Thursday, May 13, 2010

Art Speak, Hyperbole and Cant for the Big Sell

Annie Walsh over at SF MOMA's blog, Open Space, is my cultural mentor. I don't mean a mentor in real life because I don't know her (although I'd love to meet her) but she's the one that I increasingly turn to as a touchstone. As an art blogger and now, cultural journalist for the Examiner, I always wonder if my opinions are somewhere out of the ballpark. There is so much that I don't like and don't blog about (unless I can be clever and sharky!) that I often fear that I am not only a Philistine but out of touch with the rest of the art world.

Well, Annie and I are on the same page on at least two separate issues - the lack of women artists represented at SF MOMA and Luc Tuymans who was the subject of a long discussion posted on this blog a while back:

"..... Even considering all 8 years of the Bush presidency, I’m sure I’ve looked at this photo of a Tuymans painting of a photo of Condoleezza Rice more times than any other image of the former Secretary of State, and certainly thought about it more. So I was surprised to discover what a weak painting it is when I found it at the end of the exhibition."

and further down:

"Doesn’t the bravado and theatricality of LT’s rule of completing a painting in one sitting contradict the claim that he’s a conceptualist with no interest in the romantic myth of the painter? What happens to the rule now that he’s making bigger paintings? Will he change the rule? Did that rule go stale a while ago? Where does he go from here? Why can’t wall labels ask questions like that? Do these paintings sell so well because beneath their manifest content their vision of the world is actually rather ambiguous, and all this happens in coats of creamy paint? Do we like to be reminded of cruelty not only so we prevent it from happening but also because it is in our nature?"

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