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There is bad writing. Many press releases are written poorly. But I think Rule and Levine contribute to the conflation of IAE with bad writing. Worse is to cite IAE as part of your general opposition to theory. Even worse is that they "other" IAE as unfamiliar and deviant from the British National Corpus. I have always been wary of the article’s supporters who quickly draw the connection to the larger role of theory. The practical issue with IAE, and the reason for its ridiculousness, is that it is often performed by untrained writers trying to compensate for an exhibition that often is not all that original or good. Just think of all of our lovely far-flung biennials! Have you ever wanted to "reassess" things in a corrupt, oil-rich emirate? 

For every bastardized concoction of words ending in "-tion" we encounter in a press release, there is an artwork out there somewhere(else) that at some point may have actually merited such a claim. Press releases are reluctant, forced art writing (in the slightest way they broadly qualify as art writing). They are tantamount to being assigned to write a review of new work each month that must not only be positive but also must make the work seem unique. Often press releases need to use these acrobatics to fit into the limited space. No wonder they can sound so strange. But IAE article doesn't really address the issue of word counts or length--common constraints of the press release author. 

 

Posted
AuthorMike Pepi

Press releases are the lowest form of art writing. But they are also among the most difficult. Everyone else involved in written discourse has more leeway with their words. The press release author is in a desert of aesthetics, limited by expectations. Left only to deal with the objects, swaddled in the infant cloth of a self-interested dealer, or an overzealous curator. The critic that employs them is also momentarily transformed away from a critic to a reporter, with poetic license. Minor transgressions of Sikkema Jenkins might be viewed in this light. Don’t we have worse problems than bad press releases?

 

 

Posted
AuthorMike Pepi
Categories100 words