David Thompson
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January 11, 2016

Comments

Rob

The Boston Institute of Contemporary Arts sounds like it is overfunded by at least one salary.

Jen

Ms Schaefer, who teaches performance art to those less gifted than herself, has been described by the senior curator at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art as “amazing,” “compelling” and yet inexplicably “underfunded.”

Lol. Surely the general public is crying out for stuff like this? :-)

David

Surely the general public is crying out for stuff like this? :-)

After nearly a month of being available online to a public no doubt hungry for performance art, both videos had been watched a grand total of once.

And I think that may have been me.

Lancastrian Oik

My permanently-pissed-off-at-everything-and-everyone 13-year-old nephew does that kind of thing all the time.

He too believes himself to be inexplicably underfunded.

Carlos Perera

Finally! In Sandrine Schaeffer feminists have an _artiste_ who is poised to displace the dead white males--you know, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Durer, Monet, van Gogh, Rodin, etc.--who posthumously impose their oppressive patriarchal norms on the distaff half of art world. Gaia be praised!

R. Sherman

Through this enquiry, I hope to discover new possibilities for collaborations with these everyday machines.

I realize, I'm but a lowly, unsophisticated provincial, but it's hard to imagine what "new possibilities for collaboration" exist between me and the automatic doors at my supermarket. Didn't I shoot my wad the moment I was able to walk in to buy Roma tomatoes without breaking my nose on the glass?

Watcher In The Dark

Most collaboration with automatic sliding doors is walking through them, or when not automatic-the-way-you-expect, walking into them. The third possibility is getting something important trapped between them when closing, which leads me to various naughty thoughts. Sorry.

Sam

I've now spent half my lunch hour watching an idiot drying her hands.

You'll pay for this, Thompson.

David

No refunds. Credit note only.

Millie Woods

Used to be that you had to visit Bedlam for this kind of entertainment.

Baba

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll wonder about how the arts get funding from taxpayers.

tom@drum

Autism.

David

Ms Schaefer was a recipient of the Boston ICA’s 2015 Foster Prize.

PiperPaul

"teaches performance art to those less gifted than herself"

People in comas?

David

You’re a tough crowd to please.

Steve E

I look forward to the sequel where she pushes all the elevator buttons in a 50 storey building to the delight of those on their way to work.

Nikw211

You’re a tough crowd to please.

I’m actually genuinely insulted by the arrogance and evident contempt this woman displays toward art and other people.

There is nothing of substance here, so it’s the kind of thing that cannot survive without some lengthy discourse, no doubt borrowed wholesale from Frederic Jameson or the someone of that ilk, to explain it’s ‘real’ significance.

But such a text completely undermines the need for any visual work at all; it’s like the worst piece of marketing in the world.

In fact, if it’s like anything at all from the art world, it’s like this.

David

completely undermines the need for any visual work at all

That’s the thing. There’s nothing to reward the senses, nothing at all. No aesthetic. Just a bare pretence of being cerebral. A pretence that’s, as you say, insulting. Because this, apparently, is good enough to fool the likes of us.

TheTooner

Must be art. As Red Green says, I'm no artist so if I can do it, it's not art. And I couldn't do that, being too busy doing anything else, including doing nothing. So I guess that must be art, and she must be an artist.

Farnsworth M Muldoon
Because this, apparently, is good enough to fool the likes of us.

It would be easier to swallow if their antics were deliberately designed to fool us as it would be like watching a stage magician. However, the unfortunate truth is, and I speak from having lived amongst them in my misspent youth, that they earnestly believe their own pferdscheiße.

Where I am torn is whether they should be forcibly institutionalized so as to quarantine them from normal people, just as one would a cholera ship in the olden days, or put them to work on chain gangs or work farms, not that they would be good at either. On the other hand, as they are now, in the US and A, they self-segregate in their "art" ghettos in the uncivilized states.

It would be fun, however, to see this bint try to perform her "art" outside the doors at the local Piggly Wiggly, or see how long she would get away with playing with the hand driers at a truck stop on I-10. Regardless, it may be best for society as a whole that these creative titans live off the scraps from grants and prizes in their ghettos because it is likely cheaper than putting them in a home for the feeble minded.

Their ghettos just need to be clearly marked with warning signs.

Daniel Ream

I have in the past excused some of these people on the grounds that there is clear mental illness involved, usually (in my experience) as a result of severe unresolved childhood physical or sexual trauma.

*This* woman is just a prat.

PiperPaul

"they earnestly believe their own pferdscheiße"

There seems to be a lot of that going around. I blame the internet and its ability to connect and support previously-isolated malignant narcissists. Now they act as a team almost, inflicting the rest of us to a much greater extent.

RNB

"...new possibilities for collaborations with these everyday machines," eh?

"Doors manufactured by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation are programmed to love their simple lives; they love nothing more than to open and close for passing users, and thank them profusely for so emphatically validating their existence."

Doug

"Underfunded"?

How then does she pat for all the lasagna and cheesecake to maintain that svelte figure?

Joe

"collaborate"?

You don't collaborate with tools. The tool makes no action of it's own choosing. She uses the term because it's the kind of word-salad that is used around her to somehow add value to the pathetic attention-seeking (and rentseeking) exercise that "art" has become.

Any soul that identifies "performance art" as a waste of time and a con is displaying intelligence and evolved reasoning, not the reverse as the art-caste likes to think.

mojo

She needs a Nemisis, someone to follow her around to point and laugh at the pretentious idiot. Just to show we CARE...

Elijah

No thanks. It doesn't match my furniture.

MikeG81

I once had a conversation with a self-described libertarian about state funding of the "arts".

He was quite adamant that arts funding was a role of the minimized state. Several of us had a rather spirited argument with him, and the extent of his argument was "I see no reason why it shouldn't be, as it's a benefit to the citizens of the state". I had to stop and have a drink.

Mind you, the same person thought that Canada was superior to the US simply for our state-funded healthcare, and being a libertarian made him so much smarter to see that, and why couldn't we. Again, I had to have a drink.

In the interests of my sanity and liver I don't talk to that person anymore.

aelfheld

Excepting age and remuneration, what distinguishes a 'performance artist' from a mentally deficient toddler?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

...what distinguishes a 'performance artist' from a mentally deficient toddler...

The latter, even if by accident, might produce something you wouldn't be ashamed of.

kvd

Reminds me of Temple Grandin, or at least that lovely film about her life - one part of which dealt with her difficulties with such doors.

wyatt bridger

Yeah, this kind of thing could be interesting if she weren't such an unimaginative lazy person. An artist would produce work which might say something. Or would that be trying to hard?

Spiny Norman

It's the "work" part they are tying to avoid, I'm guessing.

Paul Nottingham

Through this enquiry, I hope to discover new possibilities for collaborations with these everyday machines.

I once saw a film about that. Young women with spin dryers and some small buzzing machines I couldn't identify.

It opened my eyes, I can tell you.

AMB

My housemates used to play a similar game in college whilst stoned. They'd try to sneak off the front porch without setting off the motion sensor on the porch light.

None of us ever thought to ask for a grant, though...

Millie Woods

Tooner:As Red Green says, I'm no artist so if I can do it, it's not art.

Or as my dad used to say "I don't know much about art but I know shit when I see it".

Ray

The question I can't get out of my mind is, if she's the star of the BICA, what are the duffers like?

RobAnzac

The best thing to come out of this is Tooner reminding me of Red Green.
I'm off to YouTube.

Fay

This is beginning to look opportunely lucrative. Earlier this year I suffered an avulsion fracture to my right elbow (I'm right handed). After surgery and months of physiotherapy, I fell and fractured my right arm.

The things I am now able to do with my left hand/arm will astound and amaze you. Where do I apply for my left hand grant?

Joan

After nearly a month of being available online... both videos had been watched a grand total of once.

You've now bumped her views into four figures. You realize that might encourage her...?

David

You’ve now bumped her views into four figures. You realize that might encourage her...?

Apparently, the tragically untalented need attention too.

David

This morning I was reading a piece by Simon Mellor, an executive director of the Arts Council. Amid the standard blather about “lively debate” and “diversity,” Mr Mellor admits, “Defining what we even mean by ‘quality’ can be frustratingly elusive.” Which, when you think about it, is a major problem, one that our executive director doesn’t appear to have solved. And one that apparently warrants scare quotes around the word quality.

And I suppose that’s the thing. As we’ve seen many times, in terms of public funding there doesn’t seem to be a credible mechanism for filtering out incompetence and laughably vacuous tat. In fact, coercive taxpayer subsidy can be counted on to generate a mountain of bollocks.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Mr Mellor admits, “Defining what we even mean by ‘quality’ can be frustratingly elusive.” Which, when you think about it, is a major problem, one that our executive director doesn’t appear to have solved...

Elusive ? OK, if you can make this using hand tools, you have quality. If you are knitting from yarn pulled from a body orifice, walking in front of automatic doors, or arranging trash in a corner of a museum, you do not.

Easy as cake.

David

Easy as cake.

Not necessarily easy, not always, but nowhere near as difficult as is being suggested. And if someone struggles to define quality in their own supposed area of expertise – i.e., whether one thing is more accomplished and deserving of attention than another - then it’s not unreasonable to suppose that they’re more likely to make funding judgments based on other considerations - novelty, political congeniality or established social relationships with the beneficiaries. Put another way, it sounds like a lack of integrity.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Not necessarily easy, not always, but nowhere near as difficult as is being suggested.

Well, OK, I was being a tad over simplistic.

From your article in the Sun, Arts funding needs reform. It is meant to promote excellence and open minds. I fear it is instead promoting a political tribe and stifling debate. Indeed.

R. Sherman

I should think "quality" of something is inversely proportional to the amount of money extorted from taxpayers to fund it or directly proportional to the amount of money the public voluntarily pays to acquire it.

David

Indeed.

It’s worth noting that an under-acknowledged function of the Arts Council and similar bodies is to disregard – or thwart – the general public’s preferences – what they might actually want and be willing to pay for - while redistributing taxpayers’ earnings to likeminded parties and social contacts, generally on the left.

I’ve mentioned before the local city-wide taxpayer-funded arts festival, which is typically slanted towards banal drek, lots of it, and leftist politics. You’re unlikely to find much that’s visually compelling or showing any great skill, but you will find plenty to reinforce an existing left-of-centre viewpoint or pretensions thereof. One year we were treated to a “critique” of “international market forces,” a “critique” of privatisation and “neoliberal policies,” a piece that “highlights economic and social inequalities,” and a film about an attempt to unionise office cleaners. None of which could be described as particularly artistic, or indeed festive.

And this annual subsidised hustle is curated by lefties, features work by artists who are largely left-wing, or pretend to be, and attracts a small audience of people whose politics generally correspond with those of the artists and curators. Despite the publicity guff about the festival “being challenging,” it’s hard to see how any of the people involved are being challenged in this respect. What we tend to end up with, year after year, is an in-group talking to itself - a tiny caste of middle-class lefties leeching taxpayers’ money while telling each other how egalitarian they are.

Joshua

If she received enough funding, could we perhaps send her off to the third world? We could then task her with discovering "new possibilities for collaboration" with those bathrooms, devoid of taps and hand dryers, consisting of naught but a squat toilet. Or maybe I'm just yearning to see an idiot jump repeatedly into a shit-filled hole in the ground...

Farnsworth M Muldoon

It’s worth noting that an under-acknowledged function of the Arts Council and similar bodies is to disregard – or thwart – the general public’s preferences – what they might actually want and be willing to pay for...What we tend to end up with, year after year, is an in-group talking to itself - a tiny caste of middle-class lefties leeching taxpayers’ money while telling each other how egalitarian they are.

Yep. I have a friend who recently left his job as director of a gallery/museum due to the fact that he was never going to be able to convince the local equivalent of the Arts Council and the proto-hipsters that staffed the place, that the reason the joint was circling the drain (as it also relied on contributions and visitors) was that they only showed stuff they, and not Billy Bob and Betty Sue Baggadonuts, wanted to see.

Far from being real egalitarians, they look down upon, but must lift up, the knuckle dragging Billy Bob and Betty Sue so that they realize that they really don't want to look at yet another masterfully done watercolor of some rural scene, but instead witness the genius of a deck of playing cards tossed in a corner, indistinguishable from a game of "52 Card Pick-Up" - an installation over which I myself actually marveled.

Burnsie

Over 1,000 views now? There must be some sad demand for OCD porn.

I see performance artists as pathological attention-seekers who simply don't want to invest the time and effort into becoming actual "performers" or "artists." They just want the same accolades without the work.

And it does take a modicum of talent to become an actor, singer, dancer, musician, painter, sculptor, illustrator, writer, poet, etc. which likely eliminates 99% of these posers.

Mags

Through this enquiry, I hope to discover new possibilities for collaborations with these everyday machines.

For part three will she cause a massive queue at the self-service checkout?

David

Over 1,000 views now? There must be some sad demand for OCD porn.

I think that’s you lot. Hey, I’m not judging.

David

And then of course there’s this.

Henry Neff

This is art? I am not surprised she is underfunded. I would be shocked if she was funded at all.

Johnathan

They snickered at Picasso and Duchamps too. This woman will be respected one day, mark my words!

ac1

It's an iron rule of economics that subsidy creates more of something but at a lower quality.

Looks like we've discovered the level of subsidy whereby zero quality is created.

Jimmy

"Defining what we even mean by ‘quality’ can be frustratingly elusive." Which, when you think about it, is a major problem, one that our executive director doesn’t appear to have solved. And one that apparently warrants scare quotes around the word quality.

The importance of this definitional problem cannot really be underestimated. It influences the style of pedagogy present at the highest and lowest levels of art education. If you cannot define quality (or success) you cannot suitably define the lack thereof, and "teaching" art becomes little more than a game. I know not all art schools and local committees are so bad that they cannot respect simple boundaries, but it has gotten bad enough that we have to tolerate the Schaefers of the world sponging public money on a regular basis.

banal drek

This could be a photo from the school I attended, but we didn't have vertical blinds. The artwork has exactly the same overall effect yet. There's a lot there but nothing draws you in.

I sneeze in threes

"for collaborations with these everyday machines....." what about this,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA

or this

http://www.maniacworld.com/birds-figure-out-automatic-doors.html

Gene

OK Go is brilliant. I'll buy a record or 2 just to reward them for that video.

Shiggz

Her preoccupation with the automatic doors is because they daily exceed her contribution to society and purpose of xer existence all for a fraction of the cost.

Smoke me a kipper I'll be back for breakfast.

brilton

Related. A friend of mine posted a link to this on Facebook, without irony. "On Being An Unemployed Arts Graduate".

http://www.thebookoflife.org/arts-unemployment/

You might like it David. Personally, my eyes glaze over reading this kind of stuff.

dicentra

Between her and Hirundo rustica, I'll gladly take the door-opening birds.

They at least build useful things (nests) and benefit society (eating truckloads of bugs).

banner

Compared to this, however, she's actually quite sane:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2016/01/after-cologne-we-cant-let-bigots-steal-feminism

Luther Wu

Ah, the art world; adding support columns in the basement of Andres Serrano.

jones

Wow,

That is wormhole deep man....

brilton

Thanks for that link, banner - not. Should've come with a trigger warning. Reading that is a bit like popping a soft-centred chocolate into one's mouth, only to find shit on the inside.

banner

You're right - my bad.

Could have been worse though, if she'd delivered it in person she'd have been spraying flecks of spittle in your face such would have been the force of her enraged passions.

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