Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Two Fantastic Long Reads on Painting Worth Your Time

Why Have There Been No Great Women Bad-Boy Artists? There Have Been, of Course. But the Art World Has Refused to Recognize Them.
By Jerry Saltz


I often find myself thinking, "thank god for Jerry Saltz." You can always count on him for a deliciously bitchy take-down of current trends in painting:

"Nor has either of these artists gone down the super-popular, yawn-inducing “critique of painting” rabbit hole — the perennial syllogistic “It’s paintings all the way down” painting about painting about painting, and so on. I have in mind the many artists who cut holes in canvas or paint likenesses of cotton or linen weave, as if to say,This is a painted surface on painted painting of a painted surface that is a painting; or the many more good little postmodernists who make art-historical references or paint in known styles, so the message is something like, This is a nod to other works of art, which tells you that this painting knows it's "a painting" …  put me in a biennial. This is a time in which art history has been simplified in order to be gentrified so that it’s palatable to the widest market share, so anyone can look at a painting and say one of the magic names of Warhol, Richter, Kippenberger, Krebber, Koons, Guyton, or some preapproved artist or -ism. By now, not only could most of this work have been made anywhere anytime since 1945, much of it looks like it’s from one small painting mill churning out collectibles. It's as if artists, academics, curators, and critics are comfortable in a tractor beam of nostalgia that draws them forever back to some imagined wound in painting, a scab to peel back, and the same problems can forever be solved in similar ways. I imagine that when money goes away, so will this pious minutia of eternal return."

Here is part of an equally delicious take on Sargent (one of my all time favorites) by Peter Malone in Hyperallergic:

"We have reached a point in our postmodern tangles where an unprecedented lack of skill, particularly among painters, is severely limiting the possibilities of a medium that ought to be as alive and as fluid as contemporary music. What’s needed is a fresh look at the work of painters like Sargent, who embody that crucial moment in art history just before things began to change so rapidly."

The Unsettled Legacy of John Singer Sargent
by Peter Malone


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