Roberta Smith scolds curators for the dearth of contemporary painting shows in NYC museums

“Maybe it [painting] appears that way [dead] if you spend much time in New York City�s major museums, where large group shows of contemporary painting are breathtakingly rare, given how many curators are besotted with Conceptual Art and its many often-vibrant derivatives. These form a hegemony as dominant and one-sided as formalist abstraction ever was.
But that�s another reason we have art galleries. Not just to sell art, but also to give alternate, less rigid and blinkered, less institutionally sanctioned views of what�s going on.” Read more.

 Josephine Halvorson in “The Big Picture,” at Sikkema Jenkins

 Josephine Halvorson in “The Big Picture,” at Sikkema Jenkins

 Josephine Halvorson in “The Big Picture,” at Sikkema Jenkins

Smith’s review includes:
The Big Picture,” Sikkema Jenkins, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through July 27.
Context Message,”Zach Feuer, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through Aug. 3. 
Everyday Abstract–Abstract Everyday,” James Cohan, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through July 27.
Painting in Space,Luhring Augustine, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through Aug. 17.
Stretching Painting, Galerie Lelong, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through Aug. 3.


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  1. One thing about Roberta Smith, whether you agree with her or not, she always stands up for painting.

  2. Saying Roberta Smith stands up for painting is like saying Chief Justice Roberts stands up for the Supreme Court, no? Her and her husband seem only to promote Modernist stand-by's like Brice Mardens, Koons or venerables in the Matisse, Picasso categories – traditions which have not produced any thing arguably new in the last thirty years. I wouldn't be the first to say she has been complicit in helping to keep prices up for iffy works owned by nervous collectors done by the likes of Dot.com Damien., sometimes in the back handed manner of Charlie Finch. Despite all the collector money, the ny tradition is waining with lateral moves, not unlike the Parisian L'Ecole Des Beaux Artes before Pissarro, and Jerry/Roberta seem like out of touch cheerleaders.

  3. And let's not even mention their aversion to beauty and their ceaseless default to the passe concept of "edgy." Art cheerleaders indeed. "A reflection of our times" palaver we don't need any more of. And who's to say that "reflection" needs to be so trite and tired? We deserve more rigorous criticism.

  4. Roberta Smith is a reviewer, more descriptive than of criticality. Not always so, her husband and she wrote more in depth responses back in the day for Village Voice and Artforum respectively. Tha fire is gone because they are no longer the opposition, instead becoming spokepersons for entrenched university values, Roberta's placing the skeins of yellow yarn in one account here to Pollock is an unreflective, involuntary response equalling a cliche. Pollock? Do we even care about Pollock? Her and Jerry are living out of a suitcase of once powerful, modernist paradigms that have hardened into catechism. Amen, Aim Men, I say.

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