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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For Gagosian this Spring it's "Dots" (Damien's dots)

I regret having treated with snark on Twitter the new work of Damien Hirst in so far as my knee-jerk reaction did not allow me to see that  his work might have a connection with the zeitgeist defining the work of other contemporary artists.  It is hard to take him seriously when so much of his work like Koons's plays again and again the Trump card of oversized bombast. It leads me to believe that their dealer Gagosian's only goal is to totally dominate the art market with art of oversized egos that aims to emotionally crush the competition. Sorry Larry! I am sure you voted for Hillary but the work you show anticipated Trump, whose architecture crushed the Westside of New York with bad taste from which it will never recover unless global warming raises the sea level to wash it away. It became clear in the primary debates that Trump was incapable of dialog. For him there was only winning which means crushing the competition. So with Hirst. He will always find a way to gross you out, to desensitize you so that you lose faith in any sense of shared values. If there is any awareness of tradition in his work he inbalms it with icey technology as he did with his earlier dot paintings. Or his inbalming of the essence of phusis/life in the shark sculptures. shows how far a cold ego can go in destroying the natural world.  So what's up with  his new work that evokes a  sensibility, that looks like his fellow Brit Andrew Forge's homages to Seurat. Is this bloke getting a wee bit daft in his middle years.

This morning I  recalled my essay Topoi of Contemporary Culture that ends with this paragraph:

We are neither the mothers nor fathers who built the modern industrial state for which modernism was the topos. Either we use abstraction ironically or pathetically (with pathos), or expunge any remnant of the self and let art blend into technology by destroying the boundaries of the human and the machine. Any hermeneutic to go back is doomed to miss the essence of the past. Contemporary abstraction is caught in a twisted embrace with Modernism which ever escapes its hold and retreats further and further into the past. How much longer will we  limp along in this contorted topology, that knows vaguely where it came from but for sure does not know where it is going. 

What if Hirst has decided to join in this twisted embrace with the past that is an acknowledgement of the logos of Western thinking that sought out the foundations of consciousness and applied them to the structure of painting. I have already remarked that there was a shift in the work of Jennifer Guidi, the wife of Zombie Formalist Grotjahn with her use of pointillism and atmospheric colors. It were as though the logic of  Zombie Formalism has hit bottom and could only reiterate its nihilism so many times before it became boring. Dialectically the only way out is to move back in a sort of culturally reactionary move to the origins of Modernism in the color of Seurat and Matisse. It would be comforting to think that Hirst drinking at the well of these artist might stimulate a new synthesis but Hirst is at his best at being a bully boy and even though his work assumes the oversized scale typical of New York galleries, which makes up for lack of intelligence, this work is a dead-end. This retreat into origins is interesting to consider culturally. Is it a fear that the mockery and tearing apart that is the leitmotiv of contemporary art  has gone so far as to destroy the cultural ethos that allows for such mockery in the first place?



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Laura Owens and the New All American Century

A few years ago I wrote a blog that covered in part the “Forever Now” show at MoMA ,which included Laura Owens, although I did not single out her work for comment. The catalog essay accompanying the show tried to establish a shared gestalt of the exhibits participants based on the Internet culture we live in. For the author it were as though all the dynamic dialectics of American Art of the last half of the 20thc had come to an end and were replaced by a sort of neo-liberal endlessness in the style of Fukuyama’s  “End of History “: the Cold War was over; Western Capitalism had won and globalism and its factotum the Internet were destroying any hierarchies in a global race for infinite efficiencies.


I was intrigued by David Salle’s recent essay on Owen’s in the “New York Review of Books”. It is effusive praise of her it seems intent on lifting her out of any cultural critique as for example the one Salle himself partook of back in the 80’s or the internet cultural thesis of "Forever Now". Salle glorifies  her “can-do” spirit. He sees her as a quintessential american pragmatist. If someone like Robert Longo, along with Salle, part of the Neo-Expressionist movement of the 80’s, drew businessmen in free fall it embodied a critique of rampant capitalism in a period where one might still be horrified by it. The experience of “Free-Fall” is what Salle loves about Owen’s work. But it is more of the country fair roller-coaster variety.


In Schjeldahl’s essay in the “ New Yorker,”entitled “The Radical Paintings of Laura Owens” he creates an ”Aw-schucks” image of her as an unpretentious Mid- Westerner.  She is described as spunky and in a canny fashion having moved through high-end art academies like RISD and CalArts without submitting to their dogmas. Like Salle he sees her as leaving behind the dialectical critique that tied the work of Rubinstein’sProvisional painting antithetically to Modernism. She appears to benefit from a loosening of Europe's hold via postmodernism on contemporary art with a hearty embrace of American pragmatism as the philosophical zeitgeist of a New American art. The language she employs in her work fits into the distinction I made on Twitter about the relation between the Provisionalist painters and late Stella.  In Stella’s work early and late there is an intentional  schism created between its material and any reference to the optical world that still remained in the Abstract Expressionists. Everything becomes "materiel"and the visual is sort of color-coded and the imagery is not so much abstract as just signs and symbols.  These are the bits and pieces with which Owens pieces together her new artistic world. Imagistically she makes direct quotes from the later Stella. Whereas Stella yearns for the overall dynamic of the Baroque, Owen’s goes far beyond the bas-relief that Stella adheres to. So there is a doubling of the detaching of the retina in the work of Owens and at times an exploding of the idea of painting into our physical space in a way that Stella never achieved. And whereas every move Stella made came out of a certain machismo to leave mood and gestalt behind, Owens using this imagery coming from various media, the internet and graphic design ties everything up with the language  children’s books with not an ounce of Camp.

Salle uses “gestalt” and the lack thereof in Owens’s work as a "mot-clef," with which he hopes to unlock the secrets of her work. According to Salle it was an obsession with gestalt that underlay the teaching at the schools she attended: the Modernists at RISD or the Conceptualists at CalArts. Parts have to add up to an idea; you could have heard the same story in the ”Pit” at Yale, parts/whole, mastering black and white before venturing color. But Owens survived all that macho bullying and kept a certain predilection for play alive in her work, a knack for how to mix and match or as I once described it to “shake and bake”.

Salle does express some reservations about the notion of the role of an anti-gestalt in her work since one could say all art has some sort of over-all-ness: try as you may you can’t escape meaning. Even ZombieFormalism with its squeezing out of any mood or feeling in Guyton’s inkjet work is still a selection of parts that create a whole even if the mood is in its absence of mood. A better conceptual framework with which to package Owen’s work would have been to use anthropologist Levi-Strauss’s “Bricolage” defined in English as tinkering. It was a way of putting together a cultural structure  as a sort of mish mash typical in so-called primitive societies not dominated by monolithic scientific schema.  The postmodernist Derrida latched on to the notion of bricolage to make a point of the possibility that even in the monolith of Western scientific culture we are doomed to function in the manner of bricolage. We are always already in a culture, defined by it, swimming in it so to speak. But each response to it takes place in time looking back hermeneutically as well as being in the present and is subject to distortion. We end up with something that is not homogenous. Salle’s work from the 80’s fits perfectly into that construct. It is a commentary on our mediated Warholian existence, where we are not sure where our physical self ends and the world of the media begins. The media sends us mixed signals from Sesame street to pornography all at the same time.  I recall the zeitgeist of that time from a talk Robert Longo gave at UNC-Greensboro in the early 80's: The subject of his speech was basically a self-indulgent rant about who came first the Euro trash Neo-Expressionists or the New York Neo-Expressionists. At the end of his talk he stated that just before he draws his last breath his last thought he will be: “Eat at Burger King”. Succinct postmodernism. Owens is post-postmodern. As she does not want to squeeze everything into the same procrustean bed, she lets things lay side by side with ambiguity. Salle  thinks ambiguity is a mot-clef in understanding her work. It allows him to make the point that ambiguity is not irony, the gestalt of the postmodernists that he came out of. 

What Salle is getting at is her abandonment of a gestalt as a totalizing meaning. He says her espousal of ambiguity arises from images being sourced from different media all put in the same space that may agree or not agree with each other. Or referencing something other than what their sources imply. Salle refers to her as a space alien who is strangely out of touch or detached from our culture but because of this may function as an effective cultural critic. She has no skin in the game and can be even-handed about her relationship to popular culture. The only popular culture is the culture of children's books she reads to her kids. She is not a critical theorist from Frankfurt, angry at our culture for its superficiality nor bitter for it mediating and totalizing so much of our lived-life. Maybe thinking along with the anthropologist Levi Strauss we could see her as the creator an American cargo cult out of the bits and pieces of our cultural detritus. I noticed this tendency in the semiotics of David Row that is built out of citations of other painters. That would bring her in by the backdoor to a kind of gestalt. But just as she pieces the parts together in a funky mix of objects in a hybrid of sculpture and painting it is up to us maybe to make further connections to come up with our own interpretation.  

She told Schjeldahl of a list of dictates she wrote up to aspire to as an artist when she was in her early twenties: among them were “Think big,” “Contradict yourself constantly,” “No Guilt,” “Do not be afraid of anything,” “Know if you didn’t choose to be an artist-You would have certainly entertained world domination or mass murder or sainthood.” I would say they are a pretty good description of where she exists with her work today. She thinks big with her New York gallery scale work but not very deeply. She can easily contradict herself since any position she holds means so little to her, it can be easily changed. I would love to be a person without guilt but how can you live and love among others without at least occasionally feeling you are not fulfilling your own expectations or the expectations of others (though I’ll admit she may just be referring to painting not human relationships). And if you think art is keeping you from indulging in mass murder, maybe your art should be a self-aware exploration of those dark desires.

The post-modern view implicates that we are always moving away from our origins, yet even in the continual distancing from the origins something of the source remains.  Like Stella Owens says what you see is what you get. There is nothing beyond the work itself that the work might point to. Anything that might upset the applecart of her manufactured world is kept at bay. For me the disparities the mix and match of the real and the printed are already well covered by Rauschenberg. 

The description of Owens I get from the two articles made me think of my mother a nurse in the Navy during WW11, whose favorite compliment was to call someone a “real trooper”, someone who pragmatically knew that things had to be done and there was no time to overanalyze details or motives. Yet even she knew that the realm of pragmatics did not apply to her relationship with nature, that offered her a refreshing sense of belonging.  She knew that she was more than an object maker or as Barnett Newman said not just an object among objects. Even Salle back in the day,had a touch of strangeness of cultural weirdness and disparities, e.g. the weight of pornography on the mundane. A lot of it did not add up but that void he created had a touch of the spiritual. Where does all of Salle’s neo-expressionistic culture clash end up: with Laura Owens ! whose work has all the Aw-shucks banality and mild irony of a Grant Wood.*

n.b The article written by Carl Kanduch on Abcrit shares a lot of the same points as this essay. And resulted in several people being blocked by Roberta Smith on Twitter.

*In a comment below someone claims that I misjudged Grant Wood who has a dark streak in him. All  I see is irony at the most and that could be shared with Owens.There is now a retrospective of his work at the Whitney.Is it ironic that it follows Owens?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ideas Matter: The 1929 Davos Debate and Modern Art

The breaking away of Heidegger from his mentor Husserl's thinking is often discussed in histories of Heidegger's thought as a momentous event not just for Heidegger's evolution as a thinker but for European philosophy . What was he breaking away from and why was often unclear to me? I understood the role of Dasein in "Being and Time", that notion of lived space among others that is a priori to consciousness. I had already suspected that Husserl's eidetic reduction was an important idea shaping cognitive science. Eidetic reduction is a sort of universal construct  whereby outside reality is reduced to pure consciousness irrespective of time and space. It is a concept based on a transcendental notion of consciousness in the tradition of the Cartesian cogito ergo sum. Go for a hearing test and you will experience I believe this reduction in its essence. Pure tones are submitted to you in an isolation booth.Your inability to detect any of them in a full range of possible tones will indicate the health of your hearing.

Recently I read  "A Parting of the Ways" by Michael Friedman, that focuses on the famous Davos debate between Heidegger and Cassirer in 1929 and its relationship to the subsequent split in philosophy between logical positivism and existentialism. One paragraph brought into focus the abyss between Heidegger and Husserl, and clarified for me once and for all the difference between these two thinkers and in particular its possible relation of these ideas to the painting of Rothko and Hofmann.

Here is an extract from that paragraph: "Similarly, we can grasp the general natures of intuitively presented colors or tones and thereby establish  a priori "eidetic sciences" of the structures of "color space" or "tone space". And by the same method in phenomenology, we can grasp the general nature of intuitively presented psychological phenomena and thereby establish the a priori "eidetic science" of "pure consciousness....In this way, moreover, we can establish  a special and unique a priori science(which, in particular, is non-mathematical)- a science that can serve as the foundation for all other a priori sciences..."

When I read "color space" both Hofmann and Rothko's work came to mind: the reduction of color to pure hues and its subsequent extraction of those colors from the lived space of the human life. I had dealt with this distinction in the blog:"The Humpty Dumpty effect" where the breakdown of the lived world into cognitive parts could not be put back together again. The work of these two artists have the  foundational structure of science. But Heidegger asks: what about the historical nature of mankind, both its finitude and its insertion in an historical epoch that limits or expands its sense of self. In other words: its temporality. What is brought into question by temporality is the the purity of human consciousness. Is our humanity only understood by a hearing test? Of course our lived reality is enhanced if we can invent instruments based on our scientific knowledge of hearing. But what happens when all notions of being human are taking place in a laboratory? If we consider first our bodily existence and its insertion in what Heidegger calls the "always already" of the world around us, we can see it precedes consciousness. We are thrown into reality in a time and place that is beyond our control. Heidegger's is a darker picture and more tragic picture of human existence than that of Husserl.

If Husserl gets Hofmann and Rothko in the world of art, who does Heidegger get? Without a doubt it is Giacometti. His figures stride blindly with an existential force that is bigger than their consciousness. They are shaped by the space around them and his drawings sculpt out a shared space of the seer and the seen. Permeating all his work is an overall anxiety that recalls Heidegger saturated Sartre's famous saying that "Hell is the other".

The third character that makes up the trio discussed in depth in Friedman's book is Rudolf Carnap. Although he was not a presenter at Davos he interacted with the participants and went on to an illustrious academic career as a "logical positivist" and a member of the Vienna Circle. He had some sympathy for the thinking of Heidegger in contrast to Cassirer only in so far as it was anti-idealistic. Except for Cassirer there was a drive among this trio to extract philosophy from its ground in a higher truth. But that sympathy ended there. Carnap had no tolerance for Heidegger's proclamation that "Nothing nothings". For him it was illogical and unprovable.

The politics of Germany brought Cassirer and Carnap to the United States and left the right wing Heidegger alone in Europe as its most famous philosopher.  The artists and architects of the Bauhaus such as Gropius and Albers came as well.  Friedman states that the underlying theme of this group and of Carnap as well was anti-individualistic and socialist. They found work readily in American Universities with Cassirer and Albers going to Yale and Carnap and Gropius teaching at Harvard. Carnap was a fan of the Bauhaus ideas of an architecture that no longer built monuments to the Aristocracy and the Bourgeoisie  but buildings that  managed mass society. Form as social function in architecture was their mantra.

Josef Albers

This notion of the importance of thinking as grounded in the group not the individual seems to me to favor a kind of abstraction that achieves its realization only as an integration of the part into the whole. This combined with the locus of the human consciousness in the cognitive v.s. being in the world handed the human individual meaning over to its integration into social function

Artists that fit the thinking of Carnap would of course be his fellow emigrant from Germany Bauhaus educated Albers and Albers protege from Austria with whom I studied, Erwin Hauer.

Erwin Hauer
Of course the 80's and 90's would bring to prominence the ideas of the post modernists such as Derrida, Foucault and de Man, all of whom were influenced by Heidegger's notions of deconstruction.Many of them found positions in American Universities the most famous being de Man at Yale. But that is another story for another blogpost.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Schutz at the ICA Boston

Around the time I was trying to sort out the clutter of paintings qua sculpture at MassMoCA for a blog post, I received a self-published book from the gallery owner, Paul Rodgers, on his theories of the origins of 20th Modernism. Looming large in his story of the Genesis of the Modern is Barnett Newman. Recently, as I started to put together a critique of Dana Schutz’s work at the Boston ICA, the artist Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe emailed me an article that he published in a collection of essays called “Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime” published by “Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies”. He had been sent my article on the end of Zombie Formalism by the artist Chris Haub, and reached out to me to share what he thought was the complementarity of our ideas on the state of contemporary art.  In Gilbert-Rolfe’s essay, Newman also comes across as an important figure in establishing the metaphysics of Modernism. Newman had never been for me a conscious influence on my painting nor for that matter someone I was excited about. I do recall the painter Don Shambroom being an enthusiast of his work. Don is a figurative painter, although lately his work has shown a more conceptual strain. That has not stopped him from often providing some of the best commentary on Abstraction of any painter I know and on my work in particular. He remarked at the time on how a Newman painting could dominate the gallery space and in so doing affect powerfully the consciousness of the viewer.  Like Rothko there is a religious import that sees the work of art as creating an architectural space similar to a chapel.


The journal in which Gilbert-Rolfe wrote his essay contains fifteen essays by other writers on the Sublime and lack thereof in contemporary art. Much of Gilbert-Rolfe’s essay deals with the structure of the art world: artists, gallerists and museums that all seem to be working under the aegis of a seamless Hegelian structure where to quote the essay “painting is the readable part of a system and causes no bodily surprises.”  This stood me in good stead when I was perplexed over any justification for the work of Dana Schutz being given a show at the Boston ICA. Until the brouhaha over her painting of Emmett Till in the Whitney Biennial I had not heard of her work. The over explained show at the ICA presents her as being an important presence in the art world for quite sometime. Gilbert-Rolfe’s essay gave me a handle on the work. He says: “Inside the museum what the work must be about is closely controlled. “ “Hegel is invoked but there is little dialectical contradiction to be seen.”

Each painting is given an extensive explanation as to its message. Typically, large shows like this provide the viewer with a long description at the beginning and maybe one at the end but rarely does each painting get such in depth analysis. Many of the paintings deal with social conflict, which of course was the story behind the Emmett Till piece not exhibited here. However, to lean on Gilbert-Rolfe’s citation from above, ”... there is little dialectical contradiction to be seen.” There are no ”bodily surprises.” There is an attempt to express the impact of conflict via a cubistic language that breaks up the picture plane but that is it. Unlike a great artist like De Kooning there is no pushing of cubism into a new territory. Here is a person with no doubt, no second thoughts as to the efficacity of her work to convey its intended meaning.  The colors are thinly applied with no admixture. The, often effaced faces, deny the viewer an extra level of meaning that could be conveyed so that the overall event might be grounded in private experience. In one of the explanatory panels, references are made to Gericault’s “Raft of the Medusa”. That painting of course functions on several levels where in fact there are faces that convey the personal horror of it all. Could it be that her view of mankind is so dictated by social media in which the system is so much larger than the individual as to render any part/whole dynamic irrelevant. There is in most every painting a cubistic whole implying a sort of topsy-turvy worldview but the cartoony faces give no inkling of an inner life. I guess I get into murky waters when I fault her for what may be the meaning of the individual effaces that sag or our effaced. It is Dasein without the Da. Mediated faces that have lost their immediacy. Is this the message of the show: in our modern world there is “No dialectical contradiction”?
Artists like Ernst Kirchner or Max Beckmann, who seem to be her antecedents, despite the overall cubistic disarray ground their paintings in the here and now. In the case of Kirchner you have the strange colors distorting the faces that provide the shiver of existential angst. In Beckmann the very non-generic faces seem borrowed from the intensely focused portraits of August Sanders. In Schutz I see this lack of grounding in specificity as either a cognitive defect or the outcome of contemporary fatuousness that gets its sense of the real from Facebook.

Schutz is the “readable part of the system and causes no bodily surprise.” One might think that painting would retain its role in society as a locus of intense emotional and metaphysical surprises that still matter to the individual in a society where we all in some way have a role of supporting  highly efficient social functioning. But in this show the emptiness of social functioning has leaked its way into the consciousness of Schutz. No wonder the Black community protested her use of the photo of Emmett Till. Here was in an iconic image of an event that represents the black’s struggle against the violence of Jim Crow and in no way could be dealt with effectively with the squishy visual language of Dana Schutz.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Show goes on. Schnabel (fils) Walter Robinson and the end of Zombie Formalism

It had all become a wonderfully seamless merger of theory and the art it purported to define. Modernism divided by modernism, became postmodern, became Zombie Formalism. The last remnant of self-consciousness was squeezed out. The image was often produced by machines or was so redundant of past Modernism, any notions of the authority or authenticity of the creator had exited the site of creation. Heidegger’s "monstrous philosophical site", where he crosses out Being (sous rature) bringing an end to ontology or at most establishing a weak ontology, had worked its way into the creative process of contemporary artists. Has Simone Weil’s cyclical trope of history hit the nadir of meaninglessness and instead of bouncing in another direction became an intensification of itself?This aesthetic nothing is not totally nothing as the market gives it significant monetary value. The correlation between such art and an economy built on zero interest rates was hard to ignore. Calculating bankers needed to launder some of their gains from the phony stock market into Culture, but the avant-garde instead of providing the usual opportunity for the bankers to slum or dabble with artists besotted of Freud or Jung was now populated by artists as savvy in their business acumen as the bankers themselves. The artists just printed more paintings on their inkjet printers to be bought up by the stockbrokers who had gotten rich on the Federal Reserve's money printing. The dialectic of history provided no zigzag, no way out just more zombification ad infinitum.
Mark Grotjahn
Frank Stella
This state of affairs was foretold in the early work of Frank Stella. His work was not built out of the cosmic gestures of the Jungian Pollock or the labor of the working class of de Kooning but out of color aid packs and bad geometry. Whereas Stella felt some remorse over putting painting into such a straight jacket and has spent the rest of his career paying homage to the Italian Baroque, the Zombie Formalists, Guyton, Grotjahn, Morris et. alia look like early Stella. They saw the scission his palette provided from flesh, blood and the inner life as a good ground upon which to build their bloodless zombie edifice. It did not refer back to a lived world but to the artifice of graphic design.

Jasper Johns by Karsh
Modernism was the last breath of authoritative self-consciousness grounded in Science, the individual as capable of solid perceptions of the Real. When one reads that Husserl’s eidetic reduction seizes reality as it is captured by the senses, one understands that this is what Rothko did. I was reminded of his spiritual intensity in Paul Rodgers “the Modern Aesthetic” which sees Modernism as an ever-revivified battle against the Prussian state and its reincarnations. For sure the scientific community achieved its goals with a group effort but judging from the mid century portraits of greatness by Yousef Karsh, the consciousness of the truth was a private affair. So here is a definition you can take home: zombie modernism is modernism without the authoritative stance of self-consciousness. There is no one home.
Jennifer Guidi
So when I learned that Grotjahn’s wife, Jennifer Guidi was cranking out sentimental paintings swimming in sunset colors and that the same collectors of Zombie art could not get enough of them, I was startled. Is this the long awaited bounce? Is all the sentiment excised from Zombie Formalism coming back to start the new zag to zombies zig? Granted the “zombie stance” if it were a yoga pose would be an impossible pose to hold. It requires a coolness and poise lest even an iota of emotion leaks in. You would have to stop breathing. Grotjahn started to drip a little paint on his geometry but that may have expressed an indifference to any remnant of authority in his work. But it may have been the crack in the dam. Are the images of Guidi ironic?  Are these just painterly renditions of Koons. 
Walter Robinson
The truth may lie in a show of Walter Robinson‘s painting curated by Vito Schnabel in Switzerland. Vito is the scion of the Schnabel family, founded by papa Julian. Robinson, the presumed inventor of the label of Zombie Formalism (although I came up with the label several months earlier as Zombie abstraction) and a denizen of New York’s art ghetto whom artist/art critic Charles Giuliano described as a “known grifter and blowhard” in an article in “Berkshire Fine Arts”, has produced a body of work which to my eye purports to be a painterly version of Lichtenstein’s pop oeuvre.  An article in Blouin Fine Arts pushes it as the glorification of “appetite” in American culture. I get it: remove the cool veneer of the billboard or the movie poster and replace it with the juicy strokes of Robinson and you reveal the appetitive underbelly of American society. Julian’s work was resurrected as provisional in the new millennium by Raphael Rubinstein from its 80’s identity as neo-expression. Schnabel’s art like Robinson’s always needs some sort of label. The Schnabel label unlike LV won't cut it by itself. Pull off the label and the work looks like shit.

On occasion I come across articles about the New York Federal Reserve’s involvement in money printing or as they call it: quantitative easing. It appears they don’t know what the longterm effect is: they are just winging it. It has created a bubble that is going to burst, that has enriched the 1% at the expense of Main St. I think you could say the same thing about the artistic culture of New York.  If Schnabel pere et fils , Walter Robinson and now Jennifer Guidi are what we must bow down  to as the culture of choice by New York’s collectors then there is no bounce nor an intensification of nihilism, just an untidy, murky pool of schlock. Is this a bubble ready to burst?  Or maybe just a backup of primordial sludge that will give rise to a new art?