Copy+Paste: Curiously Direct

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.

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  1. Alison

    The problem with the reviews on Curiously Direct are not that they are too critical, it is that they display the briefest most cursory look into the show. Often times what he is being “critical” about is a simplistic impression, i.e. “does this look at first glance like smart art?” I am perfectly happy to read critical reviews that are well-founded and show some depth of analysis, or put the art into a semiotic or historical context, but Harbour’s simply don’t do it. Perhaps the baseline is not enough education, travel or life experience to support this type of practice.

  2. harbour

    Points taken, though its hard not to read your comment as mirroring the shallowness of my reviews. The format of Curiously Direct allows for extended reviews, comments, and as sort of critic I am always hoping to start a discussion about a given show, and to have my opinion changed/expanded by the process. If there was a particular review you felt sold a show short, please comment on it, (adding a mix of education, travel or life experience)

    The goal is a snapshot of the bay area art scene, in practice most people walk into an art show and have an opinion about what they see, panning or praising quite quickly. I do my best to read statements, look into the shows online etc before posting these tiny reviews, and I do a fair number of them, any help, input is very welcome.

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