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redlining on the poseur meter

Post #520 • April 19, 2005, 8:01 AM • 20 Comments

Inka Essenhigh, now attending an invitation-only figure drawing group, speaking to the New York Times:

"There's something kind of fun about doing something so geeky, so nerdy, so traditional," Ms. Essenhigh said. "To do something so anti-conceptual and anti-Modernism feels really good, as if it were going to lead to helping you express things."

There's something kind of irritating reading something so posed, so wink-wink-nudge-nudge, so cutely ironic, as if co-opting any old thing would lead to maintaining your sweaty grip on trendiness.

The article goes on to spell Conté crayon as "Conti."

Comment

1.

mon ami mimai

April 19, 2005, 3:40 PM

This class sounds like a great opportunity for artists.
Good for them.
Artblog is so fond of hating and bashing soi many things. I wonder how others feel.

2.

that guy in the second to last row

April 19, 2005, 4:00 PM

And by the way, there isn't anything anti-modernist about figure drawing. In fact most modernist masters were first and foremost great draftsmen.

3.

oldpro

April 19, 2005, 4:19 PM

Well, Mon Ami, as one of the chief bashers around here you can probably guess what I will think.

Please understand that Franklin was not commenting on the class but the comment. Of course there is nothing wrong with such a class. But I read the article myself yesterday and the comment made my skin crawl. If Franklin had not posted it I would have mentioned it here myself.

4.

Hovig

April 19, 2005, 5:17 PM

I missed that quote when I scanned this article the other day. My untrained eyes assumed the article was a welcome follow-up to a topic discussed here earlier. I'll try to be more critical in the future.

Speaking of libertarianism, another TCS article today recalls H.L. Mencken's definition of a puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy." Just thought that was a funny line.

5.

oldpro

April 19, 2005, 5:35 PM

Mencken would have loved this blog. He was always bitching about something. He didn't bitch about art muchm but when he was active there wasn't that much art to bitch about.

Here's a Mencken quote about art and puritans, Hovig, relative to your comment:

"The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable."

I guess, taking these quotes together, this means we are happy to let people be happy.

6.

Jack

April 19, 2005, 6:50 PM

I would say something about the quoted comment in question, but there's no need. It speaks so clearly and loudly for its author that, in a way, I admire how blithely she displays her nakedness. The sad thing is she has no clue as to what or how much she is revealing, and no idea how very pitiful a sight it is.

7.

Jack

April 19, 2005, 9:17 PM

And to think we in Miami were subjected, I mean, treated, to this paragon of artistic seriousness, this prize specimen of what has come to pass for talent, this purveyor of overblown Dali-esque cartoons, as early as 2002. We owe such largesse, of course, to that tireless seeker of the best possible work out there, the same outfit that later covered itself in glory (or something) with the Othoniel Glass Works. I speak, naturally, of our beloved MOCA, about which not enough can be said (and hardly anything IS said, except by a few like me who neither belong to nor respect the establishment). Yep, I'm definitely renewing my MOCA membership, right after I have all my teeth pulled for no particular reason.

8.

Franklin

April 19, 2005, 9:24 PM

I have to say, I really like the Ann Chu show that's up right now at MoCA.

9.

Jack

April 19, 2005, 11:52 PM

Actually, Franklin, after re-reading your post, the operative word may sweaty, as in she may be sweating it out because her 15 minutes may be close to over. The machine must have novelty, and starlets typically have a short shelf life, only to be replaced by fresher meat. Of course, I could be mistaken. She could land the gig of opening show at the new MAM (assuming Fabian Marcaccio's not available).

10.

Martin

April 20, 2005, 6:09 AM

I had a very good studio visit with her once - she stood out because so many people can seem like they're on auto-pilot and tell everyone the same thing - often a reflection of their own concerns. I have to stick up for her here - my experience is that she is more sensitive and insightful than most.

Definitely don't think she's a flash-in-the-pan or anything like that. The switch from enamels to oils at a point at which she was so hot was admirable - and her work has consistently evolved. I heard mixed things about her contribution to the Armory show - but didn't see it myself.

Her lecture was terrible - she didn't seem to be too good at talking about her work.

Yes, she's beautiful!

11.

eva

April 20, 2005, 6:49 AM

It's good to remember that there is a journalist behind this. The quote can be taken out of context or completely made up. It happens all of the time. I've been quoted a few times of things I never said.

But yea, why do they always go to this Modernism is not figurative stance? Not true.

12.

olfpro

April 20, 2005, 3:06 PM

Though the quote may be to some extent a misquote, Eva, I think the context is too dense and consistent to be much more than slightly off. I know what you mean, though.

As you said, and as Guy pointed out above, the idea that drawing is somehow "antimodernist" is just dumb. The quote is a marvelous condensation of supercilious, spoiled-brat willful ignorance from a "hot" young artist whose art is something like Disney on steroids.

13.

Jack

April 20, 2005, 5:49 PM

Oldpro, try Disney on acid. If she really wanted to improve, she would probably be better served by working first on her color, which I found very bad indeed at her 2002 show here at MOCA. Of course, one either has good color sense or one doesn't, but I'm sure she could do at least somewhat better if this area were addressed.

14.

luisa

April 22, 2005, 7:05 AM

I enjoyed the NYTarticle but Inka's immature remark was a surprise...well not really... she is sooo cute, nerdy and geeky as well ....and sources from NY tell me that her statement was kind of directed to another nerdy art star Elizabeth Peyton (responsible of obscuring Inka's star). Listen to Ms. Peyton at WPS1 RADIO

Inka's work has been compared here from "Disney on steroids" to "Dali-esque cartoons" but I would like to go even further back in time....in my opinion her work feels like "calculated Japanese art" from the 13th century Kamakura period painted with enamels and now oils.

15.

oldpro

April 22, 2005, 4:40 PM

That's a sharp comparison, Luisa, but I'll bet anything that the influence of older japanese painting comes down to Inka second hand, through Anime and the like.

After all, going back in time to find sources in great art would be oh so geeky, nerdy and traditional.

16.

luisa

April 22, 2005, 7:35 PM

oldpro, excellent comment

17.

oldpro

April 23, 2005, 2:38 AM

Well, I don't hear that too often. Thanks!

18.

Raphael

April 23, 2005, 8:07 AM

As for hitting some imaginary wayback machine so "geeky, so nerdy, so traditional," especially as it's so "anti-conceptual and anti-Modernism", isn't it odd that the deities of conceptual art--Marcel Duchamp and the Dadists--are much closer in time to the period of J.A.D. Ingres, Delacroix and David than to our own period.

"Conceptual" art is now entering its second century. "Modernism" goes back to the Realism of Courbet and other Frenchies, perhaps even far earlier to the 18th century and even the Baroque/Rembrandt. The old Dadaists were often Paris-based pranksters who made a movement out of oddball performance shows going back to before La Belle Epoque (Alfred Jarry, Le Petomane). The question that is really begging is: How many centuries is today's futuristic world of hip, cutting-edge conceptual art going to remain stuck in the year 1912, at the latest?

As for what contemporary artists call "drawing" or, worse yet, "figure drawing", at least their conceptual art training blinds them to the fact that they do not draw as well as any Victorian-era teenager whose mommy forced them to take watercolor lessons.

And those afraid of being seen as backwards or nerdy for having anything to do with the forbidden non-anti-art of the past always still pine for the weight, seriousness and respect that comes from digging up or inventing some supposed "art historical precedent". Someone who can't stand up to underaged 19th century watercolorists is a little lacking in comparison to classical Japanese masters, but, again, that's why they're poseurs, n'est-ce pas?

19.

oldpro

April 23, 2005, 8:18 AM

Hey, Raphael, your web site is truly bilious. I loved it. keep it up.

20.

oldpro

April 23, 2005, 5:37 PM

Here's a good quote from Camille Paglia, found on Raphael's site:

"All literary criticism should be accessible to the general reader. Criticism at its best is re-creative, not spirit-killing. Technical analysis of a poem is like breaking down a car engine, which has to be reassembled to run again. Theorists childishly smash up their subjects and leave the disjecta membra like litter."

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