Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1991, Clocks, paint on wall, Overall 14 x 28 x 2 3/4 inches. © 2008 The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Image via: MoMA
Proving that stupidity has the life of radioactive waste when applied to the arts, concerned parents in Dallas fight to revisit old arguments over the appropriateness of exposing children the work of “controversial” artists such as Kara Walker and Sally Mann. Targeted as corruptive and damaging to the minds of teenagers, both are profiled in art:21 — Art in the Twenty-First Century, (a television series that features short biographies of more than 40 contemporary artists) a program currently used as a supplement to the middle school and high school art curriculum in the Dallas Independent School District. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before Dallas parents reveal Jack the Dripper to be the communist threat people suspected in the 50’s.
Richard Lacayo thinks the Francis Bacon retrospective at the Tate is one of the strongest shows he’s seen in his 40 years of going. The checklist for good exhibitions seems fairly complete:
- only one major work missing. Painting 1946 (which belongs to MoMA)
- Arranged logically: roughly around chronological themes. Animal, Crucifixion and Memorial
- Intelligent wall text.
- It’s Francis fucking Bacon.
That last point isn’t a direct quote — in fact it’s not on Lacayo’s list — but it might as well be. It’s not like this is a retrospective of any old artist; Bacon is one of the most important painters in the 20th century, and still very relevant to contemporary artists. Lacayo goes on to observe that new art “rarely attempts much less achieves, a genuine tragic dimension.” He cites as exceptions: Magdalena Abakanovich, Christian Boltanski, Anselm Kiefer, Sophie Calle, and James Nachtwey. Off the top of my head I would add Felix Gonzalez Torres, (Perfect Lovers), and Guthrie Lonergan a net artist who uses banality as his subject matter. Interestingly extreme banality and sorrow are almost indistinguishable. His twitter feed here. Somebody in Lacayo’s comments mentions Matthew Day Jackson at Nicole Klagsbrun and Peter Blum. [Editors note: This link has the misfortune of being lumped into a Massive Links collection titled Stupidity Never Ends Edition. We acknowledge there’s no stupidity to this particular story.]
Canadian politics are just as inane as those in America. Watching the elections in Canada is a bit like watching the stock markets right now: both are completely erratic and unpredictable. Earlier this week conservative Prime Minister Steven Harper made the following remarks:
“You know, I think when ordinary, working people come home, turn on the TV and see ”¦ a bunch of people at a rich gala all subsidized by the taxpayers, claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough when they know the subsidies have actually gone up, I’m not sure that’s something that resonates with ordinary people.”
Even conservatives don’t agree with him, but the Liberal response Harper’s cuts — to restore the cuts and to double Canada Council for the Arts funding over the next four years — seems a bit reactionary.
Elizabeth May of the Green Party seems the most viable of all candidates (I take that back…she’s more conservative than I realized). Related: Critic John Doyle responds at the Globe and Mail. Premier Dalton McGuinty defends arts funding. Actors condemn culture cuts.