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Posted by Ryan | December 26, 2007 11:22 AM

could the act of taking shit that doesn't fucking matter waaaay too seriously be considered a practice? i think she's mastered it.

Posted by brandon | December 26, 2007 11:27 AM

Damn, Ryan beat me with the one-word smartass retort.

Posted by Jay Andrew Allen | December 26, 2007 11:47 AM

hey Jen, Have you seen the showe called T":he Practice>?"- if I rememebr it's about the drama of lergal language where people care about the paperwork for bicycles and such. ALLLLLLLLL close to BULLLLSHIT that's if you want to enjoy riding around on a bike with a can of whitepaint. It's on the back wheel rack with a punctured hole in the bottom. Practice: ride around neighborhood leaving long line of white dribble _ probably not leagal- (ask some asshole on ithe office about the court paper filing) but intyeresting, oh wait, been there done that - 20 yrs ago, or was that at the Lasquaux Galleria Mall Complex?

Posted by Double Dribble Groot "FOWL% | December 26, 2007 12:08 PM

There are many better words that cut to the chase about what a fine artist does as opposed to a laborer or professional. The particular words would I think depend on what the artist is doing to produce their work. These activities might not resemble labor at all. The term "practice" covers up a lot of what makes a fine art "fine." It reduced art to the result of a mechanized process. Practice rather than implying a mix of play and labor, I think, indicates that labor has defeated art. Labor is a habitual, customary performance, an operation or a process. Labor is essentially a practice. The idea of "play/labor" is an oxymoron despite what lifestyle companies like would have their 20-something developers believe. Rather than pointing to the alienation of labor, it is a lie that conceals this division in the nonsense: work is play and play is work. The term "practice" points to the line between fine art and handiwork. Crafts people use a practice to produce tikis, impressionist style landscapes for sale at the Farmer's Market, charming chainsaw log sculptures. They do this work because they expect to be paid. Crafts people produce a product for a market. Artists produce a "what the fuck?" And in general no one may know what to do with the thing they made or how it came to be. Maybe "practice" came into use as a way of demystifying whatever it is that a fine artist does to produce a work of art. Maybe it came into use as a way of trying to explain the relationship of a fine artist to the fine art market? But I hesitate to call what artists do "labor" -- not to denigrate their activity -- but most fine artists do so for largely nonprofessional reasons, and certainly do not see anything near what might be called a wage for their activity, and if they are aiming for what all business aim for, a reproducible product, they have crossed the line from art into the production of commodity. The term "practice" belongs to the discourse that seems intent on professionalizing human activities that are not professions. Jane Jacob has a rant about this in her last book, titled appropriately enough, Dark Age Ahead. Does an artist really need an MFA to be an artist? Will a certificate from an accredited community college be accepted by the people looking at my art? What is a professional poet? Yet, it is common to write about poet's having a practice. What is a professional painter? I hear professional painter, and I think of someone who paints houses.

Posted by Matt Briggs | December 26, 2007 12:14 PM

Practice is a less-pretentious stand-in for "praxis", and Roberta Smith left out the most egregious current word for what an artist does, probably because she rarely leaves New York and it is mostly used in Europe: "position."

As in, randomly grabbed from one of many e-flux listings: "With its exhibition 'Eva Grubinger: Spartacus,' the Schirn continues its programmatic focus on current contemporary positions."

Posted by Eric F | December 26, 2007 12:48 PM

Why pick on only one word? If one is going to suggest the word "practice" is somehow elitist and overused, we're going to have to cut out a rather large portion of jargon and therefore simplify all theoretical and critical writing to the general third grade level of most journalistic publication.

Give me a break.

That a supposed critic is dissecting a single word out of many suggests to me a disappointing lack of material on real subject matter.

Posted by sharon | December 26, 2007 1:42 PM

In this instance I have always been partial to "metier".

Posted by inkweary | December 27, 2007 12:19 PM

coach says, "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

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