After his $69 million sale of a work and an nft at Christie’s in 2021, no one in the self-policing art world went harder after Beeple’s attention than Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. CCB curated one of the most off-the-charts Documentas, and now runs the Castello di Rivoli in Torino.
When CCB released a Zoom video of her first conversation with Beeple, whose actual name is Mike Winkelmann, I watched it and concluded that his pose of ignorance and indifference toward the art world of galleries and museums—as totally distinct in his view from the online/digital communities and platforms where he’d been releasing his art for years, or the 3D projection wrapping and CG graphics world of his profession—was in fact a pose. He toggled between claims of not knowing an artist or anything about art, and of standing in front of paintings in galleries for hours. In any case, he decided his best response to the sudden interest of dealers, curators, and artists was to neg the art world that only started paying attention because of his record-setting auction result. CCB was one of the most persistent and credible counterparts, but I didn’t realize the extent. When CCB tweeted yesterday that her latest conversazione [sic all the way through] with Beeple was out, I misinterpreted it as the second.
Against all manner of better judgment, and only because I guess I like pulling blocks out of the jenga tower of my admiration for CCB, I went back to listen to the actual Episode 2. OF SEASON 1. Of her conversazioni with Beeple. About an hour into the 2-hour ep, I started taking tweet-sized notes, since there seems to be no other record of this glitch-looping trainwreck even happening. I gathered the tweets below, and will probably keep listening, and documenting, if only because CCB’s Curating for Dummies tutorials are probably worth noting.
“It is out! Last episode of series II. Two persons with very different knowledges. We talk.” [ccb tweet, the rest are mine]
CORRECTION; this is not the second conversazione with beeple, but the second SEASON of conversazione with beeple. the seventh hour of conversazione
nb this is really just a correction of my faulty understanding of just how much conversazione there is
every time i see it, i hear the word conversazione pronounced by daniel day-lewis as cecil vyse in a room with a view. but don’t let that stop you
s1e02 (may 2021) beeple downplays his trolling of “woke” museums. ccb explaining that descendants of enslaved people displacing museum jobs from ww as a form of institutional reparations while wm dodge it [cf guggenheim] (54:00
ccb talking about museums being at risk from govt push for digitization, deprivileging of irl audiences; or current fin wave (ie 2021 crypto) swamps and displaces them. so now i read her 10hr beeple discourse as trying to save museums by grabbing this edgelord by the tail
bp explaining how his noble populist intentions led him to get scammed by mtacoven (the guy who gave him the $69m in the first place) on the b20 coin mess, which, he’s the victim here. [literally minutes after mocking woke everyone complaining about being the victims]
ccb, constitutionally incapable of wrapping up, asks if a bp ig img from 13apr2021, after their last convo, was inspired by the maurizio cattelan work of a horse with elongated legs she’d showed him. yes obv, he says. her commitment to art discourse is her unshakeable sidequest
oh whoops, bp says it was yes obv, some dali reference, ccb is like, it was purely coincidence that i showed you the long-legged horse in our collection? he’s like uh what? she’s trying for any excuse to curate bp into the castello
literally, ccb says solo shows are difficult to schedule–jordan wolfson is pushed back (fr 2021), anne imhof’s lingers—but she’s great at group shows, and launches into a 10min explanation of history of expressionisms
bp: idk wtf any of ccb’s refs are (pontormo, john donne). the thesis of her show is sci-tech change destabilizes culture, leading to a prometheus of expressionism, which i guess she’s auditioning beeple to be? (so his punishment is art world interviews every day for eternity?)
for bringing his fire to the troubled artworld, beeple is chained to a museum stage where ccb picks his brain every day
oh, wait, group show plot twist: the expressionisms come BEFORE the tech upheaval/plague, not after. like horses and crusades, switch to gothic architecture, which is expressionist, the show has ensor masks and schiele, [you haven’t connected shit dot gif]
another thing [we’re off the expressionisms show now] I launched the careers of a lot of people, like wm kentridge [go on….she only names one], not w/solo, but group shows, “which are actually helpful to legitimize that work because of the context they’re in” is a direct quote
bp: very interesting. i’m doing something for art basel. which is in dec. ccb: it’s in sept. bp: no in ab miami where’s the other one ccb: in basel? bp: in switzerland? see idek where the hell that is him pretending to not know art stuff while doing it will wear me out by lunch
love ccb’s commitment to calling art basel basel “the real art basel” while bp calls abmb “the real art basel.” “but that’s only for the american art world,” ccb explains. welcome to the desert of the real art basel
bp: innntersting what if we do something there? [basel basel] cbb: if you do in sept, we can’t do expressionisms in november, “because it would give the impression i just picked something out of art basel.” [this is something many curators don’t seem too concerned with btw]
ccb: but if you did basel miami in dec, you could still do espressione in my little baby museum on a mountain in nov. i have the narcissus of caravaggio in the show. it’d be a pity if you don’t.
bp: idek if you can call it a gallery show. i’ll show a canvas of 5000 days and a bunch of other work in a bldg I take over [in abmb]. cbb: you know the rubells have a big bldg. [reconsiders] but it’s not good to be linked to a collector. u know what’d be chic? the peres museum
bp: ima try to make a gallery show from 100 yrs in the fewtch. how many ptgs do you have on your white walls? ccb: we have frescos. bp: how many on a wall? ccb: one artwork in a room. bp: lmao wtf a waste of real estate ima load up my walls
ccb: we have installations, we’re known for arte povera, which is a whole other conversazione [they’re at 2h01 of 2h07 rn], but arte povera invented installation art which influenced the whole world, like joseph beuys and [putting a flag on that one fr sure]
bp: maybe that’s where there’s a chance to do something more. dense. the lights are out, not like a gallery show [so literally like an installation. the willful disinterest starts run up against the curator’s responsibility. which maybe ccb can pull out of this guy’s nosedive?]
bp: goes on to describe theatrical, performative art exper where cater waiters are in costume, like he’s never heard of anyone doing it before. ccb: that’s very interesting i’m going to send you the name of an artist i worked with, pierre huyghe, he created env where life is born
ccb proceeds to describe a forest of lines, huyghe’s piece at sydney opera house, a bard wandering among 1000 potted trees (ccb said 2000), singing directions to the oldest ecosystem on earth. [where are our 10hr convos with huyghe please?]
ok this is the end of my live coverage of s1e02 of ccb’s conversazione with beeple. if i do any more episodes, i will put them on my blog, not on this hellsite. also, these tweets will disappear in a month, but i’ll archive them on https://greg.org. Art History demands it.