Art Fag City at the L Magazine: It’s You. Not Me. At Andrew Kreps Gallery

by Art Fag City on April 15, 2009 The L Magazine

art fag city, andrew kreps, it's you not me, reena spaulings
It’s You. Not Me. at Andrew Kreps. Installation view. Through April 25th.

My latest review is up at The L Magazine.  The teaser below.

I don't always understand what I'm looking at when I enter a gallery. Contemporary art often doesn't look pretty, and the art world certainly enjoys a little mystery. It's You. Not Me., currently on view at Andrew Kreps Gallery, presents carefully arranged objects of six well known artists — only a few of which rely on craftsmanship. A giant canvas in the center of the exhibition, with the silk-screened words “Die Collector Scum,” doesn't scream nuance on first read. And as the title aptly suggests, It's You. Not Me places the burden on the viewer to decode the work.

The payback for doing so yields mixed results in this case, but there's more than a few good ideas worth contemplating. As a whole, the show presents finger-pointing social critique and art questioning the authority of the image and image-maker. Typically working through the lens of photographic and digital reproduction, these artists suggest meaning may not be as it seems.

In the case of SCUM: Screen print after Merlin Carpenter, The Opening: The Black Paintings #7, 2007, 2008, (aka “Die Collector Scum”), Reena Spaulings, a fictional artist and dealer conceived by the artist collective The Bernadette Corporation, reproduces a performance artifact from her gallery's conceptual painter Merlin Carpenter. Spaulings at this point seems more real than fake (the gallery makes sales and attends art fairs), but is an angry unsellable art object bettered by its dealer's remake? Yes — her reproduction of a unique image increases the value of both through the extremity of the act — though I'm unsure if it's enough to make the piece. Die Collector Scum, as text alone, may ultimately prove too powerful a cliché to maintain the insider history.

To read the full piece click here.

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