What does the Internet need right now? It’s a hard call, but rather than deliberate, we just went with metalists! This week, The L Magazine’s art section brings you a list of art lists. There’s just 10, but these gems are sharper, meaner, and just plain better than most listicles published. Ever.
1. Vuk Vidor, Art History, 2004
Powhida is a living list-making master. A visit to the front page of his website gives over 10 (count ‘em!) lists about the difficulties of making it in the art world, especially when money’s involved. Powhida’s lists are like a buzzing gnat, always there to remind you about all the art world crap. “What’s Wrong With the Fucking Art World Market,” reads one particularly popular list made. Powhida also lends a hand to artists dealing with mid-career success with lists like “What Can The Art World Teach You.” Boom, Powhida’s good at dishing all types of advice.
3. Richard Huelsenbeck and Raoul Hausmann, “What is Dadaism and What Does It Want in Germany?” (1919)
Manifestos were a dime-a-dozen in the first part of the 20th century. What’s amazing about this list is how absolutely radical some corners of Dada were at the time. Huelsenbeck and Hausmann were no different, wanting to abolish the federal government, institute mandatory unemployment, and legalize all sexual relations. Oh, and enact a “large scale Dadaist propaganda campaign with 150 circuses.”
4. Bruce High Quality Foundation, Art History with Labor, 2012
The Bruces struck edification gold with their recent video Art History with Labor. Taking Martin Luther’s 95 Theses as inspiration, the Bruces spliced together TV, news, and documentary footage to make their own 95 complaints about that convoluted world of art and labor. It’s unclear which points are complaints and which are observations when the Bruces mix together segments on Ayn Rand, the Art Workers Coalition, and Jeff Koons. Overall, it’s goofy, mixing the childish excitement of Sesame Street with the banality of The History Channel, but as Art Fag City contributor Leighann Morris points out, Art History with Labor asks that all-important question of “[H]ow can art exist in an era of Kelis informing you that her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard?”
5. Artie Vierkant’s Possible Objects
It’s a tent with a list of everyone the artist every slept with, or wanted to sleep with. It’s since been destroyed in a warehouse fire.
7. John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971
Paper Monument’s latest publication, Draw It with Your Eyes Closed, gathers together hundreds of assignments written by artists, many of which take the shape of “to do” lists. These include Heather Hart’s purposely vague directive “Take an 18 x 24 inch piece of paper and make a drawing using nothing but your car” and the anonymous submission “Go into your studio. Using all of the clothes you are wearing, make a work of art. Leave the studio naked.” We don’t recommend trying to pull off both of those assignments at the same time.
"9. Jerry Saltz, “Eleven Things That Struck, Irked, or Awed Me at Documenta 13”
If someone’s going to get riled up about an exhibition, it’s bound to be an art critic. We wouldn’t want the profession’s finest [what? list] to be anything other than mercurial, and Jerry Saltz’s furor over this year’s mega-exhibition, Documenta 13, was the most balanced, scathing indictment about an art exhibition we’ve read this year. He scolds the show’s curators for their “control-freak secrecy,” but doesn’t forget to praise the artists who are doing things right, like Ryan Gander. Saltz, just to remind you of his own critical flubs—he’s not perfect, either—recounts a story about how his wife, The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith, makes fun of his poor German skills.
10. David Shrigley, Things Which Are Available With Which To Poke The Witch In The Eye, 1998
On a lighthearted note, artist David Shrigley has come up with a list of 30 sharp implements to stab a witch. Remember that if you ever run into one when strolling through your local enchanted forest.