Ken Johnson backs me up
Post #1312 • March 11, 2009, 8:40 AM • 54 Comments
Ken Johnson, yesterday:
Mr. Bas's art bears a strong family resemblance to that of the young David Hockney, Karen Kilimnik, Elizabeth Peyton and Paul P., all of whom have trafficked in adolescent fantasy and erotic nostalgia. But he has yet to claim aesthetic or psychological ground that is distinctly his own. And as an installation artist, he is just getting started.
Yours truly, 2003:
I hope the money helps him to cheer up and get laid and establish his place in the grand scheme of things and solve all the other problems that those images were supposed to be about. They are legitimate problems; I have some of them myself. If I sound unsympathetic it's because his art is not moving enough to make me feel their importance. It looks like an awkward amalgam of Herb Ritts, Elizabeth Peyton, and Blair Witch Project.
Ken Johnson, yesterday:
Though profusely detailed, the [12-foot-wide] painting lacks the narrative focus of the smaller works, so it is not clear whether bigger will be better for Mr. Bas.
Yours truly, 2005:
Hernan Bas's work seemed to hang everywhere, and confirmed my feelings about his abilities: on paper, about forearm-size, he can execute a touching, intriguing image. Going larger and moving to canvas put massive strain on his ability to compose and his feathery, tentative drawing, the latter of which works for him well otherwise.
Just for the record. And this of Johnson's I quote for truth:
It is partly because of Mr. Bas's relative immaturity that the question of the Rubells' part in the exhibition arises. As private collectors who have purchased his work in depth over the past 10 years, they have a significant stake in the elevation of his reputation. Having the show at a major museum in New York is a good deal for them.
The museum saves on some costs, as institutions often do when they present traveling exhibitions organized by others. ... But the museum loses some of its intellectual and ethical credibility in letting the Rubells and their former in-house curator, Mark Coetzee, completely determine an exhibition devoted to an artist whose importance remains speculative. ... No doubt this is not the last we'll hear of these issues as museum resources diminish and private collectors offer more and more tempting, money-saving opportunities. It doesn't always have to be a bad thing, but it will never not be tricky.