Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Shut up already
Sometimes learning about an artist’s intentions really reduces the impact of a piece or the work as a whole.
I walked into Mathew Marks yesterday where a survey of contemporary painting is on view (the show continues at Greene Naftali). I thought the installation looked appealingly clean and bright and was particularly attracted to a piece by Lily Van Der Stokker (above) and Wade Guyton (below).
But, then I read about Van Der Stokker online and learned she’s interested in creating art that doesn’t have to be explained, that isn’t heavy, that’s anti-elite. Fine. But, even though her piece at Marks is called "Complain Mountain," it now seems a bit Pollyanna and kind of dumb.
Then I found an entire – and DENSE – article on Guyton in Artforum, only to understand how much I don’t understand about his work. The work in the gallery suddenly lost its freshness, it’s visual and graphic appeal.
Does this mean the work doesn’t actually hold on it’s own? Or does it mean that art speak is often a killer? Because I’m reading Mark Rothko’s writings on art – and more on this another day – I’m leaning towards the one-language-is-enough argument. At least today I am.