1993: The New Museum, New York, February, 2013: an impression and a ramble.

Note: I wrote this “review” of 1993 at the New Museum, a few days after it opened in February, 2013. I toured the show with the artist, Marcy Brafman. This was written immediately after seeing the show, off the top of my head, to record a visceral response to the remembrance of an art world year that I was highly invested and very active in. For this reason, my response is valuable as authentic memory, and not researched fact. In this, it may serve those looking back at 1993 alongside of Barry Schwabsky’s equally thorough review in The Nation, and I think Jerry Saltz reviewed the show, if more briefly, in NY mag too. Any other critic who was active at the time (let’s say, if you had published in magazines more than 50 reviews in 1993 you can claim that you were active, in the terms of the requirements of my review), their response would also be valuable, for the record. This piece was delayed from entering my blog because first it was involved in a grant process; and then second I began to see it superstitiously as bad luck, as having opened up a can of wormy memories of a bad year, as 2013 shortly thereafter turned out to be the worst year of my life since–1993.

Without reading the catalog, which at $45 per is not something I will be doing any time soon, but seeing only the exhibition, I review in a first impression the New Museum’s retrospective 1993. First of all, when the friend I went through it with asked me for my one word appraisal, back out on the street, the word I came up with was spooky. What was spooky was that I was extremely, excessively active in the art world in 1993, basically because, as the art world was collapsing, I was scrambling to drum up business, catalogs I guess, and survive, and I saw a ridiculous amount of art in 1993, more than anyone really should see in one year. I have on record in my files a record of every show I saw, every opening I went to, how many openings I went to per night, every artist I talked to, every party, every event, every talk, every controversy, and, even more so, every tempest in a teacup with which we art worlders filled our days. I mentioned the collapse: I had built up an art critical life writing for five or six magazines, with a good smattering of European offerings, and then catalog essays to support me (but still make a ridiculously small amount of money, I wrote abstracts for a computer database to survive): in 1992-1993, that all completely collapsed, with pretty much all of my magazines going out of business. My living, as I fantasized it was, vanished overnight, I was in scramble mode, the bottom was falling out, and it was for the art world too, the roller coaster of the 1980s had passed its high, and now we faced the steep downward drop, and….pretty much everyone freaked out (in retrospect I only regret that the first year of my son’s life was experienced in a desperate panic). That, then, is the thing that 1993 is most notable for in my memory: in February of that year, twenty years ago this week, actually, which is really weird, I finally saw the light, I could not in the future ever again depend on the art world to support my independent life as a critic (I had little interest in working on staff for a publication, I don’t know why, or maybe I did; I did not secure a stable job until October, 1994, ending the long crisis). For me, “the life” as I called it, living in the art world 24/7, writing, thinking, philosophizing, doing two hour long studio visits, having a cocktail at 4, dinner, openings, ten a night, parties, etc etc., all that was over: and I have never been able to live “the life” again. Whether or not the exhibition catalog for 1993 made mention of this not undismissible fact, the collapse of the 80s art world was the SINGLEMOST IMPORTANT event of the arts that year, and all artists went to the dark side in their work, as an expression of the fears of being homeless or wasted, or shown the door, or discarded by the culture, in response (without knowing this, it is hard to imagine why art went so dark in 1993, it wasn’t exactly a terrible year, with Bill Clinton just elected, ending the Bush-Reagan era).

So, there’s that: the darkness. The friend I went around the show with thought that it was a very depressing show, as art took on issues that perhaps it is better to leave only to the special strong Goyas of the world. She interpreted my mention that the show was spooky, to saying the same thing. But I did not mean precisely that. What I meant was, I saw everything, I wanted to know if 1993 and my memory of the real 1993 anno domini would in any way overlap. I was curious. Well, I can report that not only did I know about and know well 99% of the artists in the show, but I pretty much saw every work that represented them in their galleries, maybe even at their openings, back then, and had a story to tell about every artist and my response to them. So, the exact unwavering tracking of this historical retrospective over my memory of the period is a bit spooky. It suggests to me, I am going to say something the opposite of what I was fearing, lack of insight into the era with a spirit of revision to help me and others who lived through it with our noses too close to the ground gain a sense of what counted and what is to be left behind. Also, I curated an exhibition in 1992 called Tabloid, in a small gallery on the fringe of old Soho, Sally Hawkins Gallery (RIP, thank you Sally), and a show at the Ramnarine gallery in Long Island City, Arachnosphere. I selected artists from the same pool of artists in 1993, so I have in mind a mental map of where artists were, and how I situated them vis a vis each other, how I parsed the many movements and trends of the time, and in some cases the juxtaposition of what was in this show and what was in shows I did in 1992 was, again, just spooky. At one point I found myself, in 1993, looking back past a not very great Cady Noland across to a pretty silly Liz Taylor painting by Kathe Burkhardt and I had a weird uncanny chill of a half memory, as for my Tabloid show, I thought both Noland and Burkhardt would be perfect, but while Noland’s gallery would only give me a little edition work and Burkhardt refused entry, because I was not important enough, the exhibitional moment I wanted was made real here, 20 years later. That’s just weird. Whether or not the catalog situated those works of art along what Deleuze and Guattari would call a line of flight–and my analysis was that the major line of flight of 1993 was the collapse of the mythos of popular culture and the emergence of a more sinister tabloid culture (at a talk I gave at White Columns on tabloid art and the new tabloid age upon us a questioner haughtily worried that the people were already sick of tabloid sensation, when, in retrospect, the age of OJ, and the coming of the Brit Sensationalists was yet to come, I can only smile)–I realized that I had seen all this work in an intense rhizome of interrelated spaces and contested critical interpretation and as a result current installation echoed, and was measured critically, by me, against original curations. It’s an odd sensation, like I said, spooky.

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From left to right: Kathe Burkhart, “Turd,” from “The Liz Taylor Series (Taming of the Shrew)”, 1993; Jutta Koether, “Antibody IV (All Purpose Substance), 1993.

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From left to right: Jessica Diamond, “Tributes to Kusama: Infinity”, 1992/93; Cady Noland, “Gibbet”, 1993/94; Kathe Burkhart, “Bill (The Luck)”, 1978.

Time and again, in the exhibition, I remembered the true context of the exhibited works, I remembered how they were critically appraised, what camp, what movement, what meaning, at the time, they were part of, more, I knew how each artist rated, what kind of splash they made, and, as a result, could not only check off the names of the artists, but make a comment on the appropriateness of what kind of profile the New Museum gave to each artist both as represented by the work curated into the exhibition, whether a major or minor work, representative/emblematic or just incidentally present, how the work was positioned in the galleries, and, even more importantly, for 1993 was a year of sliding signifiers, of lines of flight running away from us, of the ground crumbling beneath our feet, meaning that I insisted that in any curation of the year, and I think most curators felt the same at the time, works of art by different artists had to talk to each other, so how they were positioned vis a vis other artists in their small one gallery mini-curated exhibitions-within-exhibitions all the way through 1993 meant something, but probably not to the curators.

And here is where the spookiness engendered by the dead-on tracking of my memory by this retrospect goes awry. For, from these secondary criteria, the exhibition was clearly curated by people who were not there at the time, who did not speak the language of the time, who did not understand the politics of the time, not only the issues in the broad sense, but the micro positionings that every living person has to make as they parse issues to take up their own views, which every individual has a right to do, it was clear to me immediately, then, on the basis of the meso and micro dimensions of the intragallery dynamics and calibration of objects of the exhibition that 1993 was definitely not curated by someone who knew the time, but by someone who was looking in at it from the outside. Though, therefore, the exhibition on a strictly denotative level, pointing out works by a who’s who of the time, covered all the bases, and will provide thirty year olds with all the dots they need to pass a test on 1993, when it came to the connotative level, connecting the dots, the exhibition was repeatedly, appalling tone deaf, had a tin ear, repeatedly mismanaged the representativeness of artists, and, because of that, in the phenomenology of the bilderwelt of works of art as living objects that communicate of times and spaces, conveyed a false vision of 1993, meaning that it was no wonder that my friend thought it was all depressing, because it was just the negativity unplugged from its communal part in a whole art world response, expressed through at least a dozen vibrant discourses, to a dire field crisis, in which context the negativity maybe was read by us as a scratching away at and hoping for change or tunneling out of one burrow (again Deleuze and Guattari) into another.

On the basis of this sense of the gallery to gallery flatfootedness of the exhibition, I made various appraisals of what made sense, and was accurate, and what was wrong, just wrong, what artists were served well, and what artists were misserved, or simply misrepresented. I will desist from engaging in a blame game of who was in and who was out, but I did some of that too, but I make one comment on that: Devon Dikeou in her very clever presentations of cards and lists of group shows she was in on pin boards like you see outside of doctors’ offices, actually gave a truer sense of who was involved in the run of curating offerings at the time, and there were many names of artists who ought not to have ever been overlooked in a review of the year (Curtis Cuffie, on one list, was an actual homeless schizophrenic who did impromptu art on fences on the Bowery, curated into a gallery by Kenny Schachter, I think, we all liked his work, long gone). However, I think just in respect I should mention a few artists who are no longer with us, who I thought were terrific artists of 1993, Dan Asher, Barton Lidice Benes (died last summer), Gary Bachman (died last December), Angela Bourodimos, all fun to watch, RIP (I will limit my comment to artists who were in exhibits I curated, though Frank Moore also died recently, whose work I loved, terrific artist). And let me make one more omission comment: I used to record what I thought was the best work of art of any given year, during all my rounds: in 1993, for me, that honor went to Nancy Rubins’ astonishing Cakes and Mattresses installation at Jeffrey Deitch, so 1993 without that piece just somehow does not seem like that year in fact (but her crash aesthetic combined with micro macro scale and wandering linearity seemed typical of sliding signifier art, an aesthetic again reminding me that Polly Apfelbaum’s floor pieces are nowhere to be seen here).

As for who was done service to in this show, Rudolph Stingel, Felix Gonzales Torres, Sean Landers, Paul McCarthy, Suzanne McClelland, Pepon Ossorio, Jessica Diamond, John Currin and Janine Antoni were represented by works that well may spark renewed interest in their work. Stingel’s orange carpet oceans amazed me at the time, and he went on to amaze me afterwards too, in late decade I thought his styrofoam art the best of the season, and his installation here is also transcendent and intimate simultaneously.  Felix Gonzalez Torres’ wall piece was labor intensive and awesomely large, even excessive, as a counterpart, but with a reminder that Torres was most famous for his candy drop pick up and his most wanted sheets pick up pieces, and not his wall pieces.

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Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled (Couple)”, 1993 (foreground); Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled”, 1992-93 (background); Rudolf Stingel, “Untitled”, 1991/2012 (on the ground).

Paul McCarthy’s famous fatherly lesson on bestiality was well known, and this is a fine piece, but I recollect much more fun trucking through bizarre demented installations of mad elves making bizarre concoctions (the installational ethos was born in the period, the art world had an astonishing fun house aura that is so hard to recreate in museums—speaking of which how can you talk about the sliding away rhizome space mindset of 1993 Soho without mention, as Dikeou did, Kenny Schachter’s renegade exhibitions? Dikeou herself did terrific installations and videos).

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Paul McCarthy, “Cultural Gothic”, 1992. (note: Suzanne McClelland on far wall, totally weird placement).

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Paul McCarthy, “Cultural Gothic”, 1992 (detail).

Sean Landers’ strange legal pad jottings of teenage angst were rather too much to read at the time, but amazing and welcome to have survived in manuscript for this wall size expanse (a few nails were missing though), and impressively installed. Suzanne McClelland, an artist I supported then, was more notable for her use of scrawled talismanic words, in a body of work derived from a child’s drawings, but this terrific large blue expanse is a good example of her at her best–Jessica Diamond also a pure painting aptly represented by a large piece), Pepon Ossorio never really made a mark as anything other than but contributing to the visual wallpaper of the installation mindset at Feldman, dominated in the years immediately before by the amazing Ilya Kabakov, but I retrospect I have to say I followed him out of the art world with my interest in murder, religious statuary, tchotchkes, old fashioned houses, and all the gewgaws of old ladies in haunted houses, so this installation is even better now than it was then.

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An up-close view of Pepón Osorio’s “The Scene of the Crime (Whose Crime?)”, 1993.

John Currin is represented by two of his very best early paintings, ones that put him on the map, dopey chaste blonde girls peering fearfully out from under well tucked bed covers, beautifully framed in gun metal grey (Holland Cotter’s comment in the Times that these works come from another more complacent era, favoring as Cotter will, a political fantastical liberal expiation retrospect on the times, is flat out wrong, in recognizing the morphing of popular culture into tabloid culture, bad painting, as it was called then, spoke to the replacement of modern figuration with postmodern figuration, and a kind of art exploring fetishishes and odd paraphilias, a sense of the creepy also shared by Charles Ray’s 93 Biennial Family Romance, decidedly creepy, little dad with his hairy genitalia—Ray was also nicely represented—and so bad painting was one of the key, most important developments of the time, minimization of this movement no doubt lead to the unconscionable omission of young Lisa Yuskavage, and also the truly scandalous and historically inaccurate minimizing of the profoundly influential role of Karen Kliminick, who I guess is in the process of being stereotyped as ‘girl art’ by unaware curators, when she alone spoke to the emergence of a whole new type of imaginary life in the citizen of the tabloid world of the time, which was dead on prescient and has come to pass).

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Charles Ray, “Family Romance”, 1992-93.

Finally, Janine Antoni, whom my ex knew briefly, then, was 24 and lovely, even a bit shy, but also intense, and her work even made some of us worry about her, washing the floor with her hair, and, in the wonderful Lick shown generously here, presenting successive mood pictures of moments of self-esteem flux measured in how much she licked down chocolate busts of herself, like a mother bear licking an embryo to life or to death, terrific work, but also creepy in the extreme.

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Janine Antoni, “Lick and Lather”, 1993.

On the middling level, it was terrific to see a classic Frank Moore (RIP), but far from his most classic work, like his AIDS take on Norman Rockwell thanksgiving, which was shown with his obituary (but Moore represents middle brow AIDS art too, not ACT UP, whose efforts I had operational issues with, but not the whispering campaign subtlety of Gran Fury in the galleries either, in 1993 the frustration was getting to fever pitch and when AIDS activists carried a coffin with a real corpse in a protest march, I felt, and studied it deeply, in a way that would permanently impact my view of the art-life nexus, art and life/death crashing together as never before, possibly declaring all art jejune and not enough, my theory was remove the art, violence will follow); the Matthew Barney video installation, lifted from the 93 biennial was OK, but failed to entirely grasp the unbelievable hugeness of Barney at the time, and again minimized another discourse grappling with the technological revolution just then hitting modern media life, not only computers but special effects, Wolfgang Staehle’s stone age The Thing, an early chat group like internet thing, I remember, I completely did not understand, all that visionary cyber human beings are being changed forever by media and technology thing, I suppose minimized again by curators as boy art, bachelor machine art, etc (but you would think that Gioni, from last summer’s Ghost in the Machine, would have picked up on this intense 1993 vibe, Robert Chambers, Bill Albertinti, a lot of artists I knew were venturing in this field), or just not political enough, but to comment on the alteration of the species by the onset of new media and technology is not not political, it is a key political issue, a fundamental human issue, and certainly the emergence of the Barney discourse after that is arguably the most dramatic cultural change since: so it’s a silly minimization of Barney.

I suppose Kiki Smith’s Virgin Mary was exemplary, but by no means the work that made her famous or infamous in the 93 Biennial, it was terrific to see Cheryl Donegan, and her classic, the one work that made her famous, Head, I suppose because the title made people think of oral sex, not suckling of adults of other adults, like a vision of St Bernard, but one little monitor? heck, I had one little monitor of her in my Tabloid show, maybe even Head, I don’t remember (I think Lutz Batcher’s Penis loop video from the William Smith trial, another tabloid sensation of the time, was also somehow linked up to this moment, tabloid art; no the Donegan piece in my show was about Madonna).

But then there are some inexcusable minimizations, of these I will only mention the reduction of Nayland Blake to a minor work in the corner of a gallery, positioned with other artists he had nothing to do with. It is true that Blake maybe peaked in 1990 at Clarissa Dalrymple, but he did jump to Matthew Marks and continued to do great things in a wide ranging practice (Peter Cain, with whom he is paired, was already pretty much over by then, in any case).

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From left to right: Nayland Blake, “Equipment for a Shameful Epic,” 1993; Sarah Lucas, “Self Portrait #3,” 1993.

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Detail from Nayland Blake’s closet of costumes and curiosities, “Equipment for a Shameful Epic,” 1993.

As for the deferentially overvalued: Hannah Wilke’s work of the time was a reminder to a former generation that death comes to all, and it was grim, but maybe less so from today’s point of view, when such adventures in the valley of death of a fatal diagnosis are common, as graphic clinicism has taken over). Glenn Ligon’s politically correct public school lecture against Jesse Helms criticism of Robert Mapplethorpe is just the sort of thin one talking point art of the time that glutted the system, and was always pretty boring: in fact, the culture at large decided it didn’t want to see Mapplethorpe’s guy sticking a whip up his anus, because its never been shown since at the Whitney in 1988, and which, I’m a pretty liberal guy, even  seemed inappropriate at the time, this was five years later, for god’s sake, no one cared about Jesse Helms, it was old hat. Byron Kim also still seems thin. I don’t know about including Sarah Lucas, I didn’t associate her yet with anything, she really belongs to the next wave that ‘saved’ the art world, the arrival of the Young British Sensation artists, Damien Hirst in the vanguard, which redefined blue chip art in the 90s of the recovery to follow, she belongs to another era, really, too sassy, too cheeky, too British, not nihilistic enough.

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Sarah Lucas, “The Old Couple”, 1991.

Cady Noland–who also peaked with a one person show on Lee Harvey Oswald at Colin deLand in 1991, but in retrospect I concede maybe she was overvalued–again, mentioning Colin de Land to omission kvetch, no Jessica Stockholder? no Peter Fend? both terrific artists, changing art then, not here?–was underrepresented too. David Hammons’ Hood, while a little classic indeed, doesn’t give you anywhere near the idea of how important he was, just then.

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David Hammons, “In the Hood”, 1993.

Ann Hamilton? Jack Whitten?  Can’t figure out what they are doing here. Nari Ward’s Harlem installation next door, a work I did NOT see then, but did see his major installations at Deitch in the mid 1990s, was better seen by photo than in person, in person for a new parent of the time it was just depressing and dirty and yucky, a let down).

As with the two of three names I did not recognize, and if I don’t know them, they have to be friends of the curator only. And why would that be? At the beginning of the third paragraph of the wall text introducing the show to viewers, the museumspeak swells and it is declared that no one style was privileged……bullshit, the market privileges, social and cultural capital privileges, ideology privileges, and, in shows like this, as we know from the sickening spectacle even back then to get into each Whitney biennial, the curators choice itself is a privileging act, a godplaying decision that by itself privileges, and so I expect some of that here too, but generally with restraint.

Finally, wow, I would not have wanted to be around to see or hear what Cindy Sherman thought of her inclusion, a rather simple and by no means dark enough record of just how dark she went as the bottom fell out, hidden in a little corner. She was in the gallery with Patricia Cronin, with a nondescript Polaroid piece exuding typical young person sexual anxiety, the kind of work we saw ad nauseum back then (for which Nan Goldin was the wallpaper, Cronin’s best work was to come and its up in a cemetery in the Bronx), and with some other rather postery political artists (I think I’m talking about Gran Fury here?) in a way that did not make sense. And this is where things get bad, in terms of placement. Likely because of their backing off making any definitive statements, little attempt was made in the galleries in 1993 to curate works into recognizable movement or discourse clusters. As a result, Cindy Sherman, admittedly a veteran by that point, but the godmother of all of the identity constructivists who argued for choice and fluidity and hybridity and the fact that identity was all shifting and queer (odd how things change, now the left depends on brain science and the findings of the fixity of sexuality from birth to counter any attempts to change gay people, but not back then), the air we breathed sounded with the lingua franca of Sherman. But what this placement misses is that in this nasty body of work she worked with manikins, making her relevant again, and went demented and nihilistic to the point of self hatred with them. In this, Sherman had entered into a discourse of mannequin art that was just then taking shape, but would blossom with The Chapman Brothers and Maurizo Cattelan just a year later. Zoe Leonard’s photos of anatomical models is the only reminder in this show how important this discourse was then, as a discourse. The main text for the idea was Mike Kelley’s catalog for The Uncanny exhibition he did at Sonsbeek that year, easily the most important art book of 1993. Kelley (represented by nice but unrepresentative drawings) laid out the parameters of a style, in terms of interests, and it explains the creepy sense of the art of the time, I followed it out and made use of it theoretically to better understand art in the years after. Why not then put Leonard and Ray and McCarthy and Sherman and even a wax figure by Kiki Smith together, to give one a sense of how the manikin was being exploited and explored as a model or symbol for, beyond gender trouble, humanity trouble, in our relation with an increasingly inhuman world? Doesn’t make sense, this kind of ghettoizing of Sherman, I can’t imagine she was amused. And then of course Sherman went so much deeper, almost the point of self annihilation of her discourse of constructed selves going back to the 1970s, as if finally saying she was sick to death of it all, no indication of that here. And, speaking of negativity, an old nemesis, apparently, though only art world conceit flatters me that anyone cared then or now, Sue Williams, kids, you have no idea from this rather tame exegesis on the pain of anal sex how dark and deep and nasty and dirty her work of the time went, even to the point of representing herself in the Whitney biennial with a plastic pile of vomit (if I remember, and of course no mention is made of the scatter art aesthetic, whereby, as the bottom dropped out, everything fell on the floor in art, for a few years).

Since 9/11 the brittle sectarian spats of the dying modern rational ego of 1993–for maybe 1993 was the death of a paradigm of self in the modern period?–have given way to something else entirely, something less individual–personalized, it is true, obsessed with that, but communal, less human in modern terms, if that is possible. In fact, I hardly looked at work by Art Club 2000 at the time, as I hardly looked at them ever again. Though they were given the cover of the catalog and publicity, for 1993, I suppose to draw in the communal generation kids, they were overlooked in their day, really. They in fact however predicted the emergence of the more virtual-communal generations since, all these casual nonart nothings, also echoed in Wolfgang Tillmans’ photographs, forecast worse to come, but ‘93 itself was too dark and meaty for all that, this was art best suited for the so-called microgalleries of the recovery. So we miss the sense of what it wrought, especially a pernicious trend in which it seemed like in 1994 every twenty year old in the world thought that taking a snapshot of themselves was art (Jack Pierson was the man of the moment of the casual photo art, he’s missing here, but I recollect when I said this at a party another critic commented, “it’s a very bad moment to be the man of.”)–as this has come to pass with selfing and  tweeting fools who think their one line comments represent commentary or a thumbs up thumbs down represents criticism (yes, the art world found a way to make unprofitable art criticism even less so, it’s called blogging, and here I am, still broke), and then a worse fad for collective art developed, featured in a Biennial in the late 90s, only proving that collective art groups are indeed very good at making bad art (for artists at least, I believe in the individual creative spirit, even if in a collaboration).  I suppose, discourse wise, as the internet enabled the development of these new swarming collective groupthink beehive creative efforts, this would be a side-discourse related to the cyber discourse, all of that minimized here as if diversity is not interlinked—more people of color have lost jobs to globalization than to prejudice?.

And after 1993? well, all the artists in 1993 quickly, wisely, ran away from their grunge gaze into the darkness, and backed off from the abyss which, for a variety of lifecourse and other reasons, was encountered in that bleak year, many of these artists stopped making great art, some stopped altogether, those that went on, and some that became bigger and blue chip art, found a way out of the dark hole of 1993, Kiki Smith went to fairy tales and mythology, Matthew Barney had the imposing Cremaster series ahead of him, certainly the most notable creative achievement of the ‘93 group, John Currin just got better, Sarah Lucas had her Chelsea moment, and on it went (I made a point of documenting the art world’s mental recovery from the crash in taking-the-temperature comments I made to preface reviews on Artnet in the 94-96 seasons). A year or two later a temporary treatment for AIDS was found, which greatly alleviated the death panic, caused by humanity facing a disease for which it has no solution, of those years too.

And twenty years later, seeing all the young things swarm down the now poshifying Bowery, right around the corner where I once lived, out through Soho, who wants to remember a terrible year like 1993? What a drag! life goes on, and it goes on because it just goes on. Sometimes in a life, you can look into the abyss, but when the abyss looks back at you, or if you see in it no meaning, that is intolerable to humanity, it is not a political statement to look in, it is a kind of mental self abuse, and if you do not find a way to pull back, and get positive again about life, something in life, something!, about men and woman, and gender and sexes, and the races, and diversity, and the hope of democracy, and the world, and mankind, forgettabout it, you’re toast. Most artists, if they were wise and survived as artists, would never look so squarely into the darkness again, and so they did well, both personally and careerwise, they recovered. But maybe some others got stuck and never got over the crash of ‘93. For me, I had a family health crisis, got religion, studied anthropology, read Hans Belting’s Image and Likeness, and my view of art has never been as individualistic and materialistic again, for the better—I also got a job or two. As I was leaving the exhibition, and my friend said that she was depressed, some music came up, as the New Museum thinks it is a good idea to pipe in music, if not 24/ 7 Smells Like Teen Spirit, which would be appropriate, and it was REM, “don’t let yourself go, everybody cries”, it made me laugh, but the key line, “and everybody hurts……sometimes”, not all the time, sometimes…sometimes, got that? You young ‘uns, don’t think, seeking politics in art, that this is what art should be, art’s much more than that, it’s fun, happy, euphoric, life affirming, ecstatic, mystical too. So, go see this show, but be warned, from someone who was there, 1993, it was one tough mother of a year. Good riddance, then, you fucking miserable awful wonderful life-changing amazing year, twenty long years ago.

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