May 3, 2013

Painter Painter, Walker Art Center

focused survey of emergent developments in abstract painting”

What is continually euphemized throughout the Painter Painter exhibition, throughout its programming, its takeaways, its press; what is continually sublimated into aboutness or conceptual rubric of a ”new” aqueous culturally borderless (!) painting, positing some grand theoretical schema about current painting, i.e. what is totally refrained from saying, is that the show, Painter Painter is another hot young painter show.

The Artworld loves its young hot painters more than candied yams, it collectively fiends for more painters. It’s the only time they can feel good about their libidinal urges. Paul McCarthy gagging down 8 ketchup soaked hot dogs is the collective image of the artworld and its painters. Goya’s “Saturn,” Ed Gein wearing the flesh of women, and a man with his penis exposed underneath the table are all relevant images when it comes to the artworld desire for painters.
We knows this. We can read between the deluge of lines in surrounding ephemera. The dirge. We don’t even have to say it, we can see it for what it is.
What is scary about this irony, this take-me-as-other-than-I-mean, is that it is horribly misleading to a general public. That the public reading the PR surrounding this exhibition are going take it seriously. They are being patronized. They might think this show is about painting. Can you imagine taking this press stuff literally. Go, read it again. It’s not even obfuscated enough to veil its inconsequence.
“Indeed, Painting today increasingly crosses paths with sculpture, poetry, film, design, fashion, music and performance as well as disparate histories of art, craft, and visual culture.”
… [image of me looking dejected]


The exhibition, Painter Painter, is dead butterflies, pinned and labeled. “Ooh that one is from the amazon!” - an excuse to pin and label these things. This is my butterfly collection. sterile and dead. Like magnificent rocks behind glass they teach us nothing about geology, it exists in the museum for the curators to talk about it, a glorified advertisement for the speaking. “Now tell me Mr. Connors, in an exhibition in the genus of painting, you’re specimens seem to exhibit none of usual traits, they seem another phylum entirely! An egg laying mammal? Heresy! Elucidate! Expound! Please! Please Dr. Connors! Desperately we seek your counsel! Dr. Connors!” Bring the monkeys to watch them speak. - a spoon inserted into my throat until I am retching bile and stomach contents onto the floor. the sound of sogged cornflakes poured from a height onto marble.
We are given scraps. Pieces. A painting per person. I suppose, In the desert one should welcome the carcasses that from time to time fall from the sky.
There as an example, a reference, a name, but sure pretty.
If there is a lack of critical and curatorial authority, it's because there was never meant to be one to begin with.
This is the game of artworld hot potato. Keep it airborne, while its hot, but don’t burn yourself be left with a cold unwanted potato, a cold unwanted artist. Get it on its meteoric rise up the ladder. No one in five years will remember that it wasn’t a show, that it was a list of names. It won’t even need have happened. The PR steamroller happens. The internet reblogs it, the Newspaper “reports” it, the people they talk. No one ever stops to question it, the press release is taken as fact, wrung for content to be reported. The press, oddly, never questions the press release. If the Walker says its a painting show, it must be a painting show. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like a duck, it is, often, a duck; except for when it is instead two clever duck afficiandos who have awoken well before dawn, dressed in thick warm camouflage, coated themselves in duck piss, and driven to the middle of a feild and laid in low lying trenches covered with a camo netting and blown practiced winds through plastic whistles, waited in darkness for dawn with ice-cold Beretta break action double barreled 12-gauges, safeties off, held pointing through tiny holes, not at their sturtevanian idea of ducks, cleverly arranged, but at the small warm satchels of duck feathered meat which have appeared, these doing their own quacking, and Bartholemew is feverishly whispering "do it!, Do it!" and Eric is mouthing him to "shut the FucK up!" in frozen breath and shouldering the weight and squeezing one eye closed as the real meat packed ducks examine their frozen brothers whom they have joined in communion and are only just beginning to get the first hints that something might be in fact righteously fucked up about this field, about those calls that lured them. These may in fact not be ducks at all.
The contemporary greased artist.

I remember the fourth time I saw Prekop’s baby blankets, the fourth time some curator had decided to put his paintings in my path, was a solo show in Vienna that when I look up now I realize he doesn’t even list on resume. It makes one wonder just how many shows this guy is having?

At what point are curators able to make decisions about painters included in a hot young painters show and at what point already pre-selected. And maybe Zak Prekop really is this interesting? Higher Powers he has been given.. When narrowing it down, how large is the actual pool from which these painters are selected? When Dominik Sittig seems the only true oddity, the only person I’m interested in understanding why the curators chose, a man once included in a show called “Put Hate Back into Painting.” Now that sounds interesting. It’s too bad there is one painting when his shows seem to be overloaded to the point of meanness. It’s too bad I had to google his work. I am left googling this work. Something about the provinces.

*And so little mention of these works cannibalization of painting itself, its as if they are doing everything but.  Let's not mention the growth on his neck. The painters themselves aren’t talking about it, so we pretend too.  It’s the new easy-peasy free-stylizing baroque.  No need for history when you have the present.  Dredge the silt, draw the mineral, pound it into crystalline form, faceted hexahedrons, making them sparkle.  These objects are the jewels of compressed history detritus. “But I did it without brushstrokes!” "cooooooooooool." This is the point at which beauty becomes oppressive in its banality.   Looking at another ‘s diamond collection is among the least interesting experiences one can have.   The world is interesting, your paintings are not.  

(when Bruce Hainley makes the theoretical metaphorical and strained leap to connect fashion to Diana Molzan’s work it is interesting.  But what is not interesting, in the slightest, is to simply say Molzan’s work references fashion.  It’s less than interesting, it is incorrect.  Hainley makes it true, but it is not true outside of that.)