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That's one way of putting it

Post #1400 • October 6, 2009, 3:58 PM • 49 Comments

From a Jerry Saltz article making rounds on Facebook today, emphasis mine:

Whatever happens, this fall's gallery scene is full of freewheeling energy, a willingness to fail in new ways, and a contentiousness that doesn't speak to the same 250 insiders—and not just with emerging artists.

Also from the Department of Unintentional Irony, via David Thompson: Tracey Emin may leave England for France, no word yet regarding her underpants.

Emin said she is considering France because she thinks it has lower taxes and appreciates the arts more.

She said: "So much here is simply not working now. The taxes are too high, there aren't enough incentives to work hard, and our politicians have put me off. We're paying through the nose for everything."

Judging by her art, Britain would seem to have no incentives whatsoever to work hard.




October 6, 2009, 3:26 PM

I'm so happy Saltz is happy. Evidently, he doesn't ask for much, or he knows better than to do so.

As for Ms. Emin, Franklin, you're too kind.



October 6, 2009, 3:52 PM

Saltz seems to be saying in his video, "Let's wring the rag one more turn and see what we get."

The Dallas version of New York Magazine is D Magazine. There is also Texas Monthly. After seeing either of these publications, I wonder if the writers are writing about the same place I live in.



October 6, 2009, 4:21 PM

You know, it just hit me. Tracey Emin has been wasting herself, albeit very profitably. She was really meant to be a TV star. Specifically, a judge on American Idol or, if that's too demanding, a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. I must e-mail her agent.



October 6, 2009, 4:30 PM

Still, I should inform you, Franklin, that at least one major Miami collector has an Emin video, and surely that means something or other. I actually saw it, back when I was still wasting my time going to important art venues, and I can vouch for the fact that it was a classic of its kind: one of those exquisitely equivocal works where one is torn between maniacal laughter and deep despair. I was moved. To leave the venue. And never return.



October 6, 2009, 4:43 PM

OK, I'll stop now. It's too easy. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel.



October 6, 2009, 5:07 PM

A little antidote seems in order:

Jack's new Oribe


Chris Rywalt

October 6, 2009, 6:06 PM

I made the same joke about being moved to leave three years ago. I wonder if Jack Benny or Henny Youngman made the same joke back in the 1940s or something.

Speaking of Miami, any of you Miami Art Mafia people know the work of Carolina Sardi? I got an invitation to an upcoming show with her and a couple of other people in it.



October 6, 2009, 6:11 PM

Benny, maybe. Youngman, I doubt. Too subtle.



October 6, 2009, 6:13 PM

As for Sardi, talk to Franklin. I refuse to be lumped in with any Miami Art Mafia.



October 6, 2009, 6:41 PM

"A willingness to fail in new ways" is certainly an irresistable solicitation to get out and see what's new in the galleries, for sure.


Chris Rywalt

October 6, 2009, 7:19 PM

I know the way you guys are taking it, but I have to say a willingness to fail -- to look bad or stupid -- is, in my mind, an excellent quality. A willingness to do something totally worthless because you don't care how you look, well, not so much.



October 6, 2009, 7:26 PM

Chris, your, uh, romanticism would be touching if it weren't so out of sync with reality. We're not talking Delacroix or Géricault here. Trust me.



October 6, 2009, 7:28 PM

What does a willingness to fail look like in an arena where anything goes and there is no such thing as failure?



October 6, 2009, 7:34 PM

Tim, as even Chris knows, Saltz was being, uh, rhetorical. As in using a figure of speech. As in euphemism. I rather doubt Saltz actually expects anybody with half a brain to take him literally. It's just shop talk. I mean, the guy has to keep up his end of the deal. It's called playing the game.



October 6, 2009, 7:37 PM

Oh, and I'm not jaded. I've actually turned into jade. A lovely celadon color, too.



October 6, 2009, 8:16 PM

Anyway, forget Saltz. Is this beautiful, or what?

Shino 1
Shino 2



October 6, 2009, 8:24 PM




October 6, 2009, 8:26 PM

Might be the best one yet, Jack.



October 6, 2009, 8:33 PM

I should have become a pothead years ago. I knew there was something to it, even if it is a little, well, marginal.



October 6, 2009, 9:29 PM

I like some of the black ones better. The interior view of this one makes it look so fragile it might only be held together by the 'l' in its glaze. It'd fall all to shards were anyone to gaze upon it.




October 6, 2009, 9:44 PM

Beautiful bowl Jack. Jerry's obviously having a good time with those crazy "mavericky" kids. Is everyone ready for Urs Fischer at the New Museum? Brace yourself for something really different and new. Sorry I'm feeling a bit celedon myself tonight.



October 6, 2009, 10:19 PM

Urs Fischer "different and new"? Are you serious?


Chris Rywalt

October 6, 2009, 10:34 PM

No, seriously. I mean, looking at these bowls you all love, don't you see an acceptance of failure? Admission that perfect symmetry is unattainable, that glazes will craze, that colors will fade? That's what the Japanese mean by wabi sabi: Nothing is perfect, nothing is permanent, nothing is finished. It's a cycle, not ever onward and upward.

Or as the Stuckists say in their manifesto, "Unlike the professional, the Stuckist is not afraid to fail."

A willingness to fail is vital. It's good.

What's lacking in the art world, at least as I see it, is a willingness to try, to work, to put in the time and effort.



October 6, 2009, 10:38 PM

What's lacking is the willingness to succeed.



October 6, 2009, 11:07 PM

Saltz talking about a willingness to fail reminds me a little bit of Greenberg talking about the willingness to take risks, and Saltz would like his readers to feel that he, like Greenberg, is willing to criticize the status quo -- he freqently finds fault w. fashionable art. Trouble is, what he praises is almost invariably as feeble as what he condemns -- so what all this boils down to is yet another attempt of pomo to appropriate the standing of mo.



October 6, 2009, 11:50 PM

I can't get behind "willingness to fail" or "willingness to try", and not "willingness to succeed" either - none of these really seem to target the bulls-eye but wave blindly in the presumed direction. 'Unblindfoldedness' is better.



October 7, 2009, 1:32 AM

A lot of you have hit various nails on the head, Tim, Franklin (especially), Jack, Chris, ahab, and opie. But piri has fleshed it out the best regarding Saltz, who is very much like Hilton Kramer - able to see what is bad but unable to find what is good, or even OK.

As long as there is no leader to point the art masses to what is good, they continue to meander. What else can we expect from them?



October 7, 2009, 5:15 AM

Opie I was being sarcastic, and cynical, about Urs Fischer. I can usually control myself better than that. Being willing to fail is fine for a skilled potter because he's working in a sublime tradition. It's more like embracing chance and knowing that your hands have been there before - the workmanship of risk as David Pye said about craft. If your milieu is "crap on crap", the result can only be crap.



October 7, 2009, 6:27 AM

David, OK, good, glad to hear it. Sorry I missed the tone. I am up to here with galleries strewn with pretentious monstrosities of the Fischer variety.

In fact, what he does it not much different from that portrayed in the trailer of the "untitled" satire. Maybe that's what you were referring back to.

I wonder if Jack's recent contributions here will start to draw comments from ceramists. There's a big divide in that world, too.



October 7, 2009, 8:13 AM

Chris, it depends on what one means by "failure." Imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence are not failure. Something that doesn't work is a failure. Japanese ceramics, for all their acceptance of the frailties of man and life, do work, often beautifully and brilliantly, both functionally and aesthetically. They've been doing so for centuries. That's definitely not failure.



October 7, 2009, 9:32 PM

At the bottom of the Times article found at the 'underpants' link you may see a hyperlink inviting you to "watch Anthony Carol talking about his installation"(sic). Some fantastic arts coverage!

The Royal Academy's video is mildly interesting; Promenade looks like it likely looks fantastic in that courtyard.



October 7, 2009, 11:15 PM

this gallery has a wide range of interesting tea bowls

another wild one;

jack, you probably already know, but you can see quite a few examples on christie's and sotheby's archives as well. i think christie's had a sale last month of mostly high dollar pieces.



October 8, 2009, 7:23 AM

That gallery has some great stuff, but it's obviously a high-end, "price upon request" outfit specializing in antique pieces. Still, they're beautiful to look at and lust after.



October 8, 2009, 12:17 PM

OK, so is this too pretty?

Raku 1
Raku 1



October 8, 2009, 12:34 PM

Jack, I think the instinct suggested by the question is probably accurate. The painting seems perfunctory. If it were more thoughtfully done, it might've added something to the bowl.



October 8, 2009, 12:56 PM

I'm OK with the painting as such, but the coloring is a little too sweet. Besides, raku probably shouldn't be this fussy.



October 8, 2009, 12:59 PM

The color is definitely sweet, and doesn't go with the color of the bowl. I could see the leaves done in sepia, and not merely pretty.



October 8, 2009, 1:03 PM

This is a much better raku bowl (thanks, 1):

Real Raku



October 8, 2009, 1:12 PM

Raku 1 is a little prissy and doesn't look like that great of a throw.



October 8, 2009, 1:12 PM

Far better, a beauty!



October 8, 2009, 1:42 PM

jack you could do better.

a nice,new george bethea painting:



October 8, 2009, 2:10 PM

Well, 1, paintings, especially big paintings, are better suited to major collectors, even though all too many of them should really be otherwise engaged.



October 8, 2009, 2:50 PM


i probably should have posted twice with that last one.

the "you could do better" was not suppose to read as a direct transition into the bethea painting. i just thought that you could find a better raku example for your collection. and since we are sharing, i thought i'd highlight a nice new painting by one of your locals.



October 8, 2009, 4:42 PM

Bethea is technically a local painter, but for practical purposes he might as well be an alien, like a number of other artists who live and work in the Miami area. The system, meaning the establishment, largely ignores him and the others. It's much too busy falling all over itself on behalf of fashionably correct mediocrity (at least in those occasions when the stuff qualifies as mediocre, as opposed to not even that).



October 9, 2009, 7:15 AM

Here are two favorite Historic bowls by Ogata Kenzan.

Ogata Kenzan 1

Ogata Kenzan 2

The waterfall has a poem on the reverse

"Billowing forth, white like snow;
Then a river that flows for all eternity."



October 9, 2009, 7:16 AM

sorry, let me check those links again



October 9, 2009, 7:38 AM


Ogata Kenzan waterfall



October 9, 2009, 8:01 AM

Thanks, David. They're both superb.


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