Slide Show - Images (mostly) from The Illustrated History of Painting


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Not since the 1993 publication of Dave Hickey’s Four Essays on Beauty has there been art-world jungle-drumming of the intensity to be found relaying Roberta Smith’s 14 February 2010 New York Times article Post-Minimal to the Max. Approbation and opprobrium, for Smith and her article, continues to reverberate in the blog-o-sphere.

In an unprecedented manner, Roberta Smith, New York Times’ senior art critic has fired off a fiercely frank and critical volley at the latest NYC museum exhibitions, scolding curators in a recent piece with this concluding sentence - “Whatever you’re doing right now, do something else next.”

In the no-holds barred article, Smith asserts that the Whitney, MoMA, Guggenheim and other museums, have become obsessed with “squeaky-clean, well-made, intellectually decorous” art in the post-minimal vein. For example Tino Sehgal at the Guggenheim (an artist-dejour included in the current Auckland Triennial) and Urs Fischer at the New Museum.

She writes – “After encountering so many bare walls and open spaces, after examining so many amalgams of photography, altered objects, seductive materials and Conceptual puzzles awaiting deciphering, I started to feel as if it were all part of a big-box chain featuring only one brand.”

Sound familiar?

And opines -“What’s missing is art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand. A lot but not all of this kind of work is painting, which seems to be becoming the art medium that dare not speak its name where museums are concerned.”

Here’s the entire article

In another unprecedented move her partner, Jerry Saltz, has promised to collect reader comments (on his blog/facebook page) and pass readers comments on to Roberta.

Here’s a transcription of some responses – studded with recognizable names in the visual arts.

The curatorial ice (curator as auteur) may beginning to break – but how long will it take the resultant cultural deluge to arrive in New Zealand? The usual 5-10 years? I live in hope that this latest cultural ground-swell will have plenty of velocity (and impact) to it, as I’m bored shitless by what the art world’s become…..a sort of highly leveraged, high-end, echt-tasteful, aesthetic trade-show.