Dirk Westphal, JPFB, Surfboard,
Image copyright of the artist
One of the downsides of a hot contemporary market is that so many people are at these openings that if you don't get to them early your chances of getting a glass of wine are fucked. I suppose this makes me the kind of person that gallerists complain about, but from my perspective, the art buzz is critical to making it through an evening of huge crowds in small spaces. It can also help make palatable, those exhibitions that are less than spectacular. Dirk Westphal was probably the best example of this last night, as he's got a pile of his surfing crap lying around Mixed Greens Gallery right now. I actually like some of his surf boards decorated with fish, but as far as surf board art goes there is nothing remarkable about it, and the rest of the gallery is filled with his painting supplies which now enjoy the aggrandized title of art. I have a particular distaste for the scrap-of-paper-off-the-floor-and-calling-it-art genre, but I am aware that this can be an easy thing for a critic to pick on. What makes this exhibition bad isn't that it looks like an art student garage sale, (though it certainly doesn't help), it's that the exhibition is so matchy-matchy. Fish on the walls, fish on surfboards, paint on the walls, paint on paint trays”¦.you get the picture. Dirk Westphal's aesthetic choices are the fashion equivalent of wearing a purple shirt, and then finding purple socks, purple mittens and a purple scarf to match.