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rubell collection, camera obscura, omniart

Post #422 • December 4, 2004, 9:23 AM • 12 Comments

Why is this man smiling?

You'd be smiling too if this was your lobby:

And this was your back patio:

And this was your library:

And this was your, um, bookstore:

Yeah, the Rubell joint is a swank place (their house is a museum, like the Aadams Family song goes) and they have some fine fine art. To wit, Louise Bourgeois.

Cecily Brown. First one I've seen in person, and, well, she's good.

Maurizio Cattelan. This is installed by itself in a 40-foot-long room, prompting this discussion:

Me: Um, excuse me, it's Maurizio Cattelan, yes?

Rubell Family Collection attendant: Yes, it is.

Me: Where's the label?

RFCA: Over there. (points to other side of room)

Me: (laughs)

RFCA: (shoots me a look indicating that I am neither sufficiently worldly nor washed to understand lofty curatorial decisions like putting a label twenty paces away from a work of art in an otherwise empty room)

Me: (continues to laugh)

Whatev. You all want to incorporate usability into your design, give me a call. I have special consulting rates for the rich.

Tim Eitel.

Christoph Ruckhäberle.

You should see the swimming pool.

A photography show, Off-Off Basel at Camera Obscura (the old PS 742), featured work by Teresa Diehl among others.

Omniart, downtown in a part of Miami you wouldn't be walking around in otherwise. Didn't get the artist on this one, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't Eduard Duval Carrié.

Cloud, by Patricio Cuello, Alejandro Lopez Velez, and Raul Gonzalez, in front of the infamous Performing Arts Center.

Camilo Echavarria.

A fortress of Miami Heralds by Magnus Sigurdarson.

Gorgeous, giant drawings of blackbird wings by Carol Todaro.

Graceful, touching video of choreographed pins and stuck bugs by Anne Wilson.

Installation by Gretchen Scharnagl.

Alex Heria.

Carlos Betancourt.

Kaarina Kaikkonen, an enormous landscape of clothes that stole the evening.

Stay tuned as weekend coverage of Art Basel Miami Beach continues.




December 4, 2004, 7:50 PM

You got me a little confused, Franklin. A few days ago you were talking about two worlds of art. Judging from the dreck you are posting lately, and your comments on it, you seem to be inhabiting the one you felt alienated from.



December 4, 2004, 9:59 PM

Just curious... where does oldpro live? I ask because the impact of live work is ALWAYS different than the images we bloggers take. If it was my own art it would most likely be lit differently and, therefore, to be 'consumed' in a different way. And, does oldpro actually go to see live art anymore? (not a pejorative question)



December 4, 2004, 11:13 PM

Nice post Franklin and highly informative. I went to the Rubells and fell in love with the exhibit on the second floor. The piece by Kaikkonen at OMNI was a trip. Thanks.



December 5, 2004, 1:30 AM


You have a point, of course

I live in Miami and I have seen some of the things I comment on and others only in reproduction. Generally speaking you are right about the advantage of seeing the art first hand, but this rule is beset by exceptions.

When one has spent a lifetime looking at art one begins to learn that judgements tend to be much more accurate (between first and second-hand viewing, that is) when the art is either not much good or when it has a conceptual basis. For example, it is virtually impossible that my take on the man hanging on the coat rack, the white torso, the pile of newspapers and most of the paintings would change at all. The Cecily brown painting, maybe, because it is complex and has some interesting variations, but I have seen a lot of her work and doubt that I would be surprised by this one. The video, maybe, because I cannot see it here; when I saw the pins I thought there might be some hope but the bugs, well, there we go, it starts sounding juvenile and obvious. The giant wings look pretty good anyway and I suspect I would still think so if i saw them.

In other words, there are no factors of scale, craft or subtlety at work in most of this stuff to make it much diffrerent from what it is in the reproduction. In fact, much of the popularity of this kind of art is precisely that is does so well in reproduction. And I have tested this over and over again by looking at photos of work and then looking at the work itself; most of the time the actual stuff looks worse. I am very seldom surprised. And taken on the whole, in my opinion, 90% of the things Franklin has posted in the last few days are slight, trite or silly, starting with the Machete Nereid.

So I call it dreck. More or less. Tomorrow, if I am feeling up to it, and my inner defences are in shape, i will subject myself to the horrors of Art Basel. I will be depressed for a week, but at least I will have done my duty so I can kvetch in good standing.



December 5, 2004, 1:52 AM

the rubell space looks great! does anyone know their regular ours and what's their admittance policy? by appointment can anybody go and do they charge an entrance fee?



December 5, 2004, 2:17 AM

Thanks Mr. oldpro. I agree, in general, with most of what you've said. To comment about specific works, Edouard Duval-Carrie did create the large 'voudou' head that has lights inside of it. I actually photographed it in his studio last month. The "landscape of clothing would really need to be lit properly to capture it on film or digitally. The colors are dark and muted and don't lend themselves well to being photographed however, it is a magnificant work. The piled newspapers are kind of interesting but, somehow needed something more. The photographs in that space were boring and too small for their subject matter. Anne Wilson and I had a nice conversation and found out we have mutual friends. Her dual video pieces were fun. I like that they were not overwrought with some kind of burdensome monologue. Again, thanks for your reply.



December 5, 2004, 3:25 AM

Oldpro (and Catfish, who just explained at another post that when he complimented me on my taste, he was being facetious): please have a look at my post on Good, Better, Best. Since I have a life outside of, I'm putting up these images with little commentary. Perhaps this is lending the impression that I think all of them are superlative; if so, I apologize, as this is not my opinion. They're good, according to the above scale, or at least notable. My scale doesn't just have good on one side and dreck on the other.

Below Good I have So-so and Bad. Work in these categories often doesn't grab my attention, or doesn't hold it if it does. They tend to suggest obvious venues for self-improvement. A huge swath of work lies in these two categories, so if something coheres as an object and doesn't immediately come off as flawed or pointless, I'm willing to classify it as good. Good, in the sense of "avoiding evil" if not actively virtuous.

That may be too generous for your tastes, and I would sympathize if you felt this way. Nevertheless it reflects how I experience work and I would be acting falsely if I did otherwise.

Also, regarding there are no factors of scale, craft or subtlety at work in most of this stuff to make it much diffrerent from what it is in the reproduction, the Kaikkonen and the Betancourt may each be sixty feet across, and I'd be surprised if my 400-pixel photos of them are doing them much justice.



December 5, 2004, 4:25 AM

400 pixels are plenty. I agree those two works are not really really bad; but they are less interesting than really really bad because they are so insipid and ordinary.



December 5, 2004, 5:00 AM

I should have qualified "scale". Obviously some of these are big. The pile of newspapers is big. The Huff watertower and the legos in the park are big. What I meant was that their size is apparent from the photograph and therefore completely imaginable. as, for example, a Rothko painting would not be. There is no way I would go up to the pile of photos and be surprised or affected by its mere size.



December 5, 2004, 6:18 PM

Typical monitor resolution is 96 dpi. Typical print resolution is 300 dpi. A 400 pixel image carries about as much information as a 1 and a quarter INCH image printed in a book. There is a lot that could be said about various medium's transfer to printed photographs or online images . . .

As I understand it, one of the things that separates art from not-art is that in art the details are important.

With all of that, it seems obvious to me that you can get a general gist of a work of art from an online image, and very little more.



December 5, 2004, 8:56 PM


The only time details count is when details count. Most of this art does not live in the details, not at all. Most of it is based on some "idea", If I can call it that, and the "ideas", for what they are worth, can be expressed any which way. Details are beside the point.

What subtely of naunced rendering do I miss looking at a picture of a pile of newspapers? What delicate touch of grace and richness could make that stuffed man hanging from the coatrack glow with esthetic radiance? What stunning feat of design and proportion and coloration could propel the giant lego into competition with Michaelangelo? Or Tony Smith, even! C'mon!

Great art needs direct attention, needs to be caressed with eyes and mind. Great art nourishes forever. This dreck is all over in two seconds, like a bad pun. it does not even deserve looking at second hand.



December 6, 2004, 3:31 PM

I meant "pile of newspapers" in the last sentence, not "pile of photos".



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