Complicit art is radicalism to radicalism (two lefts make a right). It is a way of shocking the bourgeoisie when the chattering classes are all as radical as fuck. The complicity of shocking the complicit bourgeoisie with radicalism (modernism) simply swapped for the complicity of shocking the radical bourgeoisie with complicity (relational aesthetics). This is as naive a negativity as that alleged for modernism. Nothing to see here, move along.
But be careful what you wish for. The managerial aura of Relational Aesthetics, like the still life of fruit on a merchant’s wall, is a presentation of what is absent. And what is absent in the age of Complicit Art is a unified masses that is an unreflective market for the mass media that CA desperately aurates. In real life it is winter, the fruit is gone. The flesh has withered on the face that remains youthful in the portrait. There is a riot on the other side of the wall on which the gridded canvas hangs. We all have weblogs.
Complicit Art is the Venetian landscape for those unwilling or unable to take the grand tour, the pr0n site for the Slashdotter. This is not a reassuring lullaby, a harmless deathbead lie, this is a snuff movie. You don’t have to do criticism to be critique. There is something wrong about a world with Paris Hilton in it.
What would be unforgivable would be to abandon reflexive awareness, to fail to animate the world of references created in the work (is this managerial?). Sometimes careerist opportunism is just careerist opportunism. But sometimes it is Jeff Koons.