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21 January 2014

Peter Schjeldahl asserts: Chicago is Now a Mere Receptor Art-City

First published December 19, 2007

schjeldahl_p.jpg New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl said in a recent speech given there, that Chicago is a “receptor city.”

Let’s face it, he’s right.

We all know WHY and WHEN this transition occurred from a modest-but-improving “Transmitter” art-city to a “Receptor” one. And WHO was behind it.

As our own Shark wrote, “what Schjeldahl is saying – don’t take umbrage with it – He’s right! Lets act upon it! Question the authority of this small group of collectors/dealers/curators that have so failed the art world here. Off with their Consensoriat conformist heads!”

Schjeldahl also very accurately analyzed and criticized the current international (so-called global, better termed art-fair consensus) artworld.

As Deanna Isaacs at the Chicago Reader so succinctly described his thoughts, Schjeldahl declared that the founding of contemporary museums, Kunsthallen and the like, “brought institutionalism, professionalism, and academicism to something that had been ‘wild and woolly,’ while the prestige of specific art objects, like paintings, took a dive. Since then, the institutions have been more ‘consequential’ than any of the art shown in them, and have, in fact, generated that art ...and spawning the likes of (Neo-)Conceptualism and installation art. Art was created for the spaces available to show it; the public existed to be educated.” This has been exacerbated in recent years by “great heaps of money... which has gone off on its own track.”

This has given rise, I would like to add, to an ever more tightly wound, spiraling descent into crass stupidity, making international art fairs, biennials, inflated auctions and institutional exhibitions into hardly discernibly different venues filled with prescribed, Consensus Correct, fashionable, Top o’ the Pops art.

Let’s face it, Schjeldahl’s right. Both about Chicago and the artworld at large. But particularly about Chicago.

What are you, what are we, going to do about it?

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