Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trends, going...going...

In times like these, it’s important to think about the things we can be grateful for. I, for one, was pleased to realize, during my recent perambulations through the art fairs and Chelsea, that the artistic infatuation with images from the media has finally subsided. For well over a decade, almost everything you saw in the galleries was a riff on advertising, product packaging, cartoons, or old TV sitcoms and now—pouf! —it’s gone. May it R.I.P.

So does this signal a move to more original imagery? New forms? One hopes! There are, however, still a few impulses left over from the last century that we could happily retire:

--Stuffed animals.

--Porn (although rediscovered by every generation, it tends to always look the same) and/or art that flaunts the artist's sexual orientation (a.k.a. “sexual identity”).

--Black plastic garbage bags (favored by students for their economy of means; hopefully David Hammons is marking the end of their run as an art material).

--Anything behind a curtain or requiring headphones.

--Collections of nostalgic objects from the artist's life.

--Random notations about same.

--The above, accompanied by images that suggest the artist has not developed artistically or emotionally since the eighth grade.

--Scatter art.

And while we're at it, let's also call for a moratorium on:

--Sequins and glitter.

--Anything that references women's craftwork from the 19th century, including but not limited to, knitting and crocheting.

--Images of suburbia designed to underscore its bleakness or express the artist's fond or not-so-fond childhood memories of suburban life.

And finally…I can’t believe I’m writing this in 2011…survey shows that suggest, inaccurately, that men alone were the dominant forces in any given movement. Case in point: “Malevich and the American Legacy” at Gagosian uptown. It was curated by a woman, Andrea Crane, yet of 20 or so artists, only one is female: Agnes Martin. Surely it would not have been a stretch to include Jo Baer, Ann Truitt, or Dorothea Rockburne. Further, neither Karen Rosenberg in the Times nor Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker picked up on this.

I welcome additions to my list.

Mystic Suprematism, 1920-27
Oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 23 5/8 inches (100.5 x 60 cm)

Perhaps Malevich was sending a secret message of solidarity: 


Victoria Webb said...

I'm going to an opening tonight in Atlanta, curated by a well known local (male) artist. Out of 22 artists, including Kara Walker, there are only 6 women. That's less than 1/3 female to male.
Even other artists resort to gender bias.

Carol Diehl said...

Women, too, surprisingly enough. Just discovered that the curator for this show was a woman, Andrea Crane. Now that I'm aware of it, I will add that to the above.

Rob said...

Although I can't add to your list (and it is a good one) I just have to say how thankful I am that my art doesn't fit any of your RIP or moratorium categories.

Anonymous said...

Love the symbol-similarity observation! AP

Unknown said...

Trends, going...going by Carol Diehl
You are speaking from my heart. I can't agree more. You are the child that says loud : " But the Emperor is
naked ! " Thank you for seeing it as it is. So I don't feel so lonely and have to say I am to dumb to understand.

Chris Rusak said...

You can take away the garbage bags but what's going to happen to all the hipsters if you take away their glitter?

(I'm knitting you a soapbox and a megaphone and I hope you'll take it somewhere for impromptu performance. This list had me chuckling and nodding.)

martha miller said...

objects and/or bodily fluids in canning jars...

Carol Diehl said...

OMG, how could we have left out that one?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this list Carol-
I humbly submit for the Scatter Art category: Karen Kilimnik at 303 gallery.

oh dear, do we have to wander through your pile of artfully crushed plexi mirrors, record covers and scarves while listening to a horribly skipping recording of madonna's like a virgin??!

Eva said...

Whoa woman you are brutal and right on. I agree with it all.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Gagosian show yesterday......I wanted to love it, (and am so very moved many many of the works,) but the absence of women painters made it feel like a bit of a dark tomb in there. Perhaps there were few with high enough price points for Andrea Crane to consider them worthy? I think the the list of those who could be included is much longer. XO AP

CAP said...

I don't suppose Buffie Johnson will ever be rediscovered.

CAP said...

But if we're on a Minimalist tip, how can you go past Jay DeFeo's The Rose? 2D/3D immaculate interface, almost no color, as imposing as a bank vault. Makes Baer look like a bean counter.

West Coast Now!

CAP said...

Makes Stella look like the tiresome little pedant, he was.

Carol Diehl said...

I don't feel that way about Stella. His work was inspiring to me back in the day, and while I don't love everything he does now, at least he keeps experimenting and changing, unlike other artists of his generation who, with fame, seemed to get into a rut and stay there.

Kathy Hodge said...

Wow, you've hit all of my pet peeves! I especially appreciated
"--Anything behind a curtain or requiring headphones.
--Collections of nostalgic objects from the artist's life."

It's a challenge to go to a Brown U. or RISD exhibit these days that does not involve black curtains and headphones accompanying virtually every object. And the self indulgent navel-gazing art ("wow, that navel lint would make a great art piece if I collected it for a year and put it on a shallow ledge in the gallery."), don't get me started. Though I guess I did start.

Anyway, thanks for a great list.

Tracy Boyd said...

She was never lost. Take a look at her website at .