Howard Halle Uber Pans The New Museum’s Skin Fruit

by Art Fag City on March 18, 2010 · 42 comments Newswire + Reviews

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON

Installation view, Skin Fruit, New Museum. Photo: AFC

Wow. Time Out New York’s Howard Halle really hates Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection, an exhibition currently on view at the New Museum.  Let’s run down the list of zingers:

  • a perfect storm of wretchedness brought on by the collision of too much wealth and too little taste
  • a consensual hallucination—one in which everyone agrees that NewMu board member Joannou is some sort of Medici, instead of an overleveraged resort developer with an eye for flashy, often puerile art.
  • The show looks like a yard sale of pushed buttons, or more to the point, given the emphasis on grotesque figuration, like the cantina scene from Star Wars.

I have three additional criticisms of my own to add.

  • Almost no wall text. Does collector Dakis Joannou or curator Jeff Koons really like Robert Gober? The viewer is never told why seemingly countless works by the artist are included and the exhibition’s composition doesn’t make that clear.
  • The show’s theme — Here’s-some-stuff-I-bought-that-Jeff-Koons-likes — relies only on the celebrity status of the show’s participants as a draw to the show. I can experience Jeff Koons sensibility in his art, why do I need to witness it with a bunch of objects he’s demonstrated he has no investment in?
  • Other collectors do it better: One need only look to 30 Americans or the Hernan Bas exhibition at The Rubell Collection to know others have curated their exhibitions much more skillfully. Notably they launched those exhibitions without using a museum for which they are a trustee as the venue.

Normally I wouldn’t reduce feedback on a show to a series of bullet points, but frankly I don’t think this exhibition deserves much more than this.

  • http://petitemaoiste.blogspot.com/ Petitemaoiste

    Just came back from there -hideous – could barely choke it down. Contradictions: they say in the intro text that the collection was formed when the artists were not famous, if so, why is most of the stuff from the 2000s? Bad work by some good artists. Bad work by bad artists. Horrifically installed so that you cannot “appreciate” the works, and woe is you if you want to try to identify works because object labels are hard to find! My fave pretentious term to justify bad curating in the guise of thinking outside the box, the artist’s eye, and bad faith-ethical quagmire: calling Koon’s vision “PANOPTICAL” LOL!!!!!

  • http://petitemaoiste.blogspot.com/ Petitemaoiste

    Just came back from there -hideous – could barely choke it down. Contradictions: they say in the intro text that the collection was formed when the artists were not famous, if so, why is most of the stuff from the 2000s? Bad work by some good artists. Bad work by bad artists. Horrifically installed so that you cannot “appreciate” the works, and woe is you if you want to try to identify works because object labels are hard to find! My fave pretentious term to justify bad curating in the guise of thinking outside the box, the artist’s eye, and bad faith-ethical quagmire: calling Koon’s vision “PANOPTICAL” LOL!!!!!

  • Some Painter

    Paddy, just because the Rubell’s were not trustees of the Brooklyn Museum, the Hernan Bas show there was all from one collection, it was only from a single artist and was curated by the director of the Rubell’s collection. Everyone at the time said this was horrible. How is that not as conflicted as Skin Fruit? Giving a solo show to one young, unproved artist will certainly raise the value of their work much more than the work in Dakis’ collection, much of which has already reached a very high level. How was the Bas show “skillfully” curated. Most people I talked with thought it was pretty lame to give a huge museum show to an artist so young in the game and not a very deserving one at that.

  • Some Painter

    Paddy, just because the Rubell’s were not trustees of the Brooklyn Museum, the Hernan Bas show there was all from one collection, it was only from a single artist and was curated by the director of the Rubell’s collection. Everyone at the time said this was horrible. How is that not as conflicted as Skin Fruit? Giving a solo show to one young, unproved artist will certainly raise the value of their work much more than the work in Dakis’ collection, much of which has already reached a very high level. How was the Bas show “skillfully” curated. Most people I talked with thought it was pretty lame to give a huge museum show to an artist so young in the game and not a very deserving one at that.

  • gp

    “Other collectors do it better: One need only look to 30 Americans or the Hernan Bas exhibition at The Rubell Collection to know others have curated their exhibitions much more skillfully. Notably they launched those exhibitions without using a museum for which they are a trustee as the venue.”

    With all due respect, the Rubells didn’t need a museum to launch those shows, they have their own! Further, they traveled the Bas show to Brooklyn where they have curious affiliation, no?

  • gp

    “Other collectors do it better: One need only look to 30 Americans or the Hernan Bas exhibition at The Rubell Collection to know others have curated their exhibitions much more skillfully. Notably they launched those exhibitions without using a museum for which they are a trustee as the venue.”

    With all due respect, the Rubells didn’t need a museum to launch those shows, they have their own! Further, they traveled the Bas show to Brooklyn where they have curious affiliation, no?

  • gp

    “Other collectors do it better: One need only look to 30 Americans or the Hernan Bas exhibition at The Rubell Collection to know others have curated their exhibitions much more skillfully. Notably they launched those exhibitions without using a museum for which they are a trustee as the venue.”

    With all due respect, the Rubells didn’t need a museum to launch those shows, they have their own! Further, they traveled the Bas show to Brooklyn where they have curious affiliation, no?

  • http://wh2.splinder.com/ Luca Rossi

    The exhibition is a kind of warehouse, a summary of the Greek collection. It is said that this operation will increase the value of some works. If you see the exhibition in a lucid way, the superposition and the embarrassing repetition of some codes seem to decrease the value of any single work. In any case, I believe this large market reflects the phase of fatigue we’re living, and especially the phase that has just passed, which was too euphoric and overestimated. I think this exhibition is admitting something did not work. In my opinion, it does not seem to be an exhibition that “shows its muscles”, but an unsuccessful fitness plan (perhaps in a conscious way). I don’t know whether Koons wanted to convey this bitter irony. Seeing the set up, I think so.

  • http://wh2.splinder.com/ Luca Rossi

    The exhibition is a kind of warehouse, a summary of the Greek collection. It is said that this operation will increase the value of some works. If you see the exhibition in a lucid way, the superposition and the embarrassing repetition of some codes seem to decrease the value of any single work. In any case, I believe this large market reflects the phase of fatigue we’re living, and especially the phase that has just passed, which was too euphoric and overestimated. I think this exhibition is admitting something did not work. In my opinion, it does not seem to be an exhibition that “shows its muscles”, but an unsuccessful fitness plan (perhaps in a conscious way). I don’t know whether Koons wanted to convey this bitter irony. Seeing the set up, I think so.

  • http://wh2.splinder.com/ Luca Rossi

    The exhibition is a kind of warehouse, a summary of the Greek collection. It is said that this operation will increase the value of some works. If you see the exhibition in a lucid way, the superposition and the embarrassing repetition of some codes seem to decrease the value of any single work. In any case, I believe this large market reflects the phase of fatigue we’re living, and especially the phase that has just passed, which was too euphoric and overestimated. I think this exhibition is admitting something did not work. In my opinion, it does not seem to be an exhibition that “shows its muscles”, but an unsuccessful fitness plan (perhaps in a conscious way). I don’t know whether Koons wanted to convey this bitter irony. Seeing the set up, I think so.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Perhaps I should have made this clearer: The point was that The Rubell’s have created their own museum to showcase their art and do an excellent job at it. The link I provided was to a review I wrote on the blog about the Hernan Bas show while it was in Miami, which I thought was great. I don’t think it was a mistake for that show to travel. I also think there’s a great deal of skill involved in curating a single artist’s work. You still have to make decisions about which pieces are hung and where they are placed. It’s not easy.

    In any event, what affiliation do the Rubell’s have with the Brooklyn museum? I’m asking because I don’t know.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Perhaps I should have made this clearer: The point was that The Rubell’s have created their own museum to showcase their art and do an excellent job at it. The link I provided was to a review I wrote on the blog about the Hernan Bas show while it was in Miami, which I thought was great. I don’t think it was a mistake for that show to travel. I also think there’s a great deal of skill involved in curating a single artist’s work. You still have to make decisions about which pieces are hung and where they are placed. It’s not easy.

    In any event, what affiliation do the Rubell’s have with the Brooklyn museum? I’m asking because I don’t know.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Perhaps I should have made this clearer: The point was that The Rubell’s have created their own museum to showcase their art and do an excellent job at it. The link I provided was to a review I wrote on the blog about the Hernan Bas show while it was in Miami, which I thought was great. I don’t think it was a mistake for that show to travel. I also think there’s a great deal of skill involved in curating a single artist’s work. You still have to make decisions about which pieces are hung and where they are placed. It’s not easy.

    In any event, what affiliation do the Rubell’s have with the Brooklyn museum? I’m asking because I don’t know.

  • Some Painter

    The Brooklyn Museum showed a single artists work, all from the same collection. This to me is more of a conflict than the Dakis show because it is really saying “We believe this guy is worthy,” which immediately increases the value of a very young artist, whereas in Joannou’s case, much of the work is already at the top level of the chain by established artists with proven auction records. Not all. But a lot of them.

    As far as the curation of the Bas show: with an artist so young, how hard can it be to decide which work to put in the show? He doesn’t HAVE that much work! At the Brooklyn Museum near the start of the show (or the end, depending) there were some works on paper that were pretty awful and looked like student work.

  • Some Painter

    The Brooklyn Museum showed a single artists work, all from the same collection. This to me is more of a conflict than the Dakis show because it is really saying “We believe this guy is worthy,” which immediately increases the value of a very young artist, whereas in Joannou’s case, much of the work is already at the top level of the chain by established artists with proven auction records. Not all. But a lot of them.

    As far as the curation of the Bas show: with an artist so young, how hard can it be to decide which work to put in the show? He doesn’t HAVE that much work! At the Brooklyn Museum near the start of the show (or the end, depending) there were some works on paper that were pretty awful and looked like student work.

  • Some Painter

    The Brooklyn Museum showed a single artists work, all from the same collection. This to me is more of a conflict than the Dakis show because it is really saying “We believe this guy is worthy,” which immediately increases the value of a very young artist, whereas in Joannou’s case, much of the work is already at the top level of the chain by established artists with proven auction records. Not all. But a lot of them.

    As far as the curation of the Bas show: with an artist so young, how hard can it be to decide which work to put in the show? He doesn’t HAVE that much work! At the Brooklyn Museum near the start of the show (or the end, depending) there were some works on paper that were pretty awful and looked like student work.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Why is increasing the value of a young artist’s work a conflict? So what? Was Ryan McGinely’s show at the Whitney a conflict because it increased the value of his work?

    As for the curation of the Bas show, I think you’re severely underestimating the skill of curating. The inclusion and exclusion of even a few works can make or break a show. Also you’re assuming quite a bit about the artist’s production and availability of work. I don’t know that there was as little to chose from as you seem to think. Bas is fairly prolific.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Why is increasing the value of a young artist’s work a conflict? So what? Was Ryan McGinely’s show at the Whitney a conflict because it increased the value of his work?

    As for the curation of the Bas show, I think you’re severely underestimating the skill of curating. The inclusion and exclusion of even a few works can make or break a show. Also you’re assuming quite a bit about the artist’s production and availability of work. I don’t know that there was as little to chose from as you seem to think. Bas is fairly prolific.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Why is increasing the value of a young artist’s work a conflict? So what? Was Ryan McGinely’s show at the Whitney a conflict because it increased the value of his work?

    As for the curation of the Bas show, I think you’re severely underestimating the skill of curating. The inclusion and exclusion of even a few works can make or break a show. Also you’re assuming quite a bit about the artist’s production and availability of work. I don’t know that there was as little to chose from as you seem to think. Bas is fairly prolific.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Why is increasing the value of a young artist’s work a conflict? So what? Was Ryan McGinely’s show at the Whitney a conflict because it increased the value of his work?

    As for the curation of the Bas show, I think you’re severely underestimating the skill of curating. The inclusion and exclusion of even a few works can make or break a show. Also you’re assuming quite a bit about the artist’s production and availability of work. I don’t know that there was as little to chose from as you seem to think. Bas is fairly prolific.

  • noname

    Hmmm, really seems like none of this matters. The New Museum will get over it, and so will the ‘art world’. Frankly, I have to wonder why you all care so much about the increase of a Greek billionaire’s collection. Good for him and good for the artists. Stop sniveling. Perhaps we should discuss the work? The museum still functions as a tourist attraction, and I bet with recent shows at the New Museum, attendance has been way down.

  • noname

    Hmmm, really seems like none of this matters. The New Museum will get over it, and so will the ‘art world’. Frankly, I have to wonder why you all care so much about the increase of a Greek billionaire’s collection. Good for him and good for the artists. Stop sniveling. Perhaps we should discuss the work? The museum still functions as a tourist attraction, and I bet with recent shows at the New Museum, attendance has been way down.

  • noname

    Hmmm, really seems like none of this matters. The New Museum will get over it, and so will the ‘art world’. Frankly, I have to wonder why you all care so much about the increase of a Greek billionaire’s collection. Good for him and good for the artists. Stop sniveling. Perhaps we should discuss the work? The museum still functions as a tourist attraction, and I bet with recent shows at the New Museum, attendance has been way down.

  • mike

    actually if you extract a few of the god-awful pieces (the blue Chris Ofili painting, the Mathew Barney wall piece, the John Bock stuff, the Kiki Smith paper woman and the TERRIBLE Tino Seghal singing piece) this is in fact a very tight show. As ridiculous as much of his own work has become, Koons still offers an interesting viewpoint from a bygone era (neo geo was, what, 25 years ago now?). You basically have the most influential figurative artist of the last quarter-century curating a show of mostly figurative work. the Gobers were kind of crammed in though, i guess

  • mike

    actually if you extract a few of the god-awful pieces (the blue Chris Ofili painting, the Mathew Barney wall piece, the John Bock stuff, the Kiki Smith paper woman and the TERRIBLE Tino Seghal singing piece) this is in fact a very tight show. As ridiculous as much of his own work has become, Koons still offers an interesting viewpoint from a bygone era (neo geo was, what, 25 years ago now?). You basically have the most influential figurative artist of the last quarter-century curating a show of mostly figurative work. the Gobers were kind of crammed in though, i guess

  • Jim VanKirk

    Hey don’t knock student work, at least it has potential.

  • Jim VanKirk

    Hey don’t knock student work, at least it has potential.

  • Jim VanKirk

    Hey don’t knock student work, at least it has potential.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Meh, I liked that Chris Ofili piece. You’re right though, the Tino Seghal was AWFUL.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Meh, I liked that Chris Ofili piece. You’re right though, the Tino Seghal was AWFUL.

  • Bernard Galileo

    The fact there is no wall text is a positive rather than a negative. The tyranny of wall text (text in general) is a well established pain in the ass. It’s a decent show and you have to be a little mentally challenged not to see why it’s imperative for the New Museum to mount these types of exhibitions to support there other programs. Plus, Koons isn’t that bad of a curator. Barely anyone even knows who Ed Paschke is and Koons just curated a show of his for Go Go.

  • Bernard Galileo

    The fact there is no wall text is a positive rather than a negative. The tyranny of wall text (text in general) is a well established pain in the ass. It’s a decent show and you have to be a little mentally challenged not to see why it’s imperative for the New Museum to mount these types of exhibitions to support there other programs. Plus, Koons isn’t that bad of a curator. Barely anyone even knows who Ed Paschke is and Koons just curated a show of his for Go Go.

  • Bernard Galileo

    The fact there is no wall text is a positive rather than a negative. The tyranny of wall text (text in general) is a well established pain in the ass. It’s a decent show and you have to be a little mentally challenged not to see why it’s imperative for the New Museum to mount these types of exhibitions to support there other programs. Plus, Koons isn’t that bad of a curator. Barely anyone even knows who Ed Paschke is and Koons just curated a show of his for Go Go.

  • Bernard Galileo

    The fact there is no wall text is a positive rather than a negative. The tyranny of wall text (text in general) is a well established pain in the ass. It’s a decent show and you have to be a little mentally challenged not to see why it’s imperative for the New Museum to mount these types of exhibitions to support there other programs. Plus, Koons isn’t that bad of a curator. Barely anyone even knows who Ed Paschke is and Koons just curated a show of his for Go Go.

  • http://andrewbirk.com andrew

    teaming up against this show is the bandwagon of the month. last month’s bandwagon: william powheda. keep it up guys!

  • http://andrewbirk.com andrew

    teaming up against this show is the bandwagon of the month. last month’s bandwagon: william powheda. keep it up guys!

  • http://andrewbirk.com andrew

    teaming up against this show is the bandwagon of the month. last month’s bandwagon: william powheda. keep it up guys!

  • http://andrewbirk.com andrew

    teaming up against this show is the bandwagon of the month. last month’s bandwagon: william powheda. keep it up guys!

  • AshleyH

    Yes!! Private collections can be curated well, unlike this “stuff I bought” exhibition

    Visited the Margulies Collection in Miami, it was brilliantly curated by Katherine Hinds

    http://artjetset.blogspot.com/2008/11/margulies-collection-at-warehouse-miami.html

  • AshleyH

    Yes!! Private collections can be curated well, unlike this “stuff I bought” exhibition

    Visited the Margulies Collection in Miami, it was brilliantly curated by Katherine Hinds

    http://artjetset.blogspot.com/2008/11/margulies-collection-at-warehouse-miami.html

  • AshleyH

    Yes!! Private collections can be curated well, unlike this “stuff I bought” exhibition

    Visited the Margulies Collection in Miami, it was brilliantly curated by Katherine Hinds

    http://artjetset.blogspot.com/2008/11/margulies-collection-at-warehouse-miami.html

  • AshleyH

    Yes!! Private collections can be curated well, unlike this “stuff I bought” exhibition

    Visited the Margulies Collection in Miami, it was brilliantly curated by Katherine Hinds

    http://artjetset.blogspot.com/2008/11/margulies-collection-at-warehouse-miami.html

Previous post:

Next post: