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Lawrence Rinder, formerly chief curator at the Whitney (where he curated the 2002 Biennale) and now Dean of Graduate Studies at the California College of the Arts, is an iconoclast. During his time as a curator at the Whitney he liked to mix things up, for example he exhibited Papua New Guinean Tapa Cloths alongside contemporary painting. During his lectures at local colleges he juxtaposed billboard ads with works by Cezanne and Picasso. Says Rinder: "The basic structure by which we define, teach, and even see art is fundamentally flawed. ... The way art is structured echoes vestiges of racism, sexism, and classism, for example by using categories such as "craft", "untrained art", and "outsider art"."

Rinder wrote a book about his experiences as a curator and art educator titled "Art Life", which gives voice to his criticism. Following is a link to a video of a book reading of "Art Life" by Rinder which is followed by a Question and Answer session. Thought provoking and inspirational, this video is worth watching, but make sure you have some spare time - it runs at 41 minutes 27 seconds.


Max says:
“Errata: "RINDER knows this", not 'Cody'.....'sorry, my copy paste was sloppy.....”
Posted over 3 years ago
Max says:
“Geoffrey Paul makes some observations I have not thought about for some time. I think a curator's perspective is inherently guided by his/her unique sensibilities to 'order' which may or may not come with the attachment of 'classification.' What was once referred to as 'post movement' or 'postmodern' art was, indeed, an effort to seperate, then re-define, art and architecture from previous movements and classifications. It is, as Geoffrey notes, an exercise in self-refutation when considering the referential to the past, which, is symptom of a conventional movement. The problem has been - as a former curator, Cody knows this - a focus on the philosophical approaches to art criticism. That comes at great expense to the visual arts which, historically, produce products a generation or so ahead of current philosophical vernacular. That art (the Salle example) can be a contemporary, content based dialogue can, and frequently does, entice curators to appeal to the ad populum. Ironically and philosophically, the 'appeal to the ad populum' in arguementation is a fallacy. In art, it's called 'illustration.' Postmodernity, and post-structuralist thought in general, does not treat all disciplines equally in its attempt to blur and overlap borders of seperation. Philosophy embedded itself in science through ethics. The valuation of this, again, creates a dialogue which is the forte of philosophy, not science. Rinder's arguement (art) is basically one of inductive reasoning premised upon his view these changes were good. I disagree. But, as they say, four pennies in the pocket make more noise than a single dime. ”
Posted over 3 years ago
“Hi Cody, your links broken to the video , anyway a few comment on the pseudo radical ‘’Lawrence Rinder’’, you mentioned, for a start it’s trivial to suggest that art discourse shouldn’t be classified in terms of conventions and their accompanying hegemonies of specifically status assigned axiologies, what else could it possibly be? any thoughts to the contrary would have to be grounded in some sort of infantile pomo melting pot relativism. Also the idea that it might be smart or interesting to work against classification or thematic organization of content in museum curation, is similar to David Sallee’s work from the eighties or Derrida”s Glas ,which didactically tried to show the fractured and pluralist texture or social discourse though obstensive signs of quoted citations from various sources. All these efforts now look as tired as the type of goofy postmodern architecture you occasionally see around with its self conscious quoting of a selection of vernacular conventions. So what? there is no transcendental value in art or architecture, but this observation doesn’t eviscerate the socially assigned value of existing and future conventions. Anyone, such as Rinder who tries to make a virtue out of these hackneyed post modern concepts is really trading in first year philosophy major students observations about culture.”
Posted over 4 years ago
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