Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin: The Best Show in Chelsea [NSFW]

by Paddy Johnson on November 18, 2011 · 4 comments Opinion

Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin, I Don't Like to Look At Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island.

Yes, I meant it when I said the Walton Ford show at Paul Kasmin Gallery is the “best show in Chelsea”. This comment originally appeared in Wednesday’s link list, and has subsequently prompted a few private emails to the effect of, “You’re not serious?”. Well, yes I am, but for all the reasons those asking the question might think: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a show look this hilariously wrong in a gallery.

If the installation photos don’t already make this clear, viewers are totally kicked in the nuts by Walton’s 9 x 12 foot watercolor and gouache drawings of King Kong’s face. They are the first works a gallery-goer sees and seem oddly placed in such a serious and austere gallery environment. Ford says these paintings are about King Kong’s heartbreak, “the sorrow that the original Kong kept hidden from view,” which, well, whatever. These images aren’t exactly prompting a viewer’s empathy; the ape is merely spectacle, just as he’s always been.

The kind of “wrongness” I’m describing above is unique to established galleries. Were this work made by any one other than Ford, Kasmin would have no interest in it. Displayed at a space like Canada, I expect the show would pass by without a blink of the eye.

Scroll down for images of the full show. In the second part of the gallery, Walton draws a series of monkeys with skinny penises. One rips off the head of a bird while ejaculating, another masturbates while coyly observing a bird. The work evokes the same feeling I get when I see a dog with giant balls get an erection. I want to unsee it.

Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin, I Don't Like to Look At Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island

Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin, I Don't Like to Look At Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island

Walton Ford at Paul Kasmin, I Don't Like to Look At Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island

Walton Ford, "His Supremacy", 2011, watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper, 59 x 40 inches

Walton Ford, "De pain au lait pour le perroquet mignonne", 2011, watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper, 59 x 40 inches

Walton Ford, "Unnatural Composure", 2011, watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper, 59 x 40 inches

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sven November 19, 2011 at 12:25 am

okay thanks for the explanation. 

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Anonymous November 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I don’t want to like those Kong paintings but I simply love them!

Reply

Lorna Mills November 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

No explanation needed for me, Paddy.  Masturbating monkeys!
 
I once pissed off J at simpleposie by remarking, on some polite court paintings monkeys, that you couldn’t trust them not to. (or maybe I irritated her by using the phrase “masturbating monkeys” too often in a paragraph.)

Reply

Ptartcomchair December 9, 2011 at 7:13 am

The man is genius……………………

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