Tuesday 28 June 2011


I was suprised and pleased to see Walker Art Centre director Olga Viso giving an honest and personal take on this year's Venice Biennale

Philippe Parreno’s slight and almost pathetic marquee of lights over the entrance to ILLUMInazioni seems to announce it all: a Biennale in malaise, full of deflated artistic gestures and impotency. The sense of “artistic stultification” — to appropriate language used in the Biennale’s exhibition guide to describe Maurizio Cattelan’s hundreds of taxidermy pigeons that line the ceiling and rafters of the Arsenale — was pervasive.

... On the journey home, I found myself continuing to contemplate the 2011 Biennale with curiosity and intrigue. Was my overall impression a generational one? Did my memory of past biennales that had more impant reflect a sense of nostalgia not relevant to the current moment?

This is part of what I wish 'professionalism' meant in the visual arts: the ability and confidence to share professional opinions openly and thoughtfully with an interested audience. I wish it happened more.


Christopher Taylor said...

Dear Courtney
Given your comments in this post I'm suprised you never refer to or very rarely mention EyeContact on your blog, if you, as you say you do, value honest exchange of ideas and critical thinking about contemporary art. Seems out of character to be so unaware of what so many in the visual arts are reading.

Why don't you bring this vital and very widely read (approx. 3000 unique visits a week from all over the world) online journal to the attention of your listeners and readers? By the way your link should be changed from 'John Hurrell's Blog' to EyeContact as this has been the case for over a year now.

Best wishes
Christopher Taylor

Courtney Johnston said...

Hi Christopher

Thanks for dropping by and calling attention to EyeContact. You're right, it's been remiss of me not to update that link.

You say you're surprised that I never mention EyeContact. I'm a regular if infrequent visitor to your site - so, not quite one of the 3000 unique visits you mention. While it's no doubt a hotbed of opinion, I don't find EyeContact to be a particularly pleasurable or engaging read, the comment streams are often pointlessly combative and John Hurrell's persona as moderator feels headmasterly.

Credit where credit is due, you and John have built a community and (hopefully) an income stream. It's simply not a community I want to spend a lot of time in.

Christopher Taylor said...

Hi Courtney
Fair enough. I appreciate your frank comments.
Best wishes