Let me begin with an anecdote to open this review, which is only marginally relevant to what is to follow. You’ll like this because when I finally come back to the subject you’ll go, ‘…oooh, clever!’
For too long we have had to put up with an art world that isn’t what we want. And that is unacceptable. For many reasons the bad people are always in charge of the art world instead of you and me, which is ironic because we are actually the ones in charge.
Or to put that another way, on the day after tomorrow when you and I are really, finally in charge of stuff, we will do things differently.
So that’s the thing on which everything that follows is based: ressentiment. That’s French, oui.
So now I have complained, here is the part about the glossy museum gallery exhibition.
The thing that I don’t like about these works of art is that they are too small. But they are also very large. It doesn’t make me feel happy. Just hungry.
I was reminded of something I saw on first glance but then I realised that I had thought too soon and glanced too often. Looking is so underrated. Preconceptions are also bad, especially if the artist is from Chy-na!
This artwork is a good example of the things that I like because it’s better than things I don’t like, which is why I am often wearing blue suede boat shoes. The artist has made a number of assumptions about the viewer, which I am going to ignore because I charge $1 a word for this and so I must think big thoughts.
For the most part this review is not about the art but about my heroic struggle to overcome my disappointment.
The artist has worked softly and with conviction and I’m happy to meet them halfway, but when I meet them there they have already gone home. So I will talk about my own precious theories on art and then throw serious shade on some old and/or dead artists and then do a victory lap around social media because I am a happy battery-operated flower. And you?
At this point I could start quoting the artist directly because, in a surprise move, this isn’t actually a critical review but a ‘profile’ which is a fancy way of saying that we will spend the next several paragraphs discussing the artist’s garden, children and large dog/car.
Now we get to know the artist. What are her hopes and dreams and where does she do her shopping in Melbourne (or Adelaide if we’re desperate for content)? Then we get back to notions of memory because the artist is all about turning them upside down and inside out. “Upside down you’re turning me. You’re giving love instinctively, around and round you’re turning me,” says the artist as she places some flowers in a vase in an airy kitchen.
In the last few paragraphs I am allowed to go a bit crazy with my own philosophising because the reader is a bit tired and is just skimming, and so is the editor, who likely just glanced at the word length and thought, whatever, fine.
Art history. Who needs it? That’s a rhetorical question because the answer is, you don’t need it. It’s for chumps. What I have instead is the conviction of my own opinions, and if I’m short of factual stuff to pad out my review I can always just quote large chunks of the press release, which is written by bots too.
In a late turn I realise that I actually like this art. My expectations were not only met, but in fact, something I didn’t know was presented to me in a way that I actually liked so I am going to throw all caution to the wind and praise it as a masterwork because where else is there left to go but over the top?
More ominously I conclude that this art is symptomatic of everything that’s wrong with everything that’s wrong with art, and muster a vigorous moral condemnation of the artist and their work, despite the fact the thing the art is about is the thing I think is wrong with it i.e. the subject or theme of the art is about the very thing that I am condemning. Yes, the artist actually agrees with me but I refuse to be patronised.
Certainly there are contradictions in my view but I am very old/young so it hardly matters. What matters most now is that I must tie up my opening offtopic anecdote with a clever conclusion that leaves you guessing but also impressed. Ooh clever!
Published by Art Guide, October 24, 2019.