Karen Kilimnik’s Teenage Dream

I’ve always favored macho art, art that packs a solid dose of testosterone. My art collecting alter ego, whom I’ve dubbed Duc Jean des Esseintes, and who has curated the inaugural exhibition at my new gallery, Venus Over Manhattan, also preferred big, bold statements—large outdoor sculptures, super-sized paintings, almost anything oversized and impractical. Des Esseintes’s exhibition, called “À Rebours,” is named for and based on a 19th-century novel that describes… Read more

Who Is Alex Israel, and Why Should I Care?

Alex Israel is a youngish L.A. artist whose pastel-color panel paintings look like the sets of ’80s porn flicks; they’ve been selling like hotcakes at chic galleries in Paris and Berlin. I tried to see his recent one-man show at the übercool and cutting-edge Lower East Side gallery Reena Spaulings Fine Art, but the gallery is so übercool and cutting edge that, on the Friday afternoon I chose for my… Read more

Is It the Art or Is It the Hype?

“Is it the art or is it the hype?” I’ve been asked this question so many times it makes me ill. It always comes from those who don’t look at art and are trying to explain why they don’t buy it. In a skeptical tone they slip me this line on a regular basis. “Yes,” I tell them with a smile, “it’s all a fraud. These contemporary art stars are… Read more

All Hail Cindy Sherman! Once Again, Unanimity Rules Among New York’s Longtime Critics

I will never cease to be amazed by how much consensus I find among New York’s leading art critics as they all hail and salute the same things, or for that matter, as they all gang up and bash the same things, as they did with Maurizio Cattelan’s recent Guggenheim retrospective.   The unanimity bothers me; I wish someone would offer some counterpoint to the prevailing view, bring some fresh… Read more

Sushi in the Desert: Takashi Murakami Brings His ‘Ego’ to Qatar

It was a long 15-hour flight to Doha, Qatar, to see Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s latest mega show. Why would I bother flying all the way around the world to see paintings I’ve mostly seen already? Perhaps because, according to the BBC, Qatar has quietly invested over $1.25 billion in art over the past five years—in fact, I’d bet it’s double that—and also because they are part of what’s keeping… Read more

A Real Cut-Up: Bjarne Melgaard’s Novella Is Shocking, Gory, Thought-Provoking and Hilarious

Often, you just can’t put a book down, because you can’t escape the cheap thrill of wanting to know what happens next. As you plunge into Alarma! BOYFRIENDS, the Norwegian artist/author/polemicist Bjarne Melgaard’s fantasy novella of gore, sex, death and dismemberment, you will likely purse your lips in disgust, but, at the same time, catch yourself laughing inside: laughing at the insanity and the perverse pleasure of it all.… Read more

Put Me in the Zoo: Thinking about Damien Hirst, as a Bedtime Story

Put Me in the Zoo is a famous children’s book by Robert Lopshire, originally released in 1960 on Dr. Seuss’s publishing imprint. It tells the story of a spotted leopard who can change his spots and their colors, and can even juggle them. He fails to convince two children that he is special enough to be in the zoo, and in the end they tell him where he belongs, and… Read more

The End of the Art World in 2012

Let’s humor the doomsday prophets: what if the art world ends in 2012?   The web has been rife with Mayan predictions of a 2012 doomsday on Dec. 21. This date was discovered on a stele carving at a little known archaeological site in Tabasco, Mexico, and it points to the day that the gods of the underworld will rise up to destroy the world as we know it. These… Read more

Remembering John McWhinnie: A letter to a great dealer and friend

The relationship between a dealer and a client is sometimes all business, but it can also be about friendship. John, you were one of the most interesting friends anyone could have had because you were a total original. You were the only one to deal in a manner that informed both the book world and the art world. There was no one like you, nor is there likely to be:… Read more

Auld Lang Syne: The Best Exhibitions of 2011 and a Resolution for 2012

As 2011 grinds to a halt, it’s time again for the ol’ “top of the pops” list. Here are five great shows, some special mentions and my personal New Year’s resolution, which I hope you will read while drinking a tall glass of eggnog.   1. David Hammons at L&M Arts   Back in February, I wrote that Mr. Hammons’s exhibition was an instant contender for best of the year,… Read more
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