Rosenquist at MAM
Post #759 • March 23, 2006, 1:04 PM • 116 Comments
I applaud MAM sometimes devoting the New Works space to artists who are not themselves new. I think MAM's exhibition of art-world notables, pointing out their longtime Florida residence, is an act of justifiable pride of place. I think it's good to put on little shows of current work by established artists. But I have to tell you - the Rosenquist show down at MAM right now is a stinker. My jaw dropped open, it was so bad. This show made me want to take back the mixed review I wrote about the Rauschenberg show in the same space last year. In fact, and I can hardly believe I'm saying this, in some ways I prefer the Damien Hirsts I saw at the Norton last month.
Rosenquist used to be able to create hefty visual assaults with his collisions of saturated pop imagery, but his painting manner has degraded from polished workmanship to shaky routine. Interesting bits of Rosenquists force you to take in two or three images at once by rendering them as if they were shredded into thin strips and alternated. These paintings tend to arrange the elements next to each other instead, and they have all the combined depth of a rebus. The Rauschenbergs lacked punch, but these almost lack a pulse, and they inspire only troubling musings about the possible effects of old age on talent.