Monday, 19 July 2010

Alice Neel and Hannah Wilke on Art21

Above: Alice Neel's portrait of Joe Gould (1933). Now read this.

The “must-see show of the summer” is not, despite what the adverts on the buses might have you believe, the John Richardson-curated Picasso show at Gagosian Gallery. Not nearly as bedazzling as his last Picasso show, the 2009 Mosqueteros show at Gagosian New York, the show’s museum-like hush-hush installation is a smokescreen for quite a lot of churned-out joie-de-vivre stuff made after a boozy lunch with Cary Grant and the crown prince of Monaco. There’s more than enough great, charming work, especially the sculptures, to go around – after all, this isn’t the blue period – but after a while you get tired of being beaten about the head about how great the south of France is. The Picasso show is one of a few predictable offerings in London venues this summer – Surrealism at the Barbican, limp self-indulgence at the Hayward (Ernesto Neto), another dry-as-dust photography show at Tate Modern (Exposed), none of which should overshadow the fact that two of the most fascinating, prolific, and historically significant American artists are making their debuts in the city this summer. And they’re both dead.

Here's the rest.

Suzanne Bybee: Saatchi Critic's Choice

Rococo has a bad name. I mean that literally. It's a name apparently designed to force the mouth into absurd shapes. It's a shot in the foot for seriousness. You can imagine it being given to a widower's kitten. (I bet Sting has a child called Rococo).

Here's the remainder.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

New: The Saatchi Gift (Art21)

“To the nation,” “for the nation,” “by the nation.” In Britain, things are always being done to the nation, as though the nation were a vegetative octogenarian unable to make its own decisions about anything. “It’s for your own good,” say the national institutions, casting a simpering smile at the drooling, quivering figure strapped to the bed, while they fork out a billion of public money on a rare Raphael doodle. “The nation” is an undifferentiated mass of passive receivers, happy to gobble up whatever it’s thrown. The notion of national gifting becomes a questionable idea when the art itself has barely any foothold within the national imagination (it’s a bit more complex with, say, the Elgin Marbles – sorry, Parthenon Frieze), but when the gift is this enormous, this absolute (all costs will be covered by Saatchi himself, not the taxpayer), this tried-and-tested popular, it’s hard to remain septical, right?

Read the whole piece at Art21 here.