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More WhitCrit, this time from January Blog. I like blogs that talk about work. Yes, Midnight Dusters gets Elaine Sturtevant completely wrong, and mistakes Jutta Koether for Trisha Donnelly, but that's where commenters are helpful (they were right on top of it).
Wednesday I attended the less glamor more clamor, second, "artists'" opening of the Whitney Biennial. My first impression of the exhibition was that it was almost unbearably arch, clever, cold, soulless and ultimately depressing. I hated it. [No second impression is stated so this criticism will have to stand. --tm] The focus of the show seemed to be very much about "issues" that the art world seems to care about, not all of which are formal, but which seem to have little relevance in the world at large (witness Matthew Day Jackson's handmade, kitsch-owl commanded covered wagon with its bonnet of sewn-together state flags and undercarriage of rainbow colored fluorescent tubes). Not to be outdone, the worst work in the show was a series of large fake monoliths by Dan Colen. Giant (6 feet or so high by about the same in circumference) gray zoo-rocks covered in chewed gum wads and graffiti rest on 6" high wooden triangles carved to spell out "phrases from the street" like "eat shit and die." Everything about the objects themselves is overly precious and, like the art direction for West Side Story, completely removed from the physical reality of its ostensible subject matter.That's pretty tough, let's have some more:
Peter Doig's much anticipated paintings were shockingly old-fashioned. [Why shocking? They've always been old fashioned. --tm]
Less devastating is the continued presence of "rock art." Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla's Sweat Glands is a large video projection of a lady rocker playing a guitar around a monolithic amp. Maybe it's a 2001 reference? Who cares?
Trisha Donnelly, a performance/installation artist from San Francisco,Jutta Koether presents a big room with one panel of silver plastic curtain streamers [in] the middle of the room, a very large Marlene Dumas-ish ink on canvas of a naked woman on one wall, a silver Swiss Ball, perhaps a mirror ball? and a collection of shabbily-made flat-black wood panels with "abject teen" notes pinned to them. I wasn't present for one of the unscheduled performances, which are intended to "disrupt the temporal logic" of the exhibition.