The danger of overthinking

In an arch NYTimes review this morning, Roberta Smith suggests Pamela Rosenkranz’s solo at Miguel Abreu relies too heavily on the over-articulated, perhaps overwrought, ideas behind the work rather than trusting viewers to draw their own conclusions.
…The serenity is readily apparent in large fields of gleaming, slightly
oozy white, seemingly trapped behind glass and a series of large,
curved, freestanding sheets of pebbled Plexiglas, through which the rest
of the show is distorted…It is the back wall, painted a rather too pleasant shade of pale pink
and the bright touch of turquoise just in front of it � a bottle of
Gatorade on the floor � that sends you to the news release and the checklist for further guidance. These inform you that all the
paint colors are really different shades of white latex from Ralph
Lauren (the pink, for example, is called resort white); that those white
framed works present nothing but quantities of an adhesive used to
mount photographs; and that the brushy ones are mixtures of latex and
soft drinks applied to photographs of fossils…The show�s title, �Because They Try to Bore Holes,� is a quotation from the French artist Yves Klein,
complaining about birds puncturing his greatest work of art, the sky.
He seems to exemplify an overblown artistic subjectivity that apparently
does not sit well with Ms. Rosenkranz, whose work, according to the
news release, �collapses the potential meaning of an artwork to its
meaningless material elements.� Of course the viewer�s subjectivity is the unknown variable in this
equation. I still thought it was beautiful, but next time I�ll be more
careful. (Read the entire review here.)

Is Rosenkranz overthinking the work, or is she simply oversharing in her statement about the work?

Pamela Rosenkranz: Because They Try to Bore Holes, 2012, installation view at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, NY. Through April 15, 2012.


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  1. Or maybe it's Smith being overly precious by hanging the whole concept on the press release.

    The checklist had title and medium/material description for each work.

  2. I can't stand press releases that say this means X and that means Y. Sure, give me a general direction, but this sounds way too didactic. I mean, if someone like Roberta Smith is questioning it, then Rosenkranz might want to, well, rethink her approach.

  3. There's a fine line between describing the ingredients of the menu and having to explain how the ingredients work so that you can enjoy the menu.

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