Friday, March 9, 2012



Venus: “I love inviting ghetto-ass friends to parties we DJ.”

Shayne: “Art brings madness into the world.”

The Museum of Modern Art hosted a big party with psychedelic lights to celebrate The Armory, an art fair in New York (March 8 – 11). We asked attendees to tell us what they love about art.

Matthew: “Art is life.”

Audrey: “The reason I dropped art school is because I hate artists and love art.”

Elizabeth: “Freedom of expression.”

Millicent: “Old buildings.”

Tom: “Art enlarges our sense of reality.”

Uli: “Art surprises us.”

Simon: “New ideas.”

Bryan: “Another perspective.”

Sam: “The Hairpin is great, but I’m scared.”

Bridget: “What do you two like about art?”

Camila: “My website — whereareourdresses.com.”

Dice: “I love how art can be anything, even this conversation.”

Maryn: “Art is the ultimate provocateur of the moment.”

Chantal: “Contemporary works from 1960 to present.”

Frank: “Street art/graffiti.”

Deborah: “Caribbean colors mean happiness.”

Adam: “I love the problems that art raises.”

Aimee: “Understanding our time.”

Matthew: “I’m a hairdresser, so sculpture inspires me.”

Rico: “Every time I look at art I feel I’m looking in the mirror.”

Lily: “I’m an art history major; it’s hard to articulate.”

Sam: “The experience of creation.”

Chris: “Bushmills Whiskey.”

Karen: “The answer’s on the tip of my ... oh I’ve lost it.”

Alan: “I’m too far into this beer to answer that question.”

Andrea: “I love how art does what can’t be done in any other medium — such as literature or politics. Art is what I strive for. It’s why we exist.”

Paul: “She knows.”

Previously: Nicknames.

Jon Cotner and Claire Hamilton have made other slideshows based on walks through Fire Island and Art Basel Miami. Jon is coauthor of Ten Walks/Two Talks. They live in Brooklyn.

141 Comments / Post A Comment


Some of these folks are phoning it in bigtime with their answers. I'm lookin' at you, "Art is life" man!


@werewolfbarmitzvah Man, there were some dumb-ass answers in there, and SO MANY CARICATURES. But even those were entertaining! I love this series.

Edith Zimmerman

@Lemonnier @werewolfbarmitzvah Hey! Come on -- these people were nice enough to stop and answer a random playful question. I don't think there such a thing as phoning it in this situation!


@Lemonnier I think some of them maybe had a few? I like the randomness of the answers in this one. It also seems like they weren't all asked the same question.


@Edith Zimmerman I don't know, Edith. I think Camila answering with her own website was kind of phoning it in.


@Edith Zimmerman Curse you for calling me out on my curmudgeonliness! Okay, they *were* being good sports, so props to them for that. (Except flamenco lady. I bet she comments on internet articles, then links to her site in the comment. TACKY.)


@Edith Zimmerman

Yes, but perhaps N+1 would have gotten more serious answers by interrogating the same sample about the strategies by which the culture industry ensures our continued obedience to market interests, including its institutionalized opposition to those interests, even as it is in turn subsidized and supported (and, inevitably, co-opted) by the same interests that its oppositions appear, but fail in any meaningful way, to oppose? Also, the interviewer could have dressed up as the new N+1 mascot, Hegemony Cricket.


@meetapossum Which, did you visit that website? I'm not sure but I think that the assertion is that she and...someone walked across the US? In flip flops? And that flemenco dress? It's all very strange.


@C.SanDiego Yes! The Courier New font...and such a poorly designed site. If you want people to see your art, make it more accessible. Plus the idea about strangers shooting them with a tripod...what strangers are walking through an abandoned train yard?


happy to read this.@t


I like this series.


@hairspin yah me too! it's nice to get to know strangers based on a tiny intimate detail. i feel like i know them? if for a fleeting moment. it's kind of cool. transcontinental connection for a nanosecond.


@hairspin I like this series, but, honestly, I don't like a lot of the comments on this thread. I would feel really terrible if I were interviewed for this article and then people started picking apart the way I dressed and how I looked like a giant tool and yadda yadda yadda.

I mean, I get that a lot of these people might read to us as 'pretentious', or whatever. I get that. I would be lying if I said that none of these people made my eyes roll a little. But I guess my answer to anyone making comments that "So and so looks like a pretentious juicebox" is "And your point is?".

People usually dress the way they do because they think they look good or because it makes them happy. "Giant, trying-to-hard tool" to me reads as "snappy and daring" to them. My "put-together outfit" that I'm so proud of today might look to someone else like "sloppy casual Friday-wear". To each their own. I think it's dick of us to be passing judgement on peoples' presentation. This article wasn't about their clothes, it was about what they love about art.



I like the inclusiveness — everyone's interesting.



You're right.

Okay, everyone who made a negative comment, submit a candid photo and a blurted comment about art.


@wee_ramekin I get what you're saying but if I were interviewed for an article I feel like I would try to say something I actually believed instead of something I thought sounded cool. People dress in an unusual way to get attention. If you're doing something for its performative value, you open yourself up to criticism that isn't necessarily personal meanness.

elysian fields

"I’m an art history major; it’s hard to articulate."
“I love how art does what can’t be done in any other medium — such as literature or politics."
DING DING DING DING DING! We have a winner!

/art history grad student with strong opinions


@elysian fields I would have thought an art history major would have the best answer!


@tortietabbie she coulda at least *tried*, eh?


@elysian fields Isn't that what art history majors are supposed to do? Although to be fair she could be super burnt out on articulating art right now since it is Paper Month.


@elysian fields I know. I mean, I always assumed that Art History was mostly /about/ articulating what art has meant, and means.


@elysian fields She's a student, so maybe she just knows she doesn't know enough yet.


@elysian fields "“I love how art does what can’t be done in any other medium — such as literature or politics."

Hrumph!!! *Disgruntled lit major*


@elysian fields I was an art history major and that is exactly the kind of thing I probably would have said when put on the spot! HA!


@MrsLlama Yeah, I'm much better at dissecting paintings than discussing why I love art as a whole..."Cause it's art??"


@Fodforever yeah...isn't literature art? And, I mean, Politics is just performance art, right?


I think my favorite thing about art is the way it allows us to get a better understanding of someone else's subjective experience of reality.


@Ellie And also into their time/culture. Individual and group, at the same time!


@Ellie well said. I quite agree.


"The reason I dropped art school is because I hate artists and love art."

Let's be friends!

(Also, the Fire Island link makes me so nostalgic for summer.)

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@anachronistique Yes, let's! Except I finished art school, and now I hate (my) art and artists. :( :(


@anachronistique I studied film in school and I could say the same thing about film majors. They are THE WORST.


@anachronistique Yes! High Five for that girl! Hi five to you too! Hive five to myself for doing the same thing!

a horde of great crab things

'Contemporary works from 1960 to the present'? Really, Chantal? I think you'll find that's what's on the walls and floors of your foofy doorbell gallery space, and that's fine- but it's not 'what art is'. 'Art has only happened over the last 52 years'! Why am I finding this comment so annoying? I don't even know!


@a horde of great crab things Well, the question looks like an open ended "What do you love about art?" and if she's really into contemporary art, I am okay with that!


@a horde of great crab things I think you're finding it annoying for the same reasons I am. Too many people claim to be "artsy", while really they're just stuck up narcissistic individuals who think that anything left or right of center is artsy. The woman making that comment looks like she tries far too be hard to be artsy, and that makes her thoughts forced and not genuine.

a horde of great crab things

@SarahP Okay, no, I misread the question, thankyou. it's less irritating now.

a horde of great crab things

@treeskier170 Yeah, for real. She might be a stand- up lady who is just ultra passionate about a very brief window in art history, and like @Sarah P says, that's cool... but nonetheless, even with her answer recontextualised in the face of my lack of reading comprehension skills, I have took agin Chantal 'cos she looks like the kind of person around whom I feel uncomfortable in contemporary art spaces. Maybe that's not fair and totally shallow of me, but I can *sort of live with it*.


@a horde of great crab things Really? She looks like many of the moms of my friends from college. (Which is probably the reason I feel so protective of her!)

a horde of great crab things

@SarahP Awww! You're sweeter than I am. maybe I need to stop using the photos of strangers of internet as avatars onto whom I load all of my personal insecurity.


@a horde of great crab things Ha! I do that to our cats. "Stop judging me, cat! I don't care if I said I was feeling fat before I CAN EAT TWO CANDY BARS IN A ROW IF I WANT TO OKAY"


@a horde of great crab things
I like that she knows what she likes! I have literally no problem with her: She just answered the question she was asked.

Tragically Ludicrous

My cousins and I used to have flamenco dresses when we were kids. They were awesome.

Porn Peddler

I'm going to this exhibit, "Crafting Modernism" soon with Mister. It is so far up his alley it's not even funny. I need to spend more time at art galleries...especially considering that one has tapas night.


Wonder how many white "ghetto ass" friends she has....

abby normal

the hairdresser is the winner, obviously.

Stingray Bikini

@abby normal Doctor heal thyself!


@abby normal Very Edward Scissorhands!

Faintly Macabre

@Stingray Bikini Maybe it's like that old riddle of a town with two barbers, one who has terrible hair, one who has awesome hair: which barber do you go to?

Stingray Bikini

@Faintly Macabre "A man and his son were in a car accident. The man died on the way to the hospital, but the boy was rushed into surgery. The surgeon said “I can't operate, for that's my son!” How is this possible?"

Neve Garrett

“The Hairpin is great, but I’m scared.”

Neve Garrett

@Natalie Eve Also, sigh, a 100 years ago I used to go to these parties and twirl around with wine and lovely ladies and be silly. Or maybe it was 10 years ago? I wonder what 10 years ago me would say (or be wearing?!)? For now, my paint is drying up.......

Faintly Macabre

@Natalie Eve She should be scared, because I am going to steal her purse.


Also, these people hit so many spots on annoying hipster bingo my card is just covered in chips at this point.


@parallel-lines I played hipster bingo before it was cool. (I'm sorry.)


@TeresaOtter Do you know why the hipster burned his mouth?


@parallel-lines I've always wondered what an appropriate prize for winning hipster bingo would be. Novelty Glasses? A Case of PBR? A fashion mullet?


@treeskier170 he ate something before it was cool?


@PistolPackinMama He did indeed. It sounds funnier when you actually speak it with gusto

no way

@bocadelperro Naw, it needs to be something like a gift certificate to the cheesecake factory.


@treeskier170 Haha, that is so great! I must share that!


@TeresaOtter you should use pizza as the food. always use pizza


@parallel-lines http://www.anthroparodie.com/2012/03/vintage-bicycles.html





Like “the man who spoke Irish at a time when it was neither profitable nor popular”
—Myles Na gCopaleen

Daisy Razor

I would not let Matthew the hairdresser anywhere near my head with a pair of scissors.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Daisy Razor Apparently Matthew shares these sentiments.


@Daisy Razor That sounds like a fable! A prideful hairdresser will only allow his own hair to be cut by the best stylist in the world, so he holds a competition to see who is the best. But after he beats person after person, he begins to think that he is the best stylist in the world - but you can't cut your own hair, and he won't let anyone else do it, so it grows and grows and grows until eventually it strangles the douche, the end!


@MoxyCrimeFighter Hmn. I think you could be the Aesop of our era. More please?


What I love most about art is the way it feels under my fingertips when I reach in to touch it, and the sound it makes when all those alarms go off and the guards come running over to throw me out of the building...


@werewolfbarmitzvah What I love most about Art is that when you put an F in front of it, it spells "fart".


@werewolfbarmitzvah Careful, everyone is going to yell at you like they yelled at the person who touched the painting that time!


1) Rully? Not one person said "What is art? Are we art? Is art art?" MMkay. Fine.

2) I instantly hate that guy, but I loooove his arm party.


@JessicaLovejoy It's a room full of tampons in teacups.


@JessicaLovejoy And nobody interrupted this imaginary person with "You have a phone call...it's Art." So, so sad.


Arguing about what art is about as meaningful as fucking about math.


@leon.saintjean weeeeeellll... there's geometry- angles and things. And physics, with mass and speed and propulsion. And if you're holding on to delay orgasm, counting, or possibly engineering, as you dismantle a motorcycle in your head, or recite baseball stats.

So Math Sex... more useful than arguing about what is art.


@PistolPackinMama And chemistry! Hopefully there is chemistry.


i liked that lil bro from neon indian a lot better when he had, like, giant hair. (are all of these people post-relevant 'indie' musicians? am i only recognizing one because i am really lame and unhip?)


@kerouackangaroo I didn't even recognize HIM until you pointed it out, so you're way ahead of me. That should be of little comfort.


@kerouackangaroo aah! i'm glad someone noticed this. what up, dallas.


Wait, is no one going to talk about Maryn and Chantal? Maryn and Chantal!


@thisisunclear Be nice to Chantal.


I don't know art, but I know what I like! And right now I'd like Uli to get himself a turtleneck that fits, please. Thanks.


This is a wonderful series. Never stop! That is all. (I have no Art Thoughtz at the moment, alas)


Frank! Frank is definitely an old-timey reenactor, like they have in Philly, just walkin' around or giving tours, being Ben Franklin or whoever.

Rico is doing an amazing Kanye West, on the other hand.

Impersonators! Sneaking into our art parties, pretending to be normal people.

hamster baby

@Marzipan if you look quickly, uli is like bizarro-world kevin spacey!


@Marzipan i would say rico is doing more of a kid cudi thing? no?


Semi art-related (as fashion is definitely an art), but OMG BRIDGET'S DRESS. The black mini dress with the tiger faces. I WANT IT SO BAD.


@olivebee Ahhh I didn't notice that's what those were. Now I want it! Deborah's killing it in her dress, too.


There is actually almost no answer to this question that is NOT going to sound pretentious.

...And I stand by my platform of 'moratorium on the word hipster' because jesus, can't we get a more specific insult? Or one that hasn't been floating around as a sort of like hate-envy black hole for ten+ years.


@hotdog Agreed wholeheartedly.

jurassic snark

@hotdog THANK YOU, jesus christ. Hipster is now a stand in for anything that is different/unusual (whether or not you think the impetus for dressing or acting that way is genuine) and it's plain tired out.


@hotdog Especially because so much stuff that is labelled "hispter" makes its way into the mainstream. Skinny jeans, awkwardly fitting thigs, and floral prints seem to be everywhere this season. It seems to pushing the "hispterish" stuff further out there, weirder shapes! Louder colours! At least this is what I noticed on my Spring Fashion Walkabout last weekend.


Thank you for asking the servers/coat check. That made me very happy.



As a museum employee, I appreciated that on a personal level. :)


Heeeyyyyyyy, Chris.


@dearheart Yes. He and Alan had the best answers.


More of this series always, I love vox pops.



“I’m too far into this beer to answer that question.”

THIS GUY for president...of TRUTH.


@MrsLlama: I liked this guy best, too.

H.E. Ladypants

This reminded me what frustrates me about sooooooo much of the New York art scene. DO YOU REALIZE THAT TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE YOUR BUBBLE YOU SILLY? NOT MEANINGFUL. NOT STRIKING. JUST SILLY. AND CONFUSING.

Basically, I'd want to be friends with the bartender.

H.E. Ladypants

@H.E. Ladypants Also, I'm not at all projecting my saddness at being out of town and having to turn down invitations to various Armory parties/events. (And one awesome sounding brunch.) Bloo.


Also, Bryan! not a name I would have put to that ensemble You go Bryan.


“Caribbean colors mean happiness," says the lady in the black dress.


@laurel SHE'S SAD, OK

Faintly Macabre

@laurel But her dress is so pretty! I forgive her everything!


@realtalk I'm worried about her. Is it a cry for help?

@Faintly Macabre It really really is.


I love Frank's answer juxtaposed with his picture. Because if I saw that guy, I would never guess he was into graffiti, and would think something like that would bust his monocle. People! Always surprising you!


@beanie That's exactly what I thought! And my mum loves graffiti too but I think to look at her you would probably find that quite surprising. Surprises, yeah! You go, Frank!

Faintly Macabre

I'm trying to decide if hanging out with Milicent would be hilarious or joykilling.


Mann there's a lot of negative response in this thread to the way these people answered or are dressed. Like that one guy readily admits, I think a lot of these people are drunk, and being put on the spot with a question like this with a few drinks in you it's probably a little difficult to form a good answer.

Also I hate the term hipster, and I think dressing ridiculous is a good way to have fun. They're just out at an art related party, where dressing odd is totally acceptable, I don't see how it makes them assholes.

H.E. Ladypants

@machinesss For me personally, I was just taking a swing at my frustration at the New York contemporary art scene in general. For all the people who are making intersting or engaging thigns, there are a lot of people taking themselves (and the things they wear) far, FAR too seriously.

I mean, we're talking about this world where it is perfect okay for me to get these press releases for projects that spend five pages talking about meaning and absurdity and after the end of five pages, I have no idea if these people make paintings or video installations or if they roll around in a tub of Easy Cheese singing polka revamps of Smiths songs.

The New York City contemporary art world often seems to celebrate being obtuse, strange, and elitist for no purpose other than being obtuse, strange and elitist. And as much as I love, love art and love people doing strange and wonderful things, that vibe always smacks me the wrong way. And I think it does a lot of other people, too.

Just, eck, and sigh. For me, for all the good things there are also a lot of things that make me very frustrated.


@machinesss Yeah, coming from an art background, all these people look... normal? And yeah, some arty people are j-boxes, but a lot of them are really nice and fun and hilarious, just like in every single subculture. Just because it isn't your world doesn't make it wrong.

Edit-@H.E. Ladypants Okay, point taken. I don't have experience with the New York art scene, so it's probably much different than the scene where I live. Just know that there are places where artists aren't all dickwads who love the smell of their own farts, so to speak.


@machinesss Also, with a lot of the posts in this series, it's possible to spend days getting good responses, whereas they only went to one party one night for this post, and they probably just had to post whatever they got. And the vast majority of people are going to answer such a broad question as "what do you love about art?" in a way that sounds stupid and unoriginal when you write it down. Basically, give everyone a break! Jeez!


@machinesss I know, I know, and I'm one of the meanies from up above (though I did mean it in a mostly joking way!), but I guess it comes down to the fact that artists craft themselves as being more creative, more spontaneous, more INTERESTING than us mere plebeians, so one would imagine that if anyone should be capable of giving some great, readable commentary on the spot, it should be an artist, right? Whether it's an intelligent, insightful response, or an extremely funny, clever response, or even just a bizarre response, just to see any kind of response that indicates some personality, some OOMPH. When I think over the artists, musicians, and writers that I love, so many of them were the types to spew awesome public remarks spontaneously everywhere they went. There were a few halfway decent replies in this set, but my observation is that so many seem to care mostly about looking cool and having their picture taken, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lotta brain activity going on behind the outfits. And I knoooow that I'm starting to sound mean AGAIN and I haaaaaate being mean, but I hate being dishonest even more and I should probably end my comment here before I dig myself into an even deeper hole of curmudgeonliness. For what it's worth, I sense that if all the Hairpin commenters were at this party, the replies would've been great!


“I’m an art history major; it’s hard to articulate.”

ARTiculate. Was she intentionally punning?





@MalPal Don't try to paint her as a wit, MalPal. You're so Impressionable.


@wee_ramekin I'm gesso sick of no one responding to my pun!



That's because it was a real stretcher. I wouldn't have thought you'd be so easelly discouraged, palette.


@atipofthehat Ugh, don't be so gouache.


I loooooove this whole series, and my favorite are the coat check ladies up there.



I thought their comments were the most concrete, and also the most congenial.


@thebestjasmine I'm impressed with the high tech coat check system they've got going there.


Alan is Alan Palomo (of Neon Indian, VEGA, and Ghosthustler), no?


Oohhh I wish I'd been there and been all "what do i like most about Art? He's no Paul, but probably Bridge Over Troubled Water" and then just absolutely keeled over, I mean nearly fainted, from my own funny, funny jokes. The thing about my sense of humor is I know just what I like and I'm not afraid to give it to myself.

Beth Anne Royer

I love this. I would also freeze up with this question. I didn't love any of the answers because art is like a really complicated relationship. How can you give a really short answer about what you love about it? it is ineffable. but looking at other humans dressed up and getting an itty-bitty window into their pov always appeals to me. more, please.


"I like how art can be anything, even this conversation" was my favorite. Seriously, it's like the most concrete thing you can say about what art is.


The upshot here is that I really love Dice's shoes and want them. Badly.


I was an art history major and that is exactly the kind of thing I probably would have said when put on the spot! HA!auto insurance


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