Paddy at AFC has a wonderful call to arms today that just makes me want to get on a soapbox and rant! She's basically calling it the Shutz effect or rather "Frank", which is seeping like puss into and onto so many canvases throughout the borough of Chelsea. More appropriately we should call it the Hunter College/Columbia template 2.0 . Or maybe just Painting for Dummies.
AFC cites the recent Nicole Eisenman works, as well as Andre Ethier whom I don't know but by the looks of it is making works in Eisenman's studio or the reverse? An addition to this list could easily be the current Jackie Gendel show. The list of painters engaging in this bad painting exercise is long - at least in NYC . Chelsea is wallowing in shit bag aesthetics with drivelish concepts and a lust for infantilism of the most sophomoric and banal. Just check out PaintersNYC for a regular taste. More importantly, read the threads and you'll get more than your fair share of inane discourse. I'm not saying that these particular artists are empty(certainly not Shutz or Eisenman, I enjoy both) or completely stylistic opportunists but something is up and something is wrong. There does seem to be a very real trend especially among emerging or middish career painters. I'm not sure what that has to say about location, gender, age or the current art school trends but I concur with Paddy, its an underwhelming gimmick that was already tired in 1984. How many more '80's pastiches do we have to live through? Are we at 8th generation yet? Wake me when Carravaggio comes back in vogue. Why is this calculated painting style still considered brave? Its so status quo at this point, quite conservative actually when you think about the last 60 years. The recent fucking rad, bad painting crop feels like a collection of hollow style mongers and quite honestly do little more for the world than provide hipster wallpaper for gallery hopping.
Why does this irritate me so much you may ask? I ask that alot myself because there is certainly a hell of a lot more to upset one in the larger world. I'm sure many think I'm some kind of sentimentalist or traditionalist. Perhaps, but only if it applies and pushes the current discourse towards something tangible and meaningful for as many artists and viewers as possible. Something outside of style needs to be sought, quit quoting lame dead art and make something about this world. This work is already dated - mid/late 2000's. Quite simply, I feel cheated and looked down upon as a viewer and forget that I'm a practioner myself, a double whammy. I think for me there is a snide and selfish insularity to this aesthetic. Its dumb, frankly. Its lazy and corrupt at the core, a self congratulatory exercise that I think requires the minimum of the artist and asks a hell of lot more in return from the viewer to adjust their experience and intelligence by having to navigate false importance and swallow the pretzel logic of an inverted value system.
image: Andre Ethier