Sunday, December 11, 2005

Judy Pfaff



There are two ways to approach a gallery opening. The first way is the obvious way - taking in everything you know about the artist, gallery, outside opinion, and pricing. The latter way is divorcing everything one knows and going in clean slate - not letting anything including the gallery take influence. In this case I like to picture the art in all contexts like in a NY gallery, in the interior designers studio, in a public space...and so on. I have found this way holds up in "art court" because then you can really look at the art for what it is and not what is being said about it.
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All of that said, I believe that Judy Pfaff's work specific to Lemberg gallery was decorative and fit into a designer's showroom. I know that her portfolio includes beautiful installation work, but I just felt that this show was lacking depth and content. I liked the surprising layers of the delicate prints and drawings. The most successful works used a variety of materials and paper cut outs to achieve this depth but I found the framing most distracting to the art. The frames mimicked the art and stood out too much. Again, I know that this isn't completely representive of her work but it really left me feeling empty as I quickly exited Lemberg. I am still interested in what Judy has to say when she lectures at CCS this week.
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5 Comments:

Anonymous jef said...

didn't waste any time posting this one. damn you're good.

12:10 PM  
Blogger detart said...

Judy Pfaff is a Detroit artist who made it. A little resentment, maybe?

Well, you got part of it right. Pfaff creates her frames as part of the works, so if they seem like an extension of the works it's because they are actually part of the works. Anyone who knows anything about Judy Pfaff knows that.

Judy's pretty much always made works on paper and prints, and with the same attention to layering, color, and assembly that she applies to her enormous constructions. The show includes seven years worth of works on paper--pretty damn representative of her work.

When you quickly exit a show you probably miss a lot, don't you think? Some of these works, like a most great art, require and deserve more than a fleeting look. Stick to simple stuff if you want to get it all at first glance. (They said Rothko was decorative, too, and the ignorant will still look at a Serra and say their kid could have done it.) If the lecture at the DIA (not CCS, again, missing a lot) hadn't been canceled due to the snow storm perhaps you'd have had a chance to better understand Pfaff's concepts, process, etc. She's a fabulous speaker and teacher. Maybe next time.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Pfaff win one of those MacArthur genius awards with a half a million dollar prizes to do whatever she wants with?

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pfaff's an internationally renowned artist (a Detroit artist, yet) showing in Detroit, real enough to come back and speak and be excited about it. (She's grounded, down-to-earth, fabulous.) The work is gorgeous, complex, beautiful. When did beautiful get to be a bad word?

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the work deserves being called beautiful. If the work was especially pretty their may be some cause for concern. What does detart mean by "made it" anyway?... Has the art made it? If so where to? Maybe I should attempt to make it? But first I need to find out where Judy Pfaff is so I can get some directions on how to get there.
Ann, I get where you are coming from. You are obviously hungry to dig deeper into all this art stuff. Trying to peer behind the art. I think this round of work from Miss Pfaff (the work itself spans quite a few years right?) could be chalked up as rent payers, or checks waiting to be cashed, but they are a bit more than that too. Transitional works are just as important (or unimportant) as the "big ones". It is a slippery slope to put our subjective brain to work on every minute detail of an artist's work. But then again that is the fun of thinking about art isn't it.
Finally (as if I have said anything up to this point) I think we can all applaude anyone who comes to an exhibition with a blank slate on which to write their opinions. It is diffucult to do and usually earns the highest rewards from the viewer and the work. Especially with well know artists it is not easy to let your eyes see what is in front of you, because there is so much "literature" already engraved on our subjective brains. J

11:11 AM  

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