Recommendations for July 8, 2012

A short list this week, but all worth checking out:
Article: “Echo Chamber” by Dieter Roelstraete
From the new head curator at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, an article arguing that contemporary art has become too self-referential, too concerned with placing itself in the context of other works, with wearing its influences on its sleeve. At first, I assumed that this was going to be an argument abbot originality, but actually Roelstraete’s point is that this referentiality or intertextuality— if that word can be stretched to fit visual art— means that it is less and less intelligible to more and more people. If you don’t know the works that the piece you are looking at is referencing, it will not make sense to you, and this knowledge burden gets worse and worse as time goes on.  
Video: “MERZbau Reconstruction at BAM”
Kurt Schwitters was a German Dada artist living in Hanover, where he apparently transformed an entire apartment into an art project— not decorating it with paintings or sculptures, but altering the shape of the walls and ceiling, and more. (It’s not clear to me whether he actually lived in this apartment). The original MERZbau, as it was called, was destroyed in 1943, but it has been reconstructed from photos and other documentation. This video shows the reconstruction of the MERZbau at the Berkeley Art Museum in July 2011. 
FYI, I found this through a link in a blog post by Sasha Frere-Jones about the Japanese noise musician Merzbow, who took his name from the Schwitters apartment: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sashafrerejones/2012/06/merzbiebs-things-you-think-you-dont-want-to-hear.html
Song: “Longevity” by Yeasayer
I somehow missed this track when it was released a couple of weeks ago, but it’s a really great song and it increases my anticipation for their forthcoming album.

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