I love Rauschenberg. I love that he created a turning point in visual history, that he redefined the idea of beauty, that he combined painting, sculpture, photography, and everyday life with such gall, and that he was interested in, as he put it, 'the ability to conceive failure as progress.'
Damien Hirst is the Elvis of the English art world, its ayatollah, deliverer, and big-thinking entrepreneurial potty-mouthed prophet and front man. Hirst synthesizes punk, Pop Art, Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon, and Catholicism.
Chris Ofili's suave, stippled, visually tricked-out paintings of the nineties, with their allover fields of shimmering dots and clumps of dung, are like cave paintings of modern life. They crackle with optical cockiness, love, and massive amounts of painterly mojo.
The alchemy of good curating amounts to this: Sometimes, placing one work of art near another makes one plus one equal three. Two artworks arranged alchemically leave each intact, transform both, and create a third thing.
If only we could persuade galleries to observe a fallow period in which, for two months every other year, new and old works of art could be sold in back rooms and all main galleries would be devoted to revisiting shows gone by.
Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for upsized art and more of it. I've heard of photographers asked to print larger to increase the wall power and salability of their work. Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast.
Can space break? I mean the space of art galleries. Over the past 100 years, art galleries have gone from looking like Beaux Arts salons to simple storefronts to industrial lofts to the gleaming giant white cubes of Chelsea with their shiny concrete floors.