fact checker questions for Frieze magazine

Continuing with some questions about Karen Archey's Frieze review of Ryder Ripps' Postmasters show [sign-in required]. The magazine may or may not have fact checkers, but here is a list of items that probably should have been vetted prior to publication:

1. "In an online slideshow hosted on Tumblr that Ripps created for the show..." Ripps created a Keynote presentation, hosted on Tumblr, six months prior to the Postmasters exhibit, for an Instagram Mini-Marathon in Los Angeles; it was not made for the Postmasters show.

2. Paragraph Two of the review takes several quotes from Ripps' Tumblr out of context. The original is self-mocking humor, channeling an archetypally masculine response to a fashion model's slick-but-tacky Instagram. Archey treats his male panic as if it were real.

3. "[Ripps'] term ['corny-core'] clearly rides on the coat-tails of K-Hole’s neologism 'norm core,' [sic] shortlisted for the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in 2014." Corny isn't the same as norm-y. This is a gratuitous dig and should be removed.

4. "'I decided to hire Jeff Koons’s assistants to paint the pieces.'" Archey quotes Ripps here. A fact-checker call to Koons' studio would probably determine this to be a joke that Archey missed.

5. Ripps also cites Thomas Hart Benton (a notorious homophobe) and the abstract expressionists, but none of these grab-bag references seem evident in the work itself." Why mention Benton's "homophobia" if the subject is misogyny? This dig should be removed.

5. "It’s impossible to write about this show without mentioning the hullabaloo surrounding it." Frieze often reviews shows without discussing previous work by the artist. The "hullabaloo" originated with a smear campaign against the artist by the website Art F City, not really worth repeating.

6. "Ripps is internet hipster royalty, having created the image-sharing messageboard dump.fm and founded the advertising agency OKFocus." Some more examples establishing royalty would be helpful.

7. "Ripps posted images of these sex workers and an artist statement, claiming that their sexual exploitation was symbolic of his own, considering himself underpaid by the Ace." This refers to the earlier "hullabaloo." Ripps' documentation doesn't use the words "exploit" or "exploitation."

8. "Ripps writes in his online slide show, 'as Adrianne Ho is the real winner, with more followers than me.' As if the artist’s actions were null because Ho has more Instagram followers, because that’s what really matters." Again, this takes a joking statement literally, changing its meaning.


Painting Now



Above are scans of my work as it appears in the book Painting Now, by Suzanne Hudson, published this month. Here's the press blurb for the book:

An international survey exploring the many ways in which painting has been re-approached, re-imagined, and challenged by today’s artists
Painting is a continually expanding and evolving medium. The radical changes that have taken place since the 1960s and 1970s -- the period that saw the shift from a modernist to a postmodernist visual language -- have led to its reinvigoration as a practice, lending it an energy and diversity that persists today.
In Painting Now, renowned critic and art historian Suzanne Hudson offers an intelligent and original survey of contemporary painting -- a critical snapshot that brings together more than 200 artists from around the world whose work is defining the ideas and aesthetics that characterize the painting of our time. Hudson’s rigorous inquiry takes shape through the analysis of a range of internationally renowned painters, alongside reproductions of their key works to illustrate the concepts being discussed. These luminaries include Franz Ackermann, Michaël Borremans, Chuck Close, Angela de la Cruz, Subodh Gupta, Julie Mehretu, Vik Muniz, Takashi Murakami, Elizabeth Peyton, Wilhelm Sasnal, Luc Tuymans, Zhang Xiaogang, and many others.
Organized into six thematic chapters exploring aspects of contemporary painting such as appropriation, attitude, production and distribution, the body, painting about painting, and introducing additional media into painting, this is an essential volume for art history enthusiasts, critics, and practitioners.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780500239261
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication date: 3/10/2015
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 787,947
Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Suzanne Hudson is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California. Her previous books include Robert Ryman: Used Paint and Contemporary Art: 1989–Present, and she is a regular contributor to Artforum.


The piece in the scans above appears in the chapter "Production and Distribution," where various post-studio means of getting painting out the door are discussed. It's one of the few purely digital works depicted in the book, so chalk it up as a minor victory for the 1s-and-0s camp (or whatever you call painting that isn't necessarily embedded in the art fair/festival circuit).

mildly critical painting series inspires Olympian condemnation (in Frieze magazine)


Amazing how some artwork can cause a critic to lose all sense of proportion. Frieze's Karen Archey went nuclear this month over Ryder Ripps' instagram paintings (for example, Mona Lisa, 2014, oil on canvas, above). Last year the New Museum-affiliated website Rhizome.org had some vaguely supportive things to say about the same body of work:

Instagram Corny-Core
Ryder Ripps is thinking about Instagram's "mawkishly sentimental tone to everyday common things," a heavily filtered, hypermoody selfie-lifestyle confluence. He takes Adrianne Ho's Instagram account as its apotheosis, and it's no coincidence that Ho's is a sponsored feed, tied to the clothes she's given to model.

I've been aware of a profusion of variously branded content on Instagram for a while now, a result of friends working in the lifestyle publishing world — food, in particular, is a good way to see how this, pardon the pun, sausage is made. Brand diffusion on Instagram takes different forms. There is that which is obviously sponsored, as in paid (to the social network) ads that pop into feeds, or clearly demarcated sponsored 'editorial content' with brand @ing on 'independent' accounts. There is also a shadow economy of soft sponsorship by way of freebies then imaged by trusted native accounts. What Ryder is thinking about is what I see on a daily basis.

One reason that Instagram is so fertile for both styles of advertising is that its discoverability is so horrible — like its owner, Facebook, Instagram closes your feed in on itself, with very little invitation to explore different Instagram experiences, different Instagram worlds, different people. The Explore tab used to filter in all sorts of weird images that were trending, but as of late last year, it now displays things your friends are liking. Vine — wonderful, amazing Vine — in contrast, is all about discoverability, randomness, and blur... [emphasis added]

In her Frieze review [sign-in required], Karen Archey doesn't think that Adrianne Ho's Instagram is a form of commercial debasement, but states, rather, that the model's use of her body gives her "power." Instead of a comment on Instagram "sausage-making," she sees Ripps' work as simple misogyny:

In one painting, [the model's] nose becomes bulbous to the point of disfiguration (Nose Reflection, all works 2014); in another, her face is compressed into an alien-like arrangement (Mona Lisa); an additional work shrinks her waist to a spine’s width (Hourglass). This, of course, is a pointed thing to do to an image of a woman whose power hinges on her body’s appearance and her control over it.

The affront to Adrianne Ho is so extreme, Archey believes, that these paintings deserve to be "censured":

Some male artists, curators and writers seem to think that if they put something that is inadvertently misogynist into the world with purportedly good intentions, they shouldn’t be publicly censured in the name of free speech. If they feel that women demanding to be treated with respect tramples on their rights, maybe privilege has become so entrenched with identity that it has become blinding.

Well, is it inadvertent or not? No sense in asking -- by the end of her review, Archey's outrage has mounted to the point that she might as well be writing in capslock:

The most upsetting aspect of this situation is that a male artist was afforded the opportunity to mount such a misogynistic exhibition at a highly respected Manhattan gallery.

Here's hoping Archey never sees a George Condo show (which happen with some regularity in highly respected Manhattan galleries) -- she's going to be even more upset. Her Ripps review cribs arguments from Paddy Johnson's writings, which were already set at "10" on the bluster scale, and dials them up to "11." Is this necessary? You wonder if they even edit at Frieze, or if they just convert the capitals to lower case and send a thank-you email to the writer.


2 works from newmu triennial

Photos taken with "dumb phone" at the New Museum Triennial (with checklist details):


Tanya Perez Cordova, meeting a stranger, afternoon, cafes, 2014, fired terracotta and borrowed SIM card


Tanya Perez Cordova, chasing, pausing, waiting, 2014, makeup (blush), bird droppings, cigarette ash, black marble

The "borrowed SIM card" isn't visible in the top photo but it's an elegant little mini-abstraction in a bluntly handmade wall-sculpture. The marble piece below also possesses a delicacy that's missing in these grainy photos.

If you DuckDuckGo the words "sim card" and select images, you can sort of fill in a missing detail from the top work. "Sort of" because the cards have different designs and I can't vouch that any of these is the one in Cordova's sculpture. Cordova's card had very little surrounding plastic, no bright colors, and my recollection is the chip pattern was simpler even than any of these designs. Possibly it was a micro-SIM card? If you DuckDuckGo "sim chip" you get mostly the same images but there are some examples of people cutting down the size of cards to make micro-cards.

Despite its lumpy, scalloped outlines, the sculpture itself has a machinelike quality. The groove in which the SIM card rests appears "slotted," as if to receive the card. Terracotta is a building material but also a primordial art material: the orange slab suggests a primitive tablet with the SIM card incorporated as a form of writing. Lots of dystopian science fiction ideas here: it's an earnest parody of a phone or ID card in a postapocalyptic culture, a mysterious future-retro tchotchke in a society more advanced than our own, or an elaborate display in a present-day cargo cult that revels in technological fragments. Or a standard minimal-style sculpture in a "future"-focused New York museum show that will be given a passing glance by most museumgoers, and possibly converted to attractive blog content!