AFC’s Top 5: Corinna Kirsch

by Corinna Kirsch on January 4, 2013 · 5 comments The Best

1. Dana Schutz at Petzel

This show was pretty much perfect. Dana Schutz’s paintings evoke the same type of extravagant rhythm, color, and texture that I imagine enthralled Kandinsky’s yeasayers in the early 20th century. Her cartoony characters bend and sway in the same manner as her brushstrokes, and it’s just mesmerizing.

2. Brad Troemel’s Etsy Store

From Brad Troemel’s Etsy profile:

I take pride in providing some of the most significantly organic, inscrutably rare, and immeasurably valuable products on Etsy…Can you imagine how rare something is that doesn’t even exist? I wish I could sell those products because they would be worth way more than the ones that do exist.

Right now, you can buy Brad Troemel’s odd objects, ranging from locked up tacos to framed bath salts, for as much as a personalized onesie on Etsy. His project does more than turn these (functional) objects into (functionless) art; he gives them a new, absurd function, like locking up ground beef. All this takes absurdity to new heights.

3. Bill Bollinger at SculptureCenter

If there’s one thing museums and nonprofits do better than galleries, it’s digging up unknown artists and throwing them back into the art canon. After seeing Bollinger’s show at SculptureCenter, I’m pretty sure he deserves a resurrection: his absurd object-sculptures evoke what’s happening in sculpture now, from Virginia Overton to Stephen Lichty.

4. Franz Erhard Walther at Dia:Beacon

This show opened in 2010 and ended in early 2012, but it’s making my list regardless because Dia let you wear Walther’s felt suits the way the artist intended them to be experienced. Normally, these kinds of functional items would be turned into display objects for fear they’re too fragile.

5. Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper

I’m into any painter who can riff on Minimalism in a smart way. I’m doubly into someone who can do that while making humorous and visually compelling work.

Maybe these are just geometric paintings, with cylindrical shapes that sometimes look like hot dogs, but I’m not sure. It’s that doubt and confusion about the seriousness of the work that keeps me interested.


Brian Fernandes-Halloran January 10, 2013 at 1:12 am

“When it comes to art, I’m hard to please. Looking back at the exhibitions I saw in 2012, there were only a handful I’d give a glowing recommendation. These are the very few that made the cut.”

There are so many wonderful artists and projects going on. This is a critique of how you seek out exhibitions not the year in art!

Brian Fernandes-Halloran January 10, 2013 at 1:51 am

Schutz number one and no mention of Saul. This list looks like the top five most comforting, agreeable, academic shows of the year. I am bothered by this perspective on art. Its like you’re judging artists by their ability to fit in rather than their role in transformation.Do any of these shows have any relevance outside of the art establishment?

Brian Fernandes-Halloran January 10, 2013 at 1:52 am

and riffing on minimalism is a form of masturbation

Paddy Johnson January 10, 2013 at 2:10 am

I think Schutz at Number 1 is fair. I’ve read multiple top ten lists and many of them list that show. Why? Because it was good.

Anyway, these lists are simply a reflection of what the author liked best amongst the work they’ve seen. They aren’t definitive, which is why there have been four of them on the blog thus far, with one more to come.

As for transformation, I’m not convinced that’s the only way to judge the success of an art work. I’m interested in people who are able to draw interesting, strange, and diverse connections in their work. So, in the case of something like Brad Troemel’s Etsy store, I feel like asking for transformation, is applying the wrong evaluation criteria.

BTW, that store was profiled in Gawker by Adrian Chen. I think that provides at least some evidence that the work appeals to people outside the establishment.

Brian Fernandes-Halloran January 11, 2013 at 10:33 pm

whoa, I am a little harsh during late night commenting. with that said.
Schutz’ exhibition was so one note for me. And while the paintings were lushly beautiful, they didn’t have the grotesque element of her earlier works. So there was no push and pull. It just felt decorative. It exploded with color but didn’t breach my surface.

I do think transformation is the hallmark of great work. I don’t see art in order to stay the same, to say gee whiz, to be comfortable That is for entertainment, for activities ingrained in our routine. Art is special because it is the embodiment of freedom. There is no intrinsic function and there are no defined parameters. So it is the chance to make something happen that cannot otherwise. So it is begs the question, what are we lacking? And that is why a top 5 list is not just a top 5 list. It is an expression of what we need. I think we need more discomfort and confrontation, class awareness, intimacy, vulnerability, love. When we discuss art in the context of contemporary art/ art history without relating it our broader identity, we forget to link it to our deeper desires, hopes and fears. We don’t demand more from it than well executed reiterations,of what we already know or little tweaks on the status quo.

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