Monday, January 13, 2014

The artist as con man

"Untitled" (2007) has a monumental scale of gesture and sense of vigour that can hardly be found in the silkscreens. Soft enamel washes create a unique effect like misty celluloid or the ghostly forms of X-ray photography: smooth, faded, translucent. It has a kind of weightlessness, perhaps the mark of all truly abstract painting, defined not by the absence of recognisable things but of natural forces, principally the one that keeps us grounded and defines our shape." (At the Guggenheim, London Review of Books, on Christopher Wool)

"Unique effect"? Looks like a good old traditional smear to me. It's "weightless" in the sense of the title Robert Hughes gave to his essay on Jean-Michel Basquiat: Requiem for a Featherweight.

At the end of an essay taking this kind of crap seriously, the writer finally asks the important question, which he answers with flab-gab:

Is Wool’s work any good? Is this some joyless endgame of painting, or are these elegant, intellectually challenging images? Either way they seem to capture the hard, unsentimental energy of New York, with its ecstatic highs and suicidal lows. And that isn’t bad going.

No, it's just a very successful con job, since Wool sold one of his "paintings" for more than $26 million.



At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

And here I thought SFMOMA just got stuck with the worst of the genre. I guess it all pretty much stinks...

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, MOMA has only second-rate works by the abstract expressionists. But wait for MOMA to assimilate Donald Fisher's collection, which will include some of con man Richard Serra's "art." They had to build a new wing for all that crap.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

When completed, SFMOMA will be the city's largest toxic waste site, its neo-hipster clientele included.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home