This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some arts publications that we regularly read and love, and this week we’re focusing our attention on the work of Momus. Senior editor Casey Beal writes, “This piece, by Publisher and Editor Sky Goodden, is set during a gallery-viewing trip to Los Angeles which—like so many other things—acquired an unexpected gravity in the immediate, stunned aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Writing through what felt like a pall, Goodden eloquently negotiates an impossible weight the artworks weren’t designed to bear. Equal measures slow and timely, the essay conjures a style of criticism that tries to engage with art and its position alongside urgent contemporary conversations.”
Kathryn Andrews. Black Bars, 2016; Installation view. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.
My first trip to Los Angeles started ten days after an election that diminished our assurance in something like a common good. I booked the flight before that fatal turn, of course, expecting something cool, maybe correcting in the city’s artworld; imagining a community of shaggy game-changers who’d successfully mooted the binary between ambition and good sleep. I met, instead, a people bent, broken, groping for genuine, if inarticulate, exchange. Over five days of back-to-back gallery visits, openings, and meetings, I shared in pressed and fractured conversations about art and much else, that felt urgent and unlikely. I was nearly grateful for my timing.
We want our artists to publicly bleed for us as quickly as we feel our wounds. An ever-renewing online media suggests immediate reflection (and when the editor-in-chief of The New Yorker can produce two of the most in-depth and affecting responses to Trump’s election inside a week, why expect anything less?). However, recent publishing standards haven’t overcome the time-lag that consideration requires.
It’s important to remember that it takes a minute for good art to show up. That the strange, static awareness we feel after an upset—the something-like-silence where we’re observing the noise and fog of our own breath and trying to read into it a message—is not rudderlessness or detachment, but the substance of responding.