Has the Market for ‘Zombie Formalists’ Evaporated?

“No one wants to be a market darling,” an art dealer once told me. It’s the art world equivalent of a one-hit wonder, where sudden stardom and outsize demand for a particularly hot artist creates intense pressure, and has the potential to create unsustainable spikes in his or her market and career. Notwithstanding the fact that the […]

Zombies on the Walls: Why Does So Much New Abstraction Look the Same?

For the past 150 years, pretty consistently, art movements moved in thrilling but unmysterious ways. They’d build on the inventions of several extraordinary artists or constellations of artists, gain followings, become what we call a movement or a school, influence everything around them, and then become diluted as they were taken up by more and […]

How Does Richard Prince’s Notorious “Canal Zone” Look 6 Years Later? Like Freedom

Is there anything left to say about Richard Prince‘s notorious “Canal Zone” paintings and their attendant legal controversy? The case was finally settled, leaving its effect on copyright law uncertain. Art-world scolds who railed against Prince’s appropriation of photographer Patrick Cariou’s Rastafarian images have moved onto new causes. The dozen or so pictures, looking as if some of them might be […]

Sigmar Polke, Bad Ass of German Pop, Rocks MoMA Senseless

In 1976 I found myself in Düsseldorf, one stop on a mission to gather material for a special “European” issue of Art-Rite magazine (which we never managed to put out). One memorable highlight was a Sigmar Polke exhibition at the Frankfurt Kunsthalle. The entryway was blocked off by wood fencing, probably bought at a garden supply store, but visitors could […]

Isa Genzken at MoMA and the Schizoconsumerist Aesthetic

They love, love, love Isa Genzken over at the Museum of Modern Art, where the artist’s first major American museum survey remains on view through March 10, before traveling to museums in Chicago and Dallas. The 65-year-old Berlin-based German sculptor, whose 150 works fill 10 open-plan galleries on the museum’s sixth floor, is “one of the most important artists […]

Walter Robinson’s New Year’s Resolution to Forget 2013

We begin 2014 with a resolution, and that is to leave all the unfinished business of 2013 behind—to be done with it, to turn our back on it and give it not another thought. After all, we don’t want to start the new year by getting distracted by all the unexplored themes and missed opportunities […]

Did Someone Say Schnabel? The “Me Generation” Retakes the Art World

“A bunch of rubbish” was the verdict, offered only half in jest by the predictably dyspeptic English journalist. He was surrounded by huge paintings covered with shards of broken crockery and slathered with crudely painted images. Yes, rubbish, but is that not the quest of the avant-garde, to magically spin art from dross like some […]