4/23/2006

Alexis Rockman

30 comments:

Lisa Hunter said...

I've been a fan of Alexis Rockman's ever since he did a series of paintings for Natural History Magazine back in the 90s. I love the way the Capitol is treated like an archaeological site, like an illustration out of Indidents of Travel in Yucatan.

no-where-man said...

if you like Rockman check out Future Evolution: An Illuminated History of Life to Come. where he teams up with geologist Peter Ward.

your humble congregant said...

it's the same premise as the ending of Planet of the Apes -- is that enough to sustain a painting practice? Obviously it is -- Leo Koenig is selling these things for as much as $65,000. But they're dumb and obvious: the Brooklyn Museum -- an institution guided by a dumb and obvious vision, to be sure -- commissioned one several years ago to help inaugurate its new lobby. I say they're crap, and I say the hell with them!

SurvivorNYC said...

These over the top rude comments alienate the good commentary. Be fair.

TOMPAC said...

The Rock-apocalypse! Rockman has always been an influential painter to me and i love his new show. Despite what "congregant" believes these paintings very cleverly update the vision of Thomas Cole while addressing our popular culture's digestion of anxiety about our impending eco-disaster, and they are beautiful paintings to boot! On top of that this show represents a departure from his signature style, to a new more painterly approach. Hats off to the Frog Prince.

rainbowandskull said...
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rainbowandskull said...

Right on Tompac.
I love the direction his work has gone. It makes more sense. Beautiful, but still werid and uncomfortable.

Survivornyc I wish we could vote comments off the island.

exu said...

in antediluvian times,one was taught about "local" color-ie a green tree is not just green,rocks are not just grey-except in cartoons-Rockmans work seems to be all about local color-his technique has not lived up to his previous work,which I used to like a lot-so sue me

zipthwung said...

the "what would stuff look like in the future" genre is nothing new - was big in the seventies.

Why is it that everything is looking dated these days? Is it because of mass nostalgia or that history is getting longer? Or both?

this is the shit

With work like this one has to ask what it adds the the genre.

My argument is that it doesnt, and is merely a sort of tent pole holding up the structure - a somatic marker that allows revivalists to congregate.

Does that sound negative? I dunno. At 65,000 a pop, one should expect a little friendly fire, no?

What is so "Fine" about this art?


As Roland Barthes would say, "Read my grapes".

In conclusion:

I'm a motherfucking Hun at the gate.

zipthwung said...

Book Description
It is the year 4022; all of the ancient country of Usa has been buried under many feet of detritus from a catastrophe that occurred back in 1985. Imagine, then, the excitement that Howard Carson, an amateur archeologist at best, experienced when in crossing the perimeter of an abandoned excavation site he felt the ground give way beneath him and found himself at the bottom of a shaft, which, judging from the DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging from an archaic doorknob, was clearly the entrance to a still-sealed burial chamber. Carson's incredible discoveries, including the remains of two bodies, one of then on a ceremonial bed facing an altar that appeared to be a means of communicating with the Gods and the other lying in a porcelain sarcophagus in the Inner Chamber, permitted him to piece together the whole fabric of that extraordinary civilization.

Amen.

closeuup said...

Just makes me think that once they suck it dry they will be off on their Deathstar and wont need the pretty tittie of the Capitol anymore.

And Woe to anyone that wants or needs a little nurturance from the body politic.

zipthwung said...

Miner, Horace. Body "Ritual Among the Nacerima," American Anthropologist, vol 58:3, 1956

closeuup said...

good little history:
http://visionaryrevue.com/webtext0/grey.html

this guy was the man in the 70s:
http://www.billmartingallery.com/

no-where-man said...

People mention price, how should the value of a work of Art be determined? What is the Brooklyn Museums “dumb and obvious vision”?

zipthwung said...

well duh, price should be determined by how much it pisses people off. I mean getting pissed off over esthetics is what it's all about. Ask the folks at the Cedar bar.

In conclusion:
Ralph McQuarrie is a great illustrator, apparently.

I allways liked looking at the Carlos Castaneda book covers. Cant find the illustrator right now though.

bada said...

The naturalist in me is saying this just doesn't work.

If you're gonna have narrative, you have to own the logic of the universe you present, even if it's parallel. This plays too much to, uh, reality, as we know it... I don't want to look at a painting and think "is this believable? that's what feature films are for...price, $10 bucks+...ridiculous...

much less than $65K, however.

wod zar xam said...

I don’t find these works “dumb and obvious” at all, nor do I see reality, as we know it”. I agree that there is nothing groundbreaking about the ostensible story line of the paintings, but I think that is more a jumping off point for Rockman than the totality of his vision. This sort of work is similar to that of a painter like John Currin, who’s paintings might be brushed off by some as just caricatures without closer inspection, or even the work of a guy like Banks Violette, who delves into subculture self consciously to reframe and examine its posturing. The investigation of the low under the glaring light of high art can bleed the genre for its soul, then re-sculpt that soul to show where it comes from and what it means in the context of the culture that gave birth to it.

Unlike straight ahead sci-fi illustration, there is a lot of subtlety and nuance that makes these paintings exciting in a high art setting. There is a lot of humor, like the boars copulating in the foreground of one of his Disney World paintings. Like a lot of Rockman’s work, there is an abundance of glee in these pieces: dandelions blooming, mayflies mating, fish jumping. This has an especially interesting effect on works that are about, it seems, the decline of civilization, and this serves to bespeak a somewhat nihilistic, “nature finds a way” mentality toward the prospect of our doom. There is nothing idealistic or moralistic about the paintings; they are more so sardonic and resolute. I think this is a fairly unique angle for an artist to take on the issue, and haven’t seen anyone frame it in this manner as well as Rockman.

I also think there is, at times, a certain intentional naivety to his compositions. For a painting that is as grandiose and masterly in so many ways as these, it seems odd that the compositions are often made to look so quirky. I think the reason that Rockman does this is to reinsert himself into the painting, humanizing it and enhancing the parody aspect of the works. These are paintings taken out of the juvenile mind and made brilliant, but Rockman seems to be clear in his insistence that the paintings remain, on some levels, innocent.

zipthwung said...

So if you take away the utopian or dystopian "new age" and replace it with a touch of sophisticated low humor and you go from 5 to 65?

Im not one to quibble over a few Gs, but a fool and his eschaton are soon parted. Immanently.

Drive my SUV hither.

wod zar xam said...

So if you take away the utopian or dystopian "new age" and replace it with a touch of sophisticated low humor and you go from 5 to 65?

Well, what level of exponential increase did Lichtenstein or Warhol manage with just a bit of a scale adjustment and a change of media? Sometimes, thats all it takes.

no-where-man said...

do we see Alexis as a Pop Artist?

Cooky Blaha said...

didnt this scene look a whole lot cooler in Logan's Run?

Rockman couldnt see Currin on his best day.

wod zar xam said...

Maybe more "Sub-Pop" ... He's riffing on a subculture, not popular culture. Just like Banks, and maybe a lot of others...

your humble congregant said...

They're not just a couple of boars in the Disneyland painting -- it's animals of different species, another one of Alexis' motifs.

The question is, is this stuff sufficient to MATTER? Unlikely, I say, but with these kinds of sales, meaning will pour in.

Another note -- I saw a trailer at the movie theater yesterday about some kind of Al Gore global warming film, so you can decide, are Rockman's paintings part of something that's science fiction or near-term reality? It makes a difference, I'm just not sure what kind.

Anyway, I still say it's pretty dumb stuff -- which is why so many of you dumb painters like them. Ha ha.

no-where-man said...

i heard him speak, he came across as pretty earnist, first time i heard of him was Now at Exit Art, pre-crash lots of money in Genetics, Culture.. remember that when the genome project was our biggest problem! now those were different times.

no-where-man said...

sorry my bad Paradise Now at exit art

zipthwung said...

My mom made phosphorescent tobacco in botanny class. Is she an artist? She took down my scarecrow garden because "it scared the Mormons," so maybe not.

When young Arthur Bobowicz brings home a 266-pound live chicken instead of a turkey for Thanksgiving, listeners know they're in for a hilarious tale. Arthur names his new pet Henrietta and teaches her tricks using oatmeal cookies. When Henrietta runs away, Hoboken will never be the same. Pinkwater's radio background serves him well in his delivery of a contemporary children's story. His narration convinces listeners that it's perfectly reasonable to have a 266-pound pet chicken.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0689828896/002-8209684-9452816?v=glance&n=283155

Dude invented square goldfish waaaaaay before josh Harris.

Just saying.

burrito brother said...

Congregant:

I think you mean, "Haw Haw".

kelli said...

I love this guy. His mural at the Brooklyn Museum was up at the same time as Open House Working in Brooklyn. It made all the 5 years younger "art stars" look like slackers. I think people resent him because he isn't mediocre.

dkweeeed said...

a little obvious for my taste

dkweeeed said...
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