This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
"Who writes? For whom is the writing being done? In what circumstances?," Edward Said said, asking after the intellectual conditions of production proper to a humanist criticism. (A modifier about which he confessed to have "contradictory feelings of affection and revulsion.") Though Said was invested in a slightly different field his observations apply equally to a a bumper crop of art writing. With regards a given professional constituency: "Once again we are back to the quandary suggested by the three thousand advanced critics reading each other to everyone else's unconcern... what is the acceptable humanistic antidote to what one discovers, say amongst sociologists, philosophers and so-called policy scientists who speak only to and for each other in a language oblivious to everything but a well-guarded, constantly shrinking fiefdom forbidden to the uninitiated?" Well one such prescription might be opening at The Center for Book Arts this Wednesday; Artist as Publisher includes a great number of artists who have "embraced independent publication as a means to bypass the gallery system, to produce new artwork affordably, and to distribute their artwork widely and on their own terms." Of course it remains to be seen which direction Omar Lopez-Chahoud's curation will emphasize - and though its hard to imagine a discourse more oblique than the one currently on offer; that's precisely the appeal of this show, insofar as we don't know what art writing might look like when pulled out from behind the lens of an overheated industry.