Friday, April 20, 2007

Thanks, Roberta

I've always liked Roberta Smith. She’s clear and insightful.

In a review today she says:

Most contemporary art comes partly from other art. One way to assess the health of something new is to subtract all the visible influences, precedents and received ideas and see if there is any pulse left.

She concludes the review with:

The main problem is that it is unclear what is accomplished by the workmanlike, uninflected translations…

I’m not really interested in this critique with regard to the show at hand, but as a general comment about a goal of art. That is: art can borrow, but it can’t just borrow. Art needs to take its references somewhere else.

Also in the NYT today, Bridget Goodbody (who is Bridget Goodbody?) writes:

The biggest problem that derails this exhibition, however, is one that the artists probably should have foreseen: the power of Brancusi’s forms to remain his, despite manipulation. As the poet Audre Lorde wrote, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

But, the jury is still out on where Michael St. John’s work weighs in on this balance.

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