8 Art-World Buzzwords for 2014
As the year comes to a close, various international dictionaries add new expressions to their pages. Words making it into the Oxford English Dictionary this year include beatboxer, epistropheus, scissoring, and wackadoodle. So too the art world has its own glossary and these eight words were some of the most used and on trend of the annum.
Like the fins of a dolphin, this word has been on everyone’s lips. The practise of buying art cheap and selling it—fast—at crazy high prices has created its own subsection of the art world. The New York Times devoted features to the subject. Flippers and flipping was the trend people loved to hate (though, of course, it would be great to get 15% value increase per the last 12 months on their latest purchases).
The final result and finished product meant very little in the era of ‘work in process.’ Process itself became the main focus of 21st-century meaning—adding a dose of the performative to the basic act of creation. Often discussed in relation to process-led abstraction, this idea was the art version of labour—all about action and doing; none of that lazy thinking nonsense needed.
‘All the world’s a stage’, and every art fair, biennial, and gallery solo show is a performance! From ballet dancers in gallery booths at art fairs to young poets responding to exhibition concepts and settings, if you wanted your work to have any sense of authenticity you had to have a live element. Static work was dead in its heels in contrast.
Artists eschewing gendered pronouns, new feminist art networks, serious shaming of curators and gallerists who mounted male-heavy exhibitions, new women’s meetups, computer game protests—this year the internet began to fulfill its utopian potential, with new feminist thoughts dominating the conversation. In an online world without bodies, who needs gender?
Once upon a time everything was about transgression. Now we are all leaking. From porous and spongy art to media revelations and celebrity phone hacks, the leakages of society began to spill, drip, and ooze. This word indicates how the political structures of society increasingly feel unstable and transitory. This was particularly popular in gallery texts.
Art Hack Day. Hackathon. Codefest. At the moment everything is getting broken into. The year’s favourite verb, which is very hard to envisage without bringing to mind bad 1990s films, reflects how artists and creative coders are rethinking tech imagery. In the wake of The Interview furor we predict the ethics and meaning of hacking are going stay hot in 2015.
How many followers do they have? Has it gone viral? The collective trends of taste and clicks are increasingly mentioned in relation to art. This is especially popular with brand marketing departments trying to work out which collaboration will reach the widest audience, and collectors scouring Instagram for new artists to flip.
Image credits: Frieze London 2014: Silberkuppe, Adam Linder (Live section); Photograph by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze.Frieze London 2014: Frieze Projects, Nick Mauss; Photograph by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze. MEƎM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About The Internet by Ryan McNamara;
A Performa Commission Presented by Art Basel Produced by Performa and Art Basel, © Art Basel. Art Hack Day, photo courtesy www.ArtHackDay.net.