Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mind The Gap: Art & Ethics

MEI Chart from Andrea Fraser's “L'1% C'est Moi” in Texte zur Kunst 83; Michelle Vaughan's Instagram of vandalized Damien Hirst

I was on two panels recently. One was on the question of Art & OWS, the other was on Art & Ethics - I found myself making the same point at both: that high art prices are not the problem, they are symptoms of a problem. Along with high rates of mental illness, violent crime, and lower life expectancy, high art prices are not symptomatic of extreme poverty or extreme wealth, they are symptomatic of extreme gaps between the very rich and the very poor. Here is the point that I made to the OWS activists in the audience of the first panel, and the would-be artworld movers and shakers in the audience of the second: wealth is not the problem and the wealthy are not the enemy. The gap is a problem, and it's a problem for wealthy as well as the poor. If you are the richest American your life expectancy is shorter that the richest Greek, your likely hood of mental illness is higher, and the likely hood that your life will be marred by violence is higher. Corporations are not the problem, consumerism isn't the problem; the problem that plagues us all is the gap.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What Mike Daisey Did Wasn't Fair - It Was Right.

Moses crossing either the Red Sea or the Reed Sea (one make a better story); Mike Daisey opening up an enormous can of worms

So when I found out that one of my favorite episodes of This American Life turned out not to be true I didn't care. Not at all, not one iota. I understood that the author had presented the story as fact, had urged his listeners to check his facts, but that he had lied. It was a great story, while it cast doubt on the practices of an well regarded company, and cast doubt on the enterprise of journalism itself, it in no way made me think less of the author, TAL, or The Washington Post. I still love Malcolm Gladwell even though I now know he lied throughout the story TAL broadcast. My lack of outrage is because when I listen to TAL I don't expect "All The News That's Fit to Print," I expect something closer to the way TAL describes itself: “It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always.” So while I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Mike Daisey had lied about the narrative TAL had broadcast - I was just as surprised, that by doing so, he had somehow besmirched TAL's journalistic credibility. When did Ira Glass graduate from being a talk radio Casey Kasem to NPR's Dan Rather?