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That's Good Reading: Fully Credited Links

From Miami, Franklin Einspruch sticks up for painting at, in a vivisection of art critic Blake Gopnik's article from last Sunday's Washington Post (In Tradition-Bound Britain, Brushing Off Paint, May 16).

The folks of The Literary Saloon at the Complete Review, thank God, are still sexist (May 20). It's good to know that some things never change.

The people behind the Whitney Biennial have a new Flash site with lots of images of the 2004 exhibit, as described in an article (The Whitney celebrates online, May 20) by Jim Regan for the Christian Science Monitor. Can every other museum do this with their exhibits, please, as I have requested numerous times?

To add another pint of kerosene to the issue of controversy and modern art (see post on Antimodernism, May 22), I give you Souren Melikian's article (Nonpicture perfect, or is it vice versa?, May 22) in the International Herald Tribune:
What does it say for a society and its culture when the body of a taxidermied horse hoisted with a rope and a pulley is offered as "art"? This happened the other day at Sotheby's. In a room tense with excitement, bids came from every side. The horse, credited to Maurizio Cattelan, was auctioned for $2.08 million. Overwhelmed, the crowd broke into applause. [...]

Immediately after the dead horse came a set of rectangular pieces in galvanized iron banded on the narrow edge with blue Plexiglas. Prudently, Donald Judd, who died 10 years ago, left the group "Untitled," the word used as a title by Sotheby's. The expert gave it a two-page entry. Judd, he explained, created what the artist called "'specific objects,' a term that stresses their neutral nature as opposed to 'sculpture,' which is associated with the hand-crafted art of an earlier date."

The "nonhandcrafted art" manufactured to Judd's specifications went down well. This is a perfect solution for artists eager to be above petty criticism: They did not do it. A nonhandcrafted-art lover, carried away by the simplicity of the iron-and-Plexiglas set, paid $1.12 million to secure the coveted prey. He/she may have felt this was reasonable. The estimated price bracket, not counting the sale charge, stood at $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Maurizio Cattelan, $2.08 million. This plays naturally into the rumors, from a few weeks back, that the MoMA could be "trading its Picassos, Légers, and Pollocks for a flock of butterfly paintings and vitrines by [Damien] Hirst" (Jason Edward Kaufman, Is MoMA buying the Hirsts on show at Tate?) in The Art Newspaper, with thanks to ArtsJournal for the link. You may also want to check out Tom Lubbock's article (Figuratively speaking, art is just a matter of fashion, May 20) in The Independent, again with thanks to ArtsJournal, which boils down the art world today to two camps, "Conceptual Art" and "The Campaign for Real Painting."

I should have mentioned an article (Being There, May 7) by Jerry Saltz in The Village Voice, but I'm just now getting around to it. It's a commentary on an exhibit about a recent video by Eve Sussman, 89 Seconds at Alcázar (part of this year's Whitney Biennial), at Roebling Hall in Brooklyn from April 24 to May 17. An example of what Sussman calls "cinéma vérité costume choreography," the 10-minute video recreates the scene shown in Velázquez's Las Meninas. Although Bill Viola's video The Greeting, which recreated a painting by Pontormo, is mentioned, Saltz makes no mention of another recent and vehemently criticized example of this sort of derivative art, the J. Seward Johnson show at the Corcoran (see my post on November 5, 2003).

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