(Where and when ...)
On the presumption that art somehow has a spiritual duty to bring human beings together the Brooklyn 'sensation' exhibition succeeds brilliantly. It has elicited as much promotion as the superbowl. As an apostrophe to the final year of the second millennium, when some 150 million people have met their death in conditions of terror in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, East Timor and elsewhere, it also succeeds brilliantly for it rejoices in the very ego driven, mind numbing banality and brutality that has led the human race to such carnage. And what joy that is for us decostructionists, for from the pieces will emerge even more pieces. It is like being born again in a giant leggo set.
To argue it doesn’t, and reason it is only by showing such abominable 'sensations' will humanity ever come to its senses, is to insult commonsense. But where is commonsense today? As usual holding back art, cocaine addiction and progress!
Perhaps an individual cannot ever know the subjective experience of another, but he or she can project, to imagine what the experience is like, and contribute to projecting and enriching that experience. Such is 'sensation art'. It is in our finding truth and beauty in the in the sum total of the subjective experience of all organisms. In some ways as 'man' drinks his cup of poison and looks across the lake, it is his final statement.
This is heads to 'sensations' tails. To confuse our children with other notions does a disservice to their future and that of humanity..
More specifically to examine the centrepiece painting of the 'Virgin'?
In regards the artist's drawing ability it must be said the flowing outlines of the form indicate a steady hand. The drawing itself, however, seems to be in its early stages and little can be said of it as a completed study. This is no doubt in line with the artist's desire not to display any traditional skills though the flowing lines seem to compromise this somewhat.
Regarding the brushwork and the artist's ability to paint - again much can be said as few skills beyond those of a first year sign-writer are displayed. As to any advanced techniques such as scumbling, glazing, detailing and overall care none of these are in evidence. Many critics I spoke to were therefore well satisfied by this. There are however, joined to the piece, certain foreign substances that add a surrealist element, or is it allegorical ... whatever it is it contributes enormously to a brutal lack of subtlety in the work. Another pleasing result.
It's design and composition are of an elementary standard and there is nothing to suggest the artist is capable of more unless some hard work is undertaken. Once the foreign substances are ignored there are no discernible textural effects of an interesting nature. The type and extent of the color palette is likewise elementary and displays little advancement beyond the use of some secondary colors. Many folk were very impressed by the unconscious adoption of this infantile element. It was unfortunate to note some colors are matched in value though regarding the other aspects this could be merely accidental.
It appears this work will face enormous restoration problems and to last beyond one year may require the services of a team of restorers. Again this is a plus. The size, paint used, ground, backing are of indeterminate origin. Fortunately most of the works in this exhibition are likewise afflicted with enormous problems of longevity. This will mean the artists will have the opportunity to replace them as they disintergrate well within their life time.
It is recommended value for short term collectors of decaying bric-a-brac. It will soon be forgotten and its value likewise compromised just as the artists desire.
NOTE; Why this exhibition is accompanied by a 'health warning' issued by the Museum we can only guess!