Friday, April 24, 2020

“Kasten” at Stadtgalerie Bern


Culture loves continually reimagining if Hitler had won the war. And art too could use some speculative histories where Judd was merely a megalomanic loon left to the desert, where painting weren't trading cards for the rich (maybe tapestries were still en vogue because communal labor was still too instead of neoliberal myths of genius) and one where "boxes" (Kasten) are the pinnacle genre of art.* Imagining alternative histories are important in articulating that our, or any, history isn't rational, ours are not natural forms, painting is not natural form, that other realms are plausible. Speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Leguin's acceptance speech for National Book Awards: "...the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings." So did the right of so much of our cultural monoliths. Why isn't the world built for people in wheelchairs. Does MoMA really need to get bigger.

*Spec script is something like this: At the end of WWII, Russia is given credit for defeating axis powers and economic recovery is well supported by the allies and emerges global hegemon, emerges victorious in the cultural cold war with a lauded series of traveling exhibitions of Fabergé eggs and the publicity of a Nicolai Pollack who deconstructs the egg into an expression of the contained, drips dye in place of diamonds, is given spread in Zhizn magazine, and eventually transmutes into a postcontemporary situation where global exhibitions of boxes are posted on a website called "" Painting is limited to houses and the remedial Sunday types. The film is dead serious which goes over a lot of heads.