Friday, December 18, 2009

Even MORE Orozco

Peter Schjeldahl, "Man of the World: A Gabriel Orozco retrospective," The New Yorker, December 21 & 28, 2009, pp. 146-7:

Orozco’s patient remark in their [his paintings’] defense gives me pause: “People forget that I want to disappoint.” That strategy, targeting “the expectations of the one who waits to be amazed,” has worked well for him. I vividly remember being outraged in the proverbial manner of a philistine exposed to modern art when, for his first solo gallery show in New York, in 1994, Orozco displayed, on the walls of the main room at Marian Goodman, nothing but four Dannon yogurt lids. I recovered, by and by, to take the artist’s point, which amounted to disappointment as aesthetic therapy. The transparent, blue-rimmed, date-stamped, price-labelled little items were—and are, at MOMA—rather lovely, when contemplated without prejudice. Are they art? No. They are Dannon yogurt lids. The art part is a triggered awareness that the world teems with vernacular loveliness. If you overlook that, it’s sad for you.

I’m sorry Schjeldahl “recovered” because I haven’t. I’m already capable of seeing “vernacular loveliness” in the world, thank you, and don’t need unsolicited “aesthetic therapy” to remind me that it exists. Orozco aims to “disappoint,” like that would be unusual. Clearly he’s never been to Chelsea.

Have we so lost touch with art’s ability to surprise and delight that we don’t even try anymore? If we were to admit how rare the true art experience is, thousands of museums, galleries, and art schools would have to go out of business.

So we settle for emptiness, cool ideas, and illustrations of theory, and make fun of those who see art as having a higher purpose.

Pinning yogurt lids to a gallery wall is like inviting people to a concert, sitting down at a piano, and then not playing any music. Wait….didn’t someone actually do that? And wasn’t it in, like, 1952?

It’s time we moved on.


Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting (894-1), 2005 11 3/4 x 17 3/8

If, after the Orozco show, you want to indulge your senses in a retrograde manner, hop on over to the same place we first saw those Dannon lids, the Marian Goodman Gallery, and wallow in Gerhard Richter’s gorgeous scraped abstractions, up through January 9th.

9 comments:

Giovanni said...

Part of the problem I see with Orozco's retrospective is similar to what I've experienced with some musicians who put out great singles, but when you get an album collecting all the singles you are struck by a lack of cohesiveness. They are better at putting out short pieces than a more extended format. Often Orozco's single works exude an odd, poetic sensibility, but seeing too many at once weakens them.

CAP said...

“People forget that I want to disappoint.”

That is such a copout.

But once reminded, I'm sure 'people' won't forget how disappointing his presumptions were.

Franklin said...

So we settle for emptiness, cool ideas, and illustrations of theory, and make fun of those who see art as having a higher purpose. ... It’s time we moved on.

Amen sister.

Nancy said...

The Richter show was beautiful.
Have a great Holiday!
Nancy

chook said...

Enjoyed your blog over the year. Have a lovely festive season.

Xainti said...

Does anyone know who the original designer of the Dannon Yoghurt lids is?

Kathy Hodge said...

" Are they art? No. They are Dannon yogurt lids. The art part is a triggered awareness that the world teems with vernacular loveliness. If you overlook that, it’s sad for you."

And maybe sad for Orozco, who possibly did have that awareness but won't share, except to put the lids on the wall to challenge others to be as insightful as himself.

I kind of think it's the artist's job to do the translation part, from everyday to transcendent. I'll bet Cezanne would have found it much easier just to put a bowl of apples on a pedestal in the middle of a gallery.

Carol Diehl said...

Thanks for this! Well put!

The_Casual_Mercenary said...
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