Seems like Mat Gleason over at the Huffington Post has beef with some of the most popular artists of the past 10 years.
That’s cool. You don’t have to like work, whether it is in a museum or not, but shouldn’t you have a sound reason behind your incessant ranting, or are trite insults all you’ve got? And keep your hands off Lee Bontecou!!
The article, The Most Overrated Artists of the Decade seems like it could be a funny/interesting read. Until you actually see the artists listed, many of whom are legitimate working artists, and Gleason’s reasoning behind his distaste for them is often lacking in any historical perspective or precedent. Let’s take a look!
Gleason says: “A cross between Elton John and Myra Hindley, Damien Hirst epitomized the decade that fetishized money as an indicator of artistic quality.” and “Suffice to say, his sculptural output, clinical meditations on mortality at their most generous, never even rise to the sophistication of a Bernie Taupin chorus.”
Junkyard says: Artists since the 20th century Modern and Pop movement have all taken into consideration the money that they can turn from their work. That was almost entirely the purpose of the Pop Art movement – whether to get money or demonstrate the corrupting powers of it – this is not a ‘new thing’, nor should it be surprising to an art critic. Artists can be capitalists too, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money off your work. Second, this quip completely ignores the depth of Hirst’s work including his many shelves and pills displays that are often painstakingly crafted, planned and executed. And many would agree that ‘clinical mediation on mortality’ is a pretty apt way to describe his animal works – you don’t have to like it, but discrediting the artist as a whole based on your thought of one type of work he did is lazy criticism.
Gleason says: Upon your shocked first glance at one of Kara Walker‘s signature slavery silhouettes your art world buddy will smugly inform you “oooh, she’s black,” which means: A, she can get away with installing a mural-sized illustration of an underage slave girl sucking her massah’s dick on a museum wall, and B, your jaded white art world friend gets the transgressive glory of dipping his toe into the taboo mandingo pool without any stain of racism… “No way dude, she’s black”.
Junkyard says: You know what’s gross? Insinuating that people (white) would only enjoy her work because she is black and they want to sound progressive. You know what else is gross? Commenting on a black artists work that clearly references cultural and historical realities without having an understanding of either. Perhaps reading up on silhouette art, slave life for women and children and juxtaposition will help steer you in a more informed direction.
Gleason says: I’d rather hang with adults who believe in the Tooth Fairy than kids who believe corporate branding design hack Shep Fairey is an artist.
Junkyard says: uh oh. Grandpa’s upset at those kids on his lawn again. I guess we shouldn’t give any attention to El Lissitzky, Kasmir Malevich or Alexander Rodchenko either, eh? Just ignore the entire Russian Modernist movement because you don’t particularly like graphic art? Cool. Got it. I bet the MoMA is calling you for that curator position right now!
Gleason says: The curators over here ate up his solipsistic ploy no questions asked, giving his assembly line toy factory fine art credibility…Murakami’s latest foray tells you all you need to know about his loyalty: He is painting pop Red Dragons and talking about how great China is.
Junkyard says: Again we are back to precedent. The pop movement make artists like Murakami possible – but it is whether or not they are making something interesting that will keep them in the limelight. And while a convoluted artist statement is obnoxious on it’s own, his work is visually appealing in a contemporary world and mimics the path of Warhol and Koons. As for a lack of artistic ability, I’m calling bullshit. His work is often complex and calculated with the eerie and domineering presence of anime kitch. Again, Gleason’s lack of subculture of showing.
Gleason says: …when Banksy has an army of publicists constantly working the media to reinforce his rebel stret cred, he is not a rebel, he is a cog in the machine, but hey, manufacturing rebellion is as American as apple pie and doing it on the streets of Blighty with a camera crew is practically Hollywood, so keep that pose as long as you can, you harmless middle-aged pseudohooligan you.
Junkyard says: damn you kids! I said get off my lawn!!
Gleason says: [her sculptures] looked like rejected spaceship props from an unfinished Star Wars sequel. If you walked into your uncle or gramma’s house on a mandatory family get-together and a recent Bontecou was hanging proudly in the foyer, you’d roll your eyes at the string and bead kitchiness of it all…
Junkyard says: Back. Off. My Bontecou. Ok, yes. I’m getting personal. Mostly because Bontecou’s work is internationally recognized for good reason. These ‘Star Wars scraps’ in person mimic celestial explosions, with shadows bouncing on the floor, resembling galaxies floating aimlessly in space. Her work conjures up a childlike imagination with, yes, space age-y sculptures, but good god, isn’t that even remotely interesting to you? In a museum where you are staring at black canvases, or walking through rooms of just random sounds – walking into a Bontecou room is like finding yourself lost in a sci-fi art museum!
Her wall mounts made of tea stained burlap and canvas and crudely sewn wire and metal moving out from the wall to reveal a hole so black you worry some alien creature is going to reach out and pull you in. And her illustrations are often so familiar from one paper to the other that you are sure she is doing technical drawings for an intergalactic space station. In other words: Lee Bontecou is a breath of creepy, space age fresh air to any museum, and if I were to come across it in my grandmother’s house, I’d piss myself in glee.
Gleason says: never has a whole lot of nothing looked like even less than the sum of its parts.
Junkyard says: No argument here.