Monday, December 24, 2007


Bruce Hainley

pp. 154-163

1. We crave from art
a. pleasure
b. thinking or critique
c. political motivation
d. a mainline to power
e. psychosis
f. an illustration of how we live now

2. Art should
a. be a solution to a problem
b. be a problem to a solution
c. experiment in contingency
d. be faggier
e. cause a crisis, ecstatically carrying anyone out of him- or herself
f. destroy itself, be its own undoing

3. How much of the contemporary art you encounter would categorize as “unquestionably great” or “important”
a. 43%
b. 77%
c. 9%
d. 25%
e. 61%
f. 33.5%

4. To get a handle on the art of today, it would be best to
a. go shopping
b. watch TV
c. question art history
d. websurf
e. meet “Tina”
f. go off-grid for at least a month

5. Pornography should be analyzed and studied as a sign system influencing, influenced by, and analogous to that of art. True or false? (circle one)

6. The art – as well as the mood – of “the zeitgeist” is
a. madcap
b. without parameters
c. thoughtful but with a frisson of complacency
d. displaying a renewed interest in collective work and activities
e. neoformalist
f. I don’t believe in zeitgeists

7. Which of the following best describes what new formalism means to you:
a. I own a tux and am into formals.
b. Formula, not breastfed.
c. “Clem” was like a grandfather to me.
d. After the Formula One Grand Prix, Gordon over Schumacher in the sack.
e. Dude, there’s a new formalism?
f. Formalize this!

8. To consider form and how it requires attention to the medium as potentially distinguishable from meaning, it would be good to
a. read all the books mentioned in question 15
b. rewatch The Aristocrats
c. reread Paul de Man
d. study Team America
e. compare Oscar Wilde’s essays to those of Clement Greenberg
f. see Liza Minnelli perform “live”

9. New formalism is a spruced-up version of old formalism. Both are more readily applied to abstract and nonrepresentational art than to figurative and representational works, and serve as a way to stabilize modes of interrogation but often end in quarantining or corralling the kinds of questions that might be asked. True or false? (circle one)

10. Design : Art ::
a. mind : body
b. client : collector
c. virus : inoculation
d. pencil : finger
e. Rasid : Eames
f. “anonymous” : signature

11. The most cogent representation of the artist and his or her artistic process in a Hollywood film is
a. Vincent Price in House of Wax
b. Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker
c. Johnny Depp in Ed Wood
d. Nicolas Cage in Adaptation
e. Diana Ross in Mahogany
f. Lana Turner in Imitation of Life

12. Jasper Johns is the only American artist to lend his voice to his cartoon representation on The Simpsons. True or false? (circle one)

13. There should be a big-budget biopic about Marcel Duchamp starring
a. Jimmy Stewart
b. Ethan Hawke
c. Jackie Chan
d. Stanley Tucci
e. Denzel Washington
f. Amy Sedaris

14. Rank the following artists in descending order (1 = most dynamic, 6 = least), then make a second list ranking the same artists in terms of who has (had) the best hairdo. Compare lists, and write what you lave learned from the rankings.
John Armleder, Matthew Barney, Mary Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Nevelson, Andy Warhol

15. “Just what is it that makes today’s theory so different, so appealing?” applies most accurately to
a. The Man Without Content by Giorgio Agamben
b. Stupidity by Avital Ronell
c. Decreation by Anne Carson
d. Their Common Sense by Molly Nesbit
e. Moira Orfwi in Aigues-Mortes by Wayne Koestenbaum
f. The Sluts by Dennis Cooper

16. Art/Artists : Art Fairs ::
a. writers : readings
b. Judy Garland : Carnegie Hall
c. Pigs : slaughter
d. Duchamp’s Fountain : 20th century
e. Heroin : crack
f. Art fairs : biennials

17. Sprouting everywhere they can, frequently like mushrooms after a good rain, biennials are
a. good for art
b. bad for art, but good for artists
c. good for neither art not artists, but great for marketing (cities, institutions) and public relations in general
d. no of the above
e. all of the above

18. Who of the following was never in a Whitney Biennial:
a. Lee Lozano
b. John Waters
c. Peter Hujar
d. Maureen Gallace
e. Olivier Mosset
f. Betty Tompkins

19. Go through the last fifteen Whitney Biennial catalogues and make lists based on the following:
a. select artists whose names you recognize who have succeeded/survived, noting your criteria of “success.” What is the percentage of all the artists, according to said criteria, who have “succeeded” compared to those who “haven’t”?
b. delineate various critical modes (fashions) and what is still/is no longer viable.

20-22. There are three essay questions. Please choose one from each of the following three pairs. Each of the three responses should be 500 to 600 words long.

20. While ours is an increasingly visual culture – some (notably Guy Debord) would argue that we moved long ago from a visual society to a society of the spectacle – funding for arts education, not to mention a sustained training in how images operate, has never registered as a relevant concern among the American polis. Argue why you think this is so (e.g., there is an unfounded but deeply held belief that images are “transparent”; art is about “feelings” [“I don’t know nothin’ about art but I know what I like”] and “uplift,” therefore, having no system or rules, visual culture cannot be objectively tested [case in point: there is no GRE for art history]) and hypothesize ways of changing the situation. Discuss.
Prepossessing contemporary art challenges and/or questions what “art” was before it, moving toward its destruction or decreation – toward an ever new artlessness. (The history of art is the history of following how artists seek not antiart so much as an art that experiments with confounding any previous notion of what art has been or has looked like.) One strange thing to say about this situation is that the discourses (art history, philosophy, criticism) within which art is considered have rarely questioned their own form, have not usually allowed themselves an analogous drive toward disarticulation, nonrepresentation, blankness, a thwarting of sense – even though some artists (most cogently, Robert Smithson) have availed themselves of all these means when they have chosen to write about the endeavor, the experiment, calling into question art’s being, the potential and the contingency of it all. Discuss.

21. The art world is interested in two kinds of artists: hot new kids and eminences. Most artists spend much of their time being neither. One solution would be to experiment with a “40 to 60” age mandate for curators, editors, collectors, and corporate sponsors for, respectively, all exhibitions, magazine features, art fairs, and highfalutin prizes: meaning that the focus would be on men and women artists no younger than forty and no older than sixty. Consider how different what’s considered au courant would be. Discuss.
Consider the following relation of art and politics: When the dominant discourse strives only for beauty, stress an interrogation of the politic. Explain the validity or invalidity of such a strategy. Is there a way to move beyond the dialectical?

22. American art has no equivalent to Michael Krebber. Even if Krebber never called himself a “painter” or an “artist” (he may claim “actor’), the dynamics of his project depend on a superstructure of paining (its history, instantiations, etc.) on his deployment of “painting” or its absence. True or false? If true, explain why. If false, name his equivalent and explain how.
No artwork in any media has even been auction for a higher price than a painting. Why should this still be so?

23. Percy Bysshe Shelley pronounced that poets are “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Correlatively, artists are the (unacknowledged)_______________________of the world.
a. aristocrats
b. bums
c. antibourgeois bourgeoisie
d. legislators
e. freaks
f. none of the above

24. Looking at people looking at art ___________________________ looking at art.
a. is usually better than
b. (especially artists) is sexier than
c. ruins
d. with Acoustiguides makes for a comedy of errors more than
e. is more or less the same as
f. complicates

25. For any opening, I should be wearing
a. Comme des Garcons “Lumps”
b. Zoran, great jeans, and Louboutins
c. Anything other than Imitation of Christ
d. Martin Margiela
e. A homemade uniform but a great scent (maybe Jicky?)
f. A vintage YSL “smoking”

26. The 2005 ArtReview “Power 100” list included not a single person identified as “writer,” “art historian,” “editor,” or “critic” (not to mention “theorist” or “philosopher”). This list, as a symptom, says what about the value (or lack thereof) placed on critical writing or thinking, relative to other valuations in the art world?
a. The only current parameter is pecuniary.
b. Writing is a mutha.
c. To detourne this situation, discourse itself must be detourned.
d. Judgment schmudgement.
e. Nothing.
f. Everything.

27. Art for art’s sake
a. has outlived its validity
b. is the translation of the motor of MGM
c. becomes me
d. makes redundant any other sake of art
e. has a politic
f. is its truth

28. How does it feel to treat me like you do when
a. you’ve laid your hands upon me and told me who you are
b. I thought I was mistaken
c. I thought I heard your words
d. I see a ship in the harbor
e. I can and shall obey
f. I’d be a heavenly person today