BRUCENNIAL 2010: Miseducation

The self-proclaimed “most important survey of contemporary art in the world ever” opened this week in at 350 West Broadway in SoHo, New York.  The Brucennial 2010 edition, titled “Miseducation,” is presented in a 5,000 square foot space temporarily donated by the real-estate mogul and art collector Aby Rosen and supposedly “brings together 420 artists from 911 countries working in 666 discrete disciplines.”  But who’s counting?  The creative art collective behind what is seen as a parody version of the Whitney Biennial is made up of five mysterious guys known as the Bruce High Quality Foundation.  Although the Foundation participated in the recent “1969” exhibit at P.S.1, Brucennial remains the collective’s signature celebrated program since the founding of the event in 2008.

Focused on reshaping the art world via a more democratic and DIY approach, the Foundation places some of its more visible functions, like PR and the organization of exhibtions, into the artists hands.  Perhaps the result can best be described as a visual cacaphony.  The Brucennial’s rather lax entry standards (an email asked prospective participants to “either dredge something up or create something new…As fast and as loose as you like”) is a refreshing juxtaposition to the supposed stringent selection criteria of the Whiteny’s Biennial.  With a “sharing is caring” attitude and limited wall space artists move their pieces around in order to make room for new arrivals.  Neither first-come basis nor celebrity secures an artist a better spot, and emerging artists as well as blue chip artists (like Julian Schnabel) display their pieces side by side.  The title “Miseducation” and its press release offer insight into the Foundation’s desire to question the politics and institutional protectionism that seem to run the art world. However, one has to wonder how “lax”  and rebellious the event can remain with heavy-hitter curators Francesco Bonami and Vito Schnabel involved with curating the event.

The Brucenial 2010: Miseducation runs through April 4 at 350 West Broadway, SoHo, with projects also on view at Recess at 41 Grand Street.  The event also includes performances and a literary supplement.