Paddy Johnson selects "NoaNN" one of the 10 Best Exhibitions of 2011

For obvious reasons, this was my favorite year-end list. But it’s 2012 now, so I’m looking forward to new projects this year. Some things and themes I’m currently fascinated by:

  • Tape
  • Airplanes
  • NASA
  • Stolen Paintings
  • Touch Screens
  • Collage

We’ll see!

Curating Art in the Digital Age

mid-14c., from M.L. curatus “one responsible for the care (of souls),” from L. curatus, pp. of curare “to take care of.” Church of England sense of “paid deputy priest of a parish” first recorded 1550s.

Today, I went to a lecture titled Curating Art in the Digital Age at my school. It featured two prominent art figures in the world of digital art: Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City and Amanda McDonald Crowley of Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.

Where I take issue, and where it pertains to this blog, was in Paddy Johnson’s lecture. The subject of Tumblr came up several times. Paddy responded by saying that tumbling is not curating, but “just picking stuff.” However, isn’t that essentially curating? Whether a work is in a museum’s possession or not, the curators pick pieces that speak to one another and put them in physical dialogue. In tumbing, I observe practices that are similar to those observed by curators; I chose which works to display and which pieces are published in proximity to one another.

Additionally, the issue of what curating art means in the digital age arises, as is implied by the title of the lecture. I have placed the history of the word curate at the beginning of this post as a reminder as to its definition. Today, curating has come to mean a person who works in a museum or gallery who makes choices at to what and how work is displayed. However, the original meaning was similar to the role of a priest, one who cares for works of art. This definition leaves room for interpretation as to what curating in the digital age means. It is under this definition that I believe this blog fits. Through focusing on women artists who are overshadowed by those who observe the traditional definition of “curate,” we are looking after them in this space.


Also, please feel free to reblog with your own thoughts and opinions. Let’s start a dialogue.

Redefining the Role of The Artist

Redefining the Role of The Artist

The Studio in Crisis panelists at Cabinet

“Once speculators see an artist, they think there goes the neighborhood. You’re seen as the enemy in our neighborhoods, and that has to change.” I don’t think this is what the crowd of expectant white folk came to hear at last Thursday’s Skowhegan-led panel titled “Studio in Crisis”, but the candid remarks from Brooklyn’s Deputy Borough President Diana…

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Actually, I think *all* of this misses the point. Using twitter as a medium when you’re an artist is ho-hum (i.e., normal).

Using twitter as the endpoint of your art project-process, that’s twitter art.

Only thing that I’ve seen that’s aspiring to be twitter art is Larry Carlson, Om_Sun, on the twit.

Bonus points are awarded, however, for anyone that takes the piss out of Abramovic, tho.

Two main groups like to drop the readymade bomb—galleries and art historians. Galleries love to drop the Duchamp brand because dealers can try to convince clients of an artist’s worth just by mentioning the mouthwatering response readymade. Most Art Historians aren’t interested in what artists are making in Bushwick studios, most of whom rarely wake up with Duchamp on the brain.
“My God, are they going to leave me here to die?”

by paddy johnson
stolen from art fag city

Roger Ebert’s death has saddened me perhaps more than that of any other critic. I spent a lot of time on reading reviews and the chronicling of his illness on his blog, so I felt an unusual kind of closeness. I am easily seduced by personal blogs, and he was a master storyteller.

This was particularly evident in “Nil by mouth“, a 2010 post on the effects of not being able to eat or drink. “Do you miss it?” a reader asked. The response meandered through memories of meals, a fleeting obsession with Coke-a-Cola, and the necessity of tuna melts in Greek restaurants. Several times he concluded that, “No,” he didn’t miss it. He did, however, miss the conversation.

I thought about that a little when reading his final blog post, “A Leave of Presence“, which mostly talked about the ways he would keep working. I suppose the title should have clued me in to his imminent death, but when he said it meant he wasn’t going away, I took his words literally. I didn’t want a metaphor for his conversational voice, I wanted his voice. “In addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you,” he promised. I assumed the light of his writing would still brighten my laptop every few days.

That’s harder said than done on the web, where nothing lives if we don’t tweet or post with frequency.  How on earth can death compete with TweetDeck?

It doesn’t, but a powerful narrative might. Ebert suggested as much back in 2010, when he found his memories were frequently “welling up” as if he had no control over them, and I experienced this today, when my boyfriend sent me one such memory of his own. Knowing I was upset about Ebert’s death, he shared the kind of link that always cures my woes: art narratives.

It turns out, Ebert also wrote about art, and back in 1975, he offered an account of Chris Burden’s performance “Doomed“.  Unlike Ebert, who seemed to enjoy interpreting the chatter around him, Burden seemed content to let whatever conceptual framework he established do all the talking. In this case, he lay on display under a sheet of glass for a day and a half, secretly waiting for the museum to disrupt his performance, thus “completing it”. Naturally, as Ebert tells it, when people failed to talk, Burden slowly went nuts.

“On the first night, when I realized [the museum wasn’t] going to stop the piece, I was pleased and impressed that they had placed the integrity of the piece ahead of the institutional requirements of the museum.”

“On the second night, I thought, my God, don’t they care anything at all about me? Are they going to leave me here to die?”


Paddy Johnson (of Art Fag City) is killing it in this week’s copy of the L Magazine with her "Inside The Internet Art Bubble" article. In it, she takes on recent internet art golden boys Cory Archangel and Ryan Trecartin and dissects the buzz that they’re currently enjoying in the art world.

According to Johnson, both artists are “producing the right work at the right time,” as well as giving a new purpose to digital technology. But don’t be fooled by that praise, Paddy’s not the type of critic who will simply believe the hype. She doesn’t pull any punches here.

Archangel’s Pro Tools and Trecartin’s Any Ever are currently on view at The Whitney and PS1, respectively. For a wild ride, take in Trecartin’s The Re’Search (Re’Search Wait’S), (2009-2010), above. 

[#PANEL] Pioneers! O’ Pioneers! A History of NY Artist Neighborhoods f/ @artfcity (Paddy Johnson), Irving SandlerJoyce KozloffMax KozloffWalter Robinson & Joe Amrhein 
Presented by @BRICartsmedia
Wednesday, January 21 | 7-9pm 
Stoop at BRIC House | 647 Fulton Street (Enter on Rockwell Place) Brooklyn, NY 11217
Admission: FREE 

This panel discussion accompanying the OPEN (C)ALL exhibition will offer historic perspectives on the changing landscapes for artists’ work and exhibition spaces since the 1950s. 

Panelists will include the renowned American art critic and art historian,Irving Sandler, a witness to the 10th Street in the 1950s, an early example of an “alternative” art scene and a center for Abstract Expressionist painters; artist Joyce Kozloff and art critic and historian Max Kozloff, pioneers of the Soho art scene in the 1970s; Walter Robinson, a painter and critic who documented the art scene in the Lower East Side in the 1980s; and Joe Amrhein, artist and founder of the pioneering Williamsburg gallery Pierogi, who will discuss the rise of Brooklyn and Williamsburg in the 1990s. The discussion will be moderated by Paddy Johnson, founding Editor of Art F City and the Arts Editor for The L Magazine.

JOIN US for this fascinating and timely discussion.

I was lucky enough to hear Paddy Johnson speak at UGA’s School of Art this past week. I’ve long been a fan of the blog that she founded and edits, so I thought I’d share it here. The reason I enjoy the commentary of this blog is because it’s unpretentious and is not afraid to be funny or confused. It also seems not to be caught up in the feedback loop that can be the New York art world, and in fact part of Paddy’s mission is to show that valid art can be made anywhere. 

Here’s a great post full of sarcasm and truth:

[A note on the previous name of the blog, Art Fag City: “art fag” was a term used in the late ’80s and early ’90s to denote people who were obsessed with art and looked the part (note the circle glasses post above ; )  ). Since I became a teenager in that time period, I was proud to be considered an art fag even though it was sometimes used as a pejorative. Now, the word “fag” can be a pejorative to homosexuals and so has rightly been removed from the name.]