July 28, 2008

Still Waiting

by Jerome du Bois

We haven't posted much lately about art and culture in Phoenix because there aren't many good examples of either here. And nobody seems interested in responding to our criticisms. It may be because our comments section is closed due to bad software. The drive-by anonymondos can't drop their dud bombs and have them sit there for everyone to see until we delete them. They would have to email us and wait in frustration until we decided whether to post them as updates. Unlike the comments sections at New Times and azcentral.com, this blog is not a wastebasket for off-the-cuff clichés.

I could have written a caustic fisk of Lilia Menconi's recent review of Gregory Sale's "Love Buttons," in which she enthusiastically misidentifies luv for love, and superficiality for significance. But why bother? Her schmoozy embrace of Sale's silliness merely confirms what I had already written just below. "Love Buttons" is an example of one my wife's mantras: People love mediocrity best.

Chris Santa Maria wrote in his blog a propos our position in this town:

Phoenix boasts a small handful of individuals that are sincerely interested in dialogue about the visual arts. It's a fundamental issue of dynamics between those that feverishly engage in meaning and those that lazily encompass posturing. I think that both of them are in the circle of engagement.

But there really isn't any dialogue, or sincere interest, and not much engagement. When Catherine tried to engage him, in "Fisking Chris," he declined any public discussion. He wanted to have coffee instead, in private. Amy Young's blog on azcentral.com went bye-bye a long time ago. Maybe our piece "Let's Get Verbal" had something to do with its folding. Or maybe not. But "Art Attacks" is gone, and we're still here, still waiting for answers to our questions.

We do get lots of readers checking out earlier criticisms, most recently the one about Adam Allred from more than two years ago. And just this morning somebody looked up "On Being A Leper And A Tar Baby," about Rick Barrs and Amy Silverman from the Phoenix New Times. In that piece I wrote that "our purpose is to get the right eyes to the right words." That still is our purpose.

But we have no illusions about a circle of engagement. As Catherine wrote at the end of "Fisking Chris,"

And as for changing the community in a meaningfull way, at the risk of being accused of crassly attacking your person, I submit you really are naive, Chris. Don't hold your breath waiting for the local scene to change in a meaningfull way. Because it'll be a million years before anything that I do makes any difference at all, man. Later.

The artists and curators in this town just want to lazily posture in their comfort zone, meeting for coffee and congratulating one another. We will continue to challenge them in print, but until they challenge themselves, nothing will change.

We're still waiting, but the coffee's gone cold.

Posted by Jerome at July 28, 2008 11:55 AM | TrackBack