The Weekly Stripe – 09.04.21
This week we wander into the world of art. However instead of looking at art itself, we're looking at some interesting aspects of its social fabric, which come to the surface when art gets judged and evaluated.
In 2019, the four artists shortlisted for the Turner Prize requested that the jury award the Prize not to an individual but to them as a collective “in the name of commonality, multiplicity and solidarity”. (In 2020, the Prize was not given out at all. Instead, 10 artists received bursaries.) These comments address the controversial gesture and discuss the complexities of judging art.
Questions around awards, how art is judged and by whom, have recently been raised by The Weeknd who decided to permanently boycott the Grammies because of the lack of transparency and “the secret committees.” This article mentions some other notable examples of artists who questioned the processes around nominating artists and selecting winners. This quote by Drake sums it all up: “I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones who come after.”
Staying with music, this article looks at the problem with the established category of “genre” and how that, too, adds to the troubles with awards. Genre is not an innocent principle for how award categories are organized, in fact, as the article explains, “in the earliest days of the recording industry, genre was frequently determined by race, and more than a century later the repercussions of that choice—who gets to make what kind of song—are still profoundly felt.” Remember the controversy around Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” being removed from the Billboard‘s country chart?
Have you been following the hype and the controversy around NFTs? While some argue that this can be beneficial to artists and collectors as it allows for digital art to have verifiable ownership and therefore maintain its scarcity, others point to some ethical and ecological problems this technology poses. If you don’t know what NFTs are, read this article and be amazed at how much someone paid for a GIF