We're discussing the mural Jackson Pollock did for Peggy Guggenheim's home at Paddy Johnson's. An anonymous commenter from Iowa (where the painting now resides) is trash-talking certain aspects of its legend based on opinions of nameless experts. All very interesting but we're waiting for some actual evidence.
Notes on the Richard Prince's mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim (his second--the first was at the Whitney in '92).
1. The signature early photos rephotographed from advertisements grab you with their icy coldness and near-claustrophobic perfection of composition/cropping. They are slightly eerie in their grainy, one-step-removed distance from their subjects, and obsessive in their focus on the banal: labels/logos, product photography (furniture, jewelry), male and female models (looking in the same direction).
2. The show gets worse as you move up the Guggenheim ramp. The photos, joke paintings, and car hood sculptures all get larger, messier, overworked, "painterly" for no particular reason, climaxing with the execrable "nurse paintings" and the even more execrable "De Kooning Women" paintings. Copying the "modern masters" is the kiss of death.
3. The exhibition curator mixes old and new work in apparent attempt to obscure this decline. The rephotographed "girlfriend photos" of biker babes mingle with the boring, Eggleston-lite upstate NY photos of the late '90s. The so-so car hoods are interspersed with the monochrome joke paintings as if to say "See, viewers? Both are minimal. Can you say minimal?" The "gangs" series of photomontages of '86-'87 (groups of related images such as battlefield photos, tidal waves, hair bands, more biker girls) is broken apart and spread evenly throughout the show.
4. Prince's content shifts with the winds of the market. After the Neo Geo era of the mid '80s he switched from photo-appropriation to "hard edged painting" (the joke monochromes). When the art world began embracing large scale photos in the late '90s (Gursky, Tillmans, Billingham), Prince returned to Marlboro cowboys, but larger, and began showing celebrity headshots and memorabilia. When the painting madness returned with the influx of Bush tax cut millionaire funny money, Prince went back to big paintings (cancelled checks, nurses). Of course he worked in multiple media all along, but these are the broad trends.
5. The early work is incisive and perceptive and earned him his "place in history." Too bad about the rest of it--at least it wasn't as horrific as late Johns.
Am not going to make it to Kansas City to see this show at Bill Brady's gallery but this intrigues, as a way to present digital painting and collage. Instead of the usual chin-scratching circuit around the perimeter of the gallery, moving from one expression to the next and saying, "I see," the viewer inscribes a much tighter circle, gawking "into" this tangle of overlapping (literally and figuratively) ideas. Not to say this hasn't been done -- think Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim -- but it seems like a good way to answer the naysayers who think this is just commodified abstract painting as usual. A cynic might say this is commodified media art as usual but that's why we need to be in Kansas City, looking at the individual objects in this cluster. I know (a) it's a combination of canvas, video, painting, 3D graphics, media quotation and photoshoppery, and (b) it's probably smarter than any attempt to reduce it to a discussion about medium, or post-medium, based on seeing Manning's shows in NY recently. The artist's site gives some additional insight into what might be on those screens and surfaces.
Update: The gallery has some additional installation shots up.
The first three "likes" are art writer/curator types of the "net art" persuasion -- can't tell from the screenshot (hat tip wigs) who else finds this funny or profound, only that there are 56 of them (is there an expectation of privacy here? Sorry!). Anyway, this is what cult of personality looks like, Facebook style. You can say something meaningless (except that it lets everyone know you think you're an artist) and have it instantly validated.
I am a male artist as much as I am a mail artist.
[Smedley Q. Moma, Earl Whitney, The Late Peggy Guggenheim and 56 others like this.]
Last night at 0-Day Art's presentation at Eyebeam, the term "net art" was bandied about as if we all knew what it was.
It could be something practiced by one of 13, or possibly 14 types of actors. (See discussion with Duncan Alexander on whether the "wtf is a net artist" list is a catalog or a shrug.)
It could also mean something different depending on when it occurred, for example:
The Josephine Bosma era (early web through the Dotcom crash). Any artist interviewed by Josephine Bosma. The heyday of Steve Dietz at the Walker Art Center, or Dia Foundation's attempt at an online gallery.
The Blogosphere era (roughly 2001 - 2007). Rhizome transitions from a ListServ to a blog. Eyebeam Reblog (now kaput). Surf clubs. YTMND and 4Chan thrive as non-blog sites. Rise of Delicious and Flickr. Livejournal, MySpace collectivize the blog model, leading to:
The Social Media era (2007 to the present). Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Various attempts to make networking on these giant sites "performative." Trolling and friending as bullshit relational aesthetics. The economy of liking. "Aggregation" beyond the dreams of Borges.
(hat tip Lindsay Howard for Josephine Bosma link.)
Update: Add YouTube to the blogosphere era - guess it has to go somewhere. But did anyone call themselves YouTube artists the way some people (actually) tried to call themselves twitter artists? Seems like that was more of a media creation-slash-museum misfire, a la the Guggenheim's non-paradigm shifting YouTube show.
Update 2: Since I already had net art being slung around in the Duncan convo I decided it needed to be bandied about in this post.