David Joselit on Painting "Networks"

cross-posted to Paddy Johnson's blog (sorry for the lack of para breaks over there, I fear the dreaded "n/n"

More on the David Joselit essay that an AFC commenter considered timely on the topic of "painting vs cyber-everything-culture."

The essay starts with obligatory reference to the crazy world of cyber-networks in which we increasingly spend our time but then drops the subject. Other than saying you can look up "internet maps" on Google and not learn very much (well, duh) there is no comparison of current painting to Internet architecture or new media practices such as GPS art that attempt to make sense (or nonsense) of the web.

Instead, Joselit leaps back into the timeworn discourse of postmodern challenges to the autonomous Modernist object. Paintings that refer to information outside themselves are given a new, clunky title, "transitive painting."

Joselit assumes as given that we can't completely abandon the ancient practice of smearing pigment on a support but must find ways to make it intellectually and morally justifiable. He acknowledges painting's role in the market (somewhat tepidly--the truth is painting sales keep the art world on life support and allow shows of "immaterial" art) but can't or won't think outside the frame presented by his chosen artists and what are probably his own preferences.

His article heaps one shaky assumption on another and concludes by lumping Amy Sillman (who sells stand-alone paintings) into his transitive canon because she has overlapping images in her canvases. (As AFC commenter vc noted.) This was before her current show where she offered a zine and CD in addition to the paintings, as if to fill in something Joselit left out.