at some point during the late 1990s the task given to art writers was to pack less content per article as the publication packed more content per page (see that these are functions with diametrically opposite curves).
what happened? the media industry offered a miscellanea of reasons:
*"higher amount of characters per column interferes with brain's ability to scan through text easily,"
* "the quartz curve: fast and focused and shareable, but not long enough to be a pay-off for readers,"
*"shorter articles are shared more often,"
*"less is more" (dah)
* "SEO favors leanness"
* "the attention span of a regular reader is 9 sec."
wasn't that always the case for the average homo sapiens reader?
never mind the constant remained:
content = $elling content.
in the context of contemporary art, this new development means,
short reviews = $ale$ pitches (disguised as art fact$).
yet, with more content variety one would expect more stylistic diversity. instead, artforum offers a stylistic homogeneity, which oscillates between the brainiac (either theory-laden or theory-related), to epiphanic rantings (the kantian-sublime-prop implicit). believe it or not, many of these reviews feel unconvinced, as if the text vacillates between the need pitch to $ell and be true to one's own justification to the public —after all these are persons, not artforum robots.
Hanne Darboven’s systematic output is intimidating, partly due to its inscrutability but mostly because of its scope and ambition. This is serious work, as in labor, and it is displayed here to a rare enough degree that initial feelings of awe turn into a strange sense of gratitude.above is a typical example by reviewer Honora Shea. after the epiphanic declaration in yellow, the reviewer has a faux pas:
"... this is serious work."wow! as if one didn't get a goody load in the first sentence, i.e.,
"systematic," "intimidating," "inscrutability," "scope" & "ambition."
and yet, now the reviewer utters the unutterable redundancy:
"this is serious work, as in labor."what else would work mean if not labor? no, she needs to justify her first sentence again, overtly:
"... and it is displayed here to a rare enough degree."why rare enough degree? the reviewer will never say. am i not entitled to take "rare enough" as deferring her conclusion?
initial feelings of awe turn into a strange sense of gratitude.i also share the awing for artforuming.