The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Notice how the artist picked just the perfect shades of gray to evoke an overwhelming sense of grayness…
Posted on | August 24, 2009 | No CommentsI suppose at least some of you have heard about the $3 million painting that was destroyed by Lufthansa who is now being sued by the gallery which was handling it. But have you noticed, nobody’s printed a photo of said $3 million work of art? We get a description, two panels in two shades of gray. Let me translate that for you. One panel is ALL one shade of gray. The other panel is all THE OTHER shade of gray. Yup, that’s it. Two panels, two colors, no waiting. It’s called, in a title that’s neither French nor English, “Au Center”. I understand that the artist eschewed the usual Winsor and Newton oils and sable brush for two cans of Sherwin-Williams and a roller. “Marden’s ‘Au Center’ came loose in its travel frame while being transported last year, resulting in ‘a significant amount of paint loss’ and the destruction of the painting, said Eliot Greenberg, a lawyer for Gagosian Gallery in New York.” He should have used two coats.
Lest anyone think I’m kidding, here are a couple of other Marden paintings from the same period:
Grove Group I
Annunciation Study I
These are all from his early period, when his paintings consisted of, well, big rectangles of color. In his later work, he advanced to squiggles. A New Yorker critic, who seems to have been afflicted by attending too many New York gallery openings, called Marden “the most profound abstract painter of the last four decades.” You’ve GOT to read this article, just to get a load of the incredible critical hyperbole which says more about the critic’s imagination than what’s on the canvas. What is profound about these paintings is not their significance, is not their technique, is not their insight, but the depth of the con that has been perpetrated. Are these paintings or are they just paint on canvas? Is this art or interior decorating? Works like these are the Bernie Maddof hedge funds of the art world. Just as the only value to Bernie’s investments was his name, the only thing that distinguishes these colored panels from the living room walls is the artist’s name in the corner. $3 million dollars for two canvases of flat gray! Lord God a’mighty, I’m in the wrong business! I’m gonna hie me down to the local art store for some canvas and then to Home Depot for some gloss enamel! But I’m not gonna sign it with MY name–that wouldn’t be worth a nickel. I’m gonna sign Brice Marden and make a bundle!