Thursday, March 02, 2006

Is This a Negative Review? I'm Not Sure

From the current issue of Art News, a review by Elisabeth Kley of an exhibition of Keith Tyson's work at the PaceWildenstein gallery in New York.

"If postmodernism signifies the end of a signature style and the death of individuality, Turner Prize-winner Keith Tyson is postmodern with a vengeance. His show was overcrowded with paintings and sculptures that brought to mind NeoExpressionism, Neo-Geo, and neo-everything else, all held together by a tedious title: "Geno Pheno."

In his sculptures, Tyson borrows indiscriminately from more talented postmodernists Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, and Ron Mueck without revealing a shred of personal sensibility. His excruciatingly banal paintings, reminiscent of everyone from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Gerhard Richter to Robert Ryman, mostly consist of two panels playing off each other. They simply degrade the decent works from which they are derived.

Admittedly, a few of the assemblages here bordered on the amusing or attractive, notably 7776 + 1 (Cutting the Fungal Cord), 2005, a shiny black six-sided structure with glass walls, evocative of a Chinese pavilion. Leading up to it are black steps sprinkled with dead flies. Poetic mottoes are carved on each tread; for example, "tearful suspension of form," and "beyond the reactionary ant's nest." Inside is a white sculpture in neo-Pre-Raphaelite style of an enormous broken mushroom surrounded by calla lilies, four small winged horses pulling a longhaired man by a rope attached to his wrist, and two vaguely phallic poles, all emerging from a pool of synthetic milk.

The piece de resistance was The Inertia of Desire (Worthless Fat Fuck with Nullifiers), 2005: a sculpture of an enormous, disembodied beer belly covered with a sparse crop of hair and sporting two Band-Aids, lying on a cheap Oriental rug and surrounded by empty beer cans and a partially eaten Mars Bar. A sterling, achievement in the field of bad art, this monumental collection of overproduced rubbish deserves a resounding salute."

No comments: