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i stand slightly corrected

Post #243 • March 25, 2004, 2:50 PM • 1 Comment

In a recent post I stated that the new New Times capsule reviews were an all-positive, best-of listing that was a good addition but did not qualify as criticism. As it happens, one listing did make a single, protracted criticism. Here's the review in its entirety:

The Center of It All: This ultrabusy group video and photography show gives the impression of shoehorning size-nine brogans into a pair of size-five pumps. Did Imelda Marcos curate this? Karen Knorr's opulent staged photographs of stuffed animals amid canonical works in the Mus d'Orsay, and Mintos Manetas's vibracolor prints of video-game alterations seemed torturously cramped, literally begging to breathe. Installing a gumball machine full of Dramamine in the space would not alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia, which is criminal given the stellar quality of some of the work. Also showing: Alessandra Sanguinetti, Diana Shpungin, Nicole Engelmann, Alfredo De Stefano, Fredric Nakache, Amalia Caputo, Victor Vquez, Renata Poljak, and Harvey Zipkin. -- CSJ Through March 30. Daniel Azoulay Gallery, 3900-A NE First Ave. 305-576-1977.

In my defense, I'd like to point out that Carlos Suarez de Jesus's writing can be, well, distractingly breezy.

Full-length art reviews have run for two consecutive weeks in the New Times (here and here). As far as I know, this is rare if not unprecedented, and if continued would represent a true increase of visual art coverage at the paper. I couldn't have known about this at the time but I would enjoy being wrong in hindsight about a trend in the opposite direction. If this portends things to come, Alfredo Triff ought to be congratulated; he's been gunning for this for a long time.

I've also decided that any similarities between my writing and Vivian Marthell's (see previous post) regarding the work of Laura Owens have to do with the lack of depth in the art and not some kind of writerly impropriety. By way of apology, I pledge not to snark on Marthell's work for her next two articles.

Comment

1.

Jack

March 26, 2004, 2:18 AM

The question of plagiarism, real or imagined, I leave to you, Franklin. Maybe because I wasn't the possible victim, that's not what bothered me about the Marthell review of the Owens show. However, other things did bother me.

The review was heavy on exposition and description, but there was rather little actual criticism. At the very end, the writer ventures that Owens "must be doing something right," presumably referring to her critical and commercial success so far--things which, of course, need not correlate with real merit.

If Marthell herself believes that Owens is indeed doing something right, I expect her to focus and elaborate on HER reasons specifically, as opposed to telling me how popular Owens is in certain quarters. Frankly, I couldn't care less how many people are on Owens's waiting list for new work.

The worst part, however, was Marthell's dismissal of some of Owens's critics as "pass" which implies that the validity of an opinion or judgment depends on how fashionable it is. That won't do at all.



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