Village Voice art critic Christian Viveros-Faune has made three predictions (with an introductory caveat that translates to, “just guessing, after all!”) for the coming year. The first one strikes me as a no-brainer; Viveros-Faune talks about the “aesthetics of decline,” the art movement that reflects the increasingly drab socioeconomic climate, spurred on by the increasingly heated political climate. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to hypothesize that when the economy tanks, the ever-critical art world will shift to mirror it.
Viveros-Faune then pits two upcoming exhibits against each other; the New Museum Triennial (titled “The Ungovernables,” February 15th through April 22nd) and the Whitney Biennial (March 1st through May 22nd). While I see his point — the New Museum is featuring politically-charged foreign artists with an underlying moral imperative, whereas the Whitney will be featuring some already-established artists from here in the states — I’m not sure the two shows are so solidly in competition as much as they reflect different tastes. The New Museum is a more appropriate venue for these up-and-coming, gritty, controversial artists, whereas the Whitney, focusing on American artists, will be presenting a first-world group that has inevitably less diverse backgrounds. I’m not sure the separate events should be viewed as the battle royale he describes so much as reflections of two different circles within the art world.
Lastly, he predicts the fall of sensationalistic, blockbuster “business artists” such as Hirst in favor of art that is more about message and less about profit. With the rise of social unrest (look at the recent occupation of Wall Street), it’s hard to picture wealth-fixated artists such as Hirst maintaining popularity in an increasingly “us vs. them” climate. If not literally the One Percent, these artists, gallerists and collectors are at the very least rubbing elbows with them. However, Viveros-Faune may be underestimating the power of extreme wealth; the bubble may be ready to pop, but the creators and aficionados of such “business art” can probably afford to stick around longer than he anticipates.
Viveros-Faune’s predictions are clearly well thought-out and the result of much observation, of both the political world and the art world. I think there’s a good chance his predictions will turn out to be accurate. We here at Artsnapper will be watching to see just how close to the mark they hit!
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