Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Material Color (review and a bit of a rant!)

Joanne Mattera (image from her website)

from Two Coats of Paint: http://twocoatsofpaint.blogspot.com/

In the Newark Star Ledger Dan Bischoff reports that "Material Color" at the Hunterdon Art Museum brings together abstract art made out of color -- not paint alone, but color that has become an almost three-dimensional object in itself..."'When we were hanging the objects in this show I kept wanting to lick everything,' says curator Mary Birmingham. And no wonder -- so many of the artists here pour first and peel later (that is, they pour paints onto glass or plastic, let them dry, then peel them off and either reapply them to a surface or turn them into thin sculptures).

This is the kind of show that makes me realize just how provincial SF can be and how often narrowly focused on the frat boy/tattoo "artist" of the moment. We get cartoon art, tattoo art, art on toilet lids and skateboards, open plagiarism of 60's political posters, work that is really too crude to be up on gallery walls - and all accompanied by a chorus of praise from our local blogging scene. I read a post today about what a studio is for, which included critiques from other artists. If that's happening here, I sure haven't seen it nor have I seen much work that I felt was both intelligent and provocative. Of course, SF is turning into a Disneyland for the rich and it sure shows in our local arts "community." There are serious artists still around but I think that they are more and more marginalized unless they are also trust fund babies. Who else can afford to live here?

There's an excellent review up at Joanne Mattera's website plus images (the two here are from her website)


tangobaby said...

As much as I enjoy wandering the city and finding urban art (for free) when I can, I think SF has really third rate collections for a city of our "stature."

I can only assume that any really fine art is in private collections that none of us will ever see.

namastenancy said...

I continue to be surprised at the mediocre quality of our collections; SF had huge gold rush and copper mine fortunes. Those people spent money like water on art - where did it go? But as for today, when s-t like this is praised and rewarded..well, I rest my case about the cartoon/frat boy art:

tangobaby said...

I think all of the good art that could have been bought lives at the Huntington or the Norton Simon museums.

Not enough of a reason to make me want to live in LA but certainly enough to make me want to visit once in a while. Otherwise, it's the Metropolitan or the National Gallery for me.

Tell me that link you posted isn't actually stuff people are spending a lot of money on...

namastenancy said...

Oh, he's quite the hipster star in the SF art scene, blogs for KQED and SF MOMA and is considered quite the artiste. I wrote an article for BAAQ which pointed out the lack of women artists at SF MOMA. He commented that he was writing a similar article for KQED but never had the courtesy to link to my earlier article (which had all the research). It wasn't a direct copy but there was a lot of indirect plagiarism. But then, that's quite the done thing in SF - Matthew Fairey, another hot young male artist, uses direct copies of 60's political art, tacks on some current slogan and sells them for thousands of dollars. He gets a write up at the NY Times even and nobody thinks to comment on his sources. When I came to SF in the 60's, Park, Diebenkorn, Still were the heroes of the art scene. What we have now is the artistic equivalent of two-buck chuck.