Criticism and geographic context

Regina Hackett blogs in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that critics’ choices and interpretations are informed by geographic context: “In Roberta Smith’s obit, Elizabeth Murray became a step in a fictional staircase, one of four painters — Philip Guston, Frank Stella and Brice Marden — who ‘during the 1970s rebuilt the medium from scratch, recomplicating and expanding its parameters and proving that it was still ripe for innvoation, in part because of its rich history.’ Murray, Guston, Stella and Marden rebuilt the medium from scratch? Why these four and not others? Smith could have as easily said that Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha, Anselm Kiefer and Jean Michel Basquiat rebuilt painting in the 1970s, and how about Francis Bacon in the 1970s, with his pals in their messy, cold water flats, such as Lucien Freud and Howard Hodgkin? Why leave out David Hockney from the English list? Because he cruised around in limos? Smith’s is a New York City list impersonating a universal. Painting is part of the fabric of art communities around the world. If I made a list of painters who mattered from the 1970s, it would surely include artists of whom Smith has never heard.”Read more.

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