The neighborhood surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) buzzed last Tuesday as moderate-sized crowds mingled on Fulton Street in front of three newly unveiled public art installations. It was precisely the intended effect of BAMart:Public, an initiative to enliven underutilized public spaces with visual art (a fourth project is on view inside BAM’s Peter J. Sharp building). David Harper, the program’s curator, walked me through the installations and explained the project’s genesis along the way.
It is hardly the first time O’Grady’s presence can be felt simultaneously at “establishment” and “alternative” New York art venues. Indeed, she carried out her debut guerrilla performances at the New Museum and Just About Midtown, making sure to shake up the art world from all sides with her insistence that maintaining parallel, racially segregated cultural circles was bullshit.
It isn’t exactly a surprise that this year’s Global Art Forum, an annual discourse on contemporary art under the aegis of Art Dubai, should explore the theme “the Medium of the Media”. The event takes place on the rough anniversary of uprisings that spread across the Middle East, making it inevitable that panelists focused on where art fits into a landscape marked by tweets from Tahrir Square and the real-time dissemination of images of Qaddafi’s corpse.
Acquisitions of net art by the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim, and other institutions have given institutional validation to the genre, but complicated curatorial debates rage over what exactly it includes: Can it be shown on a computer in a gallery? Can it only be viewed online? Can art not based on code count as net art?