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dorsch gallery garage sale

Post #551 • June 3, 2005, 10:59 AM • 150 Comments

From the gallery, an important announcement:

HUGE Garage / Estate Sale in Miami Warehouse 6 families lots of stuff: Appliances, Hand Tools, Power Tools, Garden Tools, electronics, Music instruments, Cell Phones, Antiques, CD's, LPs, and 78's, Furniture, and much much more.

151 NW 24th Street (Dorsch Gallery) Rain or Shine
8:00am - 3:00pm Sat June 4 and Sunday June 5

Me, I have a few things to unload myself - if you're lucky, I'll feel inspired to thin out my 900-book comics collection. You need the 1983 Cloak & Dagger six-issue mini-series, you just don't know it yet.

That's the roundup for today, kids. Time to go make Go See Art work. (June 1. Yeah. Right.)

Comment

1.

Hovig

June 3, 2005, 6:28 PM

Here are excerpts from Lesson in an art crisis from the New York school, by Alexa Moses, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 3 2005:

Dore (pronounced Doori) Ashton is craving a cigarette. The New York art curator has talked all morning to a packed auditorium about modernism, the culture of the New York School of artists of the 1950s and the crisis in modern art. By crisis, she means the way art is regarded as either entertainment or investment.

[...]

Ashton's area of expertise is the New York School of artists, who emerged as a group voice during the 1940s. In her talks, Ashton evokes the vitality of this group, which included Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston and Mark Rothko, in their streets, their studios, and their all-night conversations about literature, music and philosophy.

She prefers to call these artists a "moment", rather than a school or a movement, pointing out the idiosyncratic nature of artists in every period and collective.

"Still, almost all the great artists of the 20th century had this immense reverence for tradition," Ashton says. "They were not trying to obliterate things that came before them."

Now, Ashton believes, there is no significant art movement left in New York.

"There seems to be no cohesion whatsoever," she says. "There's eurotrash and baby stockbrokers who don't know better but go and buy these things, very, very crude paintings. Then you see what the British like to call sensationalism."

If anyone can explain how to appreciate modern art, it's Ashton. The first thing a viewer must have, she says, is a visual sense. Then, they have to look very closely.

"Good artists are very intelligent and it's up to people looking at the work to understand the nature of that intelligence," Ashton says. "It's very different from the literati's intelligence. Painting is a very complex means to express things."

[...]

As for the future of modern art, Ashton predicts the real artists will disappear underground, if they haven't vanished already.

"Art will go on," she says. "The artists will rebel. They won't have any part of that, and they won't be shown in the galleries."

2.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 7:02 PM

Thanks for that, Hovig. I was on a couple of panels with her years ago. She smokes llike a chimney. She also makes sense here, i think.

I don't know if the artists and the reat thing will go underground, I think they are already underground and always have been. If anything would drive a real artist underground it would be the kind of discussion we had on the preceding page.

3.

Jack

June 3, 2005, 7:26 PM

"The first thing a viewer must have...is a visual sense. Then, they have to look very closely...Good artists are very intelligent and it's up to people looking at the work to understand the nature of that intelligence...It's very different from the literati's intelligence. Painting is a very complex means to express things" (italics mine)

Yes indeed. I've said this with different words before, and probably will again. And by the way, the word "viewer" in the quotation above refers to any viewer, including an art critic.

4.

Franklin

June 3, 2005, 8:15 PM

So I go to see where she teaches, because part of me, apparently, hasn't abandoned the idea of a PhD program, and sure enough, she's in the painting program at Yale. Did these people recognize what was happening to art history and simply run for their lives?

5.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 8:17 PM

You're right, Jack, an intelligent, well put excerpt, and an antidote to the previous page, which really left a bad taste in my mouth.

6.

flatboy

June 3, 2005, 9:34 PM

Yes OldPro and others, that last page left me speechless. Right after I said artblog was a great place that I had neglected, I found myself unable to participate. But the Dore Ashton thing is quite worthwhile. Kind of fits in with my "black hole" theory too. Doesn't matter to me whether you call it a black hole or the underground. The serious stuff is very hard to find, and when I find something that might be it, something is lacking, as if there must be a group buzz to provide the final burst of splendor, but there is no group so it is missing the final ingredient. She seems to be saying something like that.

7.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 9:49 PM

Flatboy, I don;t think art gets made in the spotlight, but the other side of that is that is also does not get made in a vacuum. It has been my experience, and, of course, has been well documented in art history, that great art gets made when there is some sort of group ethic or "shared vision", like a sports team has, whether Florence 500 years ago, Paris a hundred years ago or NY 50 years ago.

I think art needs that synergy, and that may be what Ashton alludes to and you feel you are missing. Those AE guys had nasty lives in many ways but I can't help envy that mutual cooperation/competition they had going. And look at the art that came out if it.

8.

craigfrancis

June 3, 2005, 9:51 PM

what's goin' on here? not long ago Franklin posted something condemning academia for maintaining the status quo when it comes to intellectual inquiry and the continuing propogation of critical mumbo jumbo. people were falling over themselves to bitch about that one.

so what are we to gather from the reactions to Hovig's excerpt? that academia is okay if you happen to agree with it? or academics in the painting program are okay, but elsewhere it ain't so cool? for you guys, good critics, the ones with "visual sense" are the ones who back up your antiquated views, or so it seems. but, god knows, i'm probably just throwing another fit and am way off the mark, yet again, right?

9.

craigfrancis

June 3, 2005, 9:56 PM

oh and Franklin, what you said yesterday about temp. and IQ. does that make me a genius?

sorry.

10.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 10:03 PM

Is saying that artists have to have a visual sense an "antiquated view" Craig?

You are sounding like another fashion victim.

11.

Hovig

June 3, 2005, 10:29 PM

Craig - Good questions (though I think you could have done w/o saying "antiquated"). I'll add another. Ashton tries to distinguish between "movement" and "moment." How are either of these words distinct from "fashion"?

12.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 10:45 PM

I'll take a stab, Hovig. Because they are 3 different words with 3 different definitions?

I am not trying to be disingenuous. The only idiomnatic usage was "moment", which she chose to use instead of "movement", probably to more adequately encompass the entire environment of AE rather than point directly at the work, as "movement" does, because the work is, in fact, quite differentiated. "fashion" has an altogether different meaning and usage. Saying, or suggesting, that they are the same, just muddles things.

13.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 10:53 PM

And please let me add, Craigs "good" question assumes that Franklin is being inconsistent because he criticised academia (as I have) and here is an academic that gets it right. That is also muddleheaded. Obviously an instituionm just like a person or a government, can be criticised and at fault and also get something right. There is no contradiction there. The question was not a "good" one because it was not thought through.

Working around this kind of thing is one of the problems with the flow of discussion on this blog, along with the grossly stupid stuff we saw on the last page. These are the burdens of blogdom.

14.

Franklin

June 3, 2005, 11:17 PM

Sorry, Craig, only in the US. In fact, I think it starts to correlate directly once you go north of Chicago. ;o)

Jordan, whom you see commenting sometimes, is a Canadian living down here in Miami. I told him about your remarks about Newfoundland, and he laughed, but described it as gorgeous, a good place to be if you need a lot of mental space. No car horns, no booming bass, lots of natural beauty and peace. It sounds enticing. Put on a nice sweater and enjoy it for me. Chris from Zeke's Gallery was talking about convening an artblogger panel in Toronto this fall - I might have to trek over and see it for myself.

My point above is that because Ashton is teaching in the painting department (as opposed to the art history department), I couldn't pursue a PhD with her if I wanted to. Then I wondered if folks with her viewpoint fled their various art history departments. I was hoping that I found a bright spot in Dr. Ashton, and I guess I did, but to no avail. Large swaths of academia in the humanities remain guilty of encouraging nonsense and conformity.

15.

Germain

June 3, 2005, 11:21 PM

Ashton makes several concise points in that short article.

Many years ago, my painting professor in college said quite seriously that in the future the best artists would be working in a semi-hermetic way, undiscovered by the masses and unconcerned about the spotlight,diligently honing their vision. This statement appealed ( and still appeals) to my own somewhat reclusive nature, and when my mind gets clouded and confused with the plethora of images and words swirling in the great soup of the "art world", this thought brings comfort and clarity as I pursue my own work.

Oldpro, I know great work has come out of the cameraderie of artists, movements and "moments" , but I also think it's possible that great work can arise seemingly out of nowhere, from an individual who makes the work he or she feels compelled to make. (Outsider artists immediately come to mind of course, --Darger, Woolfli, Wm. Blake, Albert Pinkham Ryder).

16.

Germain

June 3, 2005, 11:21 PM

Ashton makes several concise points in that short article.

Many years ago, my painting professor in college said quite seriously that in the future the best artists would be working in a semi-hermetic way, undiscovered by the masses and unconcerned about the spotlight,diligently honing their vision. This statement appealed ( and still appeals) to my own somewhat reclusive nature, and when my mind gets clouded and confused with the plethora of images and words swirling in the great soup of the "art world", this thought brings comfort and clarity as I pursue my own work.

Oldpro, I know great work has come out of the cameraderie of artists, movements and "moments" , but I also think it's possible that great work can arise seemingly out of nowhere, from an individual who makes the work he or she feels compelled to make. (Outsider artists immediately come to mind of course, --Darger, Woolfli, Wm. Blake, Albert Pinkham Ryder).

17.

Germain

June 3, 2005, 11:27 PM

Sorry for the double post Franklin and I misspelled Wolfli's name...

18.

oldpro

June 3, 2005, 11:29 PM

You are right, Germain. I have a penchant for making absolute statements, mostly so I can strr up the pot. There is such a thing as the Lonely Artist and many more could be adduced.

I would modify that, however, by noting that even those artists usually have some connections to someone or something, or had, at some formative time in their life, and that really great art, on a level perhaps a bit above those you mentioned, seems to me a product of a tight culture of some sort.

That's a quibble, though, and your point is well taken.

19.

flatboy

June 3, 2005, 11:31 PM

About "moment" versus "movement".

When I read that, I thought about an essay Harold Rosenberg wrote about the New York School. It was called "Action Painters" or something like that. Parts of it are crazy, but other parts are good. The part that relates to "moment" seemed crazy, as if the painters did everything divorced fromstandard studio practice, living their life, so to speak, on the canvas as opposed to painting a picture. (I may be remembering his essay wrong.)

I don't find it hard to think of that group as a movement. Their work has much more in common than Rosenberg and Ashton think it has. But it hardly matters. A & R both make good points.

20.

Oldpro

June 3, 2005, 11:36 PM

Flatboy, the common characteristics of the AE artists which supercede the evident differences would be a dandy PhD topic for Franklin when he goes to Yale.

21.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 2:04 AM

Craig, I speculate you must be very young and/or very bored and/or very fond of being contrary. Otherwise, why bother to follow or involve yourself with such an "antiquated" blog? You're free to comment here several times daily if you like, but surely there are other art blogs out there far more congenial to your opinions. Of course, maybe habitual agreement with such a blog would be too dull.

If you dislike or disagree with Dore Ashton, Oldpro or anyone, that's fine; you're entitled. However, if you think you can effectively refute their views with a facile swipe like "antiquated," or get much respect or credibility that way, you're mistaken. At least, to get my respect (regardless of whether it matters to you or not), you have to do a lot better than that.

I'm put in mind of some young playwright who tries to dismiss people who revere Shakespeare as "antiquated." Sorry, but it just won't wash.

22.

George

June 4, 2005, 2:30 AM

...my painting professor in college said quite seriously that in the future the best artists would be working in a semi-hermetic way, undiscovered by the masses and unconcerned about the spotlight, diligently honing their vision.

Does anyone really believe this statement if it's applied in the broad sense as implied here? I don't think so.

23.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 2:37 AM

George, keep in mind that it applies to a very limited sample who by definition are obscure. Whether we believe it or not, it will be hard to prove until a lot of time has passed.

However most of the best artists I know of under 40 or so fit the description pretty well.

24.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 2:43 AM

Some choice items from the June issue of Modern Painters (no, my subscription has not expired yet):

-Gilbert & George Do Their Worst

-Free Thomas Demand Egg Carton for Every Reader

-Tracey Emin Comes Clean

-How Frida Kahlo Saved Herself

There was no item in the whole issue that compelled me to read it. Not one (and believe me, I looked--after all, I'm paying for this). Of course, it might have been the effect of the Gilbert & George masterpiece on the cover. That's enough to make me dyspeptic any day.

25.

flatboy

June 4, 2005, 3:04 AM

George: Germain's prof said stuff that rings my bell somewhat. It is broad but that's why it is interesting. I can't imagine any artist being "unconcerned about the spotlight" but that does not contradict the rest. No spotlight and isolation just may be the circumstance that is delivered to serious artists. It might turn out that being "the best" of the period does not equate to being "great", as Ashton seems to say. If no one has that certain extra something, then the question of "the best" is merely relative. Even then it is treacherous to get specific about just who those "relative bests" are. And so it boils down to keep on keeping on. Which isn't a bad summary of what the prof is saying.

What I keep hearing around here is to "network" and "stay up-to-date", talk a certain talk, and read the writers everyone else is reading as the content for talking this talk. That amuses my cynical side because it is an easy formula to satisfy. But I would rather hear about stuff like Germain's prof talked about. It is a lot more intriguing than deconstruction politics as shoehorned onto art works, or art work wannabes, because it has the smell of truth about it..

There is a certain amount of openness on our faculty's part, too be fair. Next time I'm asked "who are you reading" I will probably answer "Greenberg". They don't say anything about him that is positive (they don't really say much about him at all), but I don't think I'll get slammed for saying I have been reading him. My impression is that after I finish my two books I will probably know more about him than they do. And of course there is plenty to criticize in Greenberg, so that will go down good with all those who apparently don't cotten to what he said. But a lot of what he wrote has the smell of truth about it too.

26.

craigfrancis

June 4, 2005, 3:05 AM

oh jesus help me and preserve me. jack and OP, you guys are about as much fun as a bag of nails on a hot day. OP frequently talks about how he sometimes just says things to stir up the pot or whatever but just can't stand it when someone else begins pushing the buttons. that doesn't mean however that i take back what i said: you guys are just as bad as the Hirst devotees, it's just that him and his awful ilk are on top right now and your Modernists and academics and theorists aren't.

jack, i could never be as bored and as contrary as you sound every day. you must be about 106. i'm just trying to wrap my head around what's happening on this blog, and where the perpetual feelings of disatisfaction come from. so, i'll be sticking around, particularly now that you've given me permission.

franklin: let me know if you can when you'll be in toronto. i'm good friends with timothy comeau at goodreads.ca and may be in t.o. in the near future.

peace out

27.

George

June 4, 2005, 3:28 AM

It's wishful thinking, just like all the artists dreaming the'll be the next Damning Hurt. Statistically a very very few make the cut, they are the outliers. Most of us are somewhere in the middle of the bell curve.

FWIW, I probably fit the fantasy pattern as well as most. I dropped out of the art scene about a dozen years ago to work in total isolation. (In the middle of NYC to boot) It was a personal choice that I'm not sure I would reccomend to others. Most of my art magazines date back to 1989. Funny, reading them while sitting on the toilet, the're just about the same as the smattering I have with later dates. If someone had asked me who are you reading, I might have said Rodger Penrose or William Gibson, but no one the October crew or other intellectual types. I read all that stuff in grad school, oops then everyone changed their mind about reality again. I decided that since I'm not an academic, what I could reason out for myself, was what I needed to know.[footnote]

28.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 3:30 AM

C'mon, Craig, stop whining. Having a strong, definite opinion does not make someone 106. Franklin has strong opinions and he is practically a kid.

And can we cut out the age shit? I am really sick of it. What if I said all you guys are stupid ignorant young punks with your heads up your asses so grow up? Believe me, I feel like sometimes, but I don't, because that is not appropriate on a blog.

Once again, for the nth time, if you do not like what i say, come back and blow me out of the water. Whining about how bad I am,and how bad Jack is, just doesn't cut it. It means you don't have anything else to say.

OK, that's done. So, Flatboy, "the smell of truth"? Ah, that calms me down, Thanks. I don't think there was specific mention of any artists being "unconcerned" by the spotlight, just that art is not made in its glare.

And be carerful about the "relativity" of the best. You will know it when you see it. You are reading Greenberg. Do you notice how he spends most of his time making very clear, simple statements about, of all things, actual art? Dig it.

29.

flatboy

June 4, 2005, 5:24 AM

It was Germain who said her prof talked about artists being unconcerned about the spotlight.

As far as Greenberg goes, you are right if you are suggesting he is at his best when he talks about "actual art". But that is also when he is at his worst. We have discussed some of his declarations about the "most promising" artist of a generation and so forth before. I don't feel a need to go there again. He was the first to recognize Pollock. That would be enough to make him important. His mistakes don't detract from his successes. They are a different matter, that's all. Like a bad picture does not detract from a good one.

30.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 6:40 AM

Right you are, Flatboy.

We have been over Greenberg's alleged faults before and have disagreed. I'm happy to take up the cudgels again any ttime you want to.

There were some others who knew how good Pollock was, and I don't like to think of a writer that good and that much "into" art, who gave art the kind of direct respect he did, as being "important". Maybe I am prejudiced, but "important" has a past finality about it, a niche in the great pantheon in the sky. We shoud forget he is "important" and just read the writing.

31.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 9:03 AM

Sorry I'm not trendy and amusing enough for you, Craig, but we can't all be Andy Warhol. Believe it or not, I don't feel bored, which I would be by certain blogs (that's why I don't visit them any more). As for my age, I'm about a generation away from retirement. Regarding being contrary, I was referring to taking personal potshots at other people who comment here (though trust me, I've been tempted). And I wasn't giving you "permission," which you obviously don't need, but rather making an observation.

32.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 9:29 AM

The annotated version of comment 24:

-Gilbert & George Do Their Worst (What, again?)

-Free Thomas Demand Egg Carton for Every Reader (Now even non-"major" collectors can feel plugged in, though of course they still don't matter)

-Tracey Emin Comes Clean (As if)

-How Frida Kahlo Saved Herself (If only she'd kept it private)

33.

craigfrancis

June 4, 2005, 3:18 PM

OP: i didn't say you were 106. that refered to Jack. i know plenty of older professional artists who don't lament "the good ol' days", which is all i was on about.

Jack: Dude, I really don't know what I could possibly say to that. Uh, I forgive you for not being trendy or amusing? As for the whole personal pot shot thing, you'll notice in my original comment that I said your views were antiquated. That's not a value judgement on you as a person. However, when you brought up my youth, boredom, and contrariness, I felt inclined to reply about how old and dull you sound. So whatever. I believe something that made Warhol so charming was his semi weekly rose water enemas...

Oh and Flatboy and OP, I happen to agree with you both on Greenberg. It freaks me out how many people have made their careers on attacking that guy. He must be rolling over in his grave.

34.

jordan

June 4, 2005, 3:20 PM

how about a HUGE sale at robbin's? just a thought from a friend.

35.

flatboy

June 4, 2005, 3:38 PM

craigfrancis: Who has "made their careers" attacking Greenberg? All I can find are passing references here and there. Usually they assert he would not accept anything but "flat" painting or that he was "dictatorial", but they never go into much depth. Who digs in deep?

36.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 5:33 PM

Craig, I know you were referring to Jack. I object to all characterizations that equate age or any other personal characteristic with esthetic limitation of any kind, and i am sick and tired of seeing it here. There is nothing more "antiquated" than name-calling. I am sure it predates intelligent discussion by a couple hundred thousand years.

Flatboy, not too many people have "made careers" attacking Greenberg, but I think we can forgive the exaggeration because Greenberg-bashing in the 80s and 90s was as much a part of the mandatory posturing of the intellectual "elite" as Bush-bashing is now (I am not implying any other parallels).

Rosalyn Krauss's mid-70s Art In America article accusing Greenberg of all sorts of wrongdoing with David Smith's sculpture is the closest actual example of career-making anti-Greenbergism I can recall, but you saw it everywhere all the time. Now that the perceived threat has been mitigated by the art world's complete capitulation to novelty art a lot less time is wasted on it.

He was find of saying "I have an argument with my reputation", and, typically, thought much of it was his own fault because he hadn't explained himself well enough.

37.

that guy

June 4, 2005, 5:56 PM

Does anyone know if the rumors surrounding Greenberg and the David Smith estate have any validity. I've heard he had all the paint removed from certain sculptures after the artists death? It really rubbed me the wrong way when I heard it, but I have no way of knowing if it was true. Just wondering if anyone had the inside scoop on this one.

38.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 6:01 PM

I've forgotten the details, but the rough facts were that at the time Smith died in a car accident in Bennington in 1965 some of the sculptures were covered in priming paint which was not intended to be the final color, and Greenberg felt he had no choice but to remove the priming.

39.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 6:04 PM

Well, Craig, maybe you've got the right approach--whatever indeed. I expect I shouldn't have bothered. Evidently, it was a waste of time.

40.

Hovig

June 4, 2005, 6:14 PM

Oldpro - If there is a such thing as "capitulation to novelty," can we also say conversely there must also be such a thing as "aversion to novelty"? Can we further acknowledge that these concepts may often by crudely rendered by comments which come out smelling like ageism? One may use the term "antiquated," but another may use the term "fashion." Frankly I find both terms wholly unconstructive. Can we simply attribute the use of these terms to the writer's momentary lack of linguistic grace, and simply move along, substituting "capitulation to novelty" and "aversion to novelty" liberally as needed?

The reason I asked about "movement, moment and fashion" above was not to muddle things, but to question whether things were already muddled. If you can slip an onion-skin paper between those words I'd like to see it. A movement seems like nothing more than a fashion consectrated by historians. In fact Francis Bacon died thinking AE was a fashion (that being his exact and only word), so the argument between the movement and moment is joined by fashion already, without my having done it.

41.

that guy

June 4, 2005, 6:19 PM

thanks oldpro, that does clear it up a bit. Removing primer from steel sculpture is more understandable than removing the surface that an artist intended, regardless of its overall effect, which doesn't appear to be the case.

42.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 6:35 PM

Hovig, of course you can say "aversion to novelty". it is a perfectly comprehendable phrase. I have no objection to the use of any word. I just don't like what I said in #36 I don't like.

And of course you can say "A movement seems like nothing more than a fashion consectrated by historians". That is also perfectly comprehendable and could form a basis for discussion. That does not make "movement" and "fashion" coterminous. The three words "movement", "moment" and "fashion" were quite distinct in context, as I explained in #12 above. You don't need onion-skin paper; a dictionary will do.

43.

catfish

June 4, 2005, 6:47 PM

that guy: Yes it is true Greenberg had all the "finish" removed from a number of Smith's sculptures. I put quotes around "finish" because it was actually primer. Smith's studio practice was to coat non-stainless sculpture with a primer to protect it temporarily from rusting. Then he had a local craftsman remove it and replace it with oil that was applied after the metal had been heated to get better penetration, for a natural steel look.

This practice was interrupted by Smith's death. Some pieces were left in the primed state. Eventually, the primer failed and they began to rust, not to mention flake. All Greenberg did was order that Smith's studio process be taken to completion for those pieces that met Smith's criteria for such a process. He had the same craftsman Smith employed do the actual work.

Why would that be controversial?

Greenberg and Krauss had a long standing feud, a feud that seemed as intense as only that between former lovers could be (which they were). Further, Greenberg had criticised some of Smith's truly painted sculpture. These pieces were finished in saturated colors, with, say, one part being red, another black, and another white. (To my eye, that broke the unity of most of them. I can't remember what Clem's reaction was.) Perhaps these are factors in what Krauss chose to write. She certainly leveraged Clem's negative remarks about the painted scupture series. But the debated pieces were merely primed and set aside for later oiling.

Whatever, Krauss made Clem out to be monster who had the arrogance to change an artist's work after the artist died. Nothing could be further from the truth. Clem simply saw to it the work was finished according to the studio practice of David Smith. But the fact is, he did order the primer stripped and replaced with oil. I suppose a reasonable person could say it would have been better to preserve them in their primed, unfinished state, even though they were so close to completion. But I agree with the decision to take them all the way to finish, especially since Smith would not have finished them himself anyway. And Smith's intention was to finish them, not leave them to rust when the primer failed, nor did he intend to "finish" them with primer (which by definition is not a finish). When you serve as executor of an estate, the decedent's intentions are the primary concern.

Clem responded to her article with a nasty letter to the editor which did not help the situation at all. I remember it included something like women art historians are the bane of the art world. It was a case of Clem being Clem. His right, as far as I was concerned, but not to his advantage.

Interestingly, neither of Smith's children have ever complained about replacing the primer with oil.

I've also heard an occasional remark about Clem's handling of the Morris Louis estate as well. Louis averaged about a picture a day during his productive years and did not always take time to decide the exact borders of his pictures, except if they were to be shown. Otherwise he rolled them for convenient storage. Most were never shown during his lifetime. At his death, which was rather sudden, some were found to contain markings that indicated where the picture ended, others had no such marks. Those that were not marked, Greenberg had stretched according to his best judgement as to where Louis would have done it himself. He admitted this was a judgement, not an absolute truth. In the case of Louis, to not perform this task would be to make the final picture look less like Louis intended it, even if someone else's judgement is by nature not perfect. In my opinion, Greenberg was the most qualified person on earth to perform this task.

44.

George

June 4, 2005, 6:53 PM

Moment - the work viewed as characterized by a place in time

Movement - as characterized by a group of artists with similarity of work

Fashion - A moment where the movement is publically stylish

45.

that guy

June 4, 2005, 7:14 PM

Catfish: you are a fountain of information and for that I thank you. I would amend, that incompetence in any form is the bane of art history regardless of gender. In Miami we have plenty of it permeating through the men and women who write about art, pick the art that eventually is displayed in our museums and those who buy the stuff. All this cumulatively might end up as our art history when it is eventually written. It is a shame really.

46.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 7:21 PM

So, Guy, you asked a question, you got an answer. Thanks, Catfish. In formation like this is what makes the blog worthwhile.

And George, I think your quick definitions relate perfectly to the discussion. I should have done it myself.

47.

catfish

June 4, 2005, 7:25 PM

you are welcome, that guy. Ironically, Clem's own daughter earned a degree in art history. However, he never recanted his assertion that women art historians were the bane of the art world. He seemed both concerned that she was an art historian and approving, and perhaps a little amused too. He was not inconsistent, just capable of large and multiple feelings. He really liked her; they toured China together looking at art shortly after Americans were allowed to do that. Except for taking up art history, she could do no wrong in his eyes. I'm not sure the art history thing bothered him that much.

48.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 8:24 PM

Ah, Rosalind, thy name is....MUD (at least). Thanks, Catfish.

49.

oldpro

June 4, 2005, 9:20 PM

Jack, Better yet is Touchstone's sarcastic description::

Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalind.

50.

Jack

June 4, 2005, 10:23 PM

Nutty I can easily believe; sweet I seriously doubt.

51.

Oldpro

June 4, 2005, 10:42 PM

If am correct he was being sarcastic, having just heard Rosailind praise herself extravagantly and told "Out,fool!" by her, but I am no Shatkespeare scholar.

52.

Franklin

June 4, 2005, 11:54 PM

You know the Bard far better than I do. Here's a link.

53.

George

June 5, 2005, 1:57 AM

It was a nice summer afternoon in NYC, I spent a couple of hours drinking beer on a barge on the Hudson, almost pastoral.
In between, first we went to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition. Simply put, the work was awesome. Take a harder look.
As a follow up, I went back to see the Noe Rauch show we discussed earlier. It's the end of the season and I would have to say it was the best exhibition by a younger artist this year. The paintings are quite developed, including the interactiove relationships between the figures. I would also note that both Rauch and Basquiat were very strong formally. Previouse gripes here are refelecting a mindset that is preventing you from experiencing the paintings.

54.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 2:00 AM

Thanks, memory refreshed (I don't spend a lot of time reading the good stuff any more) Touchstone was being sarcastic about the silly love notes Orlando was leaving around the forest for Rosalind; the phrase itself was written by Orlando and contained in one of those notes.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get off on a tangent.

55.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 2:07 AM

George, you are once again ascribing motives.

I have no mindset at all when it somes to art. I have seen plenty of Basquiat paintings and think he had a real flair for putting a strongly designed picture together, and I said as much in a review ot a show of 80s pix at MoCA a few years ago.

Rauch, on the other hand, is simply not a very good painter. You are welcome to your opinion, but please don't tell me, at least, that I don;\'t appreciate them because of some "mindset". Believe me, when good painting comes along I will be the first to say so.

56.

Hovig

June 5, 2005, 2:19 AM

George - Glad you got another chance to see the Rauch, and glad you enjoyed the Basquiat. I can't wait to see it down these parts later this year. What did you like about it? I've spent the past couple of weeks seeing Basquiat's "daddy" at the MFAH and the Menil. Twice each one already (incl each one's preview night). Call me crazy, see if I care.

57.

George

June 5, 2005, 3:13 AM

Oldpro says ...Basquiat paintings and think he had a real flair for putting a
strongly designed picture together
I couldn't agree more. When he gets it right everything works formally to support his iconography.

Hovig, I don't really see Twombly as Basquiat "daddy" if that's what you were referring to. I do think Twombly might have validated the scribble, and hence the tag mark. What came to mind for me, were the early Pollock paintings like
Male-Female; She-Wolf; and Guardians;

As far as Neo Rauch goes, he's not into excessivly fussed surfaces or paint application, his application is done in a straight forward manner. What was interesting was how abstract the paintings can be, as in
Neue Rollenor Krypts
That railing in Krypts can't possibly be like it is drawn which forces the perspective and warps the space and not. In Neue Rollen, there are strong diagonal objects marking zigzags across the surface as a space developer. The paint is relatively flat but so what, in this context, I don't see it as an issue. Moreove, the paintings are interesting to look at and remain so on second viewing which says a lot to me.
In Neue Rollen, the whitish X thing, lower middle, is a Dutch Windmill or rather a paper cutout of one as viewed propped from behind, along with a rocketship and a bunch of other odd stuff. This is a funny painting, it's humorous. I had the same feeling about Basquiat.

58.

George

June 5, 2005, 3:15 AM

Hovig, The Menil exhibition, Cy Twombly; 50 years of works on paper looks like what I saw at the Whitney a month ago. Really nice

59.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 4:25 AM

The "visual" version of your comment would have the "iconography" there to support the "formal". The "formal" is what makes it art.

Iconography.doesn't need support; it has literal meaning.

60.

George

June 5, 2005, 4:49 AM

Iconography? The things in the painting? I don't see how they are any different than a DeKooning brushstroke which marks the space

61.

Jack

June 5, 2005, 6:24 AM

The two linked Rauch paintings, as reproduced, strike me as gussied up, fussed over graphic work out of books for children or adolescents. The coloring seems very poor, workmanlike at most, again reminiscent of illustrations for a juvenile audience. No doubt Rauch or others could offer all kinds of theoretical justification for this approach, but from a purely visual standpoint, this sort of work leaves me cold, or more accurately, indifferent. It has the feel of prefabricated formula. In other words, since it fails for me visually, I don't care what it's about or what it's supposed to mean. It doesn't interest me as art.

62.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 7:49 AM

You're the one who made the distinction, George.

63.

craigfrancis

June 5, 2005, 8:09 AM

Jack: Of course I have the right approach: it is yours after all. And golly, is comment 32 the scathing indictment of contemporary art I've been waiting for all this time from you?

Hovig: Nice point about fashion.

OP: You object to characterizations based on age but it's okay for Jack to link youth with boredom and simple contrariness? Or youth with bad art like you've done numerous times on this blog? Please. I suppose you're just stirring up the pot, right? And for the love of God, please don't ask me to go find a specific example from the multitude of comments you've posted here. We both know you've said it.

Oh and p.s.: the reason I keep coming back (though masochism might well be the true reason) is that I'm exposed to viewpoints I don't agree with. I can argue, make my point (eventually) and generally fuck shit up a little and who knows, I may have a change of heart sometime. Isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?

catfish: holy shit! thanks so much for your informed comments. I knew Krauss was one of the people whose fame started in attacking Clem, but could come nowhere close to your wonderful post. Much obliged.

64.

jordan

June 5, 2005, 12:46 PM

hi, anyone interested in displaying they're intellegence visually for a JUNE 11th opening at old Objex (that seems wierd - objects?; whatever) ART SPACE please e-mail me at jordanmassengale@hotmail.com by Sunday eve. Haters, as allways are welcome, but not preferred. You will not become famous from this one weekend show, however you may meet a soul mate, or at least someone that you can lay.

65.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 2:18 PM

Craig, I never said that what Jack did was OK (I would have to go back and check it out, to begin with) and I have never linked "youth" with "bad art" as a necessary consequence. Even if I wanted to I would have to own up to the fact that my generation must take most of the responsibility for this mess.

66.

flatboy

June 5, 2005, 3:01 PM

Thanks Catfish for # 43 (and 47). You provided more details about the Greenberg/Smith issue than I ever heard in an art history class.

67.

George

June 5, 2005, 3:14 PM

OP: regarding #62, I didn't make that distinction, to the contrary I was using any descriptions as a way of just pointing something out formally.
Re: #55, I wasn't specifically referring to you in my comment #53

Jack: regarding #61. So, with the "as reproduced" qualifier:

strike me as gussied up
Can you define this more specifically?

fussed over graphic work out of books for children or adolescents.
Again, can you be more specific about what you dislike here? The drawing in obviously not intended to be photorealistic. In such cases the drawing also evokes another level of content. In your case this appears to be books for children

The coloring seems very poor, workmanlike at most,
I am not sure what you mean by this sentence. Forgive me for putting words in your mouth but are you saying the "color is poor" or "maybe, but you're not sure, it's poor" or "you just don't like it"? If you ascribe Rauch's use of color as "workmanlike", doesn't this imply some level of skill? What workman? How could it be better?

reminiscent of illustrations for a juvenile audience.
I do think that some of the various color palettes Rauch uses are tonally similar to mid 20th century pulp fiction, a coarse four color process frequently with a yellowish cast. In this case I can partially understand what could be behind your remark here. I fail to se how, color, when it evokes a memory of a place and time on a printed page is any less compelling, correct or important than an accurate depiction of studio lighting, or an an approaching storm by Heade

No doubt Rauch or others could offer all kinds of theoretical justification for this approach,
We are not talking about this, Hovig mentioned something along these lines which I purposely steered away from because I was more interested in the formal aspects of the work.

but from a purely visual standpoint, this sort of work leaves me cold, or more accurately, indifferent.
OK, you don't like the work (at least in reproduction) I can accept this as an opinion.

It has the feel of prefabricated formula.
By this I'm assuming you mean that there is some predictable connection between the works stylistically? Can this observation be reframed and then applied to almost any artist or historical style?

In other words, since it fails for me visually, I don't care what it's about or what it's supposed to mean. It doesn't interest me as art.
Well, ok, you are clear here.

So the question for me is, if you absolutely hate Neo Rauch, fine that's allowed.
Let's take it farther, what contemporary painter do you love? who is getting you off?

Where the dialogue frequently goes soft here is when it just degrades into the numerous variations of "it sucks" This seems like a reasonably smart group of people, certainly you all have an interest in art to the degree you are willing to spend part of your day writing responses.

What I don't understand is the unwillingness to dig a little deeper, look a little harder and be a little more generous towards other painters who are just as serious, just as committed and just as passionate as anyone else here.

68.

flatboy

June 5, 2005, 3:14 PM

OldPro, you are awfully kind to Basquiat in # 55. His pictures seem composed randomly to me, as opposed to "strongly designed". It is a felt randomness, to be sure. But ultimately they look isolated, disconnected from tradition by an approach that I call "personal". Delving into "the personal" is supposed to be a method for scaling the heights of art, but the only one it ever worked for was Van Gogh and mabye Bosch. The rest, like Basquait, languish in the land of the nearly but not quite there. Basquait reminds me that it is possible to be "too personal", no matter how much talent one might have.

69.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 3:33 PM

I concur with Oldpro on Basquiat to some extent. He could set up a picture on a good day, and he had a lot of good days. He could scribble and scrawl attractively, certainly with a lot more sophistication than most of his former colleagues in the graffiti world. When his work fails, it seems compositionally lazy - sort of what Flatboy describes.

And this is what I feel about the Rauchs. (I said I wouldn't get into this without seeing some in person first, but oh well.) Good compositions feel like they preclude other compositions, that if you moved an element this way or that, it would compromise the rest of the painting. The Rauchs don't give me that - they seem like pastiches that could stand a lot of alteration and deliver the same effect. The lack of urgency in the composition makes the urgency in the subject matter seem a little hysterical. I see what Jack means about the color - workmanlike as in perfunctory. Rauch may be intending to recall pulp novel covers, but that doesn't mean it's any great pleasure to look at.

I would never have thought to liken Basquiat to Twombly. Thanks, Hovig.

70.

George

June 5, 2005, 4:00 PM

flatboy #68:
Take a harder look at Van Gogh, Delving into "the personal" This is part of the Van Gogh myth, his paintings are as analytic, well designed and executed as any in history. Personal is what it is all about, but that doesn't mean he wass flailing about in some deranged moment of heated passion. To the contrary, look at the Van Gogh ink drawings, the degree of precision is frightening.

This painting (sorry for the poor pic, I Googled it) was stunning. Basquiat will probably always be stuck with the "graffiti" lable. His paintings epitomize the anger, ego and "in your face" psychological aspects of graffiti. Basquiat was very well informed. As I recall, Hovig's comments about Basquait and Twombly are based in fact. It is apparent from his paintings that he was aware of history. This is really "in your face" painting which jokes around with both the viewer and history. Take this painting of Ali Once you get past the Art Brut stylistics, it's a hilarious portrait.

How can any artist be too personal? Come on, isn't this part of what it is all about, developing a voice? I always thought Basquiat was a great painter, this exhibition only reinforced my opinion that he will not only endure but grow in stature over time

71.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 4:07 PM

George, you said "When he gets it right everything works formally to support his iconography". This clearly isolates iconography from what "works formally". It is like saying the pedestal supports the sculpture. I see no reason to retract or modify what I responded.

Flatboy, I am not going to defend Basquat beyond what I said, which was that he has "a flair for putting a strongly designed picture together". George later made somewhat more of that statement than I would have preferred.

The 80s show at MoCA some years ago was very instructive because it was an opportunity to compare those neo-expressionist artists. Basquiat and Keifer came off better than I expected and Baselitz much worse, and it confirmed once again that David Salle can't paint and that Schnabel has talent but simply cannot bring it into focus, probably because of his penchant for grandiosity. And much else. That said, there was little or nothing in the show I would want on my walls at home.

72.

flatboy

June 5, 2005, 4:45 PM

George asks, "How can any artist be too personal"?

I admit that "personalism" is thought to be a silver bullet for artistic success. In the two art schools I've attended there have been a number of students who literally wallow in personal issues, making them quite central to "getting" their work. Everyone seems to like these artists. Everyone except me, that is. I don't "get it". I'm not that interested in "them" and their "issues" nor am I interested in their ersatz "uniqueness" of drawing, color, or other expression. (A tip of my hat to Jack for inspiring this way of formulating words.)

Granted, one must marvel at how much mileage a dog with 500 pointed teeth provides in these academic art scenes, and how quickly everyone attaches "colorist" to a red, white, and black color scheme. But these artists only succeed in isolating themselves from everything except their most trite and obvious interests - not a great place to be as far as I am concerned.

In short, they are "too personal".

73.

George

June 5, 2005, 4:47 PM

Franklin [#69]
And this is what I feel about the Rauchs. (I said I wouldn't get into this without seeing some in person first, but oh well.)
Actually if we dont get into texture or facture, the reproductions would suffice for an analysis of the compositions. The color in the reproductions is a little off but always is (a long topic color gamut issue)

Good compositions feel like they preclude other compositions, that if you moved an element this way or that, it would compromise the rest of the painting.
Well, this is the Republican point of view. On the other hand composition can be used to other affects other than locking the picture into a mosaic of iconographic elements. Arbitrariness is a part of life, a quality in itself. In many of Neo Rauch's paintings there is an implied movement, in some it's a whirling dervish. This difference in opinion is classical, the same war between an implied grid of classical proportions and a fluid sinuous organization.

The Rauchs don't give me that - they seem like pastiches that could stand a lot of alteration and deliver the same effect.
Again, there are a lot of clues in Rauchs' paintings which obviously refer to a situation in motion. In some of the paintings, a figure is canted in defiance of gravity, obviously in motion and therefore in an unfixable transitory compositional placement.

The lack of urgency in the composition makes the urgency in the subject matter seem a little hysterical.
I am not sure I follow what you mean here. I'm assuming that what you mean by "urgency in composition" is that it is ambiguous which I don't find at all. I see it as the development of a fluid and transitory spatial construct, not fixed. The "subject matter" borders on the surrealist in the classical sense of its use of seemingly arbitrary juxtapositions. I haven't looked deeper into any of the iconographic stuff and doubt that I will.

I see what Jack means about the color - workmanlike as in perfunctory. Rauch may be intending to recall pulp novel covers, but that doesn't mean it's any great pleasure to look at.
I take huge exception to this view. It's is really off the mark.
I looked up perfunctory
A. hasty: done hastily or superficially
1. Done merely to carry out a duty; performed mechanically or routinely.
2. Lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent.

This word " perfunctory " is misapplied here. A closer look at the color in all of Rauchs paintings would indicate that his color schemes are carefully selected and developed. I turned "juvenile illustrations" into "pulp fiction" but I also linked two paintings by Heade which have sour yellow light not unlike old "Action" magazine covers degraded by yellowing paper. There are aspects of the schematic color decisions which generate content by conjuring up memories of other types of imaging. It becomes a conceptual displacement in how we may perceive the paintings.

74.

George

June 5, 2005, 4:54 PM

OP [#71]
George, you said "When he gets it right everything works formally to support his iconography". This clearly isolates iconography from what "works formally".

All right, I wasn't being as specific as I should have been. What is of particular interest about Basquiat how his pictorial stuff, his iconography, functions in a formal way. The Iconographic and the Formal are integrated. Works for me.

75.

George

June 5, 2005, 5:22 PM

flatboy [#72]

Good response.
Regarding "personalism", the silver bullet for career success. Notice, I slightly changed the wording from "artistic" to "career" because this is what is actually meant.

In all honesty, Basquiat is the best example of a yound artist who both found his voice and was able to utilize it. I am not talking about "wild expression" here but the ability to make instinctive decisions with as little intervention as possible. In Basquiats case, it comes out Tag Style, that was what was happening at the time and it fit his personality. What could be truly pathetic would be a pretender to the throne.

In this respect your instincts, everyone except me , damn that's a fine place to start. What I would caution is to watch out for over reaction and a write off of someone's work which might be of value in an educational sense. I find that, I like some artists who make work which I could never do, from a constitutional viewpoint, Mondrian for one. I love him but there's no way I can paint like that. Yet when I see a Mondrian, I'm enthralled and captivated.

Finally, I do understand how all these opinions are emotionally formed. There are a lot of conflicting viewpoints, many have their merits, some are currently in favor and some are not. As a young artist, it can be hard to make the distinctions in the face of all the crosscurrents. What's right is what feels right but you have to strip away all of the "buts" and find the core. There are a lot of opinionated people here, myself included, none of us has the answer, it's for you to find for yourself.

76.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 5:30 PM

Well, this is the Republican point of view.

Don't start with me, man.

On the other hand composition can be used to other affects other than locking the picture into a mosaic of iconographic elements. Arbitrariness is a part of life, a quality in itself. In many of Neo Rauch's paintings there is an implied movement, in some it's a whirling dervish. This difference in opinion is classical, the same war between an implied grid of classical proportions and a fluid sinuous organization.

Paintings don't actually move - all motion is implied. Whether we're talking about a Delacroix or an Ingres, a good composition seems like it precludes other arrangements of the same elements or the addition or subtraction thereof. We do this all the time in class when we look at paintings - "Okay, lift up your hand and block out that guy with the flag in the lower left corner. Does it work as well?" In a good composition, often the answer is no. Whatever the implied motion of the elements, a good composition will land them in favorable places. Arbitrariness is a vice in art - even musical improvisations have to feel like they're going somewhere good, or they become boring. My point is that the Rauch compositions feel arbitrary, and that a better composer could get the figures to whirl without creating that side effect.

In some of the paintings, a figure is canted in defiance of gravity, obviously in motion and therefore in an unfixable transitory compositional placement.

And yet when Rubens fills his skies with winged babies, his paintings still feel composed. Same point as above.

I am not sure I follow what you mean here.

The subject matter is raucous, and there's nothing wrong with that inherently. But because the compositions aren't great, they seem to be gesticulating in a silly manner instead of a compelling, surrealist one.

I take huge exception to this view.

Okay.

There are aspects of the schematic color decisions which generate content by conjuring up memories of other types of imaging. It becomes a conceptual displacement in how we may perceive the paintings.

You look at the colors, you think of other stuff. That stuff becomes sort of ancillary content. Fine. But it's not working here artistically, at least not via reproduction.

77.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 5:42 PM

What could be truly pathetic would be a pretender to the throne.

That was thrown at him. His gallery passed him off as a street kid who represented raw, urban, low-income, African-American energy. In fact, he was the son of Haitian immigrants who owned brownstones around the five boroughs and was really rather well-off. So there was this attitude among his supporters that was patronizing in both senses of the word, and it was based on a skewed perception about his background. But in the end, no matter - his formal gifts were real and I think his works are some of the lasting products of the 80's.

78.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 5:46 PM

BTW, Robert Hughes's post-mortem essay about Basquiat, entitled "Requiem for a Featherweight," was a huge inspiration for me as an art critic.

79.

George

June 5, 2005, 6:00 PM

Franklin [re #76]

Here are links to the paintings in the show, pick a number and we'll be more specific in our discussion.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7 (probably the most boring)
8
9

80.

George

June 5, 2005, 6:06 PM

Franklin [re#77]
Just to be clear, my remark regarding "pretenders to the throne" in [#75] has nothing to do with Basquiat. I was referring to "the emulators", the rich white girls and boys spending mommy and daddy's money in a art school somewhere thinking they can just appropriate all the right moves to an "art star career"

Yo! kids, plan on having a day job.

81.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 6:08 PM

George, if you are saying that the iconography works formally, that's fine. I am not exactly sure what the iconograps is, but, OK.

BTW I think you meant "effects" not "affects" in #73 above.

Flatboy, good comeback on the "personal" statement. I didn't thinkl you had made your case either, but I thought it was definitely an interesting observation and that you detailed it nicely in the following comment. And I can;t tell you how much I agree with you about the "wallowing in personal issues". Whenever I see that quivering on the horizon I tell the student to get yourself the hell out of your art. I think it is irresponsible not to.

Good grief, do they still do dogs with lots of pointed teeth? I thought that one had been run out of town ages ago. How about heads with screaming mouths? Houses on stilts? Pods and vessels? Identical little things in rows? Videos of barely moving smiling faces? I think it is up to the instructor to simply forbid certain things for the esthetic health of the student. Besides, there is nothing like a little "fascism" to get their juices flowing.

82.

Hovig

June 5, 2005, 6:19 PM

Great discussion. To re-iterate (briefly!) what I said about Rauch on this blog the other day, I think he's intentionally playing in the sandbox of the classical European painters, and, putting conceptual issues aside, and allowing for the fact that no one can afford to spend two years painting one canvas in the service of the Pope any more, I think he's pretty close to his objective.

His compositions are just a bit obstructed here and there (something I think Franklin also said above), so I think he could have a relative masterpiece on his hands if he improved the overall flow. Personally I don't think objections to style, skill and color are fair -- technically I think he knows what he's doing -- but a little creative-aesthetic spark could push him over the edge.

Regarding Basquiat, I'm glad to agree with oldpro's observation that "he had a real flair for putting a strongly designed picture together." I love his energy and flair, but a work like Profit I [second image] ain't exactly compositional dog food, either. Not only did he have a good eye, but like the best expressionists, he also knew when to stop.

As far as his influences, I don't think it's controversial to say Basquiat had his eye squarely fixed on Twombly, Dubuffet and Kline (three artists I admire myself). If nothing else, they paved the road he wanted to travel. (You could say he stood on their shoulders). Basquiat has in fact been quoted saying his favorite Twombly was Apollo and the Artist, and I'd argue for the influence of a work like this untitled one too. Despite his media persona, the man wasn't some tagger off the streets. He knew his contemporary art. The brick wall was his ticket to the white box.

George - Yes, the Menil is showing the same show as the Whitney (also the Hermitage and Serpentine before that). I can't get enough of it. But then I'm insane too.

The MFAH's exhibit is just a hanging of Lepanto (it originated at Venice in 2001). I like the work -- it was the work which, when I saw the magazine photos of its hanging at Gagosian in early 2002, made Twombly "click" for me -- but I think the hanging at the MFAH robs it of energy. They're hung a bit far apart in a very large space, in particular a large gap between each "movement" of four panels. But they look great when you look down on them from the upper level and see the twelve panels as a unified whole.

83.

skip

June 5, 2005, 6:20 PM

Did anyone happen to read the article about Twombly in yesterday's NYTimes. The comment that Judd made about Twombly in '64--"there isn't anything about the paintings"--strikes me as quite humorous and hypocritical, almost as much so as Chris Burden resigning his professorship at UCLA because the University refused to suspend student Joseph Deutch for using a gun (actually a starter pistol) during a class performance piece, which I thought was brilliant.
That story is at : http://www.alphecca.com/mt_alphecca_archives/000902.html
BTW how do I post links in here? Thanks

84.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 6:23 PM

George, you think Rauch is great and I think he is no good so there is not much point in beating it to death any more, for me anyway.

However, you labelled one of his paintings in the links above as the "most boring" so I took a look at it out of curiosity (I have seen all of them here and there on the web anyway). I opened it, ran it through auto levels to compensate for color loss and doubled the size. Despite the partial loss of sharpness it was not hard to determine that the sky in that picture is about the worst single passage of painted surface I have seen in any comtepoprary painting - airless, sour, klutzy. You cannot be a good artist and paint that bad.

I've changed my mind about Rauch. Now I think he REALLY sucks!

85.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 6:50 PM

Skip, I'm led to understand that Twombly is one of these Clyfford Still types, in that the less you hear him talk or see him write, the easier it is to like his art.

86.

George

June 5, 2005, 7:09 PM

OP [re#84]
You can't use Auto Levels on that painting, it totally blows out the color.
FWIW, the colors of the Rauch paintings are accurate. There are some changes in saturation but this is caused by the differences in the color gamuts in the painting, camera and monitors. Some colors in the painting are not reproduceable on a monitor. I dispute your claim that the sky is the worst single passage of painted surface I have seen in any comtepoprary painting. It's not my favorite painting of his, it's a washy sky, so what?

87.

cohen

June 5, 2005, 7:39 PM

whay isnt there more clock and dagger talk on this blog,,,

88.

skip

June 5, 2005, 9:17 PM

maybe Judd heard him talk too much.

89.

Hovig

June 5, 2005, 9:26 PM

Franklin - I'm not sure what hearing or not hearing Twombly has to do with liking his work. It's hard enough liking it as is, I figure one either likes it or not.

That NY Times article Skip mentioned [link here] has a hilarious Twombly quote. The scene is, Twombly is standing in the Menil gallery the other day, in front of one of his paintings, and telling the Times reporter story about it.

With evident pleasure, the artist recounted the painting's effect on a young Frenchwoman who visited the gallery some years ago. The lone guard found her standing in front of the vivid whorls, scattered verses and bright splatters of color, totally nude.

"Right here in this room!" Mr. Twombly affirmed. He was delighted, he said. "Wouldn't you be? That's pretty good. No one can top that one. Come on. How many people?"

His words then evaporated like the mysterious markings that twitter across his works before seemingly lifting off and wafting away.

The guard, Guillermo Leguizamon, recalls gathering his wits and telling the museum visitor, "I can admire your beauty, madam, but if you don't put on your clothes, you'll be more famous than Cy Twombly himself." She dressed and departed, leaving a message in the guest book: "The painting makes me want to run naked."


"That's pretty good. No one can top that one. Come on. How many people?" I laughed out loud when I read that. Art is supposed to be fun. It can be thought-provoking and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, it's just got to provoke joy.

90.

George

June 5, 2005, 9:52 PM

Hovig~ Art is supposed to be fun. It can be thought-provoking and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, it's just got to provoke joy. Whee!

91.

flatboy

June 5, 2005, 9:54 PM

George, I second your "whee". Way to go, Hovig.

92.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 10:49 PM

It's hard to believe, but I agree with all 3 of you on this one.

George, I am familiar with the freaky things auto levels does to certain paintings, like Rothkos, but it did virtually nothing to the Rauch. in this case.

93.

George

June 5, 2005, 11:04 PM

Oldpro, what version of Photoshop are you using?

94.

oldpro

June 5, 2005, 11:19 PM

Ancient, 4 and 5. They do everything I need and I am used to them.

95.

Franklin

June 5, 2005, 11:57 PM

Okay, Twombly's all right in my book, then. I'd like to inspire something like that.

96.

Hovig

June 6, 2005, 12:23 AM

Franklin - I'm confident that at least one Frenchwoman has removed her clothing while reading your blog.

97.

Jack

June 6, 2005, 1:10 AM

Craig,

Sorry, but I think I've learned my lesson, meaning some things are not worth bothering with, and I'll try to be more gainfully selective in future. You're quite free to continue dismissing views you dislike as "antiquated," or to equate "older" with "obsolete" and "currently favored" with "better." I was foolish to attempt to dissuade you. And by the way, I didn't mean to imply your age was why you might be bored; I was thinking about the conditions prevalent where you live, which you've bemoaned here before. I also didn't mean to imply age correlates with being contrary, since that obviously happens at any age. Anyhow, carry on and so forth, as I shall.

George,

Given the degree of your admiration for Rauch, and my decided lack of interest in it (as best as I can judge from reproductions), maybe we should agree to disagree and leave it at that. It seems clear we have rather different tastes and criteria, to which we are both entitled, and which neither of us is at all likely to alter at the behest of the other.

Still, for what little it may be worth, I'll elaborate on my earlier comment. By "gussied up" and "fussed over" I meant overdone, over-busy, visually hectic, knowingly cryptic or perhaps deliberately "enigmatic" to no good effect, except perhaps to puzzle or mechanically intrigue the viewer into looking harder or longer. In my case, that's a useless trick--if you don't get me with the visual quality of the image as such, with the quality of the formal elements as deployed, all else is futile. There is an iconographic strain to these pictures which is much too labored for me, too artificial and self-conscious, too surrealist (I do not, by the way, like Surrealism).

The style is that of what was once pretty standard graphic work in magazines, illustrated books and yes, pulp fiction covers. If you like this, fine; it happens to bore me. I find it stiff, static, and contrived in a clammy or stale sort of way, both plastic and lifeless. It's too clinical and sterile, and makes me think of something encased in lucite or fixed in formalin. Whether or not the drawing is photorealistic is quite moot; I certainly don't require it to be (if I did, I'd be more interested in straight photography).

The color or palette as reproduced strikes me as alternately sickly, acrid, garish, kitschy or prosaic, so no, I do not like it. It is most certainly undistinguished in my opinion, and I would never call Rauch a colorist. You may find valid reasons for his choice of colors, but for me it simply reinforces the overall sense of synthetic artificiality I perceive. This is quite different from the sickly color of Munch, for instance, or the acrid color of Grunewald, or the garish color of the Fauves--all of those instances look and feel legitimate to me, meaning they work. Rauch's color leaves me cold, or does no more than annoy me.

As for prefabricated formula, I meant something contrived or facile. Some of Rauch's pictures reminded me of people like Dali, Maxfield Parrish and even Thomas Hart Benton, if that makes it any clearer. His stuff may be clever and/or "intriguing," but I find it visually inert, not to say dead. I know none of this is going to change your mind, but your arguments on Rauch's behalf are similarly doomed with me. My eyes don't buy him.

98.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 1:33 AM

This has been a pretty good page - direct talk about art, lots of disagreement, minimum nastiness. It seems to run in cycles, for some reason. I hope we can keep it going.

"iconographic strain" is good, Jack. I noticed it but you said it. Once again, it reminds me of the Delvaux-type painting which arose in the 20s, evolved in the 30s and had its heyday in the 40s and early 50s before crashing and burning. Fifty or sixty years ago you would have had a lot of people in the art business saying it was the best painting around, especially in comparison to the horrible stuff being made by artists like Pollock.

The only real prominent survivor seems to be Dali, although there is still a lot being done in Europe and South America. The current incarnation, as exemplified by Rauch, is pretty much point-for-point like the old stuff: the jammed surface, the contrived "mystery", the bilious color. This is the kind of painting (they all know who Dali is) that freshman art students think of as "art".

99.

George

June 6, 2005, 4:19 AM

Jack [97] and OP [98] While it's true I liked Rauch's paintings, that was less of the issue for me. Frequently, what occurs here, is that a discussion starts and ends quickly with a one sentence dismissal. There is no food for thought, nothing to be assimilated other than a ten word sentence describing someones personal taste. Without a doubt, my taste and your taste differ, I don't have a problem with that especially if we can go somewhere with it in a discussion. You guys would be fun to drink with, maybe one of these days...

So moving forward a tad. Tell me something else.
Of the current crop of younger artists, who do you think is moving painting forward? Don't get stuck in the semantics, I mean, who do you like? I mean youngish as under 40ish. I'm not interested in people like Twombly here, what I want to know, is if you all think there is anyone out there, who is doing something fresh and new?

I'd also like to hear from some of the younger painters.

100.

boutique

June 6, 2005, 5:06 AM

reeve schumacher.

101.

Jack

June 6, 2005, 5:16 AM

George, the last paragraph of comment 24 may give you a clue as to my humor (and I don't mean as in "humorous"). For better or for worse, I'm so fed up with so much fool's gold being passed off as the real thing that I'm rather jaded, and perhaps too cynical to trust anyone or anything anymore, or give things the benefit of the doubt.

The art mags make me cringe, for the most part, so I handle them, if at all, as if they were contaminated or biohazard material. Maybe I miss out on some good stuff that way, but I also avoid a lot of irritation over glorified dreck. I am extremely skeptical concerning "major" collectors and even museum people, let alone dealers. I'm not in a major center like New York or London, nor am I able to visit such places with any frequency, so again, maybe I'm missing out. What there is in Miami is far more impressive to its promoters than to me, though I expect I'd respond more positively to it if there was more rigorous criticism and less hype.

I am not interested in being "with-it" unless "it" truly works for me, and I don't live in mortal fear of stepping, or staying, outside the bounds of officially sanctioned taste and theory. I respond very badly to any pressure to buy into what I'm supposed to appreciate according to current trends, and perhaps I overreact in the opposite direction.

So, to give you some sort of name, which is what you obviously want, I'll take this opportunity to mention a local painter and printmaker who is tremendously dedicated and serious, and whose work I respect, but who remains a relative unknown or outsider in the Miami scene, predictably enough. His name is John Bailly, and you can see some of his work at www.johnbailly.com. There are other local youngish people I like who are periodically mentioned here on the blog, but I think John deserves a plug.

102.

kareem o'dell

June 6, 2005, 5:49 AM

George, I find the work of Jacquelyn Johnston to be rather striking and precocious for the large canvases she seems to prefer - a rarity with today's young artists. She has shown at the Faktura Gallery most recently.

103.

kareem

June 6, 2005, 5:58 AM

And I will agree with oldpro concerning the work of Schumacher. It is too novice in an uninspiring Dali-esque sense for my refined tastes and appears to repeat itself. There is also an apparent influence of comic books that I am not particularly fond of as I find - how can I put this - that it restricts tones of seriousness and maturity. Is he being pushed by Snitzer or is that just rumor. I would not be surprised.

104.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 6:16 AM

I gave no opinion of Schumacher, Kareem. He was a student of mine but I have not seen his work lately

One problem with your request, George, is that the best artists, as has been noted here, may be underground. But i like the idea.

Therefore, if anyone has candidates, like John Bailly and Jacquelyn Johnston, try to find some way to give a source for images. I would love to see some. (I hope this does not flout Franklin's "no advertising" rules).

Also, you do not seem to be fazed by those "10 sentence dismissals". I hope you keep on defending what you like. We need some determined opposition here.

105.

faktura

June 6, 2005, 6:20 AM

www.fakturagallery.com - Jacquelyn Johnston is the owner I believe. While I've only come across a few, her paintings are impressive, I'll agree with Kareem.

106.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 7:06 AM

Well, looks like a while before they get off the ground.

107.

work by reeve schumacher

June 6, 2005, 7:11 AM

Lots of great examples of art work by reeve schumacher can be found here. i beg to differ with old pro and kareem, schumacher's work is incredibly vivacious and original for such a 20-something. I see the connections to Dali somewhat, but that is within a greater umbrella of surrealism.

http://www.damienb.com/english/indexa.html

I didn't find any examples of Johnston's work on the site offered. Does anyone have a better link, my curiosity is aroused.

Off into the nite -

Midnite Lova

108.

that guy

June 6, 2005, 7:18 AM

George, These came up before but they have a lot more potential than Rausch,

Jordan Massengale

Looks like Reeve has improved a bunch since the last time I saw his work. Its good to see.

109.

Mr. Stronehill

June 6, 2005, 7:56 AM

From the New Times:

[The Bitch couldn't even face the parent types who were drifting over from the wrestling event, so averting her eyes to a sports car bearing the contextually disturbing vanity plate "BMW BEAR" and following the aroma of an adjacent Dumpster containing dozens of decomposing rats, she ducked into the relative safety of the Faktura space.

Faktura is also the title of the exhibit, curated by owner Jacquelyn Jackson Johnston, who says her own work is a response to "the overbearing power of media and mass communication." The gallery contains mostly paintings, but The Bitch was extremely impressed with Johnston's rock and roll entourage, who included a very cool punk-rock mom and dressed all in lime green and black leather.]

old pro, I doubt you'd be too appreciative of Jacquelyn Johnston's gallery, and I am a bit surprised you are not familar with the Faktura Gallery and its location, as both have received quite a bit of press recently. As you can surmise from New Times' description, Johnston is just another hipster is a sea of Hernan Bas's, same as Schumacher.

Keenan: Bring on the real artists that belong on Art Blog. Enough with this city's incestual "in" crowds.

110.

kareem o'dell

June 6, 2005, 8:07 AM

Here we go again. This is too bad.

Here is a link to one of Johnston's paintings:

http://homepage.mac.com/kiwi4fun/decaypostcrypt.htm

Mature criticism encouraged.

111.

the way it goes

June 6, 2005, 1:43 PM

Should'nt Twombly be helping Snitzer become wealthier allready? I saw them wink at each other many times and since Naomi is sort of out now, does'nt he need a new Art Basel star? (His car payments are probably pretty high and his children will soon need to study either music, philosophy, and/or communication studies in Europe soon). This business move on Twombly's part seems inevitable however.
Is'nt Objects Art Gallery gone by-by allready ? Did'nt Dorsch " drop the ball" (as I've read). Is'nt Steinbaum Gallery moving to California? ( as she can't and will not have her gallery across from all that construction is the word). Has'nt Rocket Projects become a losing cause, and its current director/founder going to rehab with that Californian art dealer guy from around the corner also? Is Tachmes gallery too far from all the other galleries and activity - ( it's said that he is some medical lawyer or something). Will Locust, the only good non for profit/out of town venue survive? (I surely hope so because their does'nt seem to be any personal greed/need here). Bruk gallery and Ingles gallery seem to be the only ones that will remain untouched by greed, personal interests and politics. What do others think - so that we can argue!

112.

Franklin

June 6, 2005, 2:47 PM

I second Guy. Jordan's one of our strongest painters down here - his last show at Dorsch was impressive as hell. I also think that Jacin Giordano has a lot of talent and while uneven, when he hits, he hits good. It can be more interesting to watch him fail than to watch other artists succeed - I feel the same way about Jordan. I'm also fond of a lot of what Gavin Perry does. Ditto James Legge up at Ambrosino.

Mr. Schumacher's work doesn't look so promising to me - sort of Jon J. Muth meets Vaughn Bode. Same for Ms. Johnson, whose work I would put up against that of Jennifer Koivu, whom I found out about because Eve Interrupted won the reader's choice version of the same New Times Best Of category that I won.

"Mature criticism encouraged" may become a candidate guideline sort of like "no bitching." I've done a poor job following the latter; I notice that happens when life in Miami becomes difficult for me. But I should try to do better, and I should extend it to excerpts from the Bitch herself - when people quote her work here I feel like I've become complicit in a morally dubious exercise.

113.

Franklin

June 6, 2005, 2:50 PM

Johnston, sorry.

114.

Franklin

June 6, 2005, 3:03 PM

Clean it up, Way. Comments like that make me want to run financial posts.

115.

George

June 6, 2005, 3:45 PM

Starting the day, Monday, 6/6/05, with this.

116.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 4:10 PM

Midnite lova, once again, I made no comment here about Reeve's work. I donlt know why several peole thought I had.

Looking at what has been put up I see that he has indeed improved a lot, as Guy said. his drawing is better and his imagination is operating more freely. I think of this kind of work, as I do of Aubrey Beardsley's, as a kind of surreal illustration, that is, I appreciate it much more when I don't try to look at it as art-as-such. Even so, when seen purely as art it is way more interesting than most of what we see around here. There is real imaginative fantasy at work.

The Johnson painting looked unexciting; I need to see more. The Koivu painting had much more intensity but she needs a little more technical refinement. Not bad, though.

Way, if we are to have gossip let's try to substantiate it.

George, who the hell painted that picture? Good grief! There's someone who knows how to paint. It looks a little like that Nerdrum guy but much richer and more fluent. Tell us more about this person.

117.

George

June 6, 2005, 4:19 PM

Jack [101] Fools Gold I made a couple of observations on Modern Kicks regarding the recent increase in the number of billionaires. For whatever reason it appears that there is a more than sufficient demand and a limited supply. Hence, sell them something, anything that glitters.

One of the major failures in the reign of the October crew was the displacement of the visual in favor of more analytical approaches. This is a serious failure if one is analyzing the visual arts. You can promote fools gold when the viewer is uneducated and lacks the intellectual tools to view a painting. Worse, the critical community, seeped in 30 years of deconstructivist theorizing, appears to be equally blind. This is about to change.

I agree with you on John Bailly

118.

George

June 6, 2005, 4:25 PM

that guy [108] Jordan Massengale is interesting, I had looked before.
However, I would have left out the "lot more potential" remark as it is inprecise and has nothing to say about Jordan Massengale's work.

119.

Franklin

June 6, 2005, 4:31 PM

Who the hell painted that picture?

I'm guessing from the URL that it's by a young up-and-comer named Alessandro Botticelli.

120.

George

June 6, 2005, 4:38 PM

Oldpro [116] I love it when that happens. It is Sandro Botticelli
Vision of St Augustine c. 1488 part of the San Barnaba Altarpiece.

When I went to the Brooklyn Museum, it's, sort of, a "poor mans Met", there was a "Pollock" hanging high on the wall behind the ticket counter. I was surprised by it because
a. it was slightly different stylistically
b. I had never seen it before
c. I had just looked at the "recent find" Pollocks which were similar

Closer up, it was a Mike Bidlo

Then, as we walked through the galleries we were startled to see tha paintings hung together thematically, not historically. This was refreshing to say the least because it killed all the assumptions of context you automatically make. A nice Pat Steir was hung next to a period picture of what looked like Niagra Falls. It was a great experience.

121.

George

June 6, 2005, 5:04 PM

What I am interested in as a painter is picture making.
The formal issues are cruical to sucess but not sufficient in themselves. They can be, but for me they are not. Maybe this underlies what I find interesting about Basquiat and Neo Rauch, it's picture making.

Picture making is the creation of an indelible image, one that endures.

How does one make a picture that endures in the age of mass communication?

What are its characteristics?

122.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 5:06 PM

Well, you got me on that one George. I am so accustomed to seeing contemprary pix with similar configurations I got taken in. I should have paid more attention to the obvious old-varnish spots. Nice painting, though.

I agree that Jordan is one of our most talented & he is beginning to show it lately.

Pat Stier sucks. I think she is just a plain straight-out bad painter. I don't know how anyone can take those "waterfall" pictures seriously after seeing what inspired use Poons made of the format earlier. And those Bidlo bad jokes do not beling in museums. What's the point?

123.

George

June 6, 2005, 5:20 PM

I don't disagree with you on the Bidlo, I felt had.
Pat Steir I find more interesting but not enough to debate.

What was interesting, and the point was how the works were hung together.
Typically one would expect some sort of geographic or chronological grouping, works from the 50's with other works from the fifties. We know what to expect.
When the works are grouped in another manner, in this case more or less thematically, our period expectations breakdown. I found it valuable as I couldn't just go "uh huh", knowing what I was looking at, or at least thinking I did, and then move on. It made me stop and look a little harder.
As I said, it was refreshing.

124.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 5:44 PM

I'm not sure I go for the thematic idea; it coiuld easily detract from the work "as art" just as the period grouping would. It is a bit of pandering to the "public", I think, on the order of "oh, now I understand. It's not abstract, it's a waterfall"

For someone used to looking at pictures, as you are, however, it could have a beneficial isolating effect.

125.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 5:51 PM

BTW George, the comments you made on Modern Kicks are interesting, especially the Number of Billionaires statistics. For anyone wondering why the market is so hot in an indifferent economy, that would seem to explain it.

126.

George

June 6, 2005, 5:56 PM

Oldpro [125] Yeh, it seemed to me intuitivly that something was happening there. I noticed that the Forbes list was now counting billionaires, it took a bit of digging to find the numbers. What is curiousis that this increase in billionaires is the greatest since 1890, the Gay Nineties.

127.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 6:20 PM

Of course then there were far fewer billionaires. There were only a dozen or so 20 years ago. Seems like that would throw your stats off. Would it have been millionaires they were counting?

128.

George

June 6, 2005, 6:37 PM

From my Modern Kicks comment: In raw numbers
1982 there were 13 billionaires in the US
1996 there were 112 in the US and 423 worldwide
2005 there were 278 in the US and 691 worldwide

What does this mean? I would be inclined to think that the number of fabulously sucessful people is linked to the population (growing) and to the economic growth in Europe and Asia (also growing) This means that we could expect to see greater numbers of fabulously successful people now than there were 25 years ago. However, we might also expect this to just translate into more millionaires, instead we are seeing more billionaires (remembering that a billionaire has 1000 times more money/wealth than a millionaire). What's happening? There has to be more money out there and it's concentrated in fewer hands. For more details see

In other words a thousand dollars doesn't go as far these days.

129.

oldpro

June 6, 2005, 7:01 PM

With a discount, it buys one of my small mixed media on paper pix.

I bet there is some abstruse economic reason for the billionaire puzzle. It has the feel of a geometric curve.

130.

George

June 6, 2005, 7:38 PM

Coincidentally the NY Times is running a series on the Rich and the Super Rich I just ran across this and havent read the article yet.

131.

catfish

June 6, 2005, 10:28 PM

Way back in #121 George wrote:

Picture making is the creation of an indelible image, one that endures.

How does one make a picture that endures in the age of mass communication?

What are its characteristics?


This sounds more like what graphic designers do than painters. Paul Rand, for instance, and the UPS logo he created. It is a nice one too, just not the same thing as a picture made by a painter.

Paintings really are more about formal aspects than images, though they do not exclude images.

132.

George

June 6, 2005, 11:15 PM

catfish [131] I don't question the importance of the formal aspects of painting. However, a painting is foremost a picture, the formal aspects get it there.

A picture creates an impression of something and itself. The formal aspects are the rules and characteristics of the process. Of course one could just give an impression of the process and end up with a picture of something else (Pollock)

If you're a painter, knowing the formal aspects of painting is a job requirement. On the other hand, the viewer, in a more global sense, could use a little education in the formal aspects of painting. It's not my job but it is an interesting area to explore.

My comment regarding an indelible image was a two edged sword. On the one hand your reference to graphic design and allusion to branding is a potentiality. Wrong word, it is not the meaning I had intended. By indelible I was referring to an enduring image, one that still has currency in the future, that will remain compelling to the viewer over time.

So given someone with a strong formal chop, what's the picture all about?

133.

Jack

June 7, 2005, 12:30 AM

"So given someone with a strong formal chop, what's the picture all about?"

Yes, George, assuming there is indeed a "strong formal chop," as you put it. Otherwise, for me, it doesn't matter what the picture is about. It MUST be good formally for me to care about it as art. That does NOT mean content doesn't matter, or that it can't add a great deal to the picture's merit, but first things first. In other words, formal excellence is a sine qua non, though it is not the only thing.

134.

J.T. Kirkland

June 7, 2005, 1:04 AM

FWIW, thanks Jack for comment #133. I've always felt content was secondary to all types of art. Even with music I rarely pay attention to the lyrics of a song.

So I can identify with what you say.

135.

oldpro

June 7, 2005, 1:16 AM

Content is only form we recognize. It has nothing to do with how good the art is. No specifiable thing does.

How good the art is depends on how the picture is painted, that is, on form. Otherwise every madonna and child or crucifixion or what have you ever painted would be equally great or awful or whatever we decide they should be because of their content.

136.

J.T. Kirkland

June 7, 2005, 2:56 AM

This conversation may be dying, but I haven't seen anyone post this link here yet. It's Jerry Saltz on the Rauch show:

http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/jsaltz/saltz6-7-05.asp

He pretty much raves about the show...

137.

oldpro

June 7, 2005, 3:05 AM

Thanks JT.

This is a type specimen of how people, even usually sharp people like Saltz, get taken in by this stuff, bobbing and weaving around lots of things that just don't appeal to him at all and then Plonk! down he goes, sucker-punched by the hokum.

It is almost worth saving just for that.

138.

Jack

June 7, 2005, 4:08 AM

Well, I'm disappointed with Saltz, but so it goes. He sounds like someone hellbent on talking himself into something even if he has to go through all sorts of contortions to do it. Maybe I'm just not Teutonic enough, but I'll pass.

139.

George

June 7, 2005, 5:21 AM

Saltz, Oh my god!, he likes them!

Damn, he really got taken in by this stuff! Whatta sucker punch that was, right on the schnoz when he wasn't looking. Hokum, pokum, biff, bam, pow. twinkle, twinkle little star quick take a specimen we'll send it to the lab!

Another case of cursory dismisal without adressing the issues raised in the review.

140.

oldpro

June 7, 2005, 6:30 AM

Here ya go, George. I did something really unkosher. I took all the good parts out of Saltz's review. Here's what's left:

A kind of psycho-visual whiplash, spirit-numbing optical monotony. His canvases have a disconcerting tendency to look alike. Many resemble circus posters, enlarged pulp fiction illustrations or Soviet-era advertising.Several still look like theater backdrops or neo-romantic socialist realism. His vexing stolidness, "a fairly conventional figurative style." Although he claims "never" to use photographs or "any" pre-existing source, so much of what he paints seems like it comes from somewhere that these claims feel fishy. All are breathtakingly passive, virtually impotent, and move at the speed of the living dead. Max Beckmann's crowded canvases come to mind. But Beckmann's figures are charged with life and intensity. Rauch's are lifeless, sexless phantoms of a painted world. I think they could be hard to live with. Their subject matter feels oddly alien, even irrelevant. I found myself longing to look at something more personal, abstract, off-kilter or makeshift. I kept wanting to see a Steve DiBenedetto or a Peter Doig-artists who noodle around to get what they want, who produce visual glitches or whose surfaces are more organic and varied-or something as refined as an Agnes Martin or a Jim Nutt, or as fiercely intelligent, brilliantly intuitive and aesthetically vulnerable as the new paintings of Jasper Johns. Anything less obdurate and disassociated.

This is a "breathtakingly passive" critic talking, folks, gulping seawater as he turns to swim with the flow. And he loves the new Johns paintings? I got no respect for him any more.

141.

George

June 7, 2005, 6:37 AM

Oldpro re[140]

A kind of psycho-visual whiplash, spirit-numbing optical monotony.
His canvases have a disconcerting tendency to look alike. Many resemble circus posters, enlarged pulp fiction illustrations or Soviet-era advertising. Several still look like theater backdrops or neo-romantic socialist realism. His vexing stolidness, "a fairly conventional figurative style."

Although he claims "never" to use photographs or "any" pre-existing source, so much of what he paints seems like it comes from somewhere that these claims feel fishy.

All are breathtakingly passive, virtually impotent, and move at the speed of the living dead. Max Beckmann's crowded canvases come to mind. But Beckmann's figures are charged with life and intensity. Rauch's are lifeless, sexless phantoms of a painted world. I think they could be hard to live with. Their subject matter feels oddly alien, even irrelevant.

I found myself longing to look at something more personal, abstract, off-kilter or makeshift.

I kept wanting to see a Steve DiBenedetto or a Peter Doig-artists who noodle around to get what they want, who produce visual glitches or whose surfaces are more organic and varied-or something as refined as an Agnes Martin or a Jim Nutt, or as fiercely intelligent, brilliantly intuitive and aesthetically vulnerable as the new paintings of Jasper Johns.

Anything less obdurate and disassociated.


Yeh, he gets the alienation of the now.

Images are voids waiting for someone to breath life back into them.

142.

carrothead

June 7, 2005, 12:38 PM

Everything and anything that exists as tactile and tangable form can and will be freshly observed only when all other possibilities seem false.

143.

oldpro

June 7, 2005, 3:07 PM

"The alienation of the now", George?

Man, takes me back to my callow days of existential angst, sitting in the San Remo in Greenwich Village with my beatnik buddies, drinking Chanti and smoking Gauloise cigarettes, trading inebriated aphoristic profundities. Those were the good old days.

144.

George

June 7, 2005, 3:50 PM

The mornings painting: The alienation then.

145.

Franklin

June 7, 2005, 5:16 PM

Nice. I've always loved Piero.

146.

Jack

June 7, 2005, 5:19 PM

"Another case of cursory dismissal without adressing the issues raised in the review."

You know, George, you could be accused of being cursory in your dismissal of other people's dismissals. Speaking for myself, after looking rather carefully at Rauch's pictures, I rejected them for reasons I have already discussed at some length. The pictures themselves are the only things that matter in this particular instance, and since they don't work for me, that's the end of it, for me. I don't have to bother with Rauch's issues, or yours, or Saltz's, or anybody's--it's my decision based on my taste, criteria and response to the actual work, period. You may feel radically different, but I'm not obliged to be concerned about that, just as you can ignore how I feel about Rauch. In other words, please don't imply, as you appear to, that those who reject something are somehow accountable to those who don't and must therefore get some sort of clearance before they're allowed to express themselves.

147.

oldpro

June 7, 2005, 6:12 PM

You said it for me Jack, probably better than i could.

The idea that i was obliged to take Saltz's breathless half-baked ideas and dissect them one by one was definitely irritating.

148.

George

June 7, 2005, 9:05 PM

ok I'm lookin' here

Fra Filippo Lippi -- St Fredianus Diverts the River Serchio, 1438

149.

George

June 7, 2005, 9:23 PM

and here, kinda tears your heart out.

150.

Soup

June 13, 2005, 7:26 AM

Can someone tell me is this is art or not?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5399725214&indexURL=0&photoDisplayType=2

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