Dave Hickey Ä 2 ReviewAding John Smith For example a pile of leaves in a gallery that is supposedly about racial euality is invisible culturally until a group of people start loving that pile of leaves enough to argue for itIn Hickey s parlance that love and excitement engendered by objects or events is beauty Or that was implied What was argued was that without beauty there s no reason to talk about the art work What was argued was that Robert Mapplethorpe made beautiful objects and definitely made beautiful art AND Jesse Helms was right to take offense those photos were intended to create offense for anyone who did not share Mapplethorpe s values What was argued was that beauty had been feminized and due to an all too common causal argument demonizedAnyway the implied argument was the point Love and excitement engendered by seeing a surprising thing is beauty And it has profound impact on cultures As for Hickey s impact he wanted less neo minimalism and neo conceptualism which had and has ruled the art world for the last thirty years and a move toward surprisingly new beautiful and intelligent art He didn t want the crass stupidity of the market nor the dead paternalism
Of The Institutional World Hethe institutional world he an art world that walked the fine line between the two art that was beautiful and brilliant and beauty again for Hickey means something experienced that gives pleasure from breaking expectations What Hickey got was the rise of an art world dominated by spe. Reconsideration of beauty and savaged by theoretically oriented critics who dismissed the very concept of beauty as naive igniting a debate that has shown. .
Culation and the rise of dumb pretty artSo Hickey let The Invisible Dragon fall out of print Until now Now he makes the implicit argument explicit He includes a new essay about how beauty works The new essay is longer than the old book The new essay is called
American Beauty I Only PartiallyBeauty I only partially with it since one of his arguments is no longer about beauty but about how beauty works in democracies particularly our democracy in the US His claim is that beauty forms new constituencies around itself That makes sense Think about the way hip hop spread or Tarantino or Cindy Sherman or anything that YOU passionately LOVE But what he also claims is that democracies allow for a faster spread of these constituencies of beauty That also makes some sense The Taliban for example aren t that interested in idolatry And that s what Hickey is really talking about idolatry Paganism His claim is that the US is secretly pagan But I think he s wrong I think that the cosmopolitan areas are explicitly pagan New York City definitely is Paris was at the turn of the century as was London before it In a decade Shanghai might become an even cosmopolitan and pagan city But idolatry and paganism cluster in cities Or at least that s what this former small town id has seen It s not a particularly American thing but a cosmopolitan thing and we will continue to have it as
long as we remain idolatrous and pagan as long as we remain cosmopolitan which I think we reas we remain idolatrous and pagan as long as we remain cosmopolitan which I think we re No sign of flaggingWith this revised and expanded edition Hickey is back to fan the flames More manifesto than polite discussion call to action than critici. I m not rating this mostly because it wouldn t be fair as I was expecting this to pull me out of my disconnect to art lately and inspire me to go to museums again But instead I noticed it was a little over my head and I wasn t motivated to invest the time and look up all the words I didn t Inspirations know and pictures he mentions to really understand the textIn the end this may be great but I wouldn tnow as I was in the wrong place to see it This book is a slow read Mainly because just every pages
hickey drops some idea you that makes some idea on you that makes want to stop reading take a walk and ponder Or maybe I am a slow read I love it This playful little collection supposedly invoked the ire of the art establishment I found it pretty pretty tame except he comes down on the museums and curators for pandering to the marketeers or being in collusion he s not really sure His vocabulary is interesting and the writing uniue A well written and provocative read If you are a person who thinks about art you will definitely like this book I studied with Hickey years ago and it was fantastic The man is erudite and uick and always ready with a uip or bon mot When I was his student his The Invisible Dragon was icking the shit out of the art world bellowing that discussing the virtue of an artwork is worthless unless that art work is loved by a constituency For example the virtue of John Smith s virtuous novel about loving people is irrelevant IF no one likes re. The Invisible Dragon made a lot of noise for a little book When it was originally published in 1993 it was championed by artists for its forceful call for