Jerry’s new post in NY Mag gives me a little bit of hope. Here he reviews the new show at the New Museum entitled Younger Than Jesus – could there be a better corporate marketing bullshit title for a show? But the show is about young artists who are trying to forge something new in a world of institutional playmasters. It’s a tough gig for those who take it. And a lot of the art, unfortunately, will not out last its youth – A lot of it walks the institutional line. But there are a few nice works that step up and I think Jerry gets it right. We can equate this youthful surge of Art with rock and roll, ballet dancers, romantic poets or Olympic athletes. This sort of energy is a youngsters’ game that doesn’t always grow old gracefully, but it’s wonderful while it lasts. When you’re Older than Jesus you have to be a bit smarter about your choices. Hey, some art ages well and some doesn’t – it just depends on what kind of artist you are. For many of the artists in this show – they are blooming right now and that is great! The show is looking in the right direction for new thought, new ideas and new visions. Jerry starts his piece with a quick run down of the last 10 years which leads us to hope that our little rant in a recent post may have contributed to loosening Jerry’s bullets…
“In the last years of the boom, numerous artists came to the fore who have their aesthetic heads up the aesthetic asses of Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Cady Noland, and Christopher Wool. They make punkish black-and-white art and ad hoc arrangements of disheveled stuff, architectural fragments, and Xeroxed photos. This art deals in received ideas about appropriation, conceptualism, and institutional critique. It’s a cool school, admired by jargon-wielding academics who write barely readable rhetoric explaining why looking at next to nothing is good for you. Many of these artists have sold a lot of work, and most will be part of a lost generation. They thought they were playing the system; it turned out that they were themselves being played.”
Jerry is describing the monolithic pile of schiesse that we ALL have been trying to shovel through, and we at Henri, have been railing against. For painters, especially, these are difficult times. Innovation is rare and new visual experiences are even harder to find amongst the painting set. Most of the artists in the New Museum show don’t even consider Painting, which is both an opportunity and a condemnation for those of us who love it. Painters need to step up or give up! This is a defining moment in the game, and if we continue to play these same cards we will go bust – no doubt about it. That ain’t about youth, but about smarts and vision!
I think it’s great that young artists are being featured in this innaugural tri-ennial. But more than the marketing gimmick of rebellious youth – what we’re looking for is young ideas! Hell there’s been plenty of hype about the “young” making the same old fogey stuff for years. But for now, I agree with Jerry’s summation – ““Younger Than Jesus” indicates that the alchemical essence known as the sublime, the primal buzz of it all, is no longer in God or nature or abstraction. These young artists show us that the sublime has moved into us, that we are the sublime; life, not art, has become so real that it’s almost unreal. Art is being reanimated by a sense of necessity, free of ideology or the compulsion to illustrate theory. Art is breaking free.” I’m not so convinced of a Kantian need for the sublime, but still, let’s hope so! Be sure to have a look at Jerry’s video and the accompanying slide show. And by all means make it a perogative to see the exhibit!
I just saw this in the NYT. The fabulous Holland Cotter also reviews the show and reaches many of the same conclusions, but he too remains unconvinced by the show’s theme. I await Mario Naves’ take on the show, but his wonderful posts have been sporadic lately. – H & M