The exhibition READY OR NOT IT’S 2010, organized by the Jogging collective and virally announced just one day ago (March 30, 2010), is an open call for artists to post work or link to themselves en masse through the stream of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Facebook Wall right now (today—March 31st, 2010).
The point of the show is to resist the hierarchical historicization and canonization of contemporary art by art museums and other art institutions.
In the words of the exhibition’s announcement text:
…digital artists should take the task of historicization into their own hands.
The manipulability of art museums’ Facebook walls allows artists the chance to wrest curatorial control back from institutions empowered by years of exclusionary practices.
As one begins to view the exhibition, the impressively active and continually growing stream of art posts on the LACMA Wall by a broad spectrum of artists seems like an event–a “happening” right there in the virtual space of a collecting museum.
However, as one continues to watch, one might begin to grow anxious about all of this happening.
What is happening?
Is this really the emergence of a Web 2.0 resistance to art world gatekeeping?
Or is LACMA’s authority is simply re-inscribed?
As one continues to view the exhibition, the artists and artworks may come across less as liberated individuals expressing their individuality and more as ammo—data—or, in Jaron Lanier’s lingo, “gadgets.”
This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting happening here.
On the contrary, one begins to take-in an alternate point-of-view regarding the way in which art might work in the network:
That is, as a stream.
The art occurring on the LACMA wall right now is not found in the individual posts (as interesting as many of them are), but rather in the visibility of the stream of posts itself—the curatorial gesture by Jogging.
In an interview on the Counterfeit-Mess tumblr, Jogging’s most visible member Brad Troemel speaks to this very understanding of contemporary creative practice as an ongoing, publicly-visible, and remotely-followable stream:
A couple years ago when I became a Photographer-hater, I realized that you can’t possibly explain the world through a single tool.
I feel that way now in regard to The Art Project, that 10 projects can’t explain everything or anything either.
All you can do is have a constant engagement with art, trying to find meaning.
On Jogging, we, the creators, are the art and artists.
Creating this way makes assessing/accessing our work on the whole difficult.
There’s no fitting “grading rubric” for everything at once because the intent of the art is multiple.
So, you can either assess every single work individually, or, you can assess us, ourselves, as the work.
With this in mind, READY OR NOT IT’S 2010 becomes another status update in Jogging’s own publicly-visible stream.