April 21, 2012

The Musée du Quai Branly mixes old with new too.

April 12, 2012

Urs’ success makes him chatty.

April 9, 2012

‘Ole Gunther blames Israel for the woes of the World… why not look in the mirror first? If you can.

April 5, 2012

Damien’s shows at the Tate and V&A get yawny reviews.

March 29, 2012

Wow this is bad! Buy primary so you know it’s real? As my grandfather always said, you get what you pay for.

March 16, 2012

Roberta Smith lowers the boom on Adel Abdessemed’s show at Zwirner… one of the best negative reviews in a while. Read it here.

March 13, 2012

Read how funny Peter Marino is… this is so in your face!!

March 10, 2012

Read Artinfo’s list of 10 collectors who make arts fairs fun. Glad someone reminded us we’ve been having fun… I’d forgotten.

March 6, 2012

Sam Thorne makes the case in this month’s Frieze that the best critics are part timers. Hear, hear!

March 3, 2012

The acclaim for Cindy Sherman’s retrospective at MoMA has been near unanimous. Roberta Smith’s contribution to the love fest is only tempered by her scolding that the show itself doesn’t quite live up to Sherman’s supposed greatness.

February 24, 2012

Read this lackluster review… then go see the exciting show.

February 21, 2012

Read this beautifully worded indictment of American imperialism in this book review, it makes me think of Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places: “You have wasted 600 millions of treasure. You have sacrificed nearly 10,000 American lives — the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit,” he said. “Your practical statesmanship has succeeded in converting a people who three years ago were ready to kiss the hem of the garment of the American and to welcome him as liberator . . . into sullen and irreconcilable enemies, possessed of a hatred which centuries cannot eradicate.”

February 14, 2012

Here’s an interesting recap on Hirst’s spots where Ben Davis breaks rank with the party line and admits he likes the shows… right on Ben! Just skip his last paragraph, which gets mushy…”

February 12, 2012

Read this: David Zwirner slams the online art fair. If it fails, what about all those online auction sites currently raising money like Paddle 8, Blacklots, Exhibition A, etc? How will they fare? What is the future of art sales online? Do not ask for whom the bell tolls? Ouch!

February 12, 2012

This one looks interesting. The artist disavows the work… wow, what a Pandora’s box… and it’s no surprise Marc Jancou found it and opened it.

February 6, 2012

EN EXCLUSIVO! Alarma! BOYFRIENDS, Bjarne Melgaard’s new novella. Click on the title to read an excerpt.

February 6, 2012

The Guggenheim’s international vision seems to be stalling,Deutsche Guggenheim will close…

February 1, 2012

Sad, terrible news.

January 31, 2012

John McWhinnie wrote this message to his friend David Matterhorn, it was read at his memorial, it’s so great, read it here:
“o.k matterhorn? It’s just my opinion, just one man’s opinion, just the man’s opinion, just The Man’s opinion – and so thought of that way, doesn’t need to be given much heed, except that it comes from me, the Man Who Is To Be Heeded because he is heading to a state of aesthetic godliness, which isn’t next to cleanliness (cleanliness is down the hall, two rights, then take a left at the elevator banks) but rather next to shoddiness, which makes for a much funner form of godliness (in fact, it gives one liberties that most humans would only dream of). So you see, what I say is a mere raindrop in a thunder storm in an amazon rain forest: a single raindrop which is, however, capable of being seen from space, from deep, deep space, a space so deep and infinite and awesome that if you were to take a picture from the furthest point at which my awesome raindrop was visible (with the most sophisticated telescope) you’d see my iris looking back at you!

Your Friend

January 22, 2012

Read this interesting assessment of Cattelan’s retirement by his friend, the heavyweight curator Francesco Bonami, in Artforum. I think it’s a loving and insightful look. One thing, however, is missed, in my view, which is the very point I missed when I did my own review of the show in the Observer. Cattelan has always played the outsider-insider of the art world, but now with multi-million dollar prices and a full-on Guggenheim retrospective, he’s cemented his status as an A+ list insider; he’s one of the art world’s mega artists with megabucks prices to prove it. So, the joke’s over, he can’t make jokes anymore into art, because the only remaining joke when you are inside the inside of the art world is a joke about yourself, and that’s just a one liner, so it’s not art anymore.

January 20, 2012

George W. Bush

“[A] bone to pick, some grizzle to chew”—nice!

Richard Pevear is a grown-up. He’s well known as the translator, with his wife Larissa Volokonsky, of a big bunch of Russian books. Thirty years ago he published two books of poems: Night Talk and Other Poems, and Exchanges. This is from Exchanges:

“In folk tales, what we’ve come to consider the human world, the REAL real world, is the animal realm, the fox-world. The fox-world is the world of the arbitrary, of appetite, greed and envy, of eat-and-be-eaten, of physiological fate, of business and power—in other words, the order of nature. (Why the “fox-world”? Not only because tricks are played in it, but because it is itself a trick, as the Fox occasionally admits.) The human world in folk tales is expanded to include the magical, the demonic, the supernatural, the monsters of evil and fear, the little agents of good (the singing tree, the talking bird, the water of life). And there are some absolutes: faithfulness, courage, intelligence.”


Indeed, it’s a jungle “out there”. Children’s stories are so powerful, folk tales only more so…Thank you for this beautiful quote. Did you ever read Borges’ “Pierre Menard autor del Quijote”, where Pierre Menard rewrites the Quijote but it means something different altogether. Here I tried to rewrite “Put me in the zoo’, in a perfect world I would have just paraphrased it letter by letter, and it would have been a different story altogether…all the same and all different! Spot on Richard Pevear!

George W. Bush

You might want to reread Borges’s story. For one thing, it’s just a wonderful story. For another, you’ll note that Menard only rewrites the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Don Quixote and a fragment of chapter twenty-two. Only an American conceptual artist would rewrite the whole Don Quixote. And what you’ve done is braver. Your writing is full of foolishness, open to ridicule–but it’s alive–and there are one or two good things in there. Joseph McElroy, the truly great American writer, once told me this: “Keep writing. You’ll learn what you have to say AND what you are saying.” Of course I immediately stopped writing. (Then I became President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world!) You’re smarter than I am. Take Joe’s advice.

January 17, 2012

Peter Schjeldahl is a good writer… in his last review he explained to us why Maurizio Cattelan is NOT an artist. I know Cattelan, he is many things… good or bad he’s definitely an artist. Now, in his Hirst review he again reveals his blindest spot, an artist engaging the art market. That’s why he writes sentences like: “The pleasures of indignation tend to be spoiled, for Americans, by obvious intentions to incur it, given the native abundance of spontaneous occasions.” Peter, is a great critic, and this show has some issues, but this sentence means what? Please don’t  just slam the whole YBA group, toss Rachel Whiteread a passing compliment (P.S. I totally disagree) and throw some confusing sentences at Hirst. Those artists formerly known as Young British Artists were part of what is now a meaningless categorization created by Charles Saatchi for marketing purposes. THE artist that made it all happen is Damien Hirst, so good or bad, he changed the Art World. You can’t dismiss him until you prove you understand him… 

January 13, 2012

Read Roberta Smith’s well-written description of the Hirst “Spot Paintings” show; though it plays to both the Hirst fans and Hirst foes, it does both extremely well. It’s almost like Damien got so big he’s bigger than any critic’s review, so it can only be described as a phenomenon, a fact , a spectacle, a news item, it’s beyond “good” or “bad”, and that is something to think about. The only question that isn’t addressed is timing, why now? Maybe that’s what I’ll write my next article on.

January 9, 2012

You once asked me to narrate the tale of how my once illustrious, but now tragically fallen, family played a role in the first thanksgiving and to give you an account of how thanksgiving truly began. That day I refused your request: but it is clear to me that rumors of the hidden shame my family brought upon our young nation has escaped from our small circle of friends and migrated to its nether regions. Just last night Heather, perhaps aware of some of the sketchy history of my family’s ignoble role in the creation of Thanksgiving, requested to hear the sordid tale. And so I’ve decided that it’s time to face squarely the terrible misdeeds of my ancestors and to tell you all something of our tawdry past and, in the telling, convey some of the terror that Thanksgiving holds for me and the entire McWhinnie brood. This Thanksgiving I’ll break my silence and tell you about the tradition of thanksgiving and in doing so, perhaps purge some the enormous guilt carried by the McWhinnie name: a guilt so profound that I tremble when I think of it, and in the trembling, shake too, and while shaking, start to quake a little, and finally, a little quivering – the dreaded, unholy, quivering, unnerving me and shaking at the very place where our souls meet the body and in that conjoinment, make us the spiritual animals, carne and logos, we are each fated to be.
Read More…

January 8, 2012

John, I can’t believe this tragedy for all your friends and fans, we miss you, we want you back.

January 3, 2012

Read Roberta Smith’s confused review of this new museum. She doesn’t even address the main issues. For instance, what is the meaning of creating a brand new anthological style museum in 2012 that is doomed to fail? And how much money was spent? Have they done a good, bad or indifferent job? Then there’s the weird final paragraph where she starts lecturing about how art is not simply the plaything of the rich…is she that uneasy about her own role? did we need a lecture? Is something rotten in Denmark???

January 3, 2012

Months late, Randy Kennedy tries to summarize the issues surrounding the Richard Prince litigation. He does a nice job, but misses the point, because the fact is that this litigation is about Prince making a lot of money, which is what has made him a target. I’ve spoken to Prince, Carriou and his lawyer… reread my article here. All those artists out there ripping images off the net will never be sued… they’re not worth suing! Isn’t it weird how these critics always shy away from the main point of the story? It’s the one they don’t understand and don’t want to – there’s an unwritten rule they respect, like a vow of celibacy.

January 3, 2012

Wow, read this surreal apology where Saltz makes bizarre excuses for appearing on an idiotic TV show for 2 seasons, and undermining what little credibility he had. He claims he won’t do it again(I guess they fired him?)And then he likens himself to a Moby Dick survivor? This Jonah’s been swallowed by the whale long ago -Hey bro’, thou doth protest too much! I have a good idea for this year’s TV show, it’ll be the Gilligan’s island of art, and guess who’s playing Gilligan? Lo siento hermano!

December 23, 2011

You may talk o’ gin an’ beer

When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,

An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;

But if it comes to slaughter

You will do your work on water

An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.

Now in Injia’s sunny clime,

Where I used to spend my time

A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,

Of all them black-faced crew

The finest man I knew

Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.

Read more…

December 23, 2011

Nice show at Luxembourg & Dayan. See this worthwhile show before it closes January 14.

December 22, 2011

Goodbye John, you will be missed, I’m really sorry you missed your overdue retrospective at the Guggenheim, but you left us the work, thank you!

December 18, 2011

Everything about Kim Jong-il is so interesting, he’s the most surreal character I can imagine. Now the press is demonizing the son, Kim Jong-un, calling him cruel, etc., though we don’t know anything about him. The Korean War was tragic and still very misunderstood by us, this fascinating and terrifying legacy remains 60 years later… just think of those nuclear bombs and who’s really in charge, we haven’t a clue what this is all about.

December 17, 2011

Though is may feel nonsensical, read Olav Velthuis’s interesting views on why art prices are, and will remain, high.

December 17, 2011

Read more about the $17M fake Pollock, this is explosive.

December 16, 2011

Check out this hilarious Richard Prince interview.

December 12, 2011

Here’s an interview with Maurizio Cattelan that’s causing a HUGE ruckus. It’s in Paris Match, in French.

December 10, 2011

Read this fairly uninteresting article about Gagosian’s upcoming Hirst spot painting show, where we glean 2 important facts and 1 self-evident truth: 1 there are 1400 spot paintings, 2 there are 4800 Hirst works of art (vs. Warhol’s 10k and Picasso’s 40k). Is that too many? You tell me what the growth of the art market will be and I can answer you, but if the market doesn’t grow, then… if it does, then…

December 8, 2011

For those of you that have a problem with how much Damien Hirst makes from his work: read this.

December 2, 2011

The lament of the great Charles Saatchi… is he the cause or the cure? Or perhaps these days, he’s neither. Hence, his sudden need to make a statement.

December 2, 2011

Read this piece in The New York Times on Knoedler selling fake Pollocks and Motherwells for millions. I even know the guy who got screwed out of $17M. This is craazzzy stuff… Knoedler went out of business probably because they will be sued for a hundred million dollars. I saw one of these pass at auction too, so this is the beginning of big trouble……

November 26, 2011

You must read this outrageous article in The New York Times on Ronald Lauder and giving art to your own foundation, as well as other tax strategies.

This man has given so much to MoMA and he created the Neue Galerie, a superb private museum, where he is currently exhibiting his private collection, which you must see!! That said, his timing is poor, it’s not a good time to show what you own, and screen the walls with “Collection of Ronald S. Lauder” all over. Nonetheless, he’s done GREAT things for art in this city, I enjoy his museum tremendously… I’d rather see some art than have his tax dollars go to so many other things the US government foots the tab for.

October 6, 2011

Here’s the Artforum review on Haim Steinbach. It’s all wrong. The work is not about consumerism, it’s about seeing and context. It’s about place and rhythm and language and form, that’s why the objects he uses are virtually worthless, it’s not about consumption.

Haim Steinbach

09.08.11-10.22.11 Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

The Kong is the most represented object in the latest iterations of Haim Steinbach’s signature shelf assemblages. It is a curvaceous rubber form that comes in a variety of colors, the size of a small fist. Somewhere between a Brancusi and a butt plug, the Kong is in fact a dog toy, but in this exhibition, only canine connoisseurs would recognize it as such. Throughout the show, the Kong bookends and supplements frog-shaped cookie jars, a ducklike Alessi soap dispenser, a Star Wars trooper, and an amateur rendition of Mr. Peanut carved in wood, among other anthropomorphic objects. The show’s title, “Creature,” evinces a continuation of Steinbach’s ongoing procedure in which a variety of different things—useful as well as useless—become equivalents when placed on the same artisanally crafted ledge. Next to Darth Vader, for example, even a drainpipe can assume character.

The structure of the show is itself akin to one of the curated shelves; while the flow from one selection to the next exhibits meticulous orchestration, the selector’s standpoint remains characteristically oblique. The room adjacent to the shelved collections features exquisite vitrines within which small copies of Degas sculptures stand atop beat-up wooden stools. Upstairs, temporary drywall partitions clad with different wallpaper patterns lead to a black surface where white lettering reads: YOU DON’T SEE IT, DO YOU? It is never clear what “it” is, yet it could be that artworks become intractably bound to the luxury interiors they inhabit, irrespective of the social context out of which they initially emerged. The show’s culmination is a completely white room that is intersected by a large beam on which a toy version of the sea monster from the filmic Black Lagoon rests. Positioned as the mute conclusion to the show, this creature fails to communicate what is perhaps the unspoken undercurrent of the exhibition: that commodity fetishism works to merge the human body with the inanimate, thereby commingling desire with death. The fact that every object in the show, however, looks like something one could employ for sexual pleasure or unidirectional conversation may hint at why we continue to ceaselessly buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have.