tom moody

Archive for the ‘art as criticism’ Category



hat tips to Joel Cook's icon collection

- tom moody

April 14th, 2014 at 8:49 am

more new romantics


It's not sporting to criticize an exhibition in advance, without seeing it, based on the premise alone, unless it's called The New Romantics and you like some of the artists and shudder to see them branded that way. Hence the present upchucks of sarcasm.

Of the following only three can be held accountable for the newromanticization of their work, and those are the ones who organized the show (in bold): Mark Beasley, Tim Berrensheim, Alexandra Gorczynski, Ryan Whittier Hale, Claudia Hart, Jeremiah Johnson, Brookhart Jonquil, Sophie Kahn, Alex M. Lee, Sara Ludy, Shane Mecklenburger, Jonathan Monaghan, Mikey McParlane and Michael Mallis, Brenna Murphy, Nicholas O’Brien, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Jon Rafman, Nicolas Sassoon, Jasper Spicero, Kate Steciw, Katie Torn, Krist Wood, ATOM-r (Mark Jeffrey and Judd Morrissey), Zach Blas, Ann Hirsch, Miao Jiaxin, Mikey McParlane, and Vincent Tiley.

Will the show convince us that any of the artists are participating in the tradition of Kaspar David Friedrich, Wagner, The Arts and Crafts Movement, Gary Numan, and "Bela Lugosi's Dead?" Do we need to be reassured that this or that chiptune musician or Google Street View appropriator is actually working in the Romantic tradition? Can anyone making art, music, and videos with Apple products ever truly be called romantic, given what we know about Steve Jobs and Foxconn's dark Satanic mills? (Microsoft users are automatically disqualified. But what about Linux -- can a nerd be romantic?) Is a cyberpunk author romantic, or a realist about present conditions? Are glitch artists romantic merely because they dismantle? Are we talking here about romantic in the sense of "feeling romantic when you sip coffee and talk to the barrista at Starbucks"? If not, why not?

hat tip Jules Laplace, a romantic fellow, for the coffee GIF that paired so well with Eyebeam's New Romantics logo.

- tom moody

April 7th, 2014 at 7:05 am

new romantics, go back to the graveyard


When you think of "new romantics" and "internet" the first thing that probably comes to mind is goth girls posing in cemeteries.
Possibly that wasn't the first thing that popped into the heads of the curators of Eyebeam's upcoming exhibit with the unapologetic title, The New Romantics. "Just as the Romantics responded to the industrial revolution," the curators postulate, "this group of artists are similarly responding to the current information revolution."
Ever since William Gibson envisioned Haitian voodoo spirits inhabiting cyberspace, writers have been trying to depict computers and the internet as something other than what they are: soulless cold environments created by nerds to be inhabited by other nerds. The internet is the domain of numbers, statistics, menus, and multiple choice tests. The only way to imagine it otherwise might be something like David Cronenberg's fleshy "game pods" that attach to your spine with an umbilical: a "dream space out of meat space" governed by murky synaptical potentials rather than precise silicon robotics. In the real cyberspace we inhabit, however, no amount of pouty romantic acting out can overcome that it's going to be converted to pixels and aiff files and reproduced on a page where it will be tabulated with like counts and stored with thousands of other similar expressions.

a larger version of my new romantic drawing above appears on Computers Club Drawing Society

- tom moody

April 5th, 2014 at 7:06 am

GIF ladder - and we have a winner

Am not supposed to have these results so soon but as an exclusive for long time RSS subscribers, this is what's upcoming in that GIF competition we've been covering. Here are the final four and the final two:


And a winner:


Garden, by Pitchpot. It's exciting when work you like wins.

- tom moody

March 26th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

announcing "GIF Rescue Service"


So-called art GIFs deserve better than to die in a cock fight or dog fight.
They need love and white space to look their best, not some hideous "tourney" with flames in the background.
Hence, we're announcing an on-again, off-again feature called "GIF Rescue Service," where deserving creations will be given shelter from gimmicky environments of forced wackiness.
When possible, these GIFs will be nurtured by critical commentary.
Art is not sports, it doesn't have winners and losers, and its value is not decided by electronic, quasi-democratic vote.
The GIF above, by Systaime, "lost" to another GIF and is reproduced here. Ironically, Systaime's GIF also depicts a competition, imaginary rather than real, in which a graphic element on a Facebook page becomes detached from its background and plays a game of old-school Pong with itself. Systaime comments on the humdrum, cluttered boredom of another day on Facebook with his fake game, much as a disaffected cubicle worker might while away the hours playing Solitaire. Would that Systaime had remained in the realm of imaginary, masturbatory mock-competition and not submitted to the humiliation of a "real" GIF tournament, an unregulated, unvetted practice where results can be gamed by having your friends vote and there is no right of recount or appeal. Fortunately for Systaime, GIF Rescue Service arrived to save the GIF from a dubious self-promotional judgment.

Update: The name (and post title) was changed from "Operation GIF Rescue" to "GIF Rescue Service."

- tom moody

March 23rd, 2014 at 6:55 am

atomic watch (doesn't tell time)


hat tips GucciSoFLosy for template and Aram Bartholl for the concept of an exhibition on smart watches. See this show [PDF].

Other smart watches made with template:


Motorcycle (3D Hologram version)

Net art smart watch that tells time

- tom moody

March 13th, 2014 at 9:12 am

Airbnb for non-sites

To: NEW INC Review Committee, New York, NY
From: Tom Moody
Re: Proposal for NEW INC incubator project
Date: March 10, 2014

Artist and earthworks pioneer Robert Smithson provided the original conceptual framework for the appreciation of "place" as art. In a "site specific" location, the art remains in situ and is visited by gallerygoers. In a "non-site," the artist collects artifacts from the site such as rocks or machinery and transports them into the gallery for display. My proposed SSLAPP app (Site-Specific Locator App) updates Smithson's ideas for the digital age, through the use of mobile devices and harnessing the power of social.

Informally, the SSLAPP app could be described as "Airbnb for Non-Sites." Your incubation funds will enable me to develop this smartphone app, which identifies potential "sites" and "non-sites" for artists, assists in the logistics of documenting these locations (including local procurement of materials, food, and lodging), and provides end-user logistical support for placement and display of the documentation in art spaces.

While SSLAPP's main function is the development of gallery non-sites, its algorithms can also be used to identify heretofore unknown "sites" and accommodate visitors. The app will be a valuable tool for artists but also the lay person interested in seeing the world as an artist does. It's hoped that the app will also have spin-off benefits, such as scouting locations for the tourist, entertainment, and advertising industries, and, ultimately, the revival of local economies.

I am asking for $50,000 to implement this project, in accordance with the attached budget.

To: Tom
From: NEW INC Review Committee
Re: SLAPP Proposal
Date: March 11, 2014

We are thrilled by your SSLAPP proposal and have fast-tracked it for immediate approval. We look forward to working with you, and seeing this wonderful idea enter the incubation process.

- tom moody

March 11th, 2014 at 7:09 am

Posted in art as criticism

how it will work

tumblr_m1mb33NqpR1qafppmo1_400 you_are_incubated

hat tip to somebody for "i'm twelve" logo

- tom moody

March 8th, 2014 at 8:19 am

accidental Monet

One of the GIFs in this Stage/Agathe André collaboration from the Mutations project made me think of a Monet cathedral. Stage found a Monet and I put it up next to the GIF. Amirite? as they say. Their collaborative GIF had nothing to do with Monet, it's just one of those random intriguing linkages.

- tom moody

March 2nd, 2014 at 7:39 am

Posted in art as criticism

real reply to a fake critic

Wading into the shallows of media coverage of a recent Shia LaBeouf performance art piece, Kenneth Goldsmith makes a clever pastiche of the cliched writing in an authorless, Kathy Acker-style mock-review for, with links back to the original sentences Goldsmith cobbled together. Can airheaded writing about airheaded work be redeemed as "surf art"? Probably not. Will this earnest reply to "Kenneth" refocus our values? Probably not:

Dear Kenneth,
Your report gives few details about this performance so I had to resort to USA Today:
The exhibit is a collaborative project between LaBeouf, Finnish performance artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and British artist Luke Turner, according to a press release sent to Time.
It took place at The Cohen Gallery, which USA informs us is "is across the street from BuzzFeed's L.A. offices," adding parenthetically, "Probably just a coincidence, right?"
Like you, the Daily Beast's Andrew Romano was oddly moved by the whole spectacle. "I actually felt something real. Something strange and complex. Something like sympathy. ..."
This is probably more of a USA Today-type story, and USA Today-type performance art, but it's always interesting to see what you're interested in.
Personally I'd like more sociology on how porous the gallery world and the film biz are in LA. I got messages yesterday that Parker Ito had sold a painting at auction for $93,000 USD, which is pretty good for a n00b, and one of the reasons for the high price tag is that film director Harmony Korine is a collector of his art. Maybe as a cross-NY-LA correspondent and assiduous documenter of the avant garde through ubuweb, WFMU, etc, you can help us understand the interrelationship of art and pure promo hype in the tinseltown art scene.
Best, Tom

I confess when I wrote the above I just skimmed the Goldsmith and thought, instead of "this isn't worth your time," that he had simply lost his mind. This will teach me not to skim and troll (or at least, mouse-over), but would still like to see the convo diverted to more new-media-relevant topics, such as the role of LA collectors in market-making for YIBA (or YIBI) art.

- tom moody

February 25th, 2014 at 7:29 am

Posted in art as criticism