Video: Dave Hickey, part 1: There Is No In

On Saturday, December 14, 2013, Glasstire invited cultural critic Dave Hickey to come to Houston to speak. In front of a full house at Rice University’s Sewell Hall auditorium, Hickey called ‘em like he seed ‘em.

Part 1: in which Glasstire founder Rainey Knudson introduces Hickey, and he disses Glasstire, Texas, Houston, stupid liberals, Rice University, and questions why art should be popular.

He goes on to theorize on the futility of the NEA and alternative art institutions, and reminisce about the the good old underground at Max’s Kansas City. Remember: “there is no in.”

Part 2 of our 4-part Hickey-fest here!


also by Glasstire

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30 responses to “Video: Dave Hickey, part 1: There Is No In”

  1. Wow, what a curmudgeon! And I thought I was grumpy. While many of Mr. Hickeys observations have underpinnings of truth, does he have to offend everyone in the room least the state while delivering his message? Me thinks that he has adopted the notion that when you get older you can say what ever you damn well please. I think he needs a hug.

  2. he’s a wonderful raconteur – eager for part II

  3. I think Dave Hickey is right. Art is supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be from left field. Art should eat popular culture’s lunch, not embody it. Can you really stand in the middle and outside at the same time?

  4. Did he say that 35 seconds a week watching wild birds and sorting garbage was just about enough time for those things?

  5. If you’re going to make art of any consequence you’ll do it whether you can pay your rent or not, whether you’re up till 3 AM after you’re “real job”, in or out of an “art program”, and in the messy business of living.

  6. Why are we being teased at he expense of continuity? Post the remaining parts swiftly if they are in fact ready for uploading, please. Bill can always write more content! ;)

    1. Sorry, we’re not trying to tease. These were shot in HD! Parts 3&4 coming tomorrow.

  7. The truth will set you free. Hickey’s view of the truth is a hard pill to swallow for many in an art community that are vested in the perpetuation of the status quo.
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the talk.

  8. More! And Thanks Glasstire!

  9. Bravo, Bravo for Hickey’s blunt but honest opinion on art of the last 40 years.
    I totally agree with him.

  10. Looking forward to the rest of this. He’s like George Carlin on Art.

  11. whats happen to all four of them on utube i reposted them, ahhh i think what he said is a riot, but i was counting the many ways if he was a proff now saying that, he would be fired, sued, assaulted, and arrested. yeas its a better world we live in.

  12. Dave Hickey is really a ribald put-down performance artist, that can also write (“Mac-Genius”), but has been afraid to take the artist-title plunge. This fear goes back to opening a Clean Well Lighted Place in 1965, watching the self-absorbed yet sharing exhilaration of the artists he represented. And concurrently effected, will he ever get over UT’s failure to award him his PhD in English Lit? This curmudgeon shtik is “almost” tired. A few more vilifying bursts with all his well honed speaker performance ticks, mocking insults, profane “truths” and yet audience adulation/hate are still to come. Long live his distressingly imperative irritations. GAWD! He does make the visual arts a Glasstire. Such great fun!

  13. I only got to hear about three and 1/4. Where are the rest, I wanted to hear them all and listen again. What fun. Please put them up and I can’t find
    them on Rice.

  14. I wasn’t there. Haven’t watched the video. Based on Harvey’s comment, I hope there was some audience fist-pumping and high-fives – and a Christopher Guest film crew on the sidelines.

  15. “Vernon Fisher is a born caretaker?!!”

  16. Dear Texas based art blogger, Many thanks in advance for never ever ever ever posting the final segments in this series of recordings. wtf.

  17. in reply to Julie Speeds’s good comment:
    I agree, except he is positioning himself to be both on the inside and the outside at the same time. In the first 3 sections of this video he bashes the art establishment and even artists, all the time constantly name dropping and talking about how pure his art criticism and teaching are. He is indeed masterful and entertaining in his interpretation of the past 75 years of art in America. He sure seems to want to be on the inside, and when he’s not, it’s sour (really SOUR!)grapes. I can’t wait to see how he wraps it up in the last section.

  18. I think Hickey is lamenting the demise of the avant garde in the arts rather than bemoaning the fact he is either in or out of what he sees as a bankrupt system.

  19. Following up a bit on Diablo’s, Gibson’s and Speed’s comments… Might it also be reasonable to think of Hickey as an apologist for metropolitan art? While I am sympathetic toward his observations on the consequences of academic art environments, of Federal involvement in the visual arts, of contemporary art that either saves or salves, and of a few other terse but reasonable observations, his position that provocative art is centered in metropolitan arenas summons an old refrain. The binary model of center and periphery has long shifted to a more complex understanding of how innovation, problems, resolutions and more arise and are addressed, an understanding that emphasizes the dynamics of wider or narrower connections to larger or smaller nodes. Like complex systems in general, the fragility of even one relationship or one node can have dramatic and extensive consequences…butterflies abide.

  20. Did Mr. Hickey have anything good to say about anything? Over-reaching attacks of contemporary art like Hickey’s are proliferating here and there for good or bad reasons. But exaggerations and partial truths such as those he expresses do little to clarify anything. His alternating self-deprecating and offensive tones do not help to sell his many theses. His name-dropping borders in the ridiculous. Moreover, when you come down to it, his view of what went on in art since the sixties is either provincial or imperialistic (not a term I like to throw around except when it fits) for he bases his narrative in a very idiosyncratic view of what went on in the United States artworld. The only thing with which I might agree with Mr. Hickey is on the obscure and pedantic style of critical writing that has invaded the art world in the last twenty years or so.

  21. Love the Dave! It is a fact that there is no In — the guardians of it have circled up to protect the turf, all back to back, too full to know there’s nothing there!
    Thanks Dave and Rainey!

  22. Why would someone who has dropped out of art move to Santa Fe? Why not Marfa or San Miguel? Maybe Denver where you can drop-out, turn-on and cool-down and forget-about-it.

  23. Great to see/hear the current state of DH. Thanks for recording the event. It reminds me I need to retrieve my autographed copy of Invisible Dragon from that grad student I corrupted last year ;-)

  24. 24 responses to “Video: Dave Hickey, part 1: There Is No In”

    24 responses. That’s the stat expression of ‘wholly irrelevant’.

  25. Hickey is a freakin’ legend, and all most can do is launch whiny attacks on his excesses. One might consider looking past the style and delivery and respect what this guy stands for. Genius can’t be judged by the normal standards. They aren’t the same. They are more than you are.

    1. I wouldn’t disagree that Mr. Hickey is knowledgeable and outspoken, experienced and well versed but why, as it is most often in the art world, must we tolerate borderline belligerence and bad behavior in hopes of experiencing some nuggets of wisdom ? Bad behavior and sarcasm is a distraction and counter productive to the intellectual discussion and dare I say content. Who the F cares if you don’t like being referred to as a Texan? An esoteric and dismissive attitude is certainly entertaining but then so is a circus dog in a tutu. If you have professed dropping or being invited out of art culture for whatever self delusional reason, you are, for some reason, neither relevant or contributive and foul language and eccentric behavior will only result in becoming a cultural oddity (similar to Joan Rivers) to be tolerated because no one has the balls to say “Mr. Hickey, thank you very much for your time but get the fuck off my stage.” We see a lot of the art elite being pissed off and expounding on how they have experienced everything and that nothing nowadays measures up. Dave is no exception. I agree completely that there is a lot of crap out there and an even larger amount of crap that is being shown and purchased for outlandish cash because we are being told it is good when really isn’t it all just a play we are putting on in our garage? In the end, who really gives a shit?

      1. Let me be clear. I agree with many of Mr. Hickey’s assessments in this video essay and that most of the art world has become a load of crap and that on an institutional level we are devolving; allowing and supporting more and more crap and expecting or insisting upon less and less critically new thought. I just find issue with the constant rambling condescension and consistently curmudgeonly manner.

  26. Spoken like a true Texan.

  27. Dave Hickey is right but exceptional artists like Akiane Kramarik (Idaho !),Pussy Riot,Femen and exceptional philosopher Zizek are creating a new intellectual and participatory/co-creative context that supercedes `In` and `underground` and the conventions of the 20th century .At Gothic Moon Records website the English artgroup Royal Family&the Poor have their new physical cd single`Is That You,Darling?` available. “The perfect art, music and ideology crossover.”

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