The Joe Bradley Knicker Knotting

by Paddy Johnson on January 31, 2011 · 7 comments Opinion

Joe Bradley's Human Form at Canada Gallery. Installation view.

My three sentence post expressing indecision and skepticism over Joe Bradley’s latest show at Canada has knotted a Peres Projects knicker. “Joe Bradley´s shows keep NY bloggers japing,makes 1 wonder if bloggers in NY just like to hear themselves talk or are simply not so %§?&/#?”  Javier Peres asks over twitter before following up with a link to Art Fag City’s post Thursday.

Relax people. It’s okay to go into a gallery, not be sure what you think about a show and say as much. This is what people do when they want to start conversations (or as Peres describes it, “hear themselves talk”). It’s not a review, it’s just a discussion on a blog. As it happens, said discussion worth taking a look at; there’s some significant commentary on the show on that thread.

Not to state the obvious, but conversation is good for the art world. Art history isn’t made up of sets of irrefutable facts put into place by critics and curators nor is it a result of the work of a few geniuses working in isolation. It’s a lineage constantly re-evaluated by those claiming a stake in this field. We don’t have to have all the answers right away, we simply need to be willing to work towards them.


Lupi Lives! January 31, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I haven’t seen either show yet (Gavin Brown or Canada) but from what I gather from afar and from the blogosphere, folks are just pretty much jealous and envious of Joe. Look, the dude is selling his paintings for $60,000 each, and sells out (not literally) on the first night, Steve Martin shows up at the openings too…let’s face it, Joe won’t have to teach for the rest of his life to make ends meet, that’s for sure.

The thing about Joe’s work is that he rides the line between developing an art world persona/character, serious “conceptual” artist, humorist, protagonist, hipster sheik (chic), punk, anarchist, self made doppelganger (let’s not forget he’s a hell of a frontman for the band Cheeseburger), and old school good ole boy traditional abex painter like no other.

Oh yeah, he’s also already been in the Whitney B and could probably be in the running for hosting SNL someday…

Yes, a twinge of envy just ran up my spine. Keep us guessing and waiting in anticipation for the next morsel Joe!

jameskalm January 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

At the risk of dampening Mr. Peres’ practice of meta-criticism, it should be pointed out that one of the main functions of art is to encourage dialogue, whether it’s posited as a “sales pitch” or as aesthetic doubts, conversation and discourse are some of the essential ways that art lives. Snark can be a valid way of debating issues, but if it’s intent is to shut down the opposition, it can be as destructive as “political correctness” which has turned college campuses into thought police states. To paraphrase Dave Hickey “sometime it’s the unmet expectations that are the most important residual effects of an artwork.”

Diaconov February 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

One can say that Joe Bradley is a contemporary art lover’s Mr. Brainwash, producing pretty dumbed-down variations of what people like in other, much more focused artists. Which in this case is not a bad thing because his work can point us to the people we really love and appreciate.

tralrtrsh February 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

If I said his work was crap would that ruffle some feathers? Well, it is. I know the artist. I know how he feels, trust me. There is joke being played here. Not jealously, just am amazed at how people like something just because they are told that is good. When I say “told” I mean that they expect certain things when they come into a gallery and when they see something that is really, really bad like Joe’s work they think “Wow. This looks really bad.. But how can that be? I mean look where we are. It must really be genius instead. If it’s here how could it be that bad??” Crap.

Roman "Nose" February 2, 2011 at 2:54 am

Artists doing the same thing at nullspace gallery. Kurt Polkey. the difference is, Joe has real fucking talent, and he gets excited about the work. Kurt lays it down as an insult but it turns on himself. Joe can paint. I like Joe Bradley. But I’m not looking to make a quick buck. I want to take over on another level. Either way. the work at Gavin smokes alot of shit today. I don’t like silhouettes, I don’t care for kara walker.

Anonymous February 2, 2011 at 3:01 am

Are these your points:

Joe can paint. The work at Gavin Brown is good.
The paintings at Canada not so much.
Bradley is trying to make a quick buck?

guess what? February 23, 2011 at 7:27 am

good or bad; important.

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