Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jacque Liu at Lemberg

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Jacque Liu is no Josh Smith. Liu's solo show at Lemberg Gallery has no swirling, scribbley marks or bold, mashed colors of written name. Liu 's work in fact almost has the opposite affect as Josh Smith's paintings. The collage drawings, sculptural stools and graphite squares on the wall are contained, quiet and pleasant. Instead of hearing a buzz of shock, disappointment, or anger like with the Smith show, there wasn't as much fuss over this artist which one could perceive as good or bad. The thing with well executed design based work is that it sometimes acts more as decoration than expression. They are lovely pieces and I don't think anyone could look at them and say, "oh, these are horrible" because they are far from that but it is more difficult to feel the artist's hand in these works. The real question: would you rather have a piece by Jacque Liu in your house or a Josh Smith?
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Blogger art blogs are fun said...

ok, let's start a tally: which artist would you want to own a piece from?


9:54 AM  
Blogger John Azoni said...

I'm going to have to say Jacque Liu.

Even though Saatchi owns a smith, it still doesnt' make it good. And you shouldn't invest in something you don't like just because it's worth something. You should enjoy looking at the piece, and for me personally, Smith's work is just too jarring, and doesn't really attempt to say anything.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a tough call. Probably Smith's just because I could make some dough off of it. Both bodies of work leave me emotionless. What make's me want to own a piece is it's ability to make me laugh, cry, react to it somehow. These just don't do anything for me.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with sunny but if forced to drop the dime i would go with jacque liu for me they seem a bit more mature?????

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would go with Jacque. i love the precision and clean lines within his work because my work and life tend to be the opposite. it creates an equal balance.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised so many artists commenting on this thread are so critical of Josh White's work. First I saw the work on the blog and was intrigued and now after seeing the work in person I am very inspired by the show. High price tags like that catch me off guard still but I did get a strong sense of what was happening. There was something happening. Just go and spend some time looking at the real thing and getting other people's ideas / judgements out of the head.

I was also suprised about the attention paid to "warped canvases"
which in reality were barely warped. Someone said this show "would not happen in detroit if it were'nt for Saatchi" and that is off the mark as well. This is good work worth considering. Jacque Liu I have seen and look forward to being at the show in person.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this sort of competition demeans both art and the artists. seems like everyone's into polls, which in the end mean nothing.

But do you think Keira Knightley looks too thin?

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a competition such as this is no better than watching HELL'S KITCHEN or AMERICAN IDOL....people pitted against one another for the prurient thrills of the immature television audience.

Just like the artificial "competition" between figurative and abstract artists. A waste of time.

I am supposing that the two artists were chosen because of the vast differences between the way their respective works look like on the surface.....muscular expressionism versus clean cool minimalism. There is no comparison, thus no competition.

How about a duel between Jean-Michel Basquiat and Agnes Martin?

Makes about as much sense. Lets move on and get back to constructive commentary.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever, amazon.

it's still fun to hear the various opinions. is'nt that why we all follow this blog anyways? or is it just to see who can out wit the rest and have the last word?

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading this blog and was pleased to see the elevated conversations. This thread, to me, was not measuring up; too much like PEOPLE magazine, if they had an art column

Excuuuuse me for offering an opinion, smartypantz.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these my only two choices?

I would go for a Josh Smith peice: I liked the orange one with the book stuck to it because I am a fan of books. My roommate, an Industrial Designer, would go for Liu's, which just goes to show you that it all comes back to personal taste. As someone on another thread said "the problem is that there is no benchmark for judging art" (not that there ever was).

As for this tally, I think it is intersting though it speaks more about the tastes of the responder than the value of either artists works. (Keira Knightly is just the right size, anon).

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Jaque is putting all that work behind glass. In this situation it primarily gives the impression of packaging. The even quieter work on the wall is considerably more striking.

When imagining that the two bodies of work have been presented by seperate individuals, I feel as though the artist creating the more direct work on the wall is subtly insulting and undermining the second artist's framed work. There are obvious connections but whereas one half of the work is art to be seen, primarily, the other has the impression of being, primarily, art to be purchased. I don't mean to demonize the purchasing of art, only that when presented in a gallery in which the culture is to experience art firstly, and secondly to purchase it, the work on the wall throws itself fully into the primary category and because of this is much more effective.

Also, if I were in Sunny's position I would forgo art all together and spend my money on cinema or roller-coasters.

As for the comparison of Jaque Liu's work to Josh Smith's: Liu's work is to Smith's what gardens are to forests, in that forests don't give a damn. So gardens are things to look at and forests are places to explore.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

curtis for president!!!


i want an azoni and a handfull of vicodin - i think i may really love those together, actually no i want an azoni and a pitbull, no i want to watch a pitbull fight in a ring floored with an azoni on a handfull of vicodin. and me as the only audience - that would be perfect!

remeber me at christmas john

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


correct/ i looked it up - i meant to refernce Friedrich Schiller

Schiller on modern life:

"... That zoophyte character of the Greek states, where every individual enjoyed an independent life and, when need arose, could become a whole in himself, now gave place to an ingenious piece of machinery, in which out of the botching together of a vast number of lifeless parts a collective mechanical life results. State and Church, law and customs, were now torn asunder; enjoyment was seperated from labor, means from ends, effort from reward. Eternally chained to only one single little fragment of the whole Man himself grew to be only a frament; with the monotonous noise of the wheel he drives everlasting in his ears, he never developes the harmony of his being, and instead of imprinting humanity upon his nature he becomes merely the imprint of his occupation, of his science."

so glad you read benjamin though - good shit aye. still some relevance there as you pointed out.

arua may still be alive as well as painting - certain zombie asthetics and vampire paintings, eternal in their failed and failing glory!!!

whats that play by Arthur Miller? "Death of an artist" was that it?

8:16 PM

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allison, anonymous above should answer your question about smith's work. ask him what the strong sense was that he felt:

"High price tags like that catch me off guard still but I did get a strong sense of what was happening. There was something happening."

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you go see the work yourself?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The former anon asked me to ellaborate on my comment that "there was something happening.."

Once i was in the Artist Market taking in a intriguing group show and another artist came up from out of the blue and started talking to me. We were having a great conversation I truelly appreciated her intensity and depth of vision with the works. At the time I was not living in Detroit so I was starved for some artist insight and company to begin with. But as things happen in this city, the Director bent over from his perch ahigh in the Artist Market and Aaron yelled down "Ellen don't give him the awnsers!!" and disappeared.

At that moment I felt I just could never rise above the refuse and dysfunctionality of Detroit. But of course eventually I tried again and again... And I still teeter on that edge.

I think Josh Smith teeters on that edge in various ways as well. His elements are at times minimal and surreal but all add up together to form a distinct perspective which speaks to me. Go see the show for yourself. Or if you did on the opening go back without the distractions.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

once at an opening at artists' market i met another artist (he wasn't showing at the time). i was new to detroit and wanted to hear more about the scene. we were introduced, i put out my hand "so you're an artist too."
"yes, i studied at the sorbonne under dubeauclard for 2 years. then i moved to london and worked as an assistant at white cube. and showed my work at the v&a. i came back to detroit via new york and several group shows in williamsburg."
he rolled it off like a voicemachine voice.
later i did see his work in a show at the market, but i couldn't tell you anything about it today. no memory of it.
the point being that a lot of art and artists are into branding and creds. "so and so bought my work.."

it doesn't make their work more memorable. just their introductions.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is the concept of josh smith using his name for subject matter any different or less important than the concept cy twombley has for his scribble paintings?

what does it matter that josh smith's paintings are $15,000? He only gets half, anyway.

allison, what exactly do you mean when you say josh smith lacks artistic merit? Does it look too easy?

john azoni, what makes you say it doesnt really attempt to say anything? What should he try to say, and how much?

i am sorry if i sound harsh or argumentative,but it just seems to me that we approach works of art with a whole check list of 'requirements', and if they dont cover all bases then the work fails. Maybe the artist has their own checklist that we need to investigate first

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Smith - you lose the right to reference anymore. period. I want two hours of my life back. That was a long read for a couple of thought-provoking lines. Plus, for some reason I'd thought "mechanical reproduction" was a really interesting insight into progenesis, not the lithographic revolution. Your Schiller quote is interesting tho: very Ayn Rand, and I see the connection to the earlier discussion and your thought process. I will continue to read your posts with interest, but no more hair-brained research to follow your references! "Schiller" doesn't even sound like "Bergson"!!

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(So there's no confusion, I meant that last bit nicely, not angrily-- I don't really want two hours of my life back. Maybe only 1.)

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges--no real comparison to be made here. One's a serene, sophisticated show by a young artist and priced appropriately so. One's a hyped show by a hot (aka flavor-of-the-month) artist with prices to boot. Money aside, it's all subjective. Does either have merit? Perhaps only time will tell.

All that aside, Liu for me. Three works on paper with three benches underneath. Zen.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is the concept of josh smith using his name for subject matter any different or less important than the concept cy twombley has for his scribble paintings?

the difference isn't in the concept (although there is a real difference), it's in execution: twombly can paint and paint well.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Jef Bourgeau said...

I'm only throwing out possible observations about the current art market and culture, not conclusions but amusements:

I've quoted this Hirst comment elsewhere, but think it's especially relevant to Smith's show: "If I went out on the curb and scooped up a turd of doggie shit on a stick, brought it back into my gallery and put it onto a plinth - not only would collectors buy it, but it would become art by such combined actions."

Which leads into another quote I read today from another Young Brit: "An Art Star friend of mine is once sold a large pile of rubble (from the remodeling of a major art institution) back to the institution itself...for a good chunk of cash (equal to, say, two years of a German shop girl's pay packet)."

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this whole Smith situation even slightly surprising? The entire art market is based on insider trading practices that would earn prison terms in any other investment business.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at the intergration of news headlines with paint applications. Meditate on the contrast between the large scale paintings and pallettes. Look or flip through as many of the sketch diaries. I think there is strong substance there but as others have stated on this thread, only time will truely tell.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They both put me to a good quiet sleep with a Jacque Liu piece or a troubled nightmare with a Josh Smith artwork.


(ps - But they sure are getting a lot of press! Bravo.)

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But they sure are getting a lot of press! Bravo.)=======

hey, they aren't getting any press. this is a blog man. there ain't no art press here.

azoni's thread got 40 times more hits on the blog than actual attendees to his show.

this is virtual reality. and a small corner of that.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jungle Cat, there's an article on Josh Smith in this month's ArtForum. That counts as press.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

curtis, the response was to this blog, and to this city - taking note of art happenings i.e. press.

josh also has been written up in the ny times: Josh Smith arouses in the viewer a mildly irate bemusement.
Nominally a painter, Mr. Smith roughly paints his own name in large, blocky letters over store-bought canvases. These works are totally uninteresting visually, so the point -- a stunningly sophomoric one -- is presumably to mock the bourgeois overvaluation of the big-name artist's signature.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this thread was supposed to be jacque's. not much talk about his show unfortunately.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whey don't you say something more about Liu then?

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christine, I remember not to long ago on the mocad thread your reply to a frustrated community was for us to create our own galleries.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and why don't you?!

i haven't seen the show yet and would like to hear more about it before i make the long trek.

and i still believe in creating our own galleries. nolan did it. why not others?!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jef Bourgeau said...

Someone is talking about Jacue's show in a serious way, and it's over at the


3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jef. Great piece on

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh Smith was also Chritopher Wool's studio assistant for a couple years. You think Mr. Wool could teach Josh smith something about painting?

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh SMith's painting reminds me a lot like Terence Mullen's paintings another up and coming NY Painter. I wonder if Smith knows him? -- However, Mr. Mullen is a little older I think?

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Terence Mullen has a lot of talent. I just bought one of his works on aluminum last month. It looks great. He really knows color. I always think of Rothko when i see a painting by Terence Mullen.

1:45 AM  

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