Jun 20, 2005

"Then the room changes into a skeletal cyborg, at the center of which is a geometric android vagina." [LINK]

Much ink has been spilled on how contemporary art has descended into the mundane territory in which artists must consider the shock value of their work, but that's a rather narrow point. What has actually been destroyed is the sense that works of visual art can stand alone, and do not require explanatory text. Indeed, there was often the sense that such words even detract from the experience of pure visual contemplation. But the space that such art once inhabited has now been emptied, and must be filled with... something.

Certainly by the time of Malevich's extremely reductionist abstraction early in the 20th century, art began to require a text. You just couldn't make any sense of his work without reading his pretentious manifesto; suprematism is what he happened to call those funky geometric shapes of his that are pictured here. The work of art would no longer inspire words, so words had to somehow inspire our attitude towards the art. And that's the job of the fawning art critic.

So it's with these thoughts we now regard Jerry Saltz in the Village Voice. Of course, columnists always want to start off with a punchy first paragraph that draws in the reader, but the following seems to go way beyond that:

Sarah Sze is a creator and destroyer of worlds, an explorer of fantastical hyper-space, a mapper of interstices, a maker of mutating topographies, and a supreme anal-retentive warrior princess of multiplicity.
What would happen if you plugged a large corpus of art criticism into Amazon's routine that identifies statistically improbable phrases. Along with the excerpt that forms the title to this post, which do you think ranks the least probable?
  • asymmetrical parallelogram of multicolored cables
  • otherworldly origami-ikebana garden
  • hallucination of lilliputian proportions
  • extraterrestrial intrauterine nursery
  • interweaving fungus of threads

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