Things I would say generally about Pink Line: I'm a pro-Philippa partisan. I know this threw some folks off when they saw me sending up Philippa this past summer...but make no mistake: I want people in the mix, and I believe there's real value in the encounters Philippa creates. Maybe the party atmosphere puts serious limits on the kinds of content that can be appreciated properly...but art is seldom experienced by the artist's ideal audience, in the kind of transactions the artist intended.
Experiences with works of art generally are contingent, sure, and mean different things at different moments...but like I said to Kriston: The work is what it is, and continues to have whatever potential energy or values it has bound up in itself regardless of whether you're throwing back PBR or furiously scribbling in a little moleskin notebook or something.
Since taking off (more or less) my critic's cap and donning the curator's, I've come to have a very different, much more pragmatic attitude toward this sort of thing. No people, no press, and no money equals no programming and no visibility for any artists.
And as far as the notion that Philippa only creates superficial engagements with art, I would also point to events like the smaller Salon Contras, in which I've participated--see me talking to Kathryn Cornelius here, and Jenn Figg here--and during which I've heard some fairly heavy discussion and Q & A re: why artists are doing what they're doing. It's not all DJs, graffiti, and beer, I'm happy to say.
And then there's this notion: "People follow these people when they have no background or education in art or architecture or literature or humanities. It’s a party crowd [that follows Hughes]. It’s not a group of intellectual or sophisticated people. They’re like party wraiths.”
This question of whether the people Philippa attracts are the right sort of people...or if Philippa herself is even qualified or intellectually equipped to do what she does...well, it drives me a little crazy.
I can assure you that there are countless folks working in the arts with far more impressive sets of advanced degrees and credentials than I who have no business thinking or writing about contemporary art whatsoever.
This profession, like any other, is full of well-socialized nitwits, people who've mastered the art of looking like adults and accreting resume lines, but who are intellectually (and, often enough, emotionally) stunted.
The good news about the art world is that it allows--even requires--a high degree of self-invention and self-definition. Artists, curators, and dealers are constantly creating their own qualifications for calling themselves arts professionals. Some of the smartest arts people I know in this town are graced only with BAs; some of the most tiresome have PhDs and offices in museums.
We should celebrate this, look for people with ideas, drive, and infectious energy, and just run with it already.