutely focused, judiciously selected exhibition might lead to different conclusions, but this one will not alter the impression that last rites for this type of show are in order.
WOW. so that is just like one giant assthumbs up to COLORBLINDNESS and the whole neoliberal caboodle. eeww. thanks. what truly could be more evil and insidious? (not EVEN to get into the specifics of the "Phantoms" show, which is in fact a fascinatingly complex, smart smart exhibition- NOT coincidentally emerging from the los angeles landscape)

hmmmmmm i don't usually get so straightup bitchy but i get all HOT AND BOTHERED when it seems that the art world is the least transparent and most contradictory workplace i've ever participated in. UGH.


(alejandro diaz)


  1. Jon Kenson is a notorious patriarchal misogynist herteronormal hack with a platform at the NYT. While not a good art critic, he has an art critic's personality. I find him not uninteresting yet bored with his narrowly cerebral analyses of the 21st century. Maybe it's time to further diversify the NYT art review dept.? I'm totally post-Kenson and have been for quite a long time.