Self Portraits

Did you know that the most popular videos on YouTube for 2012 were made by professionals, not users? The crappy, weird and funny videos uploaded by typical users that once made the site famous aren’t as popular as they once were. Is power of the user over? Has the “democratization” of content creation ended?

This ad campaign for the Cape Times takes iconic photos and makes them look user-generated, as if they were taken with a camera phone. I think it’s an interesting mind twist: A professional (and iconic photo) made to look like a user-generated self portrait, but created by professionals. It’s not all that surprising that user-generated photos continue to be commodified (err.. Instagram) but I still think it’s a fun and interesting take on this dynamic!

I’d be really cool if an artist could appropriate the appropriation. Give the power back to the user!




Blocking Black Friday

Don’t even think of going shopping on Black Friday. You don’t need anything and you probably have enough crap as it is.
Instead, I’m going to a museum!  Here are four shows I’m really excited to see (their descriptions via the NY Times since I haven’t seen them yet) and, of course, when their admissions’ are free if you can’t make it this week.
Exhibition view of Wade Guyton OS at the Whitney Museum of America Art
★ Whitney Museum of American Art: ‘Wade Guyton: OS’ (through Jan. 13) Something of a rarity this fall season, a beautiful, thoughtfully staged show makes a cogent case for a young painter with no overt political ax to grind working in New York. Made entirely with computer, scanner and printer — the OS refers to computer operating systems — his works methodically explore the possibilities of technology as just another if especially up-to-date paintbrush. The results are full of glitches and irregularities that provide their own pictorial life, full of the ghosts of painting past and strikingly original. (212) 570-3600, (Smith)
Pay what you wish on Fridays, 6-9
★ Metropolitan Museum of Art: ‘Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop’ (through Jan. 27) This absorbing, often amusing exhibition offers abundant evidence that photographers have been cheating since shortly after the medium’s invention almost two centuries ago. It features prints dating from 1846 to the early ’90s made from altered negatives; seemingly realistic images made by piecing together two or more negatives; hand-colored black-and-white prints; Surrealistic montages; and conceptual confections contesting the ideal of photographic truth. (212) 535-7710, (Johnson)
Pay what you want any day of the week.
★ Brooklyn Museum: ‘Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art’ (through Feb. 3) This big, intellectually enthralling exhibition of Conceptual works from the 1960s and early ’70s is not a conventional museum period survey. Rather, it approximates how the rise of Conceptualism was seen while it was happening by one person: the curator, critic and writer Lucy R. Lippard, who was an extraordinarily energetic participant in and promoter of a trend that brought us the triumph of mind over matter in art. Anyone who wants art to be radically defiant of the market-driven system must see it. 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, (718) 638-5000, (Johnson)
Free on First Saturdays
And while those shows are closing within the next few months, Martha Rosler’s Meta-Monumental Garage Sale at MOMA (Free every Friday from 4-8pm) only lasts from Novemeber 17-30! For her first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York–based artist Martha Rosler presents Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, a classic American garage sale where visitors can browse and buy second-hand goods sold by the artist. Lest you think this is a fetishization of the commodification of art:
“It’s not symbolic activity. It’s real activity. Like most things, it has symbolic dimensions. But it is what it is.