Saturday, February 9, 2013

Open Model today at KU and A New Buzz Phrase: International Art English

Don't forget open model today at Art and Design.  The session is from 11:00-2:00 in room 405.  It is free and open to the public.  Bring drawing supplies. 

photo of bodybuilders next to gymnasts

New Buzz Phrase: International Art English
Many of us roll our eyes at the pompous language some critics use to describe art.  Now this type of writing has a phrase: International Art English (IAE).

An influential article was published last summer by Alix Rule and David Levine in the online art journal  Triple Canopy .  It caught many people’s attention as it hit a nerve on what many see as a problem in art criticism; art writing is often taxing and non-descriptive.  Rule and Levine write (the language) “has everything to do with English, but is not English.” Rule and Levine used a search engine to examine trends in digital archives of gallery press releases, and found frequently used phrases.  The tone of the article is playful and also serious. 

They write: Here we find some of IAE’s essential grammatical characteristics: the frequency of adverbial phrases such as ‘radically questioned’ and double adverbial terms such as “playfully and subversively invert.” The pairing of like terms is also essential to IAE, whether in particular parts of speech internal psychology and external reality or entire phrases.

Serious critics are still writing about this article, such as the Guardian's Andy Beckett on January 27.  In A user’s Guide to Art Speak, he comments: With its pompous paradoxes and its plagues of adverbs, its endless sentences and its strained rebellious poses, much of this promotional writing serves mainly, it seems, as ammunition for those who still insist contemporary art is a fraud. Surely no one sensible takes this jargon seriously? And “One day, we might even look back on IAE with nostalgie-on its extravagant syntxz as a last product, perhaps, of the boom years.”

Recently, Christina Patterson’s wrote in her article for The Independent on February 6 , Why It’s Time to Dump the Jargon. The art world uses words everyone else has dropped.  And when you went to see the art, you might even wonder if the people who were using language you couldn't really understand were trying to hide something: and that what they were trying to hide was the fact that the work, which they wanted you to think was clever, and interesting, and worth thinking quite a lot about, often wasn't clever, or interesting, or worth thinking quite a lot about.

Read Levine and Rule's article here:

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