Back in the '90s yrs truly curated a show in Dallas called "Analogues of Modernism," containing modernist-style painting, sculpture and craft. The essay included some defensive nods to the fact that digital was taking over and painting was somehow holding the line against this "multiple choice exam"; however, I also meant "analogue" in the sense of being a facsimile of something. Such a show wouldn't be interesting now (if it even was then); by the turn of the millennium it was obvious that painting had little left but defensive arguments, formal trickery, and, well, centuries of historical continuity. Paradoxically, the scintilla of new content keeping painting alive in the face of insurgent, continuity-upsetting digital pathways was painters feeling they needed in some way to respond to that, by imitating or parodying "the digital."
Whatever conclusions I came to personally, the art market is still driven by painting, so here we are 20 years after "Analogues of Modernism" with a show in the Lower East Side of NYC called "Post Analog Painting." Wait, you mean digital is ascendant now and yet... and yet... artists are still painting? And taking "the digital" as content? What an idea.
The scuttlebutt on that show is that some women artists, riled by the Art F City smear job on Ryder Ripps, rebelled when the gallery wanted to include his work. Then some principled new age males became concerned that they not be seen as supporting misogyny (even though Ripps isn't a misogynist) so the solution to the whole mess was to dis-invite Ripps from the show. So courageous. So very post analog.
In a way, this example of horizontal censorship gives the game away: one reason "internet artist" Ripps was considered was because he made a body of work on canvas, which is a lottery ticket artists can purchase to be considered serious in the art world. Often this means using outside fabricators (as Ripps did). He did everything the other "post analog" artists are doing in order to be players, including "commenting on the digital" by having his work be hand-painted from iPhone images of an Instagram model. Yet the form and content of his painting is so obnoxious and revolting that other artists don't want their work seen with it! (As one artist told me, "then the whole show would be about Ryder.") Better to do a safe version of postmodern abstraction if you're going to be exploring stale ideas.
(As an aside, what is "post analog" about Jeanette Hayes' trite pairings of Sailor Moon and De Kooning women? It's a straightforward juxtaposition of one analog medium [oil on canvas] with another [cel animation]. No one is ever going to be so upset with Hayes' work that it would be banned from a show. It's pleasant to look at and literally superimposes the heroic female over the dominant male's twisted libido. The triumph of the simplistic!)