Archive for the American loss of attention span Category

So much going on around me. So hard to keep my mind and attention focused on failing artists.

Yesterday, I saw part of a skirmish between 100-odd unkempt and bandannaed young urban rebels and the police.

I watched, across the river from the riots, thousands of people sitting on the grass, listening to musical acts they barely seemed to care about, playing frisbee and surreptiously smoking dope.

I got a message with photos from my wife who had been given a last-minute ticket to check out the national Republican Party that was visiting my home town; she said the event mostly was pretty dull.

This all brings to mind the following Quote of the Day (CAFA QOD):

“This place has more failed artists and intellectuals than the Third Reich.”
–Don Draper, “Mad Men”

With the scattered attention span and the fickle and dimming memory of the Internet and its attendant (Alzheimer’s-striken) institutions, I was only mildly surprised to discover in recent weeks that some of the publications for which I’d written arts profiles, reviews, features, and other articles in the past ten years were rapidly expunging their online journalistic databases of recent writing by me.

Therefore, in order to preserve at least a small part of local (Minnesota) art history for purposes of research and novelty, I am building on this blog-page my own live-link personal online database of some of the more than 170 pieces of arts writing I’ve completed in the past decade-plus. (Note: To finish listing all the available story-links is going to take just a little bit of time, so please be patient and check back often.)

The following is a quotation from a brilliant exhibition essay for a brilliant exhibition curated by my brilliant friend and colleague Glenn Gordon. You can read more of his exhibition essay on, and you can find out more about the show, called “Functional Sculpture: Furniture from the Upper Midwest,” on Charleton College’s website.

EVERYTHING IN THE CURRENT WORLD OF ART and design seems to want to be what it is not, or at least not what it used to be. Contemporary craft wants to be thought of as art. Art, disdaining the fuss and preciousness of craft, wants to be conceptual. Photography wants to be painterly and painting wants to be photographic. Architecture wants so much to be sculpture that it shoulders actual sculpture aside. Sculpture, meanwhile, maybe in self-defense, wants to be about the creation of sites—it wants to be architecture. Furniture, like other fields of design, is restive with its niche and pushing against the limits of genre. You could look at this churning of old categories as a symptom of ferment, or as a sign of confusion, or both. With imagery streaming freely in all directions, formerly unrelated ideas are combing through each other and giving rise to hybrids that would have been unimaginable as recently as 10 years ago.

–Glenn Gordon

I will get back to the subject of the civic exploitation of artists, and I will describe the interesting life story of my promised second example of an exiled artist, in a day or two. Stay tuned!