The Art Awards, presented in association with White Columns , New York’s oldest alternative art space, were conceived by artist Rob Pruitt, known for employing glitz and sensational staged events (like a cocaine buffet back in 1998) that amount to critical yet cheeky send-ups of the art world. In fact, probably the only way this could take place would be as a Pruitt production — anything more outwardly earnest would be regarded as entirely unseemly by the very people being fêted.
Aiding host Pruitt as emcees are the Delusional Downtown Divas, “three young women hungry for art world stardom but comically unaware of how to reach their goal of stylish domination,” who make videos about their exploits. Presenters include Sofia Coppola, Mary-Kate Olsen, and probably some other art-affiliated celebrities that will bring on the paparazzi (or at least the big-time party photogs).
In the group show category, The Quick and the Dead is up against three shows from New York museums (we will assume this nomination is not mere geographic tokenism): The New Museum’s After Nature; The Pictures Generation: 1974-1984, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. (It should be mentioned that the last was organized by and first presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.)
Other nominations of note: for artist of the year, Dan Graham, whose retrospective, Dan Graham: Beyond, opens at the Walker on October 31 — and was itself nominated for the Art Awards’ solo show of the year; another solo-show nomination is Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton,” which the Walker presented last winter and spring.