PROVENCE: Do you see CAD in relation to museums? The ultimate fulfillment of the museum without walls?
Forrest Nash: I don’t. Museums are organized around owning objects, whereas we’re interested in presenting documentation of activity happening in many places. We don’t own anything either. I love museums, of course, but I hope that the internet allows for a more open and less exclusive means of learning about artists.
P: Being posted on CAD is considered by some as the equivalent to a Like button being pushed by an intransparent agent. No matter if one strikes a sour note on the current state of art criticism or not, it is essential to uphold and develop criteria different from pure visibility. How do you relate to this?
FN: I’m not sure I understand the sense in which Daily relates to Like buttons, or how it’s possible to imagine a broadly applicable criteria that suits the incredible breadth of contemporary art. I’m also not sure what pure visibility means, but I think it’s true that there’s no inherent good in more visibility as opposed to less.
P: If aggregators are the new magazines, how would CAD reflect on its own mechanisms of distribution and do something else than stand on the sidelines?
FN: I think there are plenty of magazines, including this one, and they operate quite differently from “aggregators,” right? Our goal is not to take up the space held by magazines or anyone else. We want to make it easy for people to learn about contemporary art, even if they’re not a part of the commercial art system. And if we can also provide a bit of extra support to artists we think deserve more prominence, we’re happy about that too.
P: Where did Michael Sanchez get you wrong back in 2011, or, are there any aspects of his observations that contradict your own idea of CAD as you see it now, in 2020?
FN: I think he may have overestimated the extent to which people viewed Daily on phones. And to some extent, when you have a system with so many exhibitions by so many artists who are doing so many different kinds of things, it’s possible to find a constellation among the stars and overread its meaning. But I was grateful to have someone so smart grappling with the role our work has had in the world. Even though I founded Contemporary Art Daily, I don’t think I have much special knowledge about how people think about it.
P: How do you see the future role of CAD? You’ve mentioned that something new is on the horizon?
FN: We’re working on a major new project that I’ve been thinking about since before Daily began, and we should be able to announce soon. Our hope is to lean into some of the aspects of Daily that get discussed the least: the extent to which it has made the field of contemporary art more accessible and less exclusive, facilitated art education and modestly improved the daily lives of some people working in our field.
Forrest Nash is the founder of Contemporary Art Daily.
Originally published in PROVENCE magazine’s Spring / Summer 2021 issue themed Scandal. Purchase on provence.st