On the valuation of art

A 2015 survey found 70 percent of artists in San Francisco reporting housing displacement, for a variety of reasons, supporting the hypothesis that an important demographic shift is happening in the Bay Area. Of the remaining 30 percent, many cited displacement as a concern, even if they weren’t dealing with it directly. Artists and many […]

Street art and accessibility

Humans have been making unsanctioned art for thousands of years. Even as they were commissioned to make fancy temple statues and beautiful textiles, they were carving graffiti in the public baths and making stealth installations. Art, as they say, is gonna art, and it’s gonna art wherever it wants, however it wants, depending on the […]

We’re surprised by nudes in photo books?

(Note: The links in this piece lead to art photography sites/art criticism, many of which contain nude images.) Earlier this year, I backed two projects by photographer Michael Stokes — Always Loyal and Exhibition. Both works are photobooks, one collecting images of injured veterans while the other focuses on erotic male photography. While the works are very much tied in […]

What Value Does Shock Really Have?

It comes up over and over in defense of media: It’s provocative. It has shock value. It’s meant to startle. It should make people uncomfortable. People defending art that’s attracted controversy turn to these statements, arguing that art is not supposed to be nice, that sometimes it does make people experience discomfort and unease, and […]