The new season in the art world has started, and it reminded me of this sketch by the Pythons. The gun has gone off and no one seems to know that they have to get moving. There are a number of back room shows that have been moved to the front – the best example is Zwirner’s current crop. There are more POMO abstraction at various galleries in the LES or in Chelsea, most of which aspire to the less is more aesthetic including the flat billboard placement, the itchy scratchy line, the poopy smeary squash and the aesthetic drip. And yet another Kandinsky show is on tap at the Guggy (I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but it seems Kandinsky is the Guggy, and after reading a brief history of the place it very well may be.) Roberta waxes rhapsodic in the Times:
“In both of his best-known books — “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” (1912) and “Point and Line to Plane” (1926) — he displays a remarkable ability to reconcile the redemptive power of art’s “inner pulsations,” meant to be experienced “with all one’s senses” and exacting diagrams of the formal effect of different colors, shapes and lines, each of which he felt had a distinct sound. There are formalist possibilities in these pages that Clement Greenberg never imagined.”
I haven’t seen this much conservatism since the early 90s when the art world was experiencing a return to “quality” – in other words – nothing is selling and so we must remind people of what has been accomplished and how much money those accomplishments are worth. What is disturbing is the further entrenchment of Postmodern values in ALL of the work that I’ve come across. At a time when we should be pushing and questioning the academy it seems that everyone has run for the flimsy cover of known theoretics. I guess this goes across all of our society as the government continues to propagate the view that we are safe and recovering, that the recession is over, and we can go on as we have been. It’s no wonder the Art World promotes the same old stuff when there are so many careers at stake and so many galleries in financial straits. Linda Yablonsky of Art Forum’s Diary said it best:
I didn’t want to rush to judgment, but it only took an hour to make my way through a dozen or so galleries, where I found few exhibitions or personalities to hold my attention. OK, I know: Engaging with art requires an investment of time and thought. But I wasn’t born yesterday, or even the day before, and most of what I saw needed more time in the oven. It was undercooked, or perhaps just warmed-over.
You know we’re in tough times when there has been more press and discussion of Mary Boone’s season inaugural show dedicated to her gallerist Ron Warren than to issues concerning art, painting, sculpture, whatever. I mean no offense to Ron, but really, who cares? It pains me to say it, but Mary Boone’s gallery blows chunks. OK that’s harsh, but c’mon ART WORLD – strap on a couple will ya already? It’s a new season – the gun has gone off! Take a few chances! It seems to me that if we continue to play this POMO race to nowhere we’ll finally have to shoot ourselves in the head, or at the very least, club ourselves into fourth place. Either way there’s just no winning that game.