I recently criticized Jerry Saltz for his group scold of contemporary painters, and today on the Vulture blog Saltz names a name, slamming Thomas Eggerer's show at Petzel:
The second I saw Thomas Eggerer's current large show at Petzel Gallery — the artist's fourth here since 2004—I thought, This overrated art star is way out of gas, going through the motions.
As I lingered, looking, going from work to work and back again, things only devolved. I thought, I know this feeling. It's that, sadly, these purposeless humdrum shows by fairly well-known artists are becoming more common. At the risk of boring you with a little description, all the paintings are pointlessly big, physically unoriginal, and aimlessly narrative. All are said to be priced in the $40,000-to-$100,000 range....
But, Saltz concludes, Eggerer isn't the only one experiencing a rough patch. He proposes that the problem is endemic to many of the artists producing work for the global networks of megagalleries:
We all have bad outings. Yet the kind of bottoming-out of overpriced highly marketed artists that we see now regularly in megagalleries is, increasingly, not confined to those spaces. It's become systemic. Eggerer is just another blue-chip artist who was overvalued and overrated from the beginning. The market did what the market does with artists like him. So did curators. That's nothing new. But the sort of flagrant bottoming-out that Eggerer evinces is being repeated all over the globe, in spaces both mega and not. Artists and galleries are sliding away from the artistic depths — confused yet confident, with compasses broken.I agree that when artists turn their studio practices into factories to stock megagalleries and art fairs, art suffers. Boatloads of bad art find their way into the world. But when I saw Eggerer's show, I liked the way the paint was slapped on the canvas next to the outlined stock-photo figures. I assumed Eggerer was exploring a more Casualist approach.
Images above: Thomas Eggerer, 2013 installation views at Petzel. And here is some work from earlier exhibitions:
Thomas Eggerer, The Rules of the Fence, 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas, 87.5 x 104 inches
Thomas Eggerer, The Privilege of the Roof, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 92 inches.
"Thomas Eggerer: Gesture and Territory," Petzel, Chelsea, New York, NY. through November 9, 2013.
NYTimes Art in Review: Chris Ofili, Elif Uras, Thomas Eggerer (2007)