Josephine Bosma on Wed, 19 Aug 1998 19:16:17 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> re: white cube

here's a very very late short reaction to something Tina LaPorta wrote in
May (!) and has been in my mailbox ever since, me cleaning around it
constantly. It is time to get the dust out of that mailbox definetely now
though. Tina LaPorta's short remark could use a lengthy reaction, but that
will have to be written some other time, by some other person possibly... 

>My experiences are true to what Ursula has suggested, whether it's cable
>channels or the Net, the traditional art world refuses to acknowledge other
>media environments as a viable context for art production and distribution.
>And, as ArtNews points out, in turning a blind eye to these communication
>channels, arts institutions are now paying the price by being so clearly
>voiceless and completely absent within the larger cultural debate(s)
>outside the white cube of the contemporary art world.

I think the artworld has turned its eye and focus away from the most
important development in art this century: media/electronic/ technological
art, which started in the beginning of this century. What has had most
attention in twentieth century art? Paintings. It does not suit the
environment artists and everybody lived in, no matter how much these
paintings reflected issues like speed or whatever. Of course there have
been some analyses or mentionings in artbooks, but the focus of criticism
and presentation has been on -objects- of art. The reasons for this
neglectence are probably complex, but one annoyingly controversial one (as
net art criticism/theory has started to be called too political) is the
desire to stick to easily marketable products, or more simple: to stay
with the easy cash. This is such a clear fact that it seems critics prefer
not to take the consequences of knowing it for real and rewrite

There are also other elements in play, like a more disputable one in terms
of art-valuation, namely the fact that it is very likely that the
development of mass media have had quite some influence on the way art is

I put it like this in a text for Ars Electronica: "Computernetworks have
moved the approach and direction of art away from the influential
centralised and hierarchical character of mass media. One could say mass
media are the crude and undeveloped baby fase of electronic media, (the
latter) have (helped) create a simplistic perception and approach of art
we are now moving away from." The times of pure consumerism are over, for
now anyway. 

The artworld is flexible enough, and will most probably eventually change
appearance under the influence of new demands and structures. It is not
necesary to wait for the big change to happen for most of us to work
pleasantly though. As far as I see it, modern art was just a first step,
and no final product of arthistory. 


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