Thursday, June 23, 2011

"To speak bluntly, the Cheaper Shows is symptomatic of the current ideological makeup of the 'post-political' mentality of art production itself. The rise of the Cheaper Show as a cultural phenomena makes for pure and wholesome bedfellows between the rise of the post-ideological 'creative class' and the logic of Rize. The 'creative class,' [...] thirsts for a passive environment founded on a 'managed diversity,' hyper-fetishism, anti-elitism, an anti-intellectual environment, positioned, most notably, at a distance from critique. Instead of an exhibition that offers itself up to the public to critical debate, the works are subjected to a flurry of activity and consumption. The public camp-out hours before, and then at the messianic hour of reckoning, the doors are opened. At that moment, each camper races against one another to beat-out bidders on individual works.

The Cheaper Show’s capitalist free-for-all is eerily reminiscent of the apparatus that fuels the real-estate market in Vancouver. Condominiums, including those which will eventually sit on the same site, are pitched as though tossed onto the market in a fire sale. And like the products available at the Cheaper Show, the condos are picked up by new young-urban-professionals camping out hours before each opening (often paying people to camp out in their place, if the developers themselves do not pay for such a line to give the appearance of value and hype). The Cheaper Show and Rize – and there are more than a few tenuous strands connecting the two – together attempt to re-create urban life as an uncorrupted, civilized ideal, encouraging the passivity of a public increasingly accustomed to 'paying for a quality experience.'"

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