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ABMB and Art Miami

Post #1426 • December 3, 2009, 4:07 PM • 53 Comments

I, no art fair completist, went for a run this morning from the Roads to the apex of Rickenbacker Causeway on what turned out to be one of the hottest days on record for December in Miami. On the way up I saw a tree crowded with red-headed parrots. Turkey vultures meandered along the Biscayne Bay beachfront. Sure enough they had found the carcass of an unrecognizable animal, which they picked over lazily and without rancor towards one another. At the summit I admired the view of downtown, an impressive bank of condominium towers painted white and aqua with surprising conformity. For a moment I forgot about the deficit of basic human competency that stood between me and my rental car on Tuesday, and pondered that I could move back here if I had to. I put my palms together, bowed to bay, spat a runner's spit into the expanse over the water, and trotted down the direction I came. A work crew I passed on the way up, on break from revamping the little islands at the east end of the causeway, sitting in the shade of a pickup truck, were still hard at rest when I passed them a half-hour later.

I visited Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Miami yesterday. I detected the same creative torpor that Paddy Johnson picked up on, but where she longs for stunts, I just wanted to see better art. There's a corridor that runs along the south end of the convention hall, from Aquavella's corner space to Jacobson Howard's corner space, where some items of note can be seen. The Motherwells, as remarked upon in the last thread, were a bit on the flaccid side but entirely worthy. A gallery whose name I forgot to record (but I will recover) had some lovely John McLaughlins, which would be the first time I've seen work in Miami from the contemplative master of Dana Point. Jacobson Howard has a roomful of enormous Norman Bluhms from the Seventies which I found more compelling than his splashed work from a decade or two earlier. They also had an Art Kabinett installation devoted to the drawings of Tom Wesselman, whose drawn work makes his metal cutouts look senseless by comparison. Otherwise, ABMB required the usual search for needles in a haystack: one of the best Joan Mitchells I've ever seen (again, I'll get the names of galleries when I go back tomorrow), some pieces by Jacob Hashimoto, whom I like but not for terribly compelling reasons, and a few other things here and there among the long hallways of sculptural excrescences. This is sort of a problem, because when I pitched ABMB coverage to the New Criterion, I talked about how it was possible to find serious modernist work at the main fair, which had largely sceded its commitment to the outré to the satellite fairs. But the rooms of good Hoffmans and Morandis that I remember from a couple of years ago were not to be had. Either that becomes my story, or I cast my net wider.

My memories of Art Miami date back to ten and fifteen years ago and include the place getting overrun with lousy galleries of lousy Latin American art. It was at Art Miami where I first learned from my Colombian girlfriend at the time that nudes viewed from the back were a sure seller to the Latin American market. We must have counted a half-dozen. It's an entirely different fair now. Scott White Contemporary Art (who, full disclosure, handles my work) had an Elmer Bischoff gouache portrait that I might have stolen given the opportunity. Pace Gallery Prints had some Frankenthalers printed in various processes that stole the whole installation. The same gallery had a light, glittery Pat Steir that reminded me a bit of Lauren Olitski's work and was the first Stier I ever responded to one way or another.

Tonight thunderstorms hit, according to a hedged and variable forecast.

Comment

1.

opie

December 3, 2009, 7:35 PM

The problem with these shows, aside from, the almost complete absence of art of visual interest, is that it is impossible to survey them thoroughly. You wander, lost in the maze, constantly buffeted by glassy-eyed, overdressed people as confused as you are, very few of them looking at the art, some gabbing and blocking the aisle space, many on cell phones talking to unseen but important associates, lots of very tall spiffy women with shorter, older men, younger people anxiously jabbering in German, gallery aides looking anxiously for the one buyer that might come along.

We need George Grosz and Nathaniel West to report on these things, not these semiliterate clowns at the New Times and Herald. The New Times article was particularly obnoxious.

I always go with some friends and we go our separate ways and invariably each of us has seen the 3 good pix in the show that the other has missed. Landau gallery, from Canada, I think, actually had a half-dozen good things: Klees, Miros, etc. I saw no other such concentration, just endless aisles and stalls, acres and acres of things that would be tasteless if they had a little more gumption.

Art Miami had one good painting, a low-sturation early George McNeil painting nestling apprehensively on the back wall at Findlay. The rest of it was just a hall of mirrors, slick, cold, glitzy decoration for some Miami rich person's million dollar beach house.

I'm a naturally upbeat person and I was depressed all day. This profession of ours has gone to the dogs.

2.

John

December 3, 2009, 8:12 PM

From a November 29, 2009 interview of Donald Kuspit by Diane Thodos for Chicago Art Magazine (This interview first appeared on Neotericart.com):

Diane Thodos: I believe, as you do, that postmodernism represents an inextricable cultural crisis: a collapse that cannot repair or heal itself. I wouldn’t want to be an artist if I had to be, ideologically speaking, a postmodern artist.

Donald Kuspit: There is no direction. They don’t know what art is. We’re in a nihilistic endgame. I was reading a review about Bruce Nauman, a piece in Newsweek by Peter Plagens. It begins by saying that he’s perhaps the most influential American artist since Warhol, and I thought now what does this mean? Everyday he was trying to redefine the art “ex-nihilo” – out of nothing – and my thought is even God started with something. But also that means that he does not know what art is. He believes you have to redefine it, reconceptualize it. So what is it? Does it exist? It is annihilative: perpetual redefinition, unstable, etc.

DT: It isn’t ex-nihilo, it’s ex-nihilism. It is consciously nihilistic in its intent.

DK: I think it’s over for a lot of those people and one of the things I see happening is a return to tradition in a variety of ways (without mimicking it).

------------------
Kuspit's association of "perpetual redefinition" with instability and annihilation is particularly perceptive.

3.

Chris Rywalt

December 3, 2009, 8:16 PM

New plan: A show called "I Refute It Thus!" filled entirely with female nudes. Viewed from the back, of course, to lure in Latin American buyers.

4.

opie

December 3, 2009, 10:40 PM

Kuspit has a sense of the deleteriousness of the destruction of stable conventions in art mking brought on by the insistence of "innovation", but he appears unable (no surprise) to be able to pinpoint and articulate the problem.

These people are treading water in a deep well where no one can hear their cries for help.

5.

opie

December 3, 2009, 10:40 PM

A well they dug for themselves, by the way.

6.

David

December 3, 2009, 11:31 PM

I appreciate what Kuspit is saying. Many were pegging Nauman as "most important artist" during his Biennale run. Even Schjeldahl did, though he implied he didn't like saying it. If there's some truth to it, it may just be an acknowledgment of the confusion that's out there. People like Kuspit keep predicting a return to tradition but will the market deliver? And what choice is there. What do those of you who see more art than I do think? The artists I know, and the ones I follow on Facebook are fairly traditional - painting, sculpture, craft based work (naturally, and of course that's why I like to hang out here). Skill is valued and there's a sense that progress can be made, that art doesn't need to be reduced to (insert your favorite scatological term) to be innovative. Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir, but Kuspit seems to offer something to build on in the effort to crack this nut.

7.

alesh

December 3, 2009, 11:49 PM

Ah! It occurred to me on Thursday that maybe two years ago you would see lots and lots of Frankenthaller paintings at Basel, and this year I saw none, and I thought about this reading the first half of this, and was pleasantly surprised to find her mentioned towards the end.

Haven't been to Art Miami this year yet, but was very pleasantly surprised by it last year, so it's on the agenda. I'll be looking.

Meanwhile, I'm tracking the stunts ("conceptual art" I believe its proponents call it), which I love, at my blog. I might remind you that there was a time when abstract expressionism was considered a stunt.

But let's nevermind that, and let me ask something I'm genuinely puzzled by. Louise Nevelson died more then twenty years ago. Her work consists of fairly labor-intensive sculpture assemblages, created out of found materials. Unless I've been misled, she employed minimal studio assistants. And yet it seems that wherever I go I see her sculptures as well represented as a current art star who makes snapshots that get printed in editions of fifty or so. What gives? Was this woman prolific and hard-working far beyond what seems possible, or is there something else at going on? (I also note the incredibly consistent quality of all this work.)

Also, are the bloggers going to get together for a meal or something at some point?

8.

John

December 4, 2009, 12:28 AM

Opie, I can't disagree with you about Donald Kuspit and the digging of the hole. But there is an aspect of "art opinion" that works best, if when a former problem aligns with the solution, we need to be welcoming - and let by-gones be by-gones.

Besides, I've noticed more and more statements like this from him recently. A former grad student of his (and friend of mine), who bought "early Kuspit" hook, line, and sinker, is plenty pissed at the changes in K's position. So I tend to think the "conversion" is genuine.

And really, he made a good observation. Let's give the guy credit. And coming out against Nauman when "everybody knows" Nauman is a great artist, that's my kind of person.

9.

David

December 4, 2009, 6:47 AM

Yes I remember Kuspit when he was digging the hole too. As for re-making the world(or art) from scratch, choose one: Nauman or Rilke?

"Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
leaving your room, of which you know each bit;
your house is the last before the infinite,
whoever you are.
Then with your eyes that wearily
scarce lift themselves from the worn-out door-stone
slowly you raise a shadowy black tree
and fix it on the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world (and it shall grow
and ripen as a word, unspoken, still).
When you have grasped its meaning with your will,
then tenderly your eyes will let it go."

from the Writer's Almanac this morning.

10.

bethea

December 4, 2009, 7:41 AM

I'm curious about ABMB sales. Has anyone seen a lot of red dots?

11.

Chris Rywalt

December 4, 2009, 7:57 AM

David asks:
People like Kuspit keep predicting a return to tradition but will the market deliver? And what choice is there. What do those of you who see more art than I do think?

I've said this before, I think, but I'll tackle it again: From what I've seen, in New York City, the art world is all over the map, both literally and figuratively. The blue chip galleries show the usual suspects, but even that's a pretty broad range, from Eric Fischl sculptures (which are pretty close to traditional, Modernist works, albeit a little crude) to Yayoi Kusama's installations. I've seen vulgar doodles of a sexualized Disney Snow White and I've seen Picasso. Jack Pierson uses found commercial signs rearranged; Larry Poons is an old school Abstract Expressionist. There's photorealist watercolors, brushy plein air landscapes, and graffiti and comic book illustration. There are a lot of videos, some strange machines, plenty of piles of junk, plenty of Pop-style appropriations. And a lot of photography.

Artists come from everywhere. China and other Asian countries have been very popular over the past couple of years, but I've seen Russians, Finns, and Latin Americans also. Some of everybody.

This is based on my thinking over the past year or so. So the art world, if New York is still representative, is all over the place. There's no center at all. There's no Conceptual Art Hegemony that needs to be toppled. There's a lot of bad art at the top but I don't see it in galleries so much any more -- Koons and Hirst are in museums now. (I've seen a very few small, small Koons pieces.) Warhol shows up a lot, still.

There's no center. I don't think anyone knows what's going on except in their niche.

12.

dude

December 4, 2009, 10:11 AM

Kuspit talking about a few doing things differently, ok fine. When it's time to write about it, he'll pick a few of the few and do his thing, ok fine. The big show will have a critic too. One of the clowns wants to poke fun at the circus in his act. Can we reasonably expect any of this to change in a way that matters to real art? The scale of it all is monstrous and nasty. John, what can this optimism you feel on reading of Kuspit's new stance realistically accomplish?

I don't see the connection between ABMB glut (it's a trade-fair, not an art fair, and since when should we give a shit about these things anyway?) and what we care about.You guys complaining about no diamonds in the haystack, well, pardon me but WTF did y'all expect?! Or are some of you secretly hoping for a putter-put in the bay on Gagosian's yacht with the rest of those creepy twats?

Opie, your profession hasn't gone to the dogs it's been muscled out to the periphery, and can no longer afford to take anything for granted. Nothing's really changed when it comes to making good art. For those quality vets who've seen better days, those with a market etc., ya it's a burn. Myself, a nobody painter, more and more I see it as an opportunity to hone my skills in the background, get lean and mean, try to make good stuff and not have to worry about this kind of BS which is all poison anyway. Art is still with us, it's under a different, smaller tent. Scale is everything. My instincts tell me it'll all come around, but I'm not interested in seeing the art I care about cut and pasted into this morass. Keep it real.

13.

dude

December 4, 2009, 10:12 AM

'no diamonds in the haystack'...lol

pardon my rant, folks.

14.

John

December 4, 2009, 11:01 AM

Hi dude.

First, I have met Donald Kuspit and had a few dealings with him. I found him to be not just a decent person, but also one with some real character. He obviously is willing to reconsider the destructive positions he has taken in the past. That's good and I see no reason to bang on him for that. It is like slapping a dog who finally answers a call for taking too long to arrive. The dog learns that it made a mistake giving in to the call.

Second, although he does not have an eye in the ultimate sense (he can observe fundamental visual characteristics, but that is about it), Kuspit does understand the forces at work in the art world pretty well. His analysis of perpetual reinvention and its result is on target. It is a fundamental "elephant in the room" that most established critics ignore.

I do not think of myself as an optimist regarding the art system. But I have to respect anyone who comes around to a more realistic position about the process that drives the thing. Seems like progress to me.

Nor am I particularly wild about the best art being made today. The "best" may be the best, but it seems like a place holder, rather than overflowing with abundance. So Donald Kuspit can make a contribution to the general dialog about the innards of the art system, but in the showdown it is up to us artists to kick ass and show something that is saturated with the fire that drives maximum art. Kusipt's change of heart is a step towards providing better support for such artistic possibility. A necessary condition but not a sufficient one.

15.

dude

December 4, 2009, 11:23 AM

Again, it's a scale thing. I can't identify with the milieu, and I can't identify with a good portion of the complaint against it. Like it or not, things are different now, moreso than I generally feel the strikes here against the scene will allow..

16.

opie

December 4, 2009, 11:46 AM

John, while it is not easy for me to let bygones go when it comes to Kuspit, I am happy to see him at least discern a condition accurately, which he could not do before. Too bad he can't see into the situation better than to wish for a return to tradition.

Tradition is past. we need a return to value, in more than just art, for that matter. Live by value and tradition takes care of itself.

The depressing thing about shows like Basel is that. sure, there is always lesser art and always will be, but the stuff in these shows discourages one for what it says about the people making art, buying it, selling it, talking about it.

It is so damn low level, in a purely human way, so shabby, shoddy and sleazy that you feel like taking a shower afterwards. I know Franklin is upset about Jack's characterization of the Bourgeois doll but like it or not, that is where it is at. These are degenerate mentalities plaguing one of our highest callings. They should be doing something else, something useful, and let well-intentioned people who know what they are doing do the thing.

Is this an elitist attitude? You bet it is. Art is for the privileged few, but these few earn the privilege and deny it to no one.

17.

Gary Sanders

December 4, 2009, 12:54 PM

Over the weekend I experienced something completely fresh and new. The artist Kimber Berry has a paint installation up in the Riverside Art Museum that you essentially walk into. You actually experience the paint versus just scanning it. What a great abstract expressionist painter she is. The evolved extension of Pollock with a feminine palette capturing the current colors of the times, something the old master would delight in. As we all know, most art is boring and has been done to death, uninspired and brings nothing knew to the table and makes no history because the work is not ground breaking. Well, this is grounding breaking - this is historical work that will find its rightful place in history. Time to collect this undervalued work for there is no way for it not to gain the highest value. It is all that we art lovers and collectors look for.

18.

John

December 4, 2009, 1:38 PM

Welcome Gary.

I don't know a lot about "there is no way for it not to gain the highest value" but 8 years out of grad school for Kimber Berry seems early to make such a disjunctive claim.

Looking at the work on her web site, I am reminded of the Scylla and Charybdis that seems to always haunt abstraction: the mess and the doodle. She seems to be caught in the doodle. These pictures, etc. are said to be shots from the Riverside Art Museum installation you cite. No reason to doubt that either. But it is not "all" that I am looking for. Looks more like used art supplies to me.

19.

opie

December 4, 2009, 2:57 PM

From the photos I'd sy that Berry's stuff is ambitious and dramatically staged but otherwise uninteresting. The color is all over the place and the idea of "paint everywhere" is interesting but carelessly managed. She's going to have to think the idea through a lot better to make something more than a dramatic in-your-face first impression.

20.

Chris Rywalt

December 4, 2009, 3:12 PM

Gary's tone sounds like a mass comment posting to art blogs. Not that it looks like he did that, but it sounds like it.

Jack: "Used art supplies" is very funny.

21.

John

December 4, 2009, 6:56 PM

Chris: I wondered the same thing, except that calling someone "a great abstract expressionist painter" would not be a positive on most blogs about art.

22.

Chris Rywalt

December 4, 2009, 7:18 PM

In my experience, spammers (even low-volume ones who manually drop comments on a few sites) don't do basic research. I've read so many overinflated claims from people promoting one artist or another almost nothing would sound out of whack.

Throw "gary sanders kimber berry" into Google and you'll see he's been talking her up in various places, including almost exactly the wording he used here at Modern Art Obsession.

Learning anything about your intended audience would only cut into the spammer's bottom line, you see.

23.

opie

December 4, 2009, 7:52 PM

I assumed it was a spammer. That helped me be less sparing in my criticism.

24.

1

December 5, 2009, 1:22 PM

i put a couple hours in at basel miami yesterday.

of course it is very difficult to see everything and impossible in 2 hours, but maybe i did see close to everything that was necessary.

i saw big and small dekoonings scattered about and some early ones were quite nice. the klees and some motherwells (also scattered amongst dealers) were solid and good.

the best pictures to me were:

(early) pollock "naked man" (not, "naked man with knife" that can be seen online, it is completely different) which i have seen an image of before and is somewhat in the style as 42' -43' pics she-wolf, male and female or moon woman. this one kept my interest the most.did any one else catch this pic?

tied for best with pollock:
a huge classic gottlieb. there were some other so-so small and normal to good sized gottliebs, but this one was huge. one large red disc up top that faded with sun like outer ring, drawing below that was split by white/cream that covered most of the rest of the picture. it was very good.

other pictures that i really liked,
one hofmann at ameringer and yohe.
(for those interested, the gottlieb and the pollock pics were represented by different dealers, but close to A & Y)

i also saw a very nice frankenthaler ( medium/large cluods of color) although i saw some medioce ones at other stations. somewhere in the middle of the space, not sure on gallery.

at the opposite end of the space from A & Y (close to that other main entrance)from a gallery that also had some klees, matisse, leger, big ugly picasso was a very nice juan gris. they had a couple of pretty good dubuffets as well. but the gris was the best to me from this dealer.

in general the show seemed lost. dealers looked very worn out and concerned. most of the art did not look very serious at all and neither did the viewing public. there were a lot of hot mamacitas though.

25.

John

December 5, 2009, 1:46 PM

Thanks 1 for your observation: "dealers looked very worn out and concerned."

According to Elliott Wave International, which follows Sotheby's and Christie's auctions, sales peaked in 2007 at $1.6 billion. Sales for 2008 were $729 million, and through November of this year they are $600 million. Sales of works by living artists have been particularly hard hit, with none of the "museum-quality 20th century works recently shows in a special Paris exhibit" finding a buyer. No details on just what museum quality 20th century works were involved.

The wavers assert that the rush to buy living artists in 07 was connected to the top in stocks that same year.

26.

bethea

December 5, 2009, 2:39 PM

1-Did you notice many red dots? I'm curious, especially about ameringer with those motherwells and with what they had a jacobson howard . I forgot the name of the artist

27.

opie

December 5, 2009, 5:04 PM

You have a better memory than I do, 1.

The Gris was good, and the Klees and the Pollock & Dubuffets. I spotted how good the Pollock was before I had any idea it was a Pollock - I really like it when that happens. I missed the Frankenthaler and the Gottlieb you saw; the Gottlieb I saw was a medium sized green one and not the best. There were as you said a number of various sized Dekoonings, some of them quite good.

And, as you also said, plenty of hot mamacitas, in much greater quantity and quality than the good art

28.

David

December 6, 2009, 9:16 AM

Thanks Chris for answering my question. I've been on Martha's Vineyard for two days working. I polish and repair furniture on site at a very fancy inn in Edgartown and enjoy the bleak beauty of the landscape in winter- and the wonderful food and drink available in the local joints. There's also the local plein air painters - my client has a gallery of the stuff. There's a lot of skill to admire in these local "schools", though the tightness gives me a headache sometimes. Cindy House for instance does amazing pastels. There's also a local scene in Greenwich,N.Y. where we spent Thanksgiving, which is more impressionistic. I think these local landscape painters can be found everywhere and can be a real pleasure sometimes.

29.

David

December 6, 2009, 9:30 AM

More on the above: Some of these local artists get featured in American Artist mag, which actually really creeps me out - decorator art heavy on Leroy Neiman color, and a heavy dose of the male gaze tending to fantasy in among the Mallards and the horses. The landscape stuff has a quality of observation and skill that is admirable if you can sift it out from the kitsch. It's a weird country out there. The eminent James Elkins refers to local landscape painters in one of his books as a genre to be considered in the larger world of contemporary art production. Your comment on people only knowing there own niches is very true.

30.

Jack

December 6, 2009, 9:56 AM

My Basel pot (no thanks to Basel):

Shigaraki 1
Shigaraki 2
Shigaraki 3
Shigaraki 4
Shigaraki 5

Click on each image after it comes up for a larger, sharper image. Everything you see represents natural kiln effects. It's just a flower pot for the tea ceremony. It is so fine it scares me.

31.

David

December 6, 2009, 10:02 AM

Thanks Jack. I needed that.

32.

David

December 6, 2009, 10:09 AM

Somewhere I have a photo of an interior where this pot would be at home - a nice antidote to the Martha's Vineyard aesthetic. It's in one of John Kirk's books of American furniture and it includes a New England cant back cupboard in old blue paint, some wonderful early vernacular chairs and a Noguchi sculpture. I'll try to dig it out and scan it.

33.

Jack

December 6, 2009, 10:15 AM

Cindy House certainly appears quite accomplished, David, but her color tends toward the vulgar (based on the images for her at the gallery you link). She may simply know what sells to her particular market, but she's doing herself (or her work) a disservice.

34.

Tim

December 6, 2009, 12:04 PM

Jack, I wouldn't expect any more from work like Cindy House's. It is the tamest kind of wallpaper, as skilled as it is. It's meant to confirm the values of the client, and lull the client into a sort of sense of security. At best it takes its place as furnishing, and soon enough disappears. Nothing particularly wrong with that except that it is presented as art to clients who have no way of knowing whether it is or not. Art is supposed to reveal the unknown, not merely repeat a bland version of the known, a Lay-Z-Boy lounge chair for the eyes.

35.

Tim

December 6, 2009, 12:31 PM

Well, I'd better have something to show after that critique. Here's an illustration, pastel on paper, of Michael Devlin in the role of Nick Shadow (the Devil) from the opera The Rake's Progress, for the Dallas Opera Magazine back in the 80s.

36.

Tim

December 6, 2009, 12:55 PM

Ah, I found another one from my pastel-on-paper days, a self-portrait from the early 80s.

37.

Jack

December 6, 2009, 1:32 PM

Well, Tim, don't set up shop in Martha's Vineyard. Actually, I've been meaning to point you here. Look around the site. I think you'll like it. Others may also.

38.

Lucas Blanco

December 6, 2009, 1:40 PM

1 I need a link to that auction/furniture site you mentioned to me last night. Send me an email to the above link. Thanks

Tim, those are nice drawings. Interesting to see how an artist evolves over the years.

39.

Tim

December 6, 2009, 1:51 PM

Thanks, Lucas.

Jack, yes, I happened upon Brangwyn's site when you mentioned him last time, a nice eyeful.

But I found a little pastel invention of mine from the 80s which might be a better answer to Martha's Vinyard.

The reason that I couldn't do business in a place like Martha's Vinyard is that those dealers require a consistent style from the artists. I can't do that, even if I wanted to.

40.

Jack

December 6, 2009, 4:46 PM

I briefly visited Art Miami this morning to see the George McNeil painting OP mentioned, and he was right; it was worth the trip. Of course I looked around a bit while I was there, and there were some reasonably nice things here and there. There were also very weak things by some big names, some so weak that I can't imagine anyone but an autograph collector paying for them. Unlike the main Basel venue, a number of Art Miami dealers had the prices posted, and even in this economy, they seemed pretty high (even if discounts could be had by haggling). By comparison, the prices for the very strong, very substantial paintings at the Bannard show previously discussed here are better than reasonable.

41.

Chris Rywalt

December 6, 2009, 6:23 PM

Of course, some people think Art Miami sucks. Although I have to admit, that golden teddy bear looks pretty bad.

42.

Jack

December 6, 2009, 8:16 PM

Chris, nobody said it was a good, let alone great, fair. Apart from the truly excellent McNeil, there was the odd decent-to-nice piece here and there, mostly small-scale stuff by the no-longer-living (or at least definitely no longer even remotely young). There were also things like the lamest Alex Katz portraits I've ever seen, which I'd be deeply embarrassed to hang in my house even if I'd gotten them as a gift. As for the damn teddy bear, is a Koons balloon dog really any better? Be sure to ask the Met people next time you visit them, OK?

43.

Chris Rywalt

December 6, 2009, 8:42 PM

Deciding which is worse is sort of like deciding which species of dogshit tastes best, but I actually do think a Koons balloon dog is better than that bear.

Then again, I think it was last year that a dealer of my acquaintance dragged a pair of shoes made of licorice to Miami in an attempt to offload them. Plan failed. In any case, the shoes are definitely worse than the Koons or the bear.

44.

David

December 6, 2009, 11:02 PM

Franklin must be working hard on his angle on this.

45.

opie

December 6, 2009, 11:47 PM

I understand from Franklin that he saw everything at Basel.

That's not only working hard, that's heroic.

46.

Franklin

December 7, 2009, 7:12 AM

I have my angle, my material, and an opening paragraph. All is in order.

Come to think of it, I never ran across the Kossoff. But I did go through the fair three times, once around Art Nova and Art Positions, once around all the Art Kabinett locations, and once through the regular galleries. Since that was on my second visit to the fair, I'm pretty sure I got it covered.

47.

David

December 7, 2009, 9:23 AM

Well you're a pro Franklin. Will look forward to your piece.

48.

Jack

December 7, 2009, 11:00 AM

Nothing much like this print at Basel:

Man with sake cup

49.

piri

December 7, 2009, 5:44 PM

I hope you'll let us know when the article appears in The New Criterion, won't you? I dropped my subscription when Hilton hired Robert Bork to defend the Supreme Court on Bush v. Gore, but I suppose I can locate a copy of the issue with your article in it at a library.

50.

opie

December 7, 2009, 6:10 PM

Yes, please let us know. I don't have a Bork problem, but I do have a subscription price problem, when about all I read is Karen and one of two other things.

51.

Jack

December 7, 2009, 6:14 PM

OP, Books & Books in the Gables carries New Criterion. You can drop by, act interesting and read it.

52.

Jack

December 7, 2009, 6:23 PM

By the way, for #48, click on the image once it comes up to get a better image.

53.

Franklin

December 8, 2009, 7:19 AM

The ABMB article is slated, I believe, for the January issue. I'll let everyone know when it comes out.

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