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Peter Dobey

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Some Considerations Towards an Understanding of the Worlds of Art and Tech.

“Art World/Tech World” Illustration by Willa Koerner. Courtesy of the artist. In my last essay for San Francisco Arts Quarterly I attempted to articulate specific characteristics of contemporary art by observing particular events that made contributions towards defining visual art in the present tense. I elucidated three broad themes, the commercial, the political and the digital. Of the three, it is “digital” that presents the most interesting aesthetic problems, since it has the ability to be an art medium in its own right. Digital art, one of many ways to describe... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 2/16/14

Dave Hickey gets the ole’ once over from East Coast lurkers.

It would seem that everyone under the sun, sleet, snow, and hail is talking about Los Angeles lately. There was the Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair, L.A. Art Book Fair, and an even weightier presence, Dave Hickey. This after the last couple of weeks saw an explosion of speculation revolving around MOCA’s appointment of Philippe Vergne as its new director, and the announcement of their 35th Anniversary Gala, which has to make up for the “grotesque spectacle” of the 2011 incarnation that still lingers in the minds of many an Angeleno. Los Angeles has seen a renaissance mom... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 2/5/14

Art as Psychoanalytic Case Study 2: “DIGITAL MADELEINE, OR VIDEO-TIME IS NEVER LOST OR PAST” at Krowswork.

Taking its cue from Proust, Krowswork’s ‘Digital Madeleine, Or Video-Time is Never Lost or Past’ invites the viewer to explore his or her own relationship to that great adversary of desire: Time. Society tells us our desires are pitted up against it, but is that really the case? Certainly not when asleep, or in that curious reverie we call the daydream. To be awake and conscious is to be aware of the outside world and our interaction with it through perception. When unconscious, or in the hinterlands of the mind when in deep thought, the mind recedes from the charted areas of... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 10/9/13

Art as Psychoanalytic Case Study 2: “DIGITAL MADELEINE, OR VIDEO-TIME IS NEVER LOST OR PAST” at Krowswork.

Taking its cue from Proust, Krowswork’s ‘Digital Madeleine, Or Video-Time is Never Lost or Past’ invites the viewer to explore his or her own relationship to that great adversary of desire: Time. Society tells us our desires are pitted up against it, but is that really the case? Certainly not when asleep, or in that curious reverie we call the daydream. To be awake and conscious is to be aware of the outside world and our interaction with it through perception. When unconscious, or in the hinterlands of the mind when in deep thought, the mind recedes from the charted areas of... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 10/9/13

Art Forgers, Some of the Most Original Artists Around.

The talk of the town seems to be art fraud and the art marketplace individuals involved with it. But what does art fraud have to do with art? After all, the art market greatly effects art, but it is not art. What is art fraud in the grand scheme of art itself? A literal example occurred Tuesday, when Chicago’s ‘River North’ gallery was raided by authorities and the gallery owner Alan Kass was sentenced to six months in prison with six additional months in home confinement. Why? For selling forged masterworks. On Thursday, two men in Laguna Beach were charged with selling counterfeit Damien Hirsts. ... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 10/6/13

The Brits Speak Out to the Spoken For

Judging by the discussions in the British press this week, it would seem more people are beginning to openly acknowledge just how much the viewing and making of art is being determined by people who have little interest in creative exploration and freedom of expression or even the authentic appreciation of art. As art becomes both mainstream and more obtuse simultaneously, the general public is feeling even more alienated and bored by museums, and it seems that people in the art community are starting to feel their pain. Poignantly, three voices connected to the British art community very publi... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 9/27/13

Art as psychoanalytic Case Study: “Fault Lines” at Kadist.

All too often I encounter visual art that has been butchered by theoretical exposition. A particularly egregious variety of art writing often comes from those who apply psychoanalysis to art and present their critical judgment as a diagnosis of the nature of the artwork at hand. In short, they write the art off. These writers do an injustice to the art piece they examine and to psychoanalysis itself, a serious clinical practice that does not diagnose. I say this as a practicing Artist, Writer, and Psychoanalyst. Although it may be my own neurosis, I choose to divide, rather than conflate... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 9/20/13

Doug Aitkens’ “Station To Station”: a cool art project or a fancy ad campaign?

Last Thursday a flag with the word “station” on it appeared taped up to the glass facade of the St. Paul, Minnesota Union Depot train station. Above the word was a symbol resembling hieroglyphics, a signature stylistic device of Lawrence Weiner, the artist responsible for the flag that would inaugurate the Twin City stop of the massive cross country art extravaganza on a train that is “Station to Station”. The sign reads like a metaphor for the event it inaugurated, indeed, it is hard to make heads or tails of what both really stand for. Lawrence Weiner flag inaugurating the St. Lou... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 9/18/13

A Timeline of Important Events in the Art World of the Last Six Months, or A Farewell Postcard from the Summer When Contemporary Art Was Digitized, Bought Out, Boxed Up, and Shipped Away.

This piece is selected from ISSUE 14 of SFAQ. By Peter Dobey This article began as a simple exercise in cataloging the major events that took place this summer in the art world. For a month I waded through dozens of essays, pillaged newspapers, scoured websites, and sifted through thousands of tweets. I had a wealth of information to make a timeline of art events to provide an informative guide to a general readership about the events, ideas, and trends that have impacted the visual arts since the last issue of San Francisco Arts Quarterly. Alas, my mind went blank. In trying to constru... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 9/1/13

Lessons from Egypt: “Revolution Is Art!” A Western Fantasy?

Lessons from Egypt: “Revolution Is Art!” A Western Fantasy? By Peter Dobey Egypt in uprising: One protestor amongst thousands who gathered outside the Qubba Palace ,Cairo, demanding President Morsi to step down from office. The demand of millions would be met in less than 24 hours when Defense Minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi would publically announce the deposition of Mohamed Morsi and the suspension of the constitution. July 2nd, 2013.Photograph courtesy of Keith Lane, from the series “This Feels Like a dream” His work can be seen on his website keithlanephoto... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 8/13/13

Lessons from Egypt: “Revolution Is Art!” A Western Fantasy?

Lessons from Egypt: “Revolution Is Art!” A Western Fantasy? By Peter Dobey Egypt in uprising: One protestor amongst thousands who gathered outside the Qubba Palace ,Cairo, demanding President Morsi to step down from office. The demand of millions would be met in less than 24 hours when Defense Minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi would publically announce the deposition of Mohamed Morsi and the suspension of the constitution. July 2nd, 2013.Photograph courtesy of Keith Lane, from the series “This Feels Like a dream” His work can be seen on his website keithlanephoto... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 8/13/13

The Artist in Public Life: Lessons from Istanbul, in context and uncertainty.

The Artist in Public Life: Lessons from Istanbul, in context and uncertainty. July 10, 2013. Istanbul, Turkey. Tuesday evening in Istanbul. Monday evening marked the first day of Ramadan for the Muslim world. Tuesday the 9th saw its celebratory commencement wind down. Thousands in Istanbul created ‘Ramazan Sofrasi’ meals up and down the same streets their Prime Minister wants to take from them via his own particular fantasy of Neo‐Ottoman gentrification. San Francisco Art Quarterly’s first week in Istanbul for the new column SFO‐San Francisco/International provided great insi... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 7/10/13

The Artist in Public Life: Lessons from Istanbul, in context and uncertainty.

The Artist in Public Life: Lessons from Istanbul, in context and uncertainty. July 10, 2013. Istanbul, Turkey. Tuesday evening in Istanbul. Monday evening marked the first day of Ramadan for the Muslim world. Tuesday the 9th saw its celebratory commencement wind down. Thousands in Istanbul created ‘Ramazan Sofrasi’ meals up and down the same streets their Prime Minister wants to take from them via his own particular fantasy of Neo‐Ottoman gentrification. San Francisco Art Quarterly’s first week in Istanbul for the new column SFO‐San Francisco/International provided great insi... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 7/10/13

A report from Taksim Square Istanbul: Artists react.

SFO – San Francisco/International - Taksim Square, Istanbul In the past decade or so, the art world has worked hard to portray itself as a community without borders. International biennales and art fairs have become ubiquitous, seemingly sprouting up in every city that wants to secure itself as a destination of cultural relevance. This obsession is not a phenomenon particular to the art world. It coincides with the emergence of genuine geopolitical transformations of global relevance. The shifting of world powers, economic catastrophes, booms and the free trade agreements that fa... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 7/1/13

Fiona Mulholland @ Monster Truck gallery, Dublin, Ireland.

Fiona Mulholland: The Mystery of Things Monster Truck 8th of February – 16th of March To walk into Fiona Mulholland's exhibition “The Mystery of Things” is to walk into a dream, not only for its ethereal, hallucinatory quality, but also because every object’s original state has been transformed and given a meaning that is alien to its vernacular one. In Freudian dream terminology, the materials that make up the installation can be seen as the ‘manifest content’ - the literal objects and events that the dreamer recalls, while their effect is the ‘latent content’, the meaning of... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 3/11/13

Re-Finding Art, Alice Maher: "Becoming" at IMMA for Circa Magazine

At its best, art rips us from the inevitable complacencies and anxieties of modern society and allows us to experience a reality that we are often too distracted to engage with. The other day, for the first time in a long time, I had such an encounter with a work of art. I walked through the gates that surround the temporary museum and up grated metal stairs to arrive in a cold, clinical reception room. I continued down the long white and brick Victorian hall and peeked into its galleries. Each room in this exhibition was given a name, and judging by the first two rooms, 'My Empire of Dirt' an... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 2/27/13

Herzog’s Whitney Biennial Piece Is Not Overrated but Under-Thought

Installation view of Werner Herzog's "Hearsay of the Soul" at the Whitney Biennial (image via AFC) PARIS — In a recent article on AFC, Paddy Johnson argues that Werner Herzog’s piece in this year’s Whitney Biennial is essentially a throwaway. She sees Herzog’s contribution as a quick fix for inclusion that relies mainly on “bells and whistles” rather than substance. But her account is conspicuously reactionary and seems to be more of a response to the glowing reviews of the art writers she quotes than to Herzog’s work itself. I agree with her on her main... [more]
Posted by Peter Dobey on 4/9/12