By guest blogger Steven Stern
While I defer to Paddy in all matters of critical judgment, I should point out that the “unidentified painting” she singled out for abuse below was in fact NOT presented by the Hiromi Yoshii Gallery but by Massimo de Carlo, and it was done by veteran Swiss man-of-all-media John Armleder. The work in question, a big, drippy, stainy, glittery
canvas–your basic Morris Louis meets My Little Pony kind of deal–didn’t ring too many of my bells either, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Armleder, who has had a tricky, elusive career, doing everything from Fluxus performance to Neo-Geo-esque furniture
Of course, that kind of context is exactly what you don’t get in the Wal-Mart style environment of the fair, where what you see is what you see. Though actually, that comes as something of a relief after reading too many tugid Whitney Biennial wall labels. But it does tend to reduce one’s critical vocabulary to “meh and “hmm.”
My own moment of misidentification happened when I walked by attendee Matt Dillon–who, it must be said, is holding up remarkably well. Somehow, however, I spent the rest of the night thinking to myself that I had seen Matthew Broderick, even though I certainly know the difference between the two.
I heard the former teen icon say “Yeah man, looking good” to a friend, but it was unclear whether he was referring to a person or an artwork. My sighting happened in the vicinity of the Taka Ishii Gallery’s sexed-up booth–one of Nobuyoshi Araki’s dirty geishas across from soft-focus, 70s-softcore-style photo by Slater Bradley–so really, it could have been either. In any case, Dillon immediately vanished into the crowd. Perhaps he found the emergency vodka bar that promised an exit from all the madness.