Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great Moments in Bullshit

Writing about art always has dangers for the unwary, and never more when it's modern works being rhapsodically described. Here's one unfortunate partial paragraph by Peter Schjeldahl from the May 4, 2009 New Yorker:
If any single work at the Met show ["The Pictures Generation," of '70s and early '80s work] could stand for all, it would be one of a series executed with minimal labor, in 1979, by the artist Sherrie Levine: fashion ads from glossy magazines trimmed to the contours of the profiled heads of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and framed. Looking at them, you register the sainted Presidents and the soignee models -- and the forms of silhouette and of color photography -- in stuttering alternation. Your brain can't grasp both at once. Nor can your heart. The images aren't neutral. They come loaded with political and social associations, bearing on notions of "America." With diabolical efficiency, Levine made good on a claim commonly advanced for Pictures art: spurring consciousness of how, and to what ends, representations affect us.
Uh huh. Sure they do.

(Example one. Example two.)

No comments:

Post a Comment