Monday, May 23, 2005

jasper johns new work

Jasper Johns has a new work! 
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"Catenary" is sexually explicit, with lots of penises erecting and unerecting (in the three paintings on the north wall, featuring three descending arcs) and men fondling their butts while ogling others (in the gouaches on the west wall), but there is no joy of sex in Jasper's vision, just a slow, controlling torture. The back left gallery at Marks is perhaps the most beautiful, integrated series Johns has ever produced, every pink and yellow pastel wash like the songs of a troubadour lost in the forest. Johns' steady theme, like an ebbing stream, echoes Bob Dylan: "Life is sad, life is a bust, all you can do is do what you must, and you do it well." (artnet, Finch)
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A companion piece to the Johns' work in NYC was up the last time I was in the Art Institute of Chicago (one of the same series of works). At first, I simply passed it by, giving it short shrift as it looked like just a dull gray painting. However, when I noticed it was by Johns and sat in front of it taking notes, it revealed so much! Not penises, to me anyway, but subtleties and nuances that only a modern master could have created. Having discovered its secrets, it was so annoying to see so many museum visitors simply ignoring it, as is so often the case. Everyone was there to see the Seurat exhibit, which was rather dull and forced, but just outside that was this fabulous work which no one took time to notice. More people need to understand that paintings need to be experienced over time, with intense looking. Do you read a book by just flipping quickly through its pages?

12:59 AM  
Blogger art blogs are fun said...

I agree! I think a lot of people go to museums to fill some sort of quota of "cultural intake". How many people breeze by art, looking for only 30 seconds? Museums can be overwhelming and great art that isn't quite eye-catching can be overlooked.

10:57 AM  

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