sweet! we have the same birthday! hahaha

by michael on September 4, 2008 at 6:43 am. #

I wanted to ask you a question about Art criticism. I’ve noticed that you are quite a prolific Art writer/observer but rarely negative about anyone’s ‘Art’. Your ‘excuse’ is…. “I have a theory that the best critics of art and literature all realize […] — that criticism begins and ends with the self, ultimately.”

And I have to ask myself if you do not also simply suffer from one of the symptoms of contemporary etiquette. If you find language crippling, then how does peer pressure fit into the equation? The question arises because:

(i) of the frustration I feel regarding this modern social imposition, this almost PC straight jacket that makes one act in such a way as to avoid saying or doing anything that will attract the kinds of inevitable abrasive reaction that negative criticism of anything attracts nowadays. I can’t help feeling that in all your critiques there is an undercurrent of what you really think, and that the rest is career lip service and has little to do with real perception. Its almost as if all Art now produced is perfect. It isn’t. It is the same as for any industry produce; ie, the efficiency of light bulbs: it’s quality can be measured on a guassian curve where failure or malfunction is quantified …. and admitted, ….. but not for Art.

(ii) when I was prolifically exhibiting ‘Art’, these descriptive, rather than critically honest considerations of my work kept me complacently producing mostly crap onto which art writers would project all sorts of insights which just weren’t there. [The good stuff they would simply ignore and never comment on.] ‘They’ would have produced better Art by saying my work was crap. I am thankful that at least one critic, John Hughes has the guts to say that both Basquiat and Hirst are crap

(iii) As a result I feel an urgent and subversive need to establish some kind of metrics system for Art literacy, so that everyone can understand Art. A kind of outrageous measuring system that would discredit everyone’s work once everyone could not only understand all Art, but also why it was important. (A total orphan departure point in some ways: despite knowing that such a thing is somehow impossible.) Why should this be done now? Because we are heading towards an Arts based society anyway, but one where brands such as Basquiat and Hirst will be the “Artists”, and where the implication is that real Artists will be obsolete.

by Anna Zannella on August 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm. #

sorry … Robert Hughes… not John, …

by Anna Zannella on August 21, 2009 at 7:36 pm. #

Hi Anna,

Thank you for writing. I’m not sure how much of my art criticism you’ve read, but I think that saying I’m hardly ever negative is a gross misstatement. If you browse through the archives on this site, you can find a review where I state that Jeff Koons is the worst living artist. More recently, I wrote a candid review of Stephane Pencreac’h’s Berlin exhibition that was hardly flattering. Elsewhere, I’ve been extremely critical of Terence Koh, another living artist I don’t care for at all — considering the fact that he is one of the darlings of the art world, I hardly see how my criticism of his work could be construed as career lip service. The fact is, I don’t make a living writing art criticism — it’s nearly impossible to do so — so I have no real motivation to be unnecessarily flattering. If you read more of my art writing — that collected in my book Disorientations and on this website — I think you’ll find that I agree with most of the opinions you’ve expressed above.

You do bring up a good point about the current state of art criticism, however, and I think a lot of art magazines are afraid of publishing negative reviews out of fear that it will drive off advertising revenue. This is clearly frustrating for people like us who understand the value of honest criticism.

I think, like art, criticism is too subjective and wildly individualistic for any one system (such as the one you propose) to prevail — or at least it should be. With the banalization of critical language across the board — which can be blamed on the market or academia or (fill-in-the-blank) — the descriptive, PC pandemic has endured for some time. This is one of the reasons why not so many people read art criticism anymore, but also the reason wherein there lies a possibility of there being a renaissance in art criticism — though I’m not going to expound on that here, because I don’t want to repeat myself — I discuss all this in the first two chapters of the book Disorientations.

by Travis Jeppesen on August 30, 2009 at 9:32 am. #

Dear Travis,

I read your book “Wolf at the Door” and appreciated it very much!.
It read like long poem.
I am currently having an exhibition of my work here in Berlin at the Emerson Gallery on Gartenstrasse 1 and would like to invite you to see it.
I return to New York on the 26th of October.

Warm Regards,

Ellen Sylvarnes

by Ellen on October 19, 2009 at 10:29 am. #

Travis I believe I met you in charlotte when you were in somewhat of a hurry. Thank you for your kind words and I hope you will return to visit the Bechtler often. Contact me when you do.

by Michael Godfrey on March 4, 2010 at 7:05 am. #

hi travis, you helped me get some writing into blatt and the defunct PLR. i would like to send you a new book of mine. Unless you’re annoyed by that sort of thing, send me your address in berlin. regards from prague, geoff

by geoff on April 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm. #

Share MY WORK.

(Ancient Egypt on)


by KUESTA on September 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm. #

Uh hmm. In 2009 while reading one of your critiques I jotted down a few notes while travelling in Australia and then did not observe my “wait 24 hours” rule before shooting off an email, I thought privately! :) to you Travis – and here it is on the internet (wonderful) – Im busy today, but Im going to have to come back and deal with my own ramblings as I don’t make much sense to me … Regards. AZ

by Anna Zannella on February 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm. #

Hi Travis, I just discovered your work at the Whitney Biannual last week and thought the concept of your installation was intriguing. That moment lead me to listening to a portion of “The Suiciders” online and I appreciate the way you describe scenarios. It’s exhilarating to listen to. The way in which you write in “The Suiciders” almost seems as if you are trying to capture a moment when people are intertwined in each others lives on a personal level that allows identities to collide and grow from that point. When you describe how the characters embody a persona called ‘Marc’ is when I felt like maybe our minds were on the same level of thinking which is why I am reaching out for a potential conversation. Can you elaborate on your inspiration for writing? What would a glass of coffee say if you were to give it a “object oriented” perspective? p.s.Thanks for the new reading material you posted tonight. -dmt

by Dana M Treaster on March 24, 2014 at 1:03 am. #

Want more clients and customers? We will help them find you by putting you on the 1st page of Google. Reply back to get a full proposal.

by Donna Gabriel on June 12, 2014 at 9:34 am. #

Passing a bunch of a4´s, ambivalently placed on a shelf, hip height, she licked her left index finger and eased the top page of its columnized duplicates, allowing a miniscule of saliva to appease the reading from a sheet, so delicate in its handwriting, so disposable in its form.

If she could commemorate the time it took to feel a text that she had just encountered, in a way that would serve the immersion of content into its right mind, where she could absolutely free herself of the control, another dimension could climb over her left shoulder and dagger it. It felt melancholically cosmic as an observatory crest can foresee despondant doormatts. But as she scanned it over and over, a moment of silence managed to co-exist as the depth of time took its toll at a crossroad; invade, the only word on the page with a line underneath, and as she further invaded the page she realised something else, that this text took her away from time itself, and that it juxta-posed another reader in her mind; that she was merely reading for herself in a past-time exclusive; On hold for the sake of where the undisputed notion that patience is just another word for…well, for getting old. Folding the a4 into four segments, pocket ready for the rest of the evening, she accidentally forgot to take it out of her jeans before washing them on a way too high temperature, shrinking the favourable fit and finding the a4 watered out and crumbled. Peeling its folding format out like a rose petal, the text had dissolved into her jeans and escaped into another set of fabric, while the last sentence had remained somewhat readable; I will become Time. And that she will not forget.

by Louise Jacobs on September 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm. #

Before,genius creats the world.Now, we creat genius.

by Zoe Mi on September 25, 2014 at 8:01 am. #

A lovely piece of critical writing Travis. I appreciate your use of the kitsch concept, and yet I find the paintings transcend the kitsch component that they do thematize and/or initially evoke. The paintings dare to be beautiful, you are write about that. A great artist.

by Dan Sherer. on January 10, 2016 at 6:18 pm. #

I meant to write, you are right about that.
Also we met last summer, you and I, at Ficken 3000. I will be in Berlin again this summer, hope our paths cross again.
best, Dan

by Dan Sherer on January 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm. #

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