Sure, the follies of art-speak are easy to laugh at, but often criticism of it begins and ends with a dismissive chuckle – which ignores profounder problems. Why should academic terminology be the default vehicle for discussing art? Why is there such an emphasis on newness, schism and radicality? Even when the art itself may be enjoyably throwaway, language pins it to deathlessly auratic registers of exchange. This suggests a subliminal fear that, if the subject in question is not talked up as Big and Culturally Significant, then the point of fussing over it in the first place might be called into question, bringing the whole house of cards tumbling down - Dan Fox, the associate editor of frieze magazine, discusses the contemporary art scene in detail.
With all this talk of Sandy Smith (epilepsy warning on that last link), his greatest project still wants for submissions. Smith: In May 2007 I commissioned an essay from a supplier of tailor-made academic essays. I requested a 1500 word essay that was to "prove that Junior... is the best film ever made." This essay was to make reference to various writers including Freud, Barthes, Baudrillard and Jameson in proving it's case. Yes, that Junior. [more inside]
Psychiatry in Pictures is a monthly feature of The British Journal of Psychiatry which often demonstrates art created by the psychopathologically afflicted. Other installments include portraits of important figures in the history of psychiatry, paintings drawn during art therapy, and photographs of (quite inhumane) psychiatric treatments.
Bouguereau who? In 1900, his contemporaries Degas and Monet reportedly named him as most likely to be remembered as the greatest 19th century French painter by the year 2000. After about 1920 though, Bouguereau and the academic tradition fell into disrepute. His name was not mentioned in encyclopedias for decades. (You probably haven't heard of him unless you read this here.) Conspiracy? Or systematic suppression by the 20th century art establishment? (warning - some art NSFW - the 'him' and 'his' links)