Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

Trends, going...going...

March 15, 2011 - 10:07pm -- Carol Diehl

In times like these, it’s important to think about the things we can be grateful for. I, for one, was pleased to realize, during my recent perambulations through the art fairs and Chelsea, that the artistic infatuation with images from the media has finally subsided. For well over a decade, almost everything you saw in the galleries was a riff on advertising, product packaging, cartoons, or old TV sitcoms and now—pouf! —it’s gone. May it R.I.P.

So does this signal a move to more original imagery? New forms? One hopes! There are, however, still a few impulses left over from the last century that we could happily retire:

--Stuffed animals.

--Porn (although rediscovered by every generation, it tends to always look the same) and/or art that flaunts the artist's sexual orientation (a.k.a. “sexual identity”).

--Black plastic garbage bags (favored by students for their economy of means; hopefully David Hammons is marking the end of their run as an art material).

--Anything behind a curtain or requiring headphones.

--Collections of nostalgic objects from the artist's life.

--Random notations about same.

--The above, accompanied by images that suggest the artist has not developed artistically or emotionally since the eighth grade.

--Scatter art.

And while we're at it, let's also call for a moratorium on:

--Sequins and glitter.

--Anything that references women's craftwork from the 19th century, including but not limited to, knitting and crocheting.

--Images of suburbia designed to underscore its bleakness or express the artist's fond or not-so-fond childhood memories of suburban life.

And finally…I can’t believe I’m writing this in 2011…survey shows that suggest, inaccurately, that men alone were the dominant forces in any given movement. Case in point: “Malevich and the American Legacy” at Gagosian uptown. It was curated by a woman, Andrea Crane, yet of 20 or so artists, only one is female: Agnes Martin. Surely it would not have been a stretch to include Jo Baer, Ann Truitt, or Dorothea Rockburne. Further, neither Karen Rosenberg in the Times nor Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker picked up on this.

I welcome additions to my list.

Mystic Suprematism, 1920-27
Oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 23 5/8 inches (100.5 x 60 cm)

Perhaps Malevich was sending a secret message of solidarity: 


Trends, going...going by Carol Diehl
You are speaking from my heart. I can't agree more. You are the child that says loud : " But the Emperor is
naked ! " Thank you for seeing it as it is. So I don't feel so lonely and have to say I am to dumb to understand.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Thank you for this list Carol-
I humbly submit for the Scatter Art category: Karen Kilimnik at 303 gallery.

oh dear, do we have to wander through your pile of artfully crushed plexi mirrors, record covers and scarves while listening to a horribly skipping recording of madonna's like a virgin??!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I saw the Gagosian show yesterday......I wanted to love it, (and am so very moved many many of the works,) but the absence of women painters made it feel like a bit of a dark tomb in there. Perhaps there were few with high enough price points for Andrea Crane to consider them worthy? I think the the list of those who could be included is much longer. XO AP

Wow, you've hit all of my pet peeves! I especially appreciated
"--Anything behind a curtain or requiring headphones.
--Collections of nostalgic objects from the artist's life."

It's a challenge to go to a Brown U. or RISD exhibit these days that does not involve black curtains and headphones accompanying virtually every object. And the self indulgent navel-gazing art ("wow, that navel lint would make a great art piece if I collected it for a year and put it on a shallow ledge in the gallery."), don't get me started. Though I guess I did start.

Anyway, thanks for a great list.

Add new comment