The cluster of exhibitions featured in newly expanded museum differs sharply from Public Information in that it is much more collector-driven and much less curator driven, fully in keeping with the mandates of museums to become repositories of wealth-made-visible, and of institutional marketers to manifest as much crowd-pleasing spectacle as possible. Into the foreground comes the idea of the museum as trophy hall, even as the idea of the museum as a playground for the educated mind slips into the background. Here, we clearly see the results of the ways that art fairs have been re-defining the artistic landscape for the past 21 years, recasting works of art as buy-low-and-sell-high financial instruments. Anybody who has read what I have been writing during that time will know that I am no fan of this transformation, and he or she will also know that I think that the arrogant a-historicism undergirding it bodes ill for the continued existence of serious art production, not to mention the continued existence of the subtlety and sophistication that is necessary to recognize consequential art production in its emerging phases. But I am also aware that our new moment could care less about what I or any one else thinks about it, as the rampant financialization of all things renders any contest of discourses moot. All that is left for us is to enjoy what remains of the ride, which is what my good friend the smoking cockroach and I intend to do.
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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopens on May 14, 2016.