Gawker has the scoop.
Tyler Green Modern Art Notes
Archive for March, 2007
I’m a day late on everything lately: Christian Marclay responds to Apple’s Marclay-esque iPhone ad discussed on MAN here.
But my favorite link of the day is from Toronto, where (new-ish) Art Gallery of Ontario curator David Moos discusses a year-old installation in the museum’s famed Henry Moore gallery. Think (and see) pole-dancers. (This one’s good too. And here’s this funny snapshot.)
Over the last six months or so I’ve talked with a number of curators (both on- and off-MAN) about what they most want to add to their collections. Almost every curator has wanted a Robert Morris felt piece.
The NGA just got one, the untitled 1976 piece shown here. Morris, who just wrote an essay for the NGA’s Jasper Johns catalogue, started making felt pieces in 1967. Once upon a time Morris’ use of nontraditional materials was strikingly avant-garde. His early felt works (such as this one in the Gugg’s collection) were relentlessly untidy, almost haphazard in the way they allowed natural processes (gravity, time) to act on them. (Category-obsessed Octoberists call this Process Art.) Morris’ felt also challenged the strict, masculine-emphasizing hard-edges of previous minimalist work, such as Morris’ own plywood pieces and Don Judd’s right angles.
Related: Pepe Karmel, who curated a 1989 show of Morris’ felt pieces for the Grey Art Gallery, Q&As with Morris. One of MoMA’s Morrises is on view now.
Unrelated food for thought: The Corcoran hosted a Morris retro in 1969. Now they think they’re being ’smart’ by giving us Annie Leibovitz. Woe is us.
The National Gallery of Art has acquired two contemporary works: An untitled 1976 felt piece by Robert Morris and Alfred Jensen’s Twelve Events in a Dual Universe. More on both tomorrow.
Hilarie Sheets emails in to say that she traveled to both Indianapolis and Seattle for stories I referenced in this post. Sheets says she was in Seattle one year before OSP opened (and one year before her story ran), hence no dateline on that story. For whatever reason the NYT failed to put a dateline on the Indy story.
I briefly mentioned Holland Cotter’s NYT museums section essay in this morning’s first post. (Aside: Why didn’t Cotter just pick up a phone and call Chris Gilbert fer chrissakes? I don’t know Gilbert either, but I’m pretty sure that within three phone calls I could track him down.) Cotter makes many good points I’m leaving alone because I want to tackle the money issue with which everyone in the art media seems unduly fascinated.
Art-and-money is the new art writer’s crutch: The art world is newly awash in money! Everyone’s making money, spending money, buying art! We must talk about the money!
But the real story is that there’s nothing new here. Art-making has been driven by money before there was money. Institutions, be they Renaissance guilds, the Catholic Church, or European governments have used money to buy and present art. Individuals, be they kings, earls, dukes, Habsburgs, industrialists, software engineers, or merchants painted by Hals have done the same thing. There is nothing new about money in art. What’s new is that art writers and critics can’t stop writing about it. And they can’t stop writing about it in a way that seems to ignore history.
I don’t mean to pick on Cotter, but here’s a line from his essay: “Money is like white noise, so there that you forget it’s there…Every American city, to be a proper city, now needs to have its own jewel-box art museum.” Great, if by “now” Cotter means the last hundred years. If you geographically chart the history of art museums in America, you will also be charting the history of regional wealth in America. It’s no coincidence that the St. Louis Art Museum, for example, came into being when St. Louis was a new economic power that wanted to remind the East that it was an important, wealthy city. Decades later, it’s no coincidence that the Aspen Art Museum came into being when wealthy people started moving to Aspen.
There is good art writing on money out there: Look at much of the coverage of the Albright-Knox deaccessioning issue. But to merely point at the existence of money in the art world, and to keep pointing again and again, is lazy — and an old story to boot.
First, see this morning’s post about the NYT’s strikingly lame story about conflict-of-interest-laden LA critic-cum-dealer Edward Goldman.
Then be — gasp! — surprised that yesterday Goldman gave the NYT a big wet kiss on the air — and never mentions that they’re about to give him a big wet kiss too. “Los Angeles still has a lot to learn about the art of promotion,” Goldman says in the commentary. Really?!
UPDATE: I should have noticed this sooner. The Lisa Napoli-NYT piece about Goldman that started all this quotes one “Shoshana Wayne.” Shoshana Wayne is a gallery in Santa Monica. Shoshana is one person. Wayne is another. But somehow in the NYT…
New York has the Public Art Fund. Chicago has, among other things, Millenium Park. Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, has, uh, well, a range of embarrassments that have included painted elephants and donkeys (‘Party Animals’ — get it?), and painted pandas (think the National Zoo).
What DC needs: For local arts professionals, civic and government (city and federal) leaders, and local businesspeople to get together to create and fund a DC version of the Public Art Fund.
Last year Hirshhorn curator Anne Ellegood started a series of panel discussions about public art at the Hirshhorn. Perhaps the Hirshhorn should transform Ellegood’s initial investigations into leadership on the issue. That would be very Washington. (And no, next week’s Yoko Ono-god-knows-what-event at the Hirsh, which the museum has apparently and wisely kept off its website, isn’t what I had in mind.)