- Karen Rosenberg tepidly pens a critical review of Martha Rosler’s exhibition GREAT POWER at Mitchel-Innes & Nash in the New York Times. To boil it down she likes the works depicting amputees and a “larger than life prosthetic leg”, but complains we’ve seen this before (the link between the objectification of women and war isn’t strong the second time around). She also suggests Rosler may be selling out (big digital prints sell for more!). I’m not bothered by either issue. To begin with, I don’t see how anyone can make the absurd argument that the use of models in this work seems an “afterthought”, in light of photos like the Prada model-soldier diptych [pictured above] in which both figures symbolize conquest and economic strength. By design the piece means to compare the two representations — it’s not the only one that functions this way. As for the size and saleability of the work, I find it an odd request from a critic that an artist interested in media critique — a medium produced almost entirely by digital means at this point — limit themselves to smaller scale work just because it will seem less commercial. Rosenberg doesn’t explicitly lay claim to this particular criticism noting only that others might take issue with it, but since she does nothing to dispel the idea, it’s reasonable to assume she agrees with it. No mention is made about how visually effective the scale of these prints are, an unfortunate oversight, as their large size benefits the exhibition. Surely the large prosthetic leg hanging from the ceiling Rosenberg liked so much would look grossly out of place were the collages she preferred at a small scale actually that size. Finally, the critic doesn’t hit on my quibble with the show: The inclusion of Off the Shelf, War and Empire, and other similar photographs documenting various arrangements of important books on the subject. I hate reading list art.
- Christy Lange at Freize Magazine observes art makes a small appearance in Mad Men, aTV series about New York City advertising executives in the early 1960s, only to be discussed and evaluated by its value. I like to think this way of talking about art will diminish as we all start to feel the effects of the economy. Of course, every dealer I spoke to Thursday and Friday about the economy reports strong sales even amongst their emerging artists. How is it every gallery in the city is pleased with how well they’re doing when a large part of their client base is being hammered the financial markets? I don’t buy it.
- Holland Cotter brilliantly sums up my difficulty with artists Gilbert and George at the New York Times.
The look-alike personal style they've affected, a robotic blandness, has probably had something to do with this; they are certainly no one's idea of a glamour couple. And their sleek, photo-based, politically incorrect across-the-spectrum art is as hard to love as it is to categorize. Even if you appreciate it, you may prefer not to spend time with it.
- Ultimately he gives Gilbert and George a thumbs up and the Brooklyn Museum’s retrospective a thumbs to the side (“A little Gilbert & George goes a long way. In even moderate doses — and this show is immoderately large, spread over two floors — the work wears you down..”)