Monday, 25 April 2011

On Tiger Woods and modern art [NEW]

Above: a page from "How to Survive Modern Art" (Tate)

Tiger Woods is a profoundly uninteresting man, elevated to role model status in America by his unwavering commitment to brand promotion and the eradication of personal charisma, so when the revelations of his marital infidelities came to light in 2009, it was yet another contradiction of Fitzgerald’s too-quoted line about there being no second acts in American lives. Woods was being given a second chance, to save himself from the ignominy of living and dying the blank-eyed apparatchik of marketing departments at corporations everywhere. He was becoming a human, in the way that all robots in Hollywood films eventually grow a soul. Yet during the televised press conference, Woods’s charmlessness shone through like the sick light of a vandalized lighthouse. “I am truly sorry,” he intoned, auto-AutoTune-ing his voice beyond the wavering reality of the human larynx and by doing so, managed to simultaneously address and obfuscate the reality of his actions. Woods was using language against its function, allowing phrases like “my behavior has been a personal disappointment” to suggest contrition while denying his listeners access to genuine feeling. This is how an institutionalized language works: we’re telling you all we think you need to know. This is how language works in the art world.

Read the full article here.

EXTRA: Very kind words from Stephanie Vegh.

Hands-down, the best essay I read this week came from the ever-reliable Ben Street at Art:21 who composes a remarkable transition from the hollow contrition of Tiger Woods to the idiotic simplicity of art writing for a non-arts audience. With refreshing honesty and intelligence, Street indicts books for art’s newcomers that in attempting to dumb down artists and their respective movements for a general audience, serve only to shut them out of the conversation entirely.

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