Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rirkrit Tiravanija's Untitled & Google's New York offices

2 comments:

YiRan said...

RT's Untitled reminds me... Is it true that you were once in a band?

ART 372-0, Spring 2007 said...

Two bands (not counting high school). It was while I was in the second one that I wrote a review for Frieze magazine of the Whitney Biennial that included Rirkrit's "untitled," to which I addressed the only kind words in an otherwise consistently negative piece.

Like I said in the first class, my feelings about Rirkirt and artists making work like his is extremely ambivalent. Since college I always based my sense of fine art and my own activity as an art critic on my experience of and relationship with pop music. In 1989 I wrote an editorial for a special issue of the Minneapolis-based Artpaper, an issue which we titled "Decentralization, Self-Reliance and Garage-Band Culture," part of which goes like this:

"The idea behind this issue emerged last summer from a discussion among the staff about how some day we were going to start a part-time rock band together. Since then our plans have widened, thanks mainly to a potent mix of books floating around the office: among them, P.M.'s bolo'bolo, Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces, Eunice Shuster's Native American Anarchy, and How to Start Your Own Country by Erwin Strauss. For those who are curious, the proper term for Mr. Strauss's field of expertise is micropatrology -- the study of very small countries. What we're now thinking is that this future band of ours will serve as the basis for a new country. We're semi-serious: we'd pass out a few homemade stamps, maybe re-write our budgets (under defense would go taxes, parking tickets, etc.) and send off lots of letters protesting actions taken by other heads of state. We wouldn't be seeking official recognition, though: any attention would do. Most importantly, we'd be putting into practice one of our most cherished beliefs: that the only reason people should form a union is because they play well together."