A very long time ago, when I was undertaking my MFA studies, a visiting critic wearing a Las Vegas-emblazoned silver satin jacket told me, when viewing my art on display for a critique—I was enamored at that time with using found objects and texts in an academicized postmodern manner—“These records [some 45s I’d altered slightly] would be worth more as records than as art.” This kind of irreverent witticism, which was Dave Hickey’s trademark, seemed a bit more charming if you weren’t the target of said remark. Of course he was right…I’ve grown to thoroughly enjoy Hickey’s writings, and I’ve learned a lot from them, particularly his luminous anthology entitled Air Guitar, although I virtually never agree with his views. He has delivered roughly the same lecture for about the last decade or so, however entertaining, most recently in support of his new volume called Pirates and Farmers, published late last year. Here is a talk given in Houston Texas in December. If you are unfamiliar with Hickey’s general spiel on the “state of the art,” it is a fairly representative one in terms of his railing against arts funding, political correctness, academic institutions, and his nostalgic love of the good old days when he was a bad young man.
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