Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hot Air Standard

Jonathan Meese installation shot. Some show in Paris.

Curator Todd Levin’s pics on Facebook of the Basel Art fair, paired with Jerry Saltz’s comments, are fun to look and read through. Mr. Saltz uses the word “trust” as a reaction. I think that’s an apt nuance of the word “like.” When you see art, you sense whether it’s for real, or whether it’s pseudo. You gather clues, and your gut tells you so. For example, a painting by Jonathan Meese seems interesting on the surface – like Basquiat or something -  but don’t trust it! That guy is full of hot air.
I think I have to start using the word trust to gauge and goad what I’m doing in the studio. Often I have an urge to do something but I stop myself because I think it’s a gimmicky solution. I can trust that reflex. But I can also trust myself through a risky move too, even if I know the trappings beforehand.
Like incorporating words. That’s often one of the easiest solutions for me. Add words to sum up what I’m driving at, have the letters work graphically. Plus it’s cool. So I force myself to stay away from them and stick with other formal tools. But I think I can trust myself through the incorporation of language, whether it’s visible or not. Well, we’ll see.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reading Schutz

Dana Schutz, Yawn 2, 2012

I saw Dana Schutz’s new paintings. The back room of yawners sums it up. But let’s not focus on the negative.
This interview with the Brooklyn Rail reads well. Apparently, we are in a period that is more accepting of “expressionism.” There was a time there in the early 2000s when expressionism was considered haughty or immoral, referring only to a weighty canon in art history or to market-oriented work.
Now, as the line between public and private self blurs every day more, an expressive style – really how much you work with the material-ness of what you’re working with - doesn’t only mean feelings and personal bravado. You can be painterly and critical. You can be an expressive observer.
Schutz also talks about limitations that an artist can impose on painting, basically as a way to approach the question of what to paint. Guston used “what if” situations. So did Kafka. Metamorphosis is what happens if you wake up as a bug. The trick of course is being specific and at the same time symbolic. Schutz has drawn on impulsive thoughts, she says, and also language. Yesterday I jotted this down, “I want to make a poem that embodies the expression ‘pass the peas.’” I’ll let you know how that turns out.