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olitski capsule review

Post #566 • June 27, 2005, 1:06 PM • 11 Comments

My capsule review of the Olitski show at the Goldman's lies below. Commenters, self included, have bellyached about the lack of coverage of this show in the local press, and suggested damning implications about the scene because of it. I agree with many of them, but I want to point out that the fact that the New Times didn't run this doesn't necessarily indicate anything. Little concerns create big consequences in newspapers and you never know what kind of issues will cause or prevent something from running; the transsexual prostitute takes out a two-column ad in the back of the magazine instead of his/her usual one, and suddenly capsule reviews have to drop to twelve column-inches from sixteen, etc. etc. Other points about this show not getting coverage still apply.

Olitski has gotten better with age, and sixty years is a long time to get better. Laboring in the Modernist mold - pure abstraction, and success by any means necessary - he displays a hearty ability to work a style to its logical conclusions and then jettison it in favor of still greater achievements. The most recent paintings show an enormous level of verve, using fried-egg shapes on tumultuous backgrounds and the wildest colors available. Olitski nevertheless makes them hold together masterfully, as if they were a riot frozen in time. A prefacing show of color field painting by other important artists sets up Olitski's oeuvre perfectly.

My review of this show on Artblog.net, in the end, proved to be the only one written in English that ever came out in the local media.

Comment

1.

Jack

June 27, 2005, 8:37 PM

Thanks, Franklin, but I don't think the Herald can blame a transsexual prostitute for dropping the ball (again). I have no doubt the Goldmans, who sponsored the show, did everything that could be done to get coverage, even if only out of self-interest. The Herald simply has no credibility in terms of arts coverage--none. Either it doesn't know or doesn't care, probably both.

2.

oldpro

June 28, 2005, 12:01 AM

There are some pictures on Franklin's review, in case anyone is interested,and some discussion below by various commenters.

3.

alesh

June 28, 2005, 1:33 AM

blah. a write-up in the herald might have been nice, to be sure. but i'm about as exited about it as y'all will be by the show opening at the MAC tomorrow.

4.

oldpro

June 28, 2005, 1:46 AM

Alesh, this is described, in part, as "reinterpreting the process-oriented concerns of performance and conceptual art from the 1970s, while exploring an expanded social and psychological landscape."

Sounds like more fun than I could possibly endure.

5.

alesh

June 28, 2005, 2:28 AM

you've read more of the web site then me. so we have some irrelevant windbag pronouncements in the museum's PR. I'm sure irrelevant windbagisms were not absent from the Olitski program (and PR!) either. the art should be what matters, and MAC has a short but consistent history of bringing the art that hits the spot.

6.

oldpro

June 28, 2005, 3:12 AM

Well, forgive me, Alesh. The "windbag pronouncements" were written for the show by the sponsors of the show so I thought perhaps they were sincerely put forth.

By the way, if you take the time to get the catalog for the Olitski show and read Karen Wilkin's essay you will find no such egregious hogwash. And I am talking about an entire critical essay. Go ahead, read it. Let me know what you think.

7.

alesh

June 28, 2005, 5:54 AM

will it make claims about olitski's relevance to world matters? of course not - his paintings don't address anything except paint! the work in the MAC show (sight unseen, of course), presumably attempts to address lofty issues. jack would point out that this does not contribute to its greatness as art, and i would agree.

however (and of course there is no way for me to read the essay, because the goldmans don't bother with things like web sites), i'm sure Wilkin's essay has no shortage of what i would consider hyperbole. it probably just sounds different to your ears, because it happens to be hyperbole you agree with.

. . . all of which is to leave aside the distinction between a critical essay and what must be considered, ultimately, marketing (which the goldmans are not obligated to do, since their gallery is sort of a vanity project).

8.

Franklin

June 28, 2005, 6:04 AM

i'm sure Wilkin's essay has no shortage of what i would consider hyperbole.

You're sure - on what basis? Come on, Alesh, you're smarter than that.

9.

Franklin

June 28, 2005, 6:07 AM

By the way, if there's a distinction between what the Goldmans are doing with their warehouse and what los Cisneros are doing with MAC, I would sincerely like someone to inform me as to what it is.

10.

oldpro

June 28, 2005, 6:26 AM

We are getting some dandy logic on these pages lately.

World affairs? He's an artist, Alesh, not a politician.

His paintings "don't address anything except paint". "Address paint"? Does he lecture the paint? Or prepare it for mailing? Or maybe you have some special meaning for "addressing paint". Let me know.

The MAC show "addresses lofty issues". How noble. Have you observed how much of the crappy art made inthe last several hundred years "addresses lofty issues"? it is one of the signal characteristic of bad art through the ages. Can you name one of the "lofty issues" and how it gets "addressed" and why that means anyone should care?

You are the on who assured us that the "PR" for the Olitski show was full of "hyperbole", Don't make claims you cannot back up. And don't tell me how or why I evaluate things. I don't give you motives; you don't give me any. Deal?

Finally, try to lose pointless little non-sequitur put-downs like "marketing" and "vanity project". It doesn't help a weak case, believe me.

11.

Jack

June 28, 2005, 6:38 AM

Really, Franklin, how obtuse of you. The Cisneros family are using their rather large fortuna (which is most likely larger than the Goldmans') to promote excruciatingly and (to some) irreproachably with-it work. That makes all the difference, you see (you need to get out more, or read more art mags). I suppose, however, one must give them credit for not putting their name front and center (older money, perhaps?), and extra credit for not beating people over the head with their, you know, lack of the f-word.

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