30 September 2013

(Don't) Look at This F_____g Hipster

First, this bit, which ran in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago, in which the magazine wildly breaks with its usual format to offer a blunt assessment:

"Want to see a very big show of very bad art? Sure you do, to be up on present trends in bigness and badness. The young California-born Brooklynite {Matthew Day Jackson] processes solemn platitudes — vitrined skeletons and flayed anatomies, moonscape reliefs, a droopy pastiche of “The Burghers of Calais,” an uglified “Pietà” — tastelessly. (Not in bad taste — in no taste, savoring solely of blind ambition.) Plainly inspired by the spectacular effronteries of Damien Hirst, Jackson makes the overbearing Brit seem a very Watteau of sensitive finesse, by comparison. Gigantic in scale and pipsqueak in imagination, the show must be seen to be properly disbelieved. You’ll want to talk about it."

Almost concurrently, this (via Chicago) turns up at Daily Serving:

"If you’re at all interested in seeing Wisconessee, Duncan R. Anderson and Daniel Bruttig’s semi-collaborative two man show at Kasia Kay Projects, I can tell you right now there’s a good chance you’ve already seen it. Typically, I’m not one to write a negative review for the sake of teeing off on artists who are just trying to get some work out there. But this show is typical of the broader cultural trend of favoring work that’s long on stylish cynicism, full of derivative posturing, and the worst kind of irony. It’s an established and mechanically rehearsed drift that is certainly worthy of comment.

Wisconessee simply can’t mask its own clichés. The exhibition checks off so many of the familiar tropes associated with hip urban bohemia the artists may as well have used a “Best of” collection from Juxtapoz as their creative blueprint. Barry McGee–style clusters of individually framed art pieces are faithfully reproduced in what has become practically a mandatory installation strategy. Half-man/half-animal composite creatures so dutifully inhabit the artists’ “personal mythologies” that Maurice Sendak’s estate should be collecting royalty checks. If shows like Wisconessee represent a common metaphorical language of childhood experience and Gen X/millennial angst, then that language is now a babble, tongue-tied and hoarse from exhaustive repetition. Unintentionally, the show is less a collection of works by two individuals and more like a taxonomy of popular signifiers of self-conscious alienation and the postures of marginality so common among young urban creative types. They quote The Smiths, for fuck’s sake!"

Granted, two isolated examples doesn't make a backlash; but I'm not used to seeing such brash verdicts being aired so freely in print. Perhaps some people are getting fed with certain "hot" young artists recycling some of the thinnest of '90s art post-"slacker"/"high art lite" sensibilities? Can't help but think that these sorts of missives are aimed at the artists so much as the high-profile galleries that mount such shows. The critic or publication's way of serving notice, à la: It's the opening of the art season and you're supposed to be trotting out your best, FFS. This simply will not do. Why are you wasting our time?

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1 comment:

Daniel Bruttig said...

Nice paintings dumbass

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