Archive for the ‘Late Modernism’ Category

Richard Moon’s Girl with a Doll

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Richard Moon

Richard Moon is of the cartoony figurative mindset. His paintings are kind of creepy and not terribly well executed. This is the style that brought British art to attention of the world. People were starved for artwork that was interesting to look at. Yet it’s not a clean break from modernism in that the cartoony creepiness is used as a means of rationalizing not bothering to paint skillfully. Also typical of modernism it comes across as gimmicky.

The painting below is entitled The Protege.

Richard Moon

Jac Leirner

Thursday, June 5th, 2008
Jac Leirner

I’m not a big fan of art that can be made by anybody but the above picture is kind of interesting. It’s amazing that so many people fall for this stuff. Jac Leirner is a Brazilian artist whose work was selected for Documenta IX. Here’s some funny quotes from a Houston Press article trying to explain to its readers why Leirner’s work is so profound:

“(T)he peripatetic artist systematically snagged ashtrays from the armrests of about every airline she flew. Then she chained them all together, as if trying to prevent re-theft, and displayed them with the ticket stubs and boarding passes from her flights. The result was something of a travelogue, documenting her far-flung carriers and destinations, but what was especially striking about the piece was the dogged patience and determination required to execute it.”

Yes it must have taken many minutes, if not hours. If only the rest of us had that kind of dogged patience. Here’s another quote:

“Corpus Delicti (sickness bags) (1992) is part of the same series. Leirner neatly filled 20 airline barf bags with blocks of Styrofoam and strung them all together; they hang from the ceiling in a curving line of multicolored rectangles. From a distance, the bags read as formal elements, but up close you see that the collection has been carefully scavenged from a variety of air carriers.”

What one might have thought were mere formal elements are actually carefully scavenged barf bags. Here’s more:

“Leirner’s Lung (1987), on view in the Roesch exhibition, is from the cigarette series. It’s a small, rectangular Plexiglas box that hangs unobtrusively on the wall. Its transparency makes it look clean and delicate. Closer inspection reveals that what’s inside are fragile cellophane husks from the artist’s cigarette packs. According to gallery owner Sonja Roesch, there are 12 inside, representing what would have been a week’s worth of nicotine for Leirner. The pristine object vies with the viewer’s mental image of blackened lungs. Leirner’s cigarette pack works are exacting records of addiction, with the damage elegantly implied.”

“She has an amazing talent for methodically collecting — or swiping — daily life’s debris and transforming it into art.”


The Houston Press article isn’t all flattering. But its criticisms only reveal the author’s naivety in making any kind of value judgment about something like this

John Buckley’s Untitled 1986

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

The giant shark sticking out of Bill Heine’s roof in Oxford represents atomic bombs as something bad. Here’s how Heine describes his masterpiece:

“The shark was to express someone feeling totally impotent and ripping a hole in their roof out of a sense of impotence and anger and desperation…. It is saying something about CND, nuclear power, Chernobyl and Nagasaki.”

One of the big differences between modernism and postmodernism is that a postmodernist would never try to rationalize something as absurd as a giant shark sticking out of the roof. But when this was installed in the late 1980s art had to be justified. That’s not just a giant shark it’s a serious political statement. It’s not suppose to be entertaining; it’s suppose to be preachy.

Charlie White’s Champion

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Charlie White has the groovy distinction of having created a number of internet memes, which isn’t nearly as groovy a distinction as his being represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery.

The work below is entitled The Persuaders.

Charlie White

Lars-Erik Fisk’s Volkswagon Ball

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Fisk makes spheres.