John Yau of the Brooklyn Rail in a review of Suzan Frecon and Al Taylor's solo shows this past October, begins with a break down of the mainstream's ..." familiar positions taken by critics on the hunt for innovative art."
"1. Abstract art (or “academic formalist painting”) can only be about itself because that’s what an earlier generation of formalist critics declared. One wonders what Forrest Bess, Alfred Jensen, and Myron Stout, not to mention Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, Alma Thomas, and Nicholas Krushenick might have said about this.
2. Abstraction is the worst form of elitism, and all art after Andy Warhol has to employ modern means of production as well as appeal to a broad public. The anti-elitist stance isn’t pro-democratic, but a deluded attempt to be in touch with “the people.”
3. Whereas form was previously thought to have triumphed over content, the reverse is now true. Neither critical position wants to explore how form and content are inseparable and inform each other, which requires another kind of looking and thinking.
4. The cream always rises to the top, which means the marketplace is the true measure of the validity of art. If it hasn’t done well in the marketplace, then it should be ignored or dismissed in the harshest terms. This is Darwin’s survival of the fittest applied to the art world’s financially successful. It is also a way of being in touch with “the people,” at least the ones controlling the marketplace.
5. An artist, particularly a successful one, makes his or her best work before 40 and that everything that follows is less. By this standard, John McLaughlin, who didn’t paint seriously until he was 50, was a complete failure.
6. Art must make at least a passing nod to mass media, pop culture, and approved content or risk being dismissed. This is an insidious form of censorship, as well as an insistence on conformity. How many bad boy artists will we have to endure before we realize the art world doesn’t have to mimic the social dynamics of a high school cafeteria?
7. You are tied to your generation, and once its time has passed, anything you do is irrelevant. Did I hear someone say Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Meret Oppenheim, Willem de Kooning, and Louise Bourgeois? "
The Brooklyn Rail consistently presents great reviews and interviews with artists, not to mention reports form nyc & the greater world. highlights from November include Thomas Nozkowski and John Yau and the conversation with Jonas Mekas.