Sunday, April 24, 2011

John Kelsey rich texts: selected writing for art editors Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw, Institut fur künstkritik isbn 978-1-934105-23-8, book report by craniv boyd.

John Kelsey rich texts: selected writing for art editors Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw, Institut fur künstkritik isbn 978-1-934105-23-8, book report by craniv boyd.


Insider art texts that have a conflict of interests occasionally if not too subtly hinted at in the selected writing for art that New York based John / Writer/ Artist/ Gallerist/ Permanent Member/ co-founder/ contributing editor/ Kelsey wrote for Artforum Parkett and some exhibition catalogues which editors Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw present in book form for the Sternberg press. The art world as it exists in New York City, Paris, Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt Am Main, Köln) Zurich and Oslo; the theaters of North European and North American are where the majority of Kelsey's subjects are to be found.


For Kelsey in recent years the job description of the "immaterial" laborer of the "contemporary" artist has been extended to vaporetti passenger as working time flattens out to encompass all the time. Better get your sea legs ready you numerous MFA post-grads, an art career in New York can only start after the Masters in Fine Arts level in New York City implies Kelsey, after juggling your debt incurred from massive student loans to pay astronomical tuition, try to social network your way to Venice so you can be a relevant "contemporary" artist working all the time even as you take a ferry across the grand canal.


In his rich texts John Kelsey elaborates the fate of all too many MFA post-graduates post 2008, the purgatory of the artists assistantship, particularly hellish is Kelsey's rendition of the city of Dis Norwegian recovering drug addict, Bjarne Melgaard has built in his studio in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Melgaard saddles the youngish talent he employs with the task of mass-producing photo realist portrayals of child pornography, paintings he exports back to Oslo for a solo exhibition Melgaard has at Astrup Fearnley Modern Museet. Kelsey who writes the catalogue text for said exhibition remembers to mention that the Norwegian mounted an exhibition a few years prior at Reena Spaulings Fine Art, he continue the narrative in the essay along a chronological thread the argument by mentioning Melgaard's next solo expo in New York was at Green Neftali Gallery, so as to position both Reena Spaulings Fine Art and Melgaard in a positive trajectory of progress. Kelsey and Melgaard's meeting in 2008 at the time of his Green Neftali exhibition is recounted at taking place in a luxuriously banal hotel suite where haut couture menswear is strewn about aftermath of a shopping spree, also littering the suite are tomes from the cannon of post modern gay and transgressive literature like the late Kathy Acker. This essay lends credence to the disturbed artistic practice of Melgaard who presents an irregular and uncomfortable sexual practice pederasty, is Norway so permissive so as to exhibit the currently Brooklyn New York based Artist. Melgaard we learn is a kind of militant gay army of one, he is author of a poem titled " a concept of rape" calling for violence against heterosexual oppressors, his art practice looks as if it could stand under the general umbrella of Sadism. Neo liberalism and Globalism choose not to incarcerate their sadists, they permit them to display their sick fantasies on museum walls in the developed world John Kelsey's catalogue essay for Melgaard's art is titled "Rape and the City" so as to make light of a truly sad state of affairs.


The single color photographs of current professional women tennis players in action are epitomes of physical bodies that fascists would have appreciated, these athletes, whose photographs bracket each essay or article are placed throughout the book with out captions, they are just there scantily clothed sweating in the act of the tennis match, zoomed in cropped and displaced. The women could be possible psyignomies for Bernadette of Bernadette Corporation or Rena of Rena Spaulings fine art these two fictive women are the pseudonyms of the two projects John Kelsey is committed with. Both names appear intermittently over the course of the selected writings for art that span the years of approximately 2002- 2010. The text is written in a dry yet humorous academic prose that presupposes a critical distance to which many have come to expect from serious arts writing, end notes and citations from all the usual suspects of French structuralism and post modern thought along with selected Octoberists like Krauss or Foster reinforce a learned critical or objective subjectivity which is far from contra pied with the editors at Art Forum the publication that commissioned and published the bulk of these writings for art.


This critical distance is played with in that Rena or Bernadette are mentioned in the self described "hack" texts adding airs of legitimacy to both pseudonyms of the author and his art project collective or his art gallery collective. To translate the name Bernadette as My writing and Rena Spaulings as My Gallery readers can see more clearly the concept of situationist play as tactic co-opted into a form of self serving tribalism crypto public relations. John Kelsey is a clear writer whose topics in this book extend from most things visual or theoretical fashion, 3D cinema, Art, Facebook, Laptops. In escape form Discourse Island he gives a succinct genealogy of e-flux and OMA AMO that is sharp if not damming. Kelsey writes lucid observations on routine groupings of politically ambivalent artists who end up in turn being perceived as politically committed are at their most poetic in his assessment for art forum of theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where Kelsey compares the look of the show to functions on an Mac book pro copy paste dragged and dropped into Frank Lloyd Wright's rotunda on fifth avenue. Perhaps form another like "program" such as Renzo Piano's iconic building in the Beau Bourg of Paris. The endemic organizing of group shows is treated simply and elegantly at the end of the essay Unclaimed Bags will be destroyed a catalogue text accompanying the exhibition Uncertain States of America that took place in Oslo by serial ubiquitous curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, so as to mention the inherent dislocation inflicted by placing my production next to your production so as to imply the creative decision is now in the hands of the curator whose work it is in a temporary cohesion induced by proximity. By craniv boyd.

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