The Purloined Obrist?


A recent post to Rhizome was intriguing. Its 'To' field was ambitiously addressed, included were blue chip gallery owners and well-known media figures like Geert Lovink and Pit Schultz. The email body featured an essay written by prolific, impressive curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist recapping the history of the art object from Van Gogh to the present. The text, 'On the Iconoclasm of Modern Art,' is very smart and easy to read -- typical Obrist. As one reads, however, anomalous formats and details standout -- all caps co-mingle with sentence case, the essay dates from November. As it concludes URLS and net artists begin to appear in brackets -- brackets -- often used by editors to denote when an author's words end and her/his edits begin -- suggest that the essay is now in the hybrid author/editor mode. Indeed, the email's sender, Bruno Latour, turns out to have several URLs referenced in the text. Has this writing been appropriated? If so, is Obrist's essay complicated in interesting ways by the addition of URLS? Is the email's aim to dupe readers into thinking Obrist endorsed these artists? Does Latour's email rise to the canonical occasion as did Sherrie Levine's copies of Walker Evans? Discuss. -- Rachel Greene