From the Editor

by Claire Ruud

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      ...might be good Birthday Cake

      Courtesy Ben Willcott, Executive Chef, Texas French Bread

      This, our 100th issue, celebrates ...might be good's 5-year anniversary, almost to the day. On May 28, 2003, Fluent~Collaborative sent out the first edition of …might be good: a short listing of current art events in Austin—“choice cuts,” as the editors called them. Since then, the publication has grown in scope, and now offers interviews with influential art personalities, short reviews of exhibitions and presentations of new work by artists throughout Texas and beyond. In this issue, we mark our birthday with a series of features converging around the theme of contemporary art writing.

      First off, …might be good talks to Richard Shiff, who holds the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at The University of Texas at Austin, about distinctions between Shiff’s writing and scholarly work that might fall prey to trendy intellectual currents. In the course of the conversation, Shiff discusses his approach to concepts of identity, the body, affect and politics.

      In fact, Shiff’s conversation with …might be good in this issue and his conversation with The Brooklyn Rail in May form a thought-provoking trio with Richard Meyer’s conversation with …might be good also in this issue. Meyer, Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, discusses one of his current projects, a book entitled What Was Contemporary Art? In doing so, Meyer addresses, among other topics, the bearing of identity upon his work (as Shiff does in this issue) and the intersection of social history and art history in his work (as Shiff does in The Brooklyn Rail). The contrasts, as well as the parallels, between the methods and attitudes of these two very different writers leave readers with plenty to chew on.

      In addition to an interview with art critic Dave Hickey (reprinted from Texas Monthly) and a short reflection on The Writings of Donald Judd, a recent Chinati Foundation symposium, this issue also includes an Artist’s Space with Harrell Fletcher, who writes, “Often times the best thing for an artist to do is show someone else’s art,” and follows his own advice. Fletcher’s artist statement for the piece begins with his self-described “criticism of art”—a criticism of the studio/gallery model on which the contemporary art world functions. But in addition, the very style—straightforward and conversational—of Fletcher’s writing offers, I would suggest, a critique of the wordy, circuitous and impenetrable language of some contemporary art writing.

      In closing, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the three years Caitlin Haskell has dedicated to making …might be good what it is today. Thanks for all the work you've put in, Caitlin.

      Oh, and one more very important note: thank you to Executive Chef Ben Willcott of Texas French Bread for the beautiful (and delicious) birthday cake!


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