Documenta comes early! Oh, wait…
Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for May, 2004
Apparently the oceans are turning to yogurt and the pigs are flying, because the (Washington) Citypaper has an interesting, newsy visual arts note. (Mind you, they buried it in a notebook, Carol Vogel-style, behind a totally non-newsworthy fluff note.)
According to the WCP, French historians Annette and Brooks Beaulieu have filed a copyright infringement (and more) suit against the NGA claiming that portions of the NGA’s Edouard Vuillard catalogue (which, in addition to being a eight-pound tome about Vuillard, really should be featured taking on the Gugg’s Matthew Barney catalogue in an edition of MTV’s Celebrity Smackdown) was lifted from an unpublished manuscript by them. Interesting read…
From Los Angeles, some shows that I liked enough to mention (part one):
Julie Heffernan @ Paul Kopeikin: As we prepare for the next terrorist warning – oops, there it was yesterday – or the next news of torture from Iraq – oops, there it was yesterday – I’ve noticed a lot of fantasy art about. (Maybe artists are also responding to film, where fantasy reigned supreme at the Oscars and at the box office last year.) I saw several examples of fantasy art in LA, best among them Julie Heffernan’s paintings at Paul Kopeikin.
Heffernan’s fantastical paintings are somewhat related to Amy Cutler’s fantastical drawings in the sense that there is a bit of figure-it-out-as-you-look-around narrative going on. Each of Heffernan’s paintings at Kopeikin feature a single woman surrounded by a fantastical world of flowers, interiors, and so on. As with Heffernan’s recent show at PPOW in Chelsea the interiors and forest fantasies are the strongest work. The underwater scenes that were a bit sappy, a bit too much of the painting equivalent of a Little Mermaid theme song. (This is the problem with fantasy art – it too easily falls back on syrupy visions and rarely pushes hard enough into the cereberally surreal. It is kind of the difference between watching a hockey game in HDTV and watching one in person. Watching the game in HDTV might be fun, but it’s just not as all-encompassing as being there in person.)
Clare Woods @ Karyn Lovegrove: Painters who pour are a bit like ladies who lunch: They’re everywhere, there’s something leisurely and seductive about what they do, and most of their output is pretty vapid. For her show at Lovegrove, Clare Woods poured enamel onto aluminum panels. The resulting objects resemble glossy camouflage.
The Washington Color School bunch were big pourers, exploring the formalism of their medium and methods. That’s how Woods’ work reads: like she’s still figuring out what she can make with poured paint. The small works in this show feel like little studies, the large, three-panel work reads like a Bonnard-style screen for the Wired Magazine set. A week after seeing the work I remember that Woods poured and that the effect was camouflagy. Lovegrove’s pours are seductive, but they don’t close the deal – yet.
How many LACMA’ites does it take to change a light bulb? Apparently too many. When I was there last week, at least three or four works were in the dark because light bulbs had (presumably) burnt out. Most disappointing: LACMA owns a fantastic Diebenkorn abstracted landscape, 1957’s Freeway and Aqueduct, painted just as Diebenkorn was moving from his first abstract period into his representational period. It is one of my favorite Diebenkorns and seeing it is always the highlight of my visit to LACMA. This time it was completely in the dark.
- In Toronto, the drama continues around the Art Gallery of Ontario’s expansion. The trustee who quit the board in a snit is now back on (the) board… and he’s in LA meeting with Frank Gehry.
- In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones says that the art lost in the Saatchi/Momart warehouse fire may not have been great but it was important. (He did not add that it was certainly greater and more important than any American art made now.)
- Will they rename it the Whitney Museum of American Art, Abroad?
- Updates throughout the day…
One of the delightful things about having a blog is the things I learn from reader mail. Yesterday I posted this in my Sontag post:
“If there is something comparable to what these pictures show it would be some of the photographs of black victims of lynching taken between the 1880’s and 1930’s, which show Americans grinning beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree.”
True. And how timely and hard-questions-provoking would it be if a major DC museum launched an exhibit of photographs such as those?
A reader from Detroit emailed to tell me about the forthcoming exhibit Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America at the Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for show info.) Read much more about the show in the Detroit Free Press.
On Monday I posited that the Getty may have purchased a Watkins (for $310K) at the recent Sotheby’s Watkins auction and then added it to their Photographers of Genius show. Word from LA: That’s what happened.
I wrote about Edward Burtynsky in Black Book magazine (on newsstands now):
“Why would anyone want to spend so much time and energy around impending death? The workers we see on the Bangladeshi beach? If the PCBs in the oil don’t give them cancer that will eat away their innards and kill them, the persistent clouds of asbestos will. (Or have.) The Chinese in the photographs of Three Gorges Dam have been chased away from their homes by the coming dam. Their farms destroyed, many have been forced to approach China’s boom cities in search of work, with their donkey in tow. Inevitably they are turned away at the gates and sent back to live in cement shells with open coal fires on their living room floors (for both cooking and heat) and no bathrooms, victims of the progress that the dam is supposed to fuel.”
As we point out with some regularity here at MAN, ArtsJournal flat-out rocks. For today’s reason why, follow this link and read the rest of the top item. It starts with: “The latest threat to the art world appears to be art enthusiasts armed with sketch pads.”
UPDATE: A reader reports that the Barnes doesn’t allow sketching either.