A Rhizome.org front page blog write up* by William Hanley begins thusly:
"If anyone in London for the Frieze fair is still tempted to write off the manipulated electronics of the Beige programming ensemble or the kinetic graphic work of the group Paper Rad as interesting but merely stylish nostalgia..."
Since no one is quoted voicing this criticism, it's actually quite likely that
"William Hanley is still tempted to write off the manipulated electronics of the Beige programming ensemble or the kinetic graphic work of the group Paper Rad as interesting but merely stylish nostalgia."
Beige was anything but stylish. Paper Rad has only recently gotten stylish, with Beck videos, etc. Possibly Hanley's straw man assumption is based on some old New Media people (of the sort who haunt the Rhizome boards and opine about whether Networkism is the next "ism") being threatened by the emergence of talented younger peers getting a toehold in the gallery system after the failure of "Net Art" in the 2000-2002 Whitneys. I don't know, just a guess. I followed some of the Networkism thread and if anything deserves to fail in the marketplace of ideas or otherwise, that is it. Too many warmed over conceptualist assumptions, boring, old, tedious, ugh.
Update: Paddy Johnson notes that I cut off Hanley's quote (I figured you could read the whole thing at the link):
"If anyone in London for the Frieze fair is still tempted to write off the manipulated electronics of the Beige programming ensemble or the kinetic graphic work of the group Paper Rad as interesting but merely stylish nostalgia, the exhibition Tha Click, which opens at E:vent Gallery on October 6th and runs through November 4th, should prove that over the last 10 or so years, both ensembles have made a remarkably substantive and genre-shaping contribution to electronic media-inspired art."(emphasis Johnson's)
Paddy isn't sure why I found the first part of the sentence annoying, because, she believes, Hanley is "right to observe the skepticism that once frequently accompanied media art. Cory Arcangel himself spoke to me several years ago about the difficulties of being taken seriously for precisely this reason, and the problem (though greatly diminished) still endures."
My reply to Paddy, just submitted to her comments:
The art world didn't object to media art because it was stylish, it objected to it because it was boring, incomprehensible, or overly technical. By contrast, Beige and Paper Rad were immediately embraced, put in Biennials, shown at Pace, etc. There's a Paper Rad book out with a foreword by '80s painter Donald Baechler, for cryin' out loud.** What is this writing off Hanley is talking about? When were they ever rejected?
Paper Rad's first NYC solo was April 2004 and Arcangel's was January 2005--I'm not sure where Hanley got this "10 years" figure.
Update 2: Yours truly continuing to belabor the point on Paddy's thread: "Hanley’s implied 10 year epic struggle for acceptance is a false narrative in the case of these two artist collectives. Since the artists weren’t actually rejected for “merely stylish nostalgia” it’s legitimate to ask why he would use a criticism that specific. Not to make too big a deal out of it–-probably the defensive lead is just careless writing."
*Update 3: The Rhizome link has been changed to http://rhizome.org/editorial/2007/oct/4/8-bit-cliques/.
**Update 4: Ben Jones of Paper Rad points out on the AFC thread that there is no Baechler forward to the Paper Rad book--that was an error in putting together the press materials by the book's distributors.