I wish I could write about shows outside New York. I often feel like the last person to know anything, because I almost never get to leave town, and when I do, I tend to go for three days max. Seeing between 30 and 40 shows a week in 100 or so galleries and museums takes up nearly all my time.
Willem de Kooning is generally credited for coming out of the painterly gates strong in the forties, revolutionizing art and abstraction and reaching incredible heights by the early fifties, and then tailing off.
Not to say people shouldn't get rich from art. I adore the alchemy wherein artists who cast a complex spell make rich people give them their money. (Just writing it makes me cackle.) But too many artists have been making money without magic.
Many museums are drawing audiences with art that is ostensibly more entertaining than stuff that just sits and invites contemplation. Interactivity, gizmos, eating, hanging out, things that make noise - all are now the norm, often edging out much else.
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.
'Untitled' is a time machine that can transport you to 1992, an edgy moment when the art world was crumbling, money was scarce, and artists like Tiravanija were in the nascent stages of combining Happenings, performance art, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and the do-it-yourself ethos of punk. Meanwhile, a new art world was coming into being.
Everyone goes to the same exhibitions and the same parties, stays in the same handful of hotels, eats at the same no-star restaurants, and has almost the same opinions. I adore the art world, but this is copycat behavior in a sphere that prides itself on independent thinking.
In the seventies, a group of American artists seized the means not of production but of reproduction. They tore apart visual culture at a time of no money, no market, and no one paying attention except other artists. Vietnam and Watergate had happened; everything in America was being questioned.