"… bodies are not really what [Francis] Bacon is interested in. … He’s enjoying himself, and he’s doing something really abstract."
– Matthew Collings in the current Modern Painters


The above got me thinking about the Giorgio Morandi show that just closed at the Met. Everyone said it was the show to see in New York, so I saw it. It was… fine. Lovely, even. A quiet installation in that horrible hexagonal contemporary space they have. Dozens of skillfully painted, pale still lifes of the same few boxes and bottles, painted over and over in an attempt (according to the wall text) to distill the abstract form out of the everyday. A friend described it best: it was quaint.




This was the best New York had to offer? In early December?

So now, as we all participate in a mass MasterCleanse about how fucked up the art scene has gotten, as the NYT’s Holland Cotter and Roberta Smith observe with relief that the gravy days are over and now some real art can get made — as we recoil from the grotesquerie of Damien Hirst’s Sotheby’s auction this past fall — now our salvation will come from a bunch of moldy 20th century ideas about abstraction?

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7 Responses

  1. David O

    I still wonder if the Glasstire message boards were some kind of art performance back when Sweetness was there.

    …and Capitalism rules.

  2. theremin

    Do you really expect the Met to know anything about work less than 50 years old? What’s next in their daring adventure into contemporary art… Wayne Thiebaud?

  3. theremin

    yes, it is great to have friends like that. you know, this post has got me thinking about several things. first, matthew collings is very good at observing what is wrong and even insincere in the art world… at least west of iceland. the yba’s seem to get cheers and shaking pom poms, or they are just ignored by him. what he isn’t good at is producing work that is an acceptable alternative to everything that is wrong with the art world. he and his wife’s work sucks, plain and simple. i met him at a reading at the new museum several years ago, and he was miffed that i was more excited to meet david bowie, and get his autograph than i was to stroke his ego. i was the only person who he didn’t ask what my name was, and the only person whose book he simply signed, and didn’t write a personal message to… his photographer was very nice, and seemed to get a kick out of matthew’s panties getting in a wad. what an egoist. i’ve been a bowie fan since i was a kid. can’t say the same for my feelings about collings.
    secondly, it is a good thing that the met’s attempts at breaking into the formerly lucrative business of promoting contemporary art is a dismal and obvious failure. let’s let work being made today be made for today, and not for the mausoleum, or the market. at the met it’s being given a little bit of both treatments. let us celebrate our failure as a sign of hope for integrity.

  4. Rainey

    Agreed with much of the above (and let’s not even talk about Hirst’s shark, which is currently on 3-year loan to the Met).

    But they deserve credit for not doing shows of the same old people you see everywhere else. The curatorial groupthink that goes on in the art world has gotten absurd.

    Also, I forgot to mention that in addition to the enormously underwhelming Morandi show, I saw the very wonderful Raquib Shaw show:


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