All of Koons's best art - the encased vacuum cleaners, the stainless-steel Rabbit (the late-twentieth century's signature work of Simulationist sculpture), the amazing gleaming Balloon Dog, and the cast-iron re-creation of a Civil War mortar exhibited last month at the Armory - has simultaneously flaunted extreme realism, idealism, and fantasy.
I love art dealers. In some ways, they're my favorite people in the art world. Really. I love that they put their money where their taste is, create their own aesthetic universes, support artists, employ people, and do all of this while letting us see art for free. Many are visionaries.
When the purse strings tighten up at museums, the institutions usually cut back and cancel shows. That's exactly the wrong reaction. In fact, now is a good time for them to loosen up - a chance to breathe and experiment a little - and go for the juicy solution lurking in their own basements.
As I went through 'This Progress,' one of two performance pieces by Tino Sehgal that transform Frank Lloyd Wright's emptied-out spiral into a dreamy Socratic-purgatorial journey, the museum literally fell away. I was suspended in some weird nonspace.
More and more in the art world are becoming moralistic, telling artists and critics what they should and shouldn't write, do, or make art about. Never mind the intellectual hypocrisy of this: Those who violate the clublike code are made out to be wrong, immoral, corrupt.
Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for up-sized art and more of it... Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast. Bigness is not all bad. There's something pleasing about large, well-lit spaces. But the bigness has also led to a narrowing of sensibilities, by making it very hard for any but the glitziest works to get traction.
Works of art often last forever, or nearly so. But exhibitions themselves, especially gallery exhibitions, are like flowers; they bloom and then they die, then exist only as memories, or pressed in magazines and books.
Anyone who relishes art should love the extraordinary diversity and psychic magic of our art galleries. There's likely more combined square footage for the showing of art on one New York block - West 24th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues - than in all of Amsterdam's or Hamburg's galleries.
I don't plan out my visits rigorously, but I do have a list of about 125 New York galleries, alternative spaces, museums, and so forth that I visit regularly. That's the closest thing I have to a strategy: I go to a lot of places, many that artists don't visit.
As I made my way through 'On Line,' the austere, stridently dogmatic, sometimes revelatory exhibition 'about line' at MoMA, I found myself thinking, 'Someone please wake me when the seventies are over!' In the empire of curators, the sun never sets on the seventies. It is the undead decade.
Artschwager's art always involves looking closely at surfaces, questions what an object is, wants to make you forget the name of the thing you're looking at so that it might mushroom in your mind into something that triggers unexpected infinities.
The style of ancient Egyptian art is transcendently clear, something 8-year-olds can recognize in an instant. Its consistency and codification is one of the most epic visual journeys in all art, one that lasts 30 dynasties spread over 3,000 years.
Where Cezanne captured and intensified shards of the eternal (every pear far more sharply defined than it could be in life), Monet portrayed the changeability and flux of every moment. 'The Water Lilies' give you a jittery, amorphous sense of a world seen at the speed of light.
First let me report that the art in the Barnes Collection has never looked better. My trips to the old Barnes were always amazing, but except on the sunniest days, you could barely see the art. The building always felt pushed beyond its capacity.
All great contemporary artists, schooled or not, are essentially self-taught and are de-skilling like crazy. I don't look for skill in art...Skill has nothing to do with technical proficiency... I'm interested in people who rethink skill, who redefine or reimagine it: an engineer, say, who builds rockets from rocks.
When museums are built these days, architects, directors, and trustees seem most concerned about social space: places to have parties, eat dinner, wine-and-dine donors. Sure, these are important these days - museums have to bring in money - but they gobble up space and push the art itself far away from the entrance.
It took me twenty years to get Steven Parrino's work. From the time I first saw his art, in the mid-eighties, I almost always dismissed it as mannered, Romantic, formulaic, conceptualist-formalist heavy-metal boy-art abstraction.
I don't know much about auctions. I sometimes go to previews and see art sardined into ugly rooms. I've gawked at the gaudy prices, and gaped at well-clad crowds of happy white people conspicuously spending hundreds of millions of dollars.
Every movement that slays its gods creates new ones, of course. I loathe talk of the sixties and seventies being a 'Greatest Generation' of artists, but if we're going to use such idiotic appellations, let this one also be applied to the artists, curators, and gallerists who emerged in the first half of the nineties.
Mission accomplished. The Museum of Modern Art's wide-open, tall-ceilinged, super-reinforced second floor was for all intents and purposes built to accommodate monumental installations and gigantic sculptures, should the need arise. It has arisen.
'Untitled' is a time machine that can transport you to 1992, an edgy moment when the art world was crumbling, money was scarce, and artists like Tiravanija were in the nascent stages of combining Happenings, performance art, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and the do-it-yourself ethos of punk. Meanwhile, a new art world was coming into being.
Pictures artists staged their own images or copied or cut out others already in existence. The viewer took them in separately, in sometimes paradoxical waves: an original image, then the manipulations of it, then the places where image and idea intersected. This created a crucial perceptual glitch that irony and understanding filled.
There's something pleasing about large, well-lit spaces. I love that dealers are willing to take massive chances in order to give this much room to their artists. Most of all, I love that more galleries showing more art gives more artists a shot.
Batty as it sounds, subject and style may choose artists, through some unfathomable cosmic means. How else to explain that even artists who enjoy what they do can be perplexed or even horrified that they're doing it?
Urs Fischer specializes in making jaws drop. Cutting giant holes in gallery walls, digging a crater in Gavin Brown's gallery floor in 2007, creating amazing hyperrealist wallpaper for a group show at Tony Shafrazi: It all percolates with uncanny destructiveness, operatic uncontrollability, and barbaric sculptural power.
Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for upsized art and more of it. I've heard of photographers asked to print larger to increase the wall power and salability of their work. Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast.
I love Rauschenberg. I love that he created a turning point in visual history, that he redefined the idea of beauty, that he combined painting, sculpture, photography, and everyday life with such gall, and that he was interested in, as he put it, 'the ability to conceive failure as progress.'
A saboteur in the house of art and a comedienne in the house of art theory, Lawler has spent three decades documenting the secret life of art. Functioning as a kind of one-woman CSI unit, she has photographed pictures and objects in collectors' homes, in galleries, on the walls of auction houses, and off the walls, in museum storage.
Artistic qualities that once seemed undeniable don't seem so now. Sometimes these fluctuations are only fickleness of taste, momentary glitches in an artist's work, or an artist getting ahead of his audience (it took me ten years to catch up to Albert Oehlen). Other times, however, these problems mean there's something wrong with the art.
'The Panorama' is also the last place anywhere in New York where the World Trade Center still stands, whole, as it stood in the early morning of September 11. I can also see the corner where I saw the first tower fall and howled out loud. Seeing the buildings again here is uplifting, healing.
Living and working for four decades in a Bologna apartment and studio he shared with his unwed sisters, Morandi painted little but bottles, boxes, jars, and vases. Yet like that of Chardin and the underappreciated William Nicholson, Morandi's work seems to slow down time and show you things you've never seen before.