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The non-crisis in art criticism

Post #1144 • March 19, 2008, 8:24 AM • 67 Comments

Via AJ, Adrian Searle notes that the crisis in art criticism has become its own revenue stream.

At almost every international art fair over the past few years, there has been a panel discussion about the crisis in art criticism. I have found myself talking about the topic in London, Madrid, Berlin and Miami. Wherever critics are paid to gather (you wouldn't catch us in the same room otherwise), they go on about the crisis. These debates have become an occupational hazard - but they also pay well. If I had known there was money in it, I would have invented a crisis myself.

He detours through a clever bit of self-mockery...

People blame all the money sluicing round the art world. They blame the internet and the rise of the blogger. They blame the dumbing-down of newspapers and the replacement of criticism with the sparkling, if vapid, preview featurette, and the artist-as-celebrity photo opportunity profile. Who cares about the art or the concepts? They're just the MacGuffin. Tell us about the parties, the openings, the drugs and the dresses. Artists are creative, and creative is sexy and good. Critics are a comedown. Some have hair sprouting from their ears. They're always complaining; they're untrustworthy; they're full of hate and spite and they make everything all so complicated, when all we're really trying to do is sell a lifestyle. Fuck 'em.

...and, proceding onward through some other-mockery, ends without answering whether we have a crisis on our hands or not.

Some things are not easy to grasp. We have to work at them. This, in part, is what criticism tries to do. It is also where a lively engagement with the art we encounter begins. And it is where we all begin to be critics.

So, do we? No. I don't think even the total extinction of criticism would constitute a crisis in the face of real crises, such as the myriad humanitarian and environmental problems that eye us from the trigger-end of the rifle barrel. Even to describe the problems facing criticism with such a dire term evinces hubris.

Rather, we have on our hands a problem of misallocated resources. If we want to distribute images and words about them in a maximally efficient way, HTML beats the hell out of publishing on paper. If we want to convey a lot of advertising, a magazine beats the hell out of a web page. In the middle thrash the newspapers. Meanwhile, art itself has some brutal allocation problems. Serious curatorial attentions flow preponderantly towards art that addresses issues in some way. But art addresses issues quite poorly compared to language.

Art only does one thing inherently or well: to serve as a repository for visual quality. You can make it do any number of other things, and many artists have to entertain other functions in order to get the ball rolling - purity of purpose doesn't enable very much art. (Purity can enable art, but so can much else.) But art, ultimately, provides pleasure. Even the people who fight the hardest against visual quality get a payoff from spending time with the allegedly issue-addressing work they prefer, a payoff of intellectual excitement and the feeling that they are witnessing something interesting happening in the context of art. Such pleasures epitomize the middlebrow mindset, but they still qualify as pleasures.

Criticism provides a way to get more pleasure out of art, like chewing gets flavor out of food. Whether it ends up influencing anyone's collection decisions or the direction of the market, or meeting any other metric of importance, doesn't matter. Accuracy of observation, honesty, clarity, judgment, and taste matter above all. Perpetrators of criticism might as well write well, too, while they're at it.

Perhaps it sounds trifiling, but getting the pleasures right, refining them, developing variations on them, and chronicling the work involved constitute some of the highest work of civilization. People take art too seriously in ways it doesn't justify and not seriously enough in ways that it does. It has little impact on the world or our understanding of it; one might as well expect such things of fine dining. But when done well it offers a thrill unlike anything else, one that sets in suddenly and then releases slowly, entering the eyes and delighting the visual component of our being that recognizes shapes and symbols.

After doing what they do to art, people do the same to criticism. Criticism cannot enjoy a position of influence in a market this large, which grew to its present size by rationalizing away taste. But as an ancillary pleasure of art, it has much to offer, and I assert that criticism's status as such comprises its core purpose and its highest one. It draws out and contemplates the pleasures of art where a work has such pleasure to offer.

We have no crisis - we have a tendency to fail to understand ourselves, and then overestimate the import of the products of our misunderstandings.

Comment

1.

opie

March 19, 2008, 8:57 AM

You come up with some well-thought-out posts, for sure.

However "we have a tendency to fail to understand ourselves, and then overestimate the import of the products of our misunderstandings" sounds fairly crisislike to me.

2.

ex

March 19, 2008, 9:18 AM

i nominate 'vapid' as the newest inductee into the sacred annals of Artspeak. it has become rather ubiquitous of late.

3.

Marc Country

March 19, 2008, 9:22 AM

Though technically, it's not a crisis, opie, so much as an ongoing condition. More like a curse...

4.

ex

March 19, 2008, 9:22 AM

well maybe it doesn't quite qualify as Artspeak, sorry. it's just a very slick word that i keep coming across.

5.

ex

March 19, 2008, 9:24 AM

like flesh eating voodoo?

6.

ex

March 19, 2008, 9:51 AM

the curse that is...good grief why do i have to inflict my trifling on you all? i'm such a yokel.

franklin, nice bit as usual. as for crisis, again it sounds like proportions to me. which implies an attention to balance. we know perfectly well how to help some systems along, others stupify us. art being as weird as it is, taste running as deep as it does (this depth has a shallow end too, else we'd know nothing of its depth), makes for a lot of ground to cover before we arrive at something of a unity that can be traded in, talked about, a given.

7.

ex

March 19, 2008, 10:01 AM

that pleasure of great art, that's common ground. common sense if you will (NESW has a new gallery going by that very label). now i'm not sure that that sense or that process of witnessing, that experience of a unity, is unlike the kind of empathy that needs to start seeding itself pronto into the heart of humanity. and the artist, and the critic.

8.

ex

March 19, 2008, 10:23 AM

now somebody pass me doobie, i'm gonna go crank up 'Little Wing.'

9.

opie

March 19, 2008, 10:54 AM

The crisis in criuticism is that the critics are not talking about the crisis in art.

10.

ex

March 19, 2008, 11:05 AM

mainstream criticism is just a by-product, part and parcel of the art and the establishment is it not? i can't see the distinction anymore. id'ing the crisis seems like cancer trying to diagnose itself.

11.

Eric

March 19, 2008, 12:19 PM

I read the Searle article and this is what I thought he was saying: There is no crisis. Older critics who complain about critics no longer having any influence are deluded. Their main focus is on wielding power not providing insight about art. Critics are there to generate or help enrich the dialogue. Critics should not have agendas or believe there are any absolutes when it comes to art. Criticism is about opinion, a subjective take on what is being presented, and their is no objectivity when it comes to art criticism even when the critic is merely describing the art work and doing nothing else.

12.

ex

March 19, 2008, 12:53 PM

'There is an element of fiction and invention even in criticism. Being a critic has its performative side.'
-Searle

this gives me trouble. i'm all for subjectivity and opinion, but unless criticism is hinged directly on identifying visual quality, it doesn't seem like much other than bad creative writing about other bits of bad creative writing.

and why does this latter day critique of the maligned art world, ever trying to say something useful with its pointing to problems, really have nothing to say for itself, at least something we can use? searle really goes nowhere with that piece. we've heard all this before. i personally think that the type of criticism that is causing all the problems cannot be separated from the art itself. it demands that it be recognized as a compnent in our experience of the work. contemporary criticism as such, is never that, and sounds no better than an enlarged and that much more dreadful artist statement for whatver work is being dicsussed. after all, like searle says '(w)e contribute to the work, remaking it whenever we go back to it.'

uh, yah. what he said...

13.

ex

March 19, 2008, 12:58 PM

"i don't know what I think, often, till I write. The act of writing shows me what I think." these sentiments speak volumes.

14.

Chris Rywalt

March 19, 2008, 12:59 PM

Critics are a comedown. Some have hair sprouting from their ears.

He's got me there.

15.

Jack

March 19, 2008, 2:43 PM

Re #9:

B-I-N-G-O

16.

craigfrancis

March 19, 2008, 3:51 PM

RE: comment 13

I don't have much of a problem with Searle admitting this. In fact, I have respect for a writer who approaches a given subject from a stance of not knowing or uncertainty. If writing criticism isn't an act of exploration and/or discovery, doesn't that make it into a kind of political tract?

But maybe this isn't what you're talking about, ex. Could you elaborate on how Searle's statement speaks volumes?

17.

Chris Rywalt

March 19, 2008, 4:08 PM

I agree with Searle's assessment also. That's why I write art criticism, in fact. It's easy to skim over a show and say "I didn't like it." Explaining why you didn't like it takes effort. It's an exploration. For me, it makes me pay more attention.

18.

Marc Country

March 19, 2008, 4:29 PM

Re: B-I-N-G-O...

A comment left on the Guardian blog:

Critics? What critics? You mean these foolish 'art reporters' writing for the newspapers and (god help them) art magazines? There is almost no real published art criticism anymore... it's all just PR in service of the whole corrupt Academo-Institutio-Market/Media Complex...

Welcome, everyone, to our new gilded age, a return to the artworld of the 18th century, where approved court-installationists and conceptualizers, and ersatz "critical" mouthpieces, stroke each other at Caligulan "happenings", and nobody does anything that might risk their cushy status and prestige, that might shine a light onto their dark and sordid hermetic goings-on. Meanwhile, for the public, art ITSELF has become completely irrelevant, as they're busy watching other channels, anyway.

So, critics get together to talk to themselves about the problem with criticism, when they can't even diagnose the problems with art... it's laughable, and pathetic.

Sorry, kids.. nobody with a working set of eyes and a modicum of self-respect for their own evaluative skills gives these legally-stupid critics any notice, aside from scorn, contempt, defiance, etc.

Homework for "critics": go back to Greenberg, and start over where he left off...

19.

Chris Rywalt

March 19, 2008, 4:56 PM

What I'd like to do, if I could imagine some way of doing it, I'd like to make art relevant to the people again. Find some way of shaking them out of their Thomas Kinkade stupor and get them to engage with art.

I mean, clearly they want to. MoMA isn't filled with acolytes of Greenberg every day and the crowds lining up to see the Matisse/Picasso show weren't there because long lines are fun. There's got to be some way.

20.

ex

March 19, 2008, 5:06 PM

that's lovely marc. i think it hits it bang on. thanks for sharing.

re 13:
thinking and writing is privileged where the visual is not. the art and the 'criticism' both illustrate far too much.

i take that line to embody some sort of feigned humility intended to justify overtly rhetorical thinking over '(a)ccuracy of observation, honesty, clarity, judgment, and taste...'

can't you guys smell the savvy fashion sense all over this stuff? searle's trendy malcontent is all part of it.

21.

Eric

March 19, 2008, 5:29 PM

Three art critics who appear to be in line with the artblog.net commentors:

Mario Naves-He hates Duchamp and pretty much all conceptual art. He is an artist who makes modernist collages. He writes about paintings and sculptures almost all the time. He appears to have little patience for anything else. He is not afraid to make negative remarks about art he doesn't like (most contemporary stuff that isn't painting or sculpture) and he isn't afraid to make comments about what he feels is the sorry state of the contemporary art world.

Maureen Mullarkey-The same goes for this critic. She makes modernist figural works.

Jed Perl-The New Republican charges for their archive so I can't link to anything. He is probably the best known of the bunch. The only one who has published books. But I would say that he is in line with the other two.

So here are three art critics who appear to be in line with many of the views people have here with regards to the art world. Obviously they can't publish articles that attack from top to bottom all the bad art that is being made because their editors would never allow it, but all three of them are very critical of the contemporary art scene and they are not afraid to say so.

22.

Jack

March 19, 2008, 5:37 PM

Thanks, Marc. The comment you quote was actually written by my twin sister, Jill. She does her best to compensate for the fact we're not identical twins, and this was a particularly good attempt (even if I did have to coach her).

23.

ex

March 19, 2008, 5:39 PM

when they can pull it off, artists that can write criticism seem to be the only ones making it worthwhile these days .

24.

catfish

March 19, 2008, 6:27 PM

Eric: The problem with Jed Perl is he does not see very well, but is a very good word-smith. Thus, when he attacks the bad - an easy target - he is "good", but that is about it, as far as his contribution goes. I don't know anything about the other two.

I want to point out that the only "line" I require is that the critic be oriented to the visual.

25.

ex

March 19, 2008, 6:35 PM

re 22

the comment you quote was actually...whuh? who? but the guardian blog says...oh i'm confused.

26.

Jack

March 19, 2008, 6:41 PM

Re 25, ex, 22 was tongue-in-cheek (evidently too much tongue, or not enough cheek).

27.

craigfrancis

March 19, 2008, 7:45 PM

RE: comment 20

I take Searle's line at face value. If I appear to be a fool for that, it's okay. I know from experience that what he says there is true.

I may be taking your comment too literally, ex, but if a critic is to accurately communicate their experience of an artwork in print, how can they do so without thinking and writing?

28.

Franklin

March 19, 2008, 8:02 PM

I'll back up Searle on that as well. For me, writing transforms vague notions and feelings into something worth talking about. Often my words surprise me - I knew I was thinking something like them, but not them in particular.

29.

opie

March 19, 2008, 8:13 PM

Franklin is describing the process correctly. He's just not spelling it out completely.

She does fall down on the job all the time, Jack.

30.

ex

March 19, 2008, 8:25 PM

ok ok. first off, i'm not familiar with the rest of searle's work, so i can't tell you searle from anybody else, really. and i'm not about to go hunting down articles. maybe i rankle a bit too much. my objection is to what seems like what could be an argument for flimsy prosaic imagination in a critic. ego allows for it, and i object to the egoism in the piece referenced.

31.

opie

March 20, 2008, 6:25 AM

Catfish is right about Perl. He writes well and is excellent when tearing into an overbown reputation (EG The hatchet job he did on Richter)but he lacks a good eye, just as Hughes does. I will check out the other two. There is also Panero & Wilkin at New Criterion and Terry Teachout, who is a marvelloud culture reporter & critic who doesn't do that much with visual art, unfortunately.

32.

Franklin

March 20, 2008, 7:17 AM

To be fair, their eyes may not be the best of the best, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that Perl and Hughes have no eye at all. Perl has a great fondness for Kitaj, which I don't share, but I sympathize with quite a lot more than, say, Kimmelman's comparable fondness for Carl Andre. Hughes's favorites are lovely - William Bailey, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossof; again, painters who can make problematic works but certainly no one I would discard. Teachout indeed writes about art beautifully, but he writes beautifully about theater, books, dance, and opera, and has a good career doing so - why would he bother with art, when he feels about conceptualism the way the rest of us do? Terry did just pen the essay for the most recent William Bailey catalogue. Terry also said that he didn't mind my mentioning that I have a work in his collection, so full disclosure and all that.

33.

ex

March 20, 2008, 8:35 AM

i better go get my water wings. adios muchachos.

34.

opie

March 20, 2008, 8:50 AM

"No eye at all" is a tough one. Anyone who spends a lifetime looking at art will have preferences that tend toward the stable and long-lived, but I have read Hughes and Perl often enough when it is clear that they are just completely off to realize neither has the fine-tuned discrimination that any really good critic must have. It is not a matter of making "mistakes", but one of not being fully sighted, and, secondarily, of making judgements based on factors outside the art.

Bailey is a fave of the concservative critics. I think his painting are oiverworked and dull, especiually those solid backgrounds. Art needs a little more jive than that.

35.

ex

March 20, 2008, 8:55 AM

i was gonna say they look like IKEA posters. or that maybe they wouldn't lose much if they found their way there as repros.

36.

ex

March 20, 2008, 9:22 AM

laboured attention to something doesn't guarantee significance. when placement starts to make itself such an obvious thing the experience can become didactic. rigid, architecturally inflected to a fault, dry.

the flemish painters set the bar pretty high on this stuff almost 600 years ago.

37.

opie

March 20, 2008, 9:32 AM

They are not bad painting, of course. They are beautifully painted and the color is often quite good. I can see why people like them. I like them, for that matter. But I'm very picky. I need a little more than that.

38.

ex

March 20, 2008, 9:33 AM

Franklin i hope i'm not breaking any rules with this:

A ways North of most, Karen Wilkin will be delivering a lecture this evening in Edmonton, Alberta entitled 'Life After Formalism'. See below for details. I'm sure Ahab and Marc will likely be in attendance. I'm very curious to see where she goes with this. I'm not fond of a recent multi-media project by Clay Ellis that she wrote a piece for.

Karen Wilkin: “Life After Formalism”
Karen Wilkin was Chief Curator of The Edmonton Art Gallery from 1971-1978, and was responsible for the acquisition of some of the most significant modernist artworks in its collection. A regular contributor to The New Criterion, Art in America, The Wall Street Journal and The Hudson Review, Wilkin currently teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program of the New York Studio School. Recent projects include: a catalogue raisonné on Stuart Davis with William C. Agee (Yale University Press, 2007) and the curation of Color As Field: American Painting 1950-1975, (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, February 28-May 26, 2007). She is a Director of the Triangle Arts Association, which organizes programs and residencies for international artists.

39.

Anonamust

March 20, 2008, 9:40 AM

This lecture is connected to a fairly contentious (at least for some) exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta that daftly tries to paraphrase a region's history in classically inept postmodern academic terms.

40.

Eric

March 20, 2008, 9:58 AM

Please let us know what goes down at the lecture.

41.

Jack

March 20, 2008, 10:11 AM

I agree with OP's take on Bailey. The obvious models are Morandi and Chardin, and Bailey is definitely not on their level, though his work is certainly respectable, solid and satisfying--up to a point. However, there's clearly more to be had, or to be desired, and he can only deliver so much.

42.

ex

March 20, 2008, 10:25 AM

i see leger and de chirico as 'models' for bailey. better and worse, respectively.

43.

Eric

March 20, 2008, 11:58 AM

Unlike the still-lifes of Chardin and Cezanne, Bailey's work is missing a crucial tactile dimension.

44.

Chris Rywalt

March 20, 2008, 3:19 PM

For what it's worth, Perl's savaging of Richter is available. It starts off, "Gerhard Richter is a bullshit artist masquerading as a painter." Come on, Jed, tell us what you really think!

45.

Chris Rywalt

March 20, 2008, 3:48 PM

Holy crap, that Perl essay is awesome.

"I do not accept the premise...that in the past half-century painting has become essentially and irreversibly problematical, a medium in a condition of perpetual crisis. This is a counterfeit crisis, as far as I am concerned. This crisis is the invention of cynical marketers who, disguised as fashion-conscious nihilists, have managed to bulk up the essentially marginal figure of Duchamp until he overshadows Matisse, Mondrian, and all the hard-working makers and finders of the century just passed."

Amen!

46.

ahab

March 20, 2008, 5:38 PM

That third to last paragraph in the post is a gooder.

47.

Eric

March 20, 2008, 5:47 PM

Do you mean this paragraph ahab?

"The Museum of Modern Art now imagines that the way to succeed is to join in and go along, so it accepts the standard-issue international art stars and whatever incoherent catch-as-catch-can view of the history of twentieth-century art will give that work its shaky legitimacy. This is the kind of tactical thinking that lay behind "MoMA2000," the recent overview of the museum's collections, which offered a variety of anti-chronological and non-chronological and thematic approaches, and was conceptually indistinguishable from the theoretical caprices that have turned so many European surveys of modern art into forgettable sideshows. It was during "MoMA2000" that I began to hear artists saying that they felt increasingly dispirited about the very prospect of going to the museum." (Jed Perl)

48.

opie

March 20, 2008, 8:25 PM

I'd be interested to know what he writes about their current ill-conceived "color chart" exhibit, which deserves the same treatment.

49.

Eric

March 20, 2008, 9:03 PM

opie

Peter Plagens performs a pretty good hatchet job on the exhibition you mentioned.

50.

Chris Rywalt

March 20, 2008, 9:34 PM

Plagens wrote:
Impressionism was made possible by the 19th-century introduction of bright synthetic colors in portable metal tubes.

Hey, groovy, didn't I just mention that the other day on Artblog? I was also amused when he wrote "No more preciously mixing just the right shade" since not long ago I picked up a tube of Williamsburg Naples Yellow only to find it's almost precisely the same hue as a skin tone I mixed entirely by hand last summer.

My favorite two colors lately have been Naples Yellow and Gamblin's Asphaltum. I'm using them on everything! Including cupcakes.

51.

ahab

March 20, 2008, 10:30 PM

No, dumbass: "Perhaps it sounds trifiling (sic), but getting the pleasures right, refining them, developing variations on them, and chronicling the work involved constitute some of the highest work of civilization. People take art too seriously in ways it doesn't justify and not seriously enough in ways that it does. It has little impact on the world or our understanding of it; one might as well expect such things of fine dining. But when done well it offers a thrill unlike anything else, one that sets in suddenly and then releases slowly, entering the eyes and delighting the visual component of our being that recognizes shapes and symbols."

I spoke (by 'spoke' I mean 'drank') with a sommelier tonight, and during 'conversation' told him that I most commonly used wine not as a drink but a metaphor. He didn't much like my admission that I used the development of taste for wine as analogous to developing a taste for art. In fact, he started to deny the correlation by saying that colour (art=colour, duh) is easily chartable by wavelength, but that charting wine doesn't hardly help with the tasting of it, and that wine tasting was a more refined exercise in aesthetic appreciation. But damned if he could help me understand tannins or legs or body. Good Sicilian wine, though!

52.

Eric

March 21, 2008, 6:26 AM

Oh I almost forgot. Piss off ahab.

53.

Franklin

March 21, 2008, 8:27 AM

Gentlemen! Your tempers, please.

54.

Eric

March 21, 2008, 9:00 AM

1. 'No, dumbass'
2. 'piss off'
3. "Gentlemen! Your tempers, please."

55.

Franklin

March 21, 2008, 9:22 AM

"Gentlemen" is plural.

56.

ex

March 21, 2008, 10:09 AM

i'd like to hijack this thread long enough to amend some comments i made about the olitski post from last week. as usual, i couldn't help myself and shot my mouth off trying to say something of what i thought about these works. i felt sheepish about adding to the comments, having not seen any of this work in the flesh, and also because i know there are wily vets surfing round these parts that know more than i ever will about olitski's work. but having seen a good number of olitskis before, in addition to a whole whack of other painting in all shapes, sizes and applications, i felt i could reasonably comment on the work (reproductions). i agree with most that he is one of, if not the most significant painter of the 20th/21st c. franklin's repros were good enough that i really tried to get what i could from them and others i could find around. i hadn't really looked for this work before, i don't live in NYC, and admittedly the trickle of messy purpley landscapey, stuff that started to appear in repro around 2000 didn't really get me going. my first thoughts then were, 'dammit, is olitski sliding a la late de kooning?' (de kooning was never anywhere near olitski's quality but the late work illustrates my point). you know the score, the established master (i reserve the title for jules not willem)can do whatever the hell he wants, somehting in it will be worth it, olitksi still sells no matter how slim the market is for him at this point, sure why not, go Jules!!
i kept going back to that post and any other images i could find and finally ordered a catalogue that combines two late survey shows in 2003 in NH. it arrived yesterday. the recent abstracts were shown alongside recent figurative work and the forerunning landscapey stuff mentioned above. repro quality is good in this book and i spent last night looking carefully (there is a DVD interview from 2003 included which i have yet to watch). i think at first the work seemed like a rupture for me but once you see a range of what he was doing even in repro it becomes obvious that this is great painting. i would like to retract the idea i burped up that olitksi was trying his hand at 'bad' painting. i think he was just painting, free and sure. it has the kind of playful confidence that only an awareness as broad as his can muster. he knew how to let things be clumsy and work all the same. and he does it very very well. the colour range in these works is unreal, and even in repro an amazing old master light seems to just glow from some of the work. as for handling, the ubiquitous crazing mark in these works was giving me trouble until i saw a range of how he made it work and i just plain got used to it. how we form these biases i don't know but that 'crazing' and cracking mark is irritating for me in a lot of other work from the last 30 years or so. as a painter, you know that the crazing wasn't there until the work dried (some painters are obvioulsy working with it though, even cultivating it). the new acrylic rheologies can now deal with it, but i've looked at a lot of work that suffers for its presence. for me it's right up there with that grating mark you get from compressed charcoal, used on edge, to fill in a drawing. every first year drawing student does it until someone hopefully beats it out of them. only the best can make it work.

everything in this work of olitski's is so straightforward and unself-conscious. the colour is really blowing me away. he kept this wonderful glowing murk going for so long and in so many directions, then blam! it's like 'oh yah boys, i haven't forgot where i started.' here let me show you a few things. even in repro they still scare the hell out of me and make my biases glaringly obvious.

one last thing about influence...moffett tells a story on his site about olitski seeing lucy baker's work for the first time and responding with one word - 'major'. i don't think olitski was making anything like this open late work at the time. it makes sense then, if there is truth in it, that there are some similarities between the two. i've seen a few lucy bakers in the flesh, they haven't really done it for me in a big way, and by the looks of it i think olitski's got her beat.

57.

ex

March 21, 2008, 12:06 PM

there is also lauren olitksi's work which shares this clumsiness and play. come on opie help me flesh this out here.
there should be more to say than just praise.

58.

Eric

March 21, 2008, 12:17 PM

I know you said 'gentlemen' Franklin but I did wonder why, albeit very briefly, that you had no problem with ahab calling me 'dumbass', sinply because I asked him a straightforward question. You only intervened after I said 'piss off'. Whatever. A piddling trifle we shouldn't waste any time on.

59.

ex

March 21, 2008, 4:17 PM

i'd like to call b*llsh*t on everything i've said about olitski's late stuff. i've looked more at this book. i have no real idea what these paintings are doing for sure, if at all. they are very challenging for me. based on the repros only, they just look really good and bright and full of heart. a similar spirit runs through matisse and the late cut-outs. thank you all for your patience.

60.

opie

March 21, 2008, 4:34 PM

Not sure what you want from me, Ex.

61.

ex

March 21, 2008, 4:40 PM

just wanted some more from anybody who's actually seen a bit of this work. a bit more dialogue about how he pulls it off but it's all good. all i have is the book to go by so it's kinda moot.

62.

opie

March 21, 2008, 4:50 PM

Not much I can say, really. they are tough paintings. No one is obliged to like them. I didn't like them the first time I saw them and I told him so. They take getting used to.

63.

ahab

March 21, 2008, 5:20 PM

Track down the Artblog.net post and discussion on Olitski's Miami warehouse show from a couple years back, ex.

64.

opie

March 21, 2008, 5:38 PM

It's #488 3/8/05

65.

ex

March 21, 2008, 6:00 PM

cheers, gents.

66.

catfish

March 21, 2008, 7:25 PM

According to ex: "moffett tells a story on his site about olitski seeing lucy baker's work for the first time and responding with one word - 'major'."

Or ... as Whitehead once said (more or less), even God makes mistakes.

67.

opie

March 21, 2008, 9:27 PM

and occasionally misquoted.

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