In the age of Yelp, everyone truly is a critic. And with the advent of cheap-to-host, cheap-to-produce websites, even the surliest, most wild-eyed amateur journos can sling their opinions into the democratic wilds of the internet. Enter Taboofart.com (“Art Criticism by Mr. Rodrigo Cañete”), a logorrheic spasm of indignant posturing, hilarious name-calling, and half-baked philosophizing. It’s the most joyful URL I’ve had the honor of bumbling across in quite some time, though to be fair it’s best enjoyed as an unintentional parody of that well-worn cliche: The cantankerous armchair critic who is the only one willing to call it like it is.
In the case of Mr. Cañete, that means headlines like “Alcoholic Iza Genzken Fails To Turn Her ‘Unmonumental’ Need Into Virtue At MoMA,” which opens with a nonsensical lede about Spanish women in the 17th century before going on to lump Genzken in with other “deranged” female peers, namely Marina Abramovic and Tracey Emin. In a post on Carrie Mae Weems, Mr. Cañete expands on his profound thinking about gender, wielding his nuanced pen in order to share some thoughts on race. (“It is true that black people are usually portrayed in action instead of in meditation but these images do not take us too far in that direction.”)
Equally stunning are Mr. Cañete’s opinions regarding the art world’s hermetic language, though the words that bother him aren’t even the worst offenders of what’s come to be known as International Art English (IAE). “Pompous artsy fartsy jargon such as ‘’long standing collaboration’ (by which they mean ‘being together’), ‘practice’ (by which they mean ‘what they do’), ‘installations’ (by which they mean ‘things spread around’), ‘performance’ (by which they mean ‘gigs not very well produced so as to make them pass as something imperfect ‘on purpose’), ‘experimental’ (by which they mean ‘short of professional’ or ‘not serious’). It is here where their attitude is profoundly annoying,” he writes, reflecting on an interview conducted by curator Attilia Fattori Franchini.
Please, someone, get this man a grant, a professorship, something. Taboofart might just be the unintentional cure for art world malaise: Spend twenty minutes trawling through the archives and you’ll be begging for the arcane pomposity of an Artforum Critic’s Pick.