File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1996/avant-garde_Feb.96, message 15

Date: Thu, 8 Feb 1996 09:58:34 -0500
Subject: Re: dry-hump: was public (fwd)

>Michael you just recounted the history of such places as PS1, Artist Space,
>The new Museum, The alternative Museum, etc in the 1970's.  If one goes
>back to the 1930's its the history of the Museum of Modern Art and the
>Whitney Museum.
>Saul Ostrow
>What's being offered today? I think the Whitney and the Modern are direct
>targets in this critique of an art establishment. I hardly think the other
>alternative spaces such as the New Museum, (whose lame offerings of pabulum
>could be called anything but an alternative) provide anything but that sort of
>legitimization from which newer undercurrents could benefit by resisting.
>Anything that is not part of the establishment today, but aspires to a greater
>role in the cultural community may be doomed to the mediocrity that has
>places like the Whitney and newer venues. I will qualify this by saying that of
>all the New York City museums, the Whitney is my favorite, but in feeling the
>way I do, I still keep a critical eye cocked on it and am often
>disappointed and
>embarrassed for it by its offerings.
>     --- from list ---

My pointis they started as critical institutions, but as survival becomes
important , they begin to compromise. Till they have been transformed into
either a weak copy( form) of those institutions they opposed or they become
the reformed version of them.  Either way  they become tools of
ligitimization.   In part because that is what they had sought to be or
they those who were involved in constructing them ideologically were to
idealistic and or not self critical enough.
Anothe r aspect of this is that during the '60's early '70's Museums
stopped being storage depots and became educational institutions. In
actuality they gave up the role of being  the primary means of validation
to become the prime means of promotion. For the most part no one noticed
the shift.  Most museums including the Met became to some degree engagedin
promoting the new rather than critically re-evaluating the past.

     --- from list ---



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