THE BLOG
02/25/2014 01:59 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2014

Two Art World Pet Peeves Collide and Break My Writer's Block

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging much recently. Let's call it a case of writer's block that took being sent into apoplectic shock by a recent outbreak of artspeak to cure.

As you know, MOCA has hired Phillipe Vergne as its new director. In the LA Times article announcing the hire, the writers chose the following quote to introduce us to Vergne:

My vision is to commit to the most experimental artists of our time, but also to contextualize their work within a broader context," Vergne said in an interview. "And I think Moca's collection is one of the best to contextualize that kind of experimentation. [emphases mine]

Really? Are we expected to blindly accept this drivel? Once again no one seems to notice that the emperor is naked. Can we raise the bar an inch or two? This isn't even good artspeak (an oxymoron if ever there were one)! It reminds me of trying to fake answers on essay questions when I didn't have a clue.

I decided to investigate and see just who this Phillipe Vergne character really is. And OMG! I found a video of an hour-long lecture by Vergne defending one of my other all-time pet peeves, the work of artist Gedi Sibony.

Quoting from my own blog, here is my one and I hope only experience of Sibony's work:

A couple years ago I was at MOMA in New York looking at an exhibition of conceptual works from the museum's permanent collection. One piece consisted of an ordinary vertical window blind laid out on the floor. There was some explanatory text saying that the artist had had an epiphany of sorts as he removed the blind from an empty studio and carried it across the hall to his studio and placed it on the floor exactly like it was displayed at MOMA. The piece was titled "The Middle of the World." Really? I suspect marijuana was involved.

Click here to see an image of "The Middle of the World." Your reaction?

So I watched as much of the Vergne/Sibony video as I could stand (I'm inserting it below with apologies), probably about 10 minutes, and here is my take-away: Vergne is charming, has great hair and appropriate art world eyewear, a French accent [note to self: consider changing name of gallery to "La Galerie de L'Offramp."], a self-deprecating sense of humor, and is passionate about dry, conceptual art. I have no doubt rich people will throw money at him. Good for MOCA. But what about the rest of us?

Vergne has since publicly stated he will not do much curating but will hire curators and let them do what they do. I'll try to keep an open mind, but the forecast from here seems to mirror our current Southern California drought.

Prove me wrong Phillipe Vergne!

Cross-posted from Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery Blog