July 5, 2007

Wrangling over Rudolf Stingel

Leslie Camhi in the Village Voice: “Zigzagging between figuration and abstraction, his disparate oeuvre is filled with conceptual antics, optical pleasures, and abject traces of his melancholy presence.... At times visually dazzling, his work is also strangely off-putting—flirting on the one hand with decay, and on the other with pure decoration….There's an emperor's-new-clothes-ish quality to some of the work, where the artist's radical economy of means (a constant) falls short of the desired effect. But the finest pieces are both conceptually challenging and optically enthralling.” Read more.

Roberta Smith in the NYTimes: This show stands a good chance of fulfilling that old avant-garde imperative 'épater le bourgeois' — shock the bourgeoisie. Some people may walk through it in five minutes, scoffing. But I doubt that anyone can move fast enough to evade its challenges to conventional ideas of painting, taste and progress." Read more.

Charlie Finch on artnet: "Most of Stingel’s stuff, however you want to justify his process (carving, etc.), is basically a throwaway, as perhaps intended. You have seen it all before, and if you want this kind of process, let me refer you to Jay DeFeo. In the press packet, Whit curator Chrissie Iles grandiosely compares Stingel’s wallpaper to the recently reopened Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Is the Taj Mahal safe from obsequious comparison?" Read more.

Lance Esplund in New York Sun: "Have the Whitney, its curators, and its favored contemporary artists literally run out of ideas? Or, having built an institution and multiple careers around the death of art and painting, are they now so stuck in the cliché, so afraid to do anything that may suggest that contemporary art is not dead, that they are actually willing to ride that cliché for another five decades just to save face?" Read more.

Ariella Budick in Newsday: "After a career of leaving only cryptic traces, Stingel suddenly decided to portray himself in literal detail....Two decades of lovely vagueness has apparently primed the artist's thirst to be understood. Perhaps he will one day find an equally evocative way of being explicit, but for now he makes me miss the mystery." Read more.

More reviews to come.

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