It’s Friday, it’s summer, so we’ll see you on Monday. Some of next week’s content will include thoughts on my recent visit to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, a recent acquisition or two at the Guggenheim, and what it looks like when an old fave does business under a new name… In the meantime, a podcast: From MOCA, Robert Rauschenberg, Paul Schimmel, and Calvin Tomkins talk about, gosh, I can’t imagine what.
Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for June, 2006
Earlier this month one of the Walker Art Center’s websites, mnartists.org, asked me to answer 10 questions submitted by site users. My answers are up now. (And unlike MAN, mnartists.org is a message board so you can publicly respond.) The broadest question was: What is the single non-art-world factor that is the greatest influence on art made today? I said:
Degeneration, particularly of societies, cultures, and political systems. Regardless of whether I’m in New York, LA or in between, I see artists making art about things falling apart. Look at last year’s top news stories: Iraq, Katrina, the London bombing, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the BTK serial killer, the continuing struggles of the Bush presidency, even the death of Terri Schiavo. They’re all about degeneration.
Some art examples: We see it in the work of Jason Middlebrook’s works-on-paper of societies ‘advancing’ to a point of environmental collapse, or in Ed Burtynsky’s photos of what we are doing to the planet. Hans Haacke and Raymond Pettibon looked at the American political system, in their recent solo shows at Paula Cooper and Regen Projects respectively. Artists such as Enrique Metinides go back into their old work to present violent images, installing them recently to remind us how fascinated Americans are with destruction. (Metinides recently exhibited at Blum & Poe.)
I’m surprised that no contemporary art curator has seized on this and created a big group show about it. It could be a great example of an artist-driven show that mixes contemporary art with contemporary life. (Good example of a successful realization of that kind of show: Paul Schimmel’s Ecstasy, recently at MOCA.)
Last month I thought that GawkerForum was sane enough that I couldn’t pull out anything particularly hilarious. No such obstacles this month:
Tran Duc Van does Basel. Kind of. This one is too goofy to merely quote, so instead I’ll point out some highlights:
- The post swings into form by spending much of its second paragraph complaining about the lack of seating placecards at a dinner.
- Name-drop tally for said paragraph: Six.
- Number of unsupported MoMA-related ass-kisses in the post: I can’t count that high.
- Best preposterously pointless MoMA platitude: “[D]isarmingly original thinker.”
- Best line in entire post: “I have not given [Tacita] Dean’s work the attention it deserves…” (Then how does he know Dean’s work deserves attention?)
- Best line not in said post: “I was too busy noticing the lack of placecards at dinner to look at — let alone think about — any actual art.”
Yet more proof that GawkerForum isn’t about art: “[Takashi Murakami's] stock will no doubt rise when all hear that he has left Marianne Boesky to work with Larry Gagosian in New York.” A dealer change will make Murakami’s art better? Really?!
Don’t ask, I can’t explain: “Someone remarks that the woods in the vicinity of the Cloisters are a haven for crackheads. ‘Does crack make you want to have sex?’ Carol inquires. ‘No, it just drives you into a bottomless black pit and makes you want to kill yourself,’ Hanna answers. Several hours later, and still a considerable distance from our destination, someone remarks that maybe we should have scored some crack for the road; the beers and pretzels we bought at a gas station just aren’t giving us much of a lift.” — David Rimanelli.
Also from Rimanelli: We love it when an alleged critic (in this case: cheerleader) goes to write about a show… and bunks at the house of show’s curator. And then boasts of playing dress-up in the clothes of the curator’s son. Yeah, whatever he writes about that show is just going to be loaded with credibility.
Why do GF writers seem to only go to openings? Then they inevitably complain that they can’t see the art. Doh! “Given the crowd, it’s rather hard to see Klara’s three videos, slideshow projection, and site-specific construction.” — David Rimanelli.
Nicolas Trembley on LISTE: “I couldn’t see everything, though, as I had to run to the Swiss Awards ceremony.”
“I took in the glam white tents, carpeted poufs to cushion dressed-up derrieres, a dance floor where the art patrons boogied near modern icons by Matisse, Maillol, and Henry Moore, and wondered if there ever had been a bar mitzvah at MoMA? A Modern bar mitzvah with Frank Stella centerpieces, music by Philip Glass, Barbara Kruger invites, a Koons in chopped liver, the whole simcha documented by, say, Tina Barney. Fabulous. If done tastefully, of course.” — Rhonda Lieberman.
I’m back from attending a wedding in rural central California. (Email replies later today, I promise.) I took time away from festivities to do some museum visiting: the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, LACMA, MOCA, the Gettys, the Norton Simon, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, OCMA, and maybe one or two that I’m forgetting. Lots of stuff worth seeing out there right now: Rauschenberg, Hockney, Opie, Greek vases, Eliot Porter…
(And pens and pencils, oh my! Nearly five years of this website and I still can’t anticipate what will drive reader mail. In short: Readers hate the pencils-only policy.)
… But the item that caught my eye this morning is Christopher Knight’s LAT review of Dada. Knight saw as much response-to-WWI as I did in the show, but he had some major problems with the MoMA installation. The last six paragraphs of his review bring the show into the present and are not to be missed. Next week I’ll try to post a mini-wrap-up of critical response to the show.
Gotta love this hilarious, carefully posted/staged photograph on the front of NYT.com this afternoon: It’s blunderbuss Zahi Hawass, aka ZahIndiana Jones. The NYT describes him as “Egypt’s chief Egyptologist,” which probably suites ZahIndiana just fine.
If you’ve missed the exploits of Zahi Hawass you’ve missed: Zahi answering (many) questions about the Anschutz King Tut show by (repeatedly) plugging his own memoir, Zahi threatening the Field Museum’s sponsors and donors when Tut was at the Field Museum, and Zahi promising the St. Louis Art Museum that he would “make their life hell” if they don’t return an Egyptian mask to Egypt.
Back home tomorrow…
So I’m still traveling… Last week I had two encounters with one of the worst and silliest museum policies in America. Two museums, MOCA and the Orange County Museum of Art, do not allow people to take notes in their galleries in pen. (Notes taken in pencil last about two days before becoming a blurry mess.)
It’s a goofy policy. More art has been damaged in the last year by children chewing gum than by art-loving, zealous note-takers. (Besides: At OCMA, Cathy Opie’s photos were all behind glass or Plexi!) It’s a crazy policy and MOCA, OCMA and SFMOMA should do away with it.
In a related story: Don’t expect much here on the Opie show at OCMA. How can I when I can’t take notes!?
I’m traveling. See you Monday.
I think this is becoming Around the Blogosphere again (and I may add to this post through the morning, so check back), but here we go…
- So you’re at an art museum to look at the stuff on the walls. And the museum gives you an iPod with… video of the art?
- Real GawkerForum? Or not? (It’s so hard to tell!)
- Speaking of which, PORT held a pretentious art writing contest and we have a winner!
- The world’s best Andy Warhol exhibition promotion? With photo, of course. (Hint: The show is called Andy Warhol Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962-64.)
- LA museums love MySpace.