What does it mean for your art to be accepted by the cultural establishment? It means money, perhaps – new kinds of sponsorship and funding – but in the booming ‘10s, dance music has plenty of that. More importantly, it means credibility. The value of an establishment artform goes largely unquestioned, even by those who don’t care for it (few people, for example, complain with any seriousness about government funding to modern art museums, even if Duchamp’s Fountain leaves them cold). Just as with the ill-advised classical-techno crossovers that crop up every few years, it seems Hawtin would love for a bit of that absolute, unassailable legitimacy to be conferred on his music. This in spite of the fact that his vision for modern-day techno – as essentially just one more functional component in an enormous industrial mechanism – horribly misrepresents the genre and many of those who operate within it.
Looking at art in the presence of its owners or creators is part of my job. I make it harder for myself by expecting something magical and trying to be candid without being cruel. To avoid crushing hopes, I withhold disapprobation. I say, “This is autobiographical, right?” Or, “Hey, this is really something.” Or, as Gary Indiana once concluded in a review of Sherrie Levine’s work: “If you’ve never seen plywood, you’re in for a treat.”
Dave Hickey, Pirates and Farmers: Essays on Taste (Ridinghouse, 2013), p. 61-62.