Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth.

There should be a special place in hell for galleries and the little shits who work for them who refuse to allow gallery goers the right to use their fucking johns. I'm talking to you Hauser & Wirth and that little pile of dung who had his face buried in his dumb phone who told me that the John was for private use only. Well fuck him and fuck your gallery and all the other galleries in Chelsea who are heartless and soulless and who can't be human enough to let us piss. I piss on you. Which brings me to some of the shows I saw today on this pissy rainy day.
I’ll start with the mediocrity that Hauser and his friend Wirth now have on view with splendid nothingness. I'm talking about the very large and empty canvases by Mark Bradford. Listen I just don't get it. I don't get how or why this guy is getting all this attention fame and lots of moola for these somewhat pretty but vapid wrapping paper (think Christmas) like dreck that got him a so called genius grant from The MacArthur Foundation. I have my guesses why this happened, but I'll keep them to myself for now Is this an example of what some critics are calling zombie painting, if so I get it because these things are dead and lifeless but still slightly breathing and coming at you.
He also did what seems like the obligatory "video installation" piece that are usually set up in some dark and very big space. This one according to the press release brings back the spirit of the discos and nightclubs of the 1970's and 1980's and evokes the period before AIDS changed everything. To be fair I didn't go into this installation because as I’ve said many times I stopped going into dark rooms after my pocket got picket in the back room of the Anvil back in the good old days of the 70's and 80's so I don't need Mr. Bradford to bring it all back for me. There is also a large (the press release refers to it as monumental) drape like work that is colorful and derivative (think Alan Shields) titled "Waterfall" that takes up space and just hangs there like some pile of rags left over from that other "genius" Oscar Murillo's work except his rags were placed on the floor. Hanging, or on the floor what does it matter, they’re just rags to me, no matter how pretty they might be.
I don’t know why some painters think that all they need to do is hang some piles of things in the middle of a gallery or drop them on the floor and bingo they have a great piece of sculpture all ready for the Moma to buy. The gallery and artist try to pass this stuff off as having political connotations which is bullshit. Again I quote from the press release “Bradford is admired for his uncanny ability to conflate the chaos of social and political forces with a particularly rigorous physical and conceptual approach to each canvas. Say what? These are easy decorative over the couch (granted you would need to have a very big couch and a very big wall) paintings and just because an artist is black and gay (Whoops I gave my MacArthur guesses gay) does not make vapid work political and I think that this hooey and the blandness of the work is what really riled me up about these paintings never mind that I had to take a wicked pee. I will talk soon about the very good shows I saw today including some exhibitions of sublime paintings by Brice Marden and Giorgio Morandi and terrific shows of sculptures by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and Jean Tinguely.


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