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Gallery Going: Four Seasons in the Art World
Gallery Going Four Seasons in the Art World Author:Jed Perl Jed Perl on the art scene: — The entire history of art now looks like an Arabian bazaar, and our only defense against the dishonest and the second-rate is our freedom to choose. — The big museum retrospectives of classic artists are megabusters for intellectuals -King Tut with scholarly catalogues- but the scholarship just becomes another kind of ... more »media blitz: a media blitz that intellectuals are embarrassed to complain about.
On classic artists-
Gauguin. The middle-aged folks who’ve chucked families and conventional careers in order to go off on their own are driven like the rest of us- with the difference that they’re driven to run away from their own drives. In Gauguin’s face we recognize the origin of their look, which is blissed out but also more than a little calculating. Gauguin is the first of a breed; he takes his fantasy into reality and sees, like it or not, how the measure up. He’s an original- the king of middle-aged dropouts.
Dali. Dali is the Liberace of modern art. His personality was so theatrically overdetermined that it began to look tame- as tamely domesticated as the pet ocelot, defanged and declawed, that he led around on a leash.
On contemporary artists-
David Hockney. Hockney’s subjects are leisure-time fun, modern relationships, and the buyables with which we all want to surround ourselves. Slipping into his show is like opening the New York Times to the “Home” section: you’re avoiding the real stuff.
Balthus. Holding himself apart from the passing parade, Balthus has managed (is it a paradox?) to respond to the modern world with more originality than most of his au courant contemporaries. Balthus- that snob, that dandy, that elitist- is a prime mover in our hidden avant-garde. « less