Not being on Facebook/Instagram is pure heaven but sometimes you miss some nuances of "public" debates.
Apparently the campaign against the Ryder Ripps Craigslist-masseueses-making-art-in-a-hotel project originated with one or more "private facebook groups."
That's a hoot right there -- these groups are "private" to the people they are dissing but not to the US government or the person in Bangalore monitoring their conversations for unclean thoughts.
The smear job was fully hatched by the time Art F City and Rhizome.org picked it up, and legitimized it by referring to pre-existing "debates."
In the '00s this was called "Swift boating." A page like Drudge would post argument masquerading as fact, a mainstream publication would refer to the Drudge item as being "out there on the internet," then when the controversy blew up the mainstreamers would say the controversy itself was newsworthy.
Rhizome.org and Art F City were quick to tell us the bad things about Ripps' project but we learned next to nothing about the star chambers where the "debates" originated.
One of these star chamber types (I assume) was on AFC spreading lies last week and folded like a wet Ramen noodle in a back and forth discussion.
At one point Rhizome's conservator planned to monitor "social media" -- that would have been helpful here as we could see both sides of the "debate" -- the private witch hunting as well as Ripps' hastily-erased inflammatory responses. A reader could make an informed decision about whether the project was, in fact, exploitative or misogynistic.
Instead Rhizome presented a reasonable-seeming comparison of the "ethically unsound" Ripps project with an ethically sound project by Andrea Fraser. And AFC asked if Ripps' work was the "most offensive of 2014."
This gave the Facebook secret society justification for its brown shirt tactics in the name of political correctness (which are continuing, am sorry to hear).
Update: I used the word "monitor" twice here. That was sloppy writing, and gave Rhizome's Michael Connor an excuse to avoid responding to the argument and to be "dismayed" that I thought Rhizome planned to spy on social media. Let's clear this up. When I was talking about Facebook listening in on private convos I did mean monitor in the sense of spying (for dirty pictures and topics that are too politically hot -- this has all been in the news). As for Rhizome "monitoring" social media, that was meant in the sense of "track" or "pay attention to" or "find some way to make sense of," which is an ongoing conversation we've had, about the need for institutional art spaces to come to grips with the fact that art dialogue has moved away from them and into "social" (i.e. commercial) channels. Connor knows this. They never planned to spy on private convos, d'oh, but this Ripps thing reveals precisely the dilemma of knowing how much an institution should cover when one convo generates a smear from behind a privacy shield, another is "friends only," and yet another is fully public, as in Google-searchable. In this case, Rhizome used some of the private dirt (outraged misinterpretation characterized as "debates," artist gaffes) and never gave "public" opponents a chance to argue.