Relevantly, I attended an art opening last Thursday of new work by Judith Levy. Installed in the fishbowlish atrium of the IMA is her Memory Cloud, consisting of individual slide viewers hung from the ceiling that can be accessed and examined by art patrons. Inside these viewers: 128 unique photgraphs of anonymous Midwesterners, circa 1960s. Faded colors and wedding cakes. Female experience. Et Cetera.
My last excursion to the Museum of Art was for an event with relatively similar equipment. The Vladmaster Experience featured four short viewmaster "films" shot and soundtracked by certainly the shyest and dorkiest woman to ever adopt the flamboyant surname "Vladimir." She distributed individual reels of film packed in precious silkscreened boxes to each audience member alogside an oldschool Viewmaster toy. We were then subjected to our own individual viewing experience, atop Vlad's soundtracks.
One criteria I use in distinguishing art I condsider "good" involves questioning if the artist used their chosen medium to do things they couldn't do (better) in another. If they chose animated film, did characters in their narratives turn inside out and walk through walls? (Gumby = good art)
It might have been more interesting if, given our isolated viewing contexts, Vladimir's experiences would have drastically differed between viewers-- If she had had a few different reels circulating amongst us, to later attempt to compare. This would have played on the strange anti-social experience created between crowd members, instead of just hingeing on the novelty of flim made for a retro toy.
Meanwhile, I hear some dudes are hosting coloring contests to get other assholes to emblazon their business cards.
An infantalizing bunch, these artists.