Dom Perignon Party’

David Risley (left)

with Christian Viveros-Fauné

Christian Viveros-Fauné is primarily an art critic. His criticism for the Village Voice is a balance of quick wit and quicker opinion on the NOW in art. He’s prose is both brutal and elegant. Better than Jerry Saltz. On a par with Robert Hughes.

Viveros-Fauné's voice is in sync with the momentum of the New York artworld. “Kill or be Killed,” the words spoken by Dan Aykroyd in the ’80s film classic Trading Places before he dupes his bosses in their own backyard of Wall Street, is a perfect anecdote for New York’s market driven obsession with speed and accumulation of the NEW and ballsy (for the lack of a feminine equivalent). The dressed-up scenarios of “Dom Perignon” art collector parties that are part of the networking propriety of the art centres of the world is a far cry from the Guinness “Slops” served on these shores. We are a less sophisticated bunch, or less exposed to these scenarios.

Editor of Circa Magazine Peter FitzGerald’s recent question to Viveros-Fauné in the Circa online podcast was important in identifying the positions that both curators will take: “Are you the person that brings structure, and maybe a bit of international best practice, in terms of how this thing is delivered.”[3]

Viveros-Fauné was the former director of US Art Fairs NEXT (Chicago) and VOLTA (New York). Coincidently, considering our ‘Biennale’ is under the thematic banner of Terrible Beauty, Viveros-Fauné's VOLTA 2008 considered “beauty and its opposite—that is, the twin polarities presented by criticality and aesthetics in contemporary art.”

Also at VOLTA 2008 Viveros-Fauné revealed a dab hand for gambling when he altered the usual art fair model of the gallery group show to solo presentations: a risk more in keeping with Vegas than the strict monetary parameters of the art market. He was also the founder of the “former” Roebling Hall—several incarnations of the for-profit art gallery have come about since the Brooklyn original—, which presumedly makes him a savvy exponent of art dealership. What Viveros-Fauné brings to Dublin Contemporary is an interesting mix of sophisticated awareness of what is NOW in the artworld and a way with words, that is oftentimes aggressively critical. It would be a pity if he left this “different animal” (art market + criticality) behind in New York to experiment with more ‘relational’ models of interruption and interrogation, the usual template for the Biennale “Cookie-Cutter,” where international artists are pushed, or worse still, curatorially framed within the local political parameters and discourses of art-making. The curators did mention in the Circa podcast that they ‘relate’ to the instability of Irish politics and economy, having, as Latin Americans, there own experience of economic crisis in the 1980s with the Argentine Debt Crisis.

The staging of Dublin Contemporary in the autumn of 2011, when hopefully we awaken from the current political malaise, will be set in a context of anti-capitalist sentiment, which could view art as bank decoration rather than politically critical, nevermind politically relevant resistance. The importance of ‘visual’ art was hard enough to sell during the boom times. The potential artistic currency created by inserting a Biennale into a tumultuous environment is viewed by both curators as an exciting time and place to confront issues that have the potential to breath ‘conviviality’ in artworld terms, or a ‘contagion’ from the economists’ vernacular. Like Yeats’s Easter, 1916, which was written months after the event, time will only tell.




The Genesis of a Cookie-Cutter or Hot Potato?

Meet the Curators of Dublin Contemporary 2011: Christian Viveros-Fauné and Jota Castro

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