There is a dearth of critique in the Bay Area, and what critical dialogue makes it to print (digitally or otherwise) is primarily positive, with negative or neutral opinions expressed in private or via not covering/not reviewing shows. I hear this complaint often, and considered several ideas to somewhat address this – making a magazine, starting a blog or website, etc. This coincided with noticing that Facebook is underutilized for art projects beyond show announcements and networking. On a particularly fruitful day of viewing shows in the city, I found a cafe and started the Curiously Direct Facebook page. The goal is to review every show I attend, to try to say something concrete about why I feel this or that way about a show, and to fit that into the 420 character limit of a Facebook wall post. When I go to shows, I take small notes, then the next chance I get I open any info I can find about a given show (for accuracy, though I miss things that users are quick to point out thankfully) and write my review. The format allows for immediacy, and the potential for dialogue and difference of opinion.
The following excerpt was taken from Curiously Direct’s Facebook page on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011.
Over the next several months we are engaging the legacy of institutional critique, ongoing institutional and organizational experiments, and Gerald Raunig’s notion of ‘instituent practices’ understood as artistic and curatorial practices that “invent new forms of instituting.” Question include: How do artists and independent projects challenge, comply with, and sometimes imitate traditional institutional forms? Further, how should (self-initiated) organizations consider their own operational mechanisms in order to responsibly address the social, political and cultural fabric in which they operate?