What’s Wrong With Visual Pleasure?

The Naxal Belt in Barcelona

Jan Verwoert once said in Notes From an Art School that October journal killed painting. A stronghold of art critics and historians in the 80’s inextricably linked visual pleasure with the corruption of the art market, the modernist notion of medium specificity, the false consciousness engendered by the myth of the autonomy of aesthetic experience, the despised “retinal art”. The 90’s and 2000’s then saw the Discursive Turn, the Social Turn, the Ethical Turn, the Pedagogical Turn, the Participatory Turn and the Performative Turn, with each of these leaving the traditional art object more marginal. It seems an ethical/micro-utopic camp has formed in opposition to, or in the wake of the obsolescence, of “visual pleasure.” Perhaps we can speak of an AVP (Against Visual Pleasure) Complex--a constellation of "counterpower" that regard themselves as besieged minoritarians in their rejection of seductive art objects to, instead, an emphasis on a discursive site of debate grounded within a given discourse as the basis for art.

Are visual pleasure and criticality mutually exclusive? Are seductive art objects inherently conservative and retrograde? Is visual pleasure inherently cynical? Are the hollow shells of antagonistic gestures against visuality of artists in the 60’s and 70’s merely ventriloquized and disemboweled of any critical content by today’s neo-avante garde? “What’s Wrong With Visual Pleasure?” is an exhibition that seeks to map the parameters of the discourse and the communities that have produced the obsolescence of the solipsistic art object, individual authorship, and the studio. It seeks to address the polemical ebb and flow, both for and against, the gradual shift from the ocular regime to the discursive regime as the most dynamic site in contemporary art today.

Artists: Leone Contini, galeria perdida, Cooper Holoweski

Curated by Andrea Liu/ Naxal Belt

Exhibition: December 7-16 (wednesday to saturday from 5 to 8pm) Opening December 7th, 7-10PM

At Homesession: C/ Creu dels Molers, 15 - 08004 Barcelona