Dirk Skreber, Installation view, Friedrich Petzel Gallery
This week at The L Magazine I discuss the Dirk Skreber and Alex Katz shows in Chelsea. Teaser below.
The erroneous belief that gallery art has a higher, more profound purpose often gets in the way of properly assessing it. So too does the authority of the exhibition space, which can intimidate even the most seasoned viewer. Gallerygoers tend to excuse bad art, especially if it's controversial. Maybe the work has greater rationality behind it than is immediately apparent; maybe the art isn't challenged by the liberal politics of the artist; or perhaps the art is even transcendental!
This came to mind recently when viewing Dirk Skreber's exhibition at Friedrich Petzel Gallery in Chelsea. Featuring two vagina-shaped crashed cars impaled on penile poles and bare-breasted paintings of super heroes, the show is the closest thing I've seen to pornography lately. I hoped there was more to it than appeared, until I read the press release, which described Skreber's sculptures as “begging ambivalence.” In other words, they are to be read at face value. One might conclude the vehicle's fastidiously clean surfaces mean to sanitize the sexual references, which might have some merit were it not such an obvious appeal to a notoriously conservative collectors' market.
Read the full review here.