There should always be room for difference of opinion when it comes to matters of taste, but there are some boundaries that nobody should be attempting to cross. The latest example of such fool hearted behavior comes from ArtForum's critic's picks section, whereby Brian Sholis gives a pass to the utterly tacky and hopelessly stale paintings of Greg Bogin.
The paintings in New York—based artist Greg Bogin’s current exhibition, nominally about science-fiction optimism, are so seductively empty that one can’t help but paper over their anonymous beauty with references to other visual phenomena. The soft curves of these hard-edge abstractions generate an interior monologue that runs something like this: “It looks like Craig Kauffmann buffed up a Frank Stella 'Protractor’ painting. No, wait. Didn’t I play a video game in the early ’80s that used this bright color palette? Or, hold on, isn’t that the emblem of that new high-energy drink?” An accompanying publication is laden with reproductions of the artist’s sketches of subtly morphing designs and snapshots of contemporary urban signage and packaging, indicating a process similar to Ellsworth Kelly’s (as highlighted in the Drawing Center’s 2002 Kelly exhibition, “Tablet: 1949—1973”). But whereas the elder master seeks inspiration from the graceful hillside curve or the wind-filled sail, Bogin simply looks up at the logo on the storefront awning or on products at the quickie mart. These automotive-lacquer-on-canvas works are all surface—for once a term of praise, not derision—and proud of it. -Brian Sholis
I suppose Sholis forgot the existence of Fred Tomaselli when he came up with that last statement. The critic does however take great care to discuss Stella and Kelly, both of which are correct to cite as influences because the work is hopelessly derivative. It is for this reason that the interior monologue Sholis suggests the work generates can not help but consist of a number of banal observations and questions that are of interest to no one but the writer. Contrary to the conclusions the reader is supposed to draw from this write-up, as with much cliché blue chippy art, Bogin's paintings will likely land in countless drab corporate collections across the country. We can all thank reviews such as this for ensuring that this strong tradition is continued.