10/17/2006

Elizabeth Murray

98 comments:

Painter said...

Elizabeth Murray @
Pace Wildenstein
534 West 25th Street
NYC

Painter said...

Elizabeth Murray @
Pace Wildenstein
534 West 25th Street
NYC

zipthwung said...

Wow that is in bad taste.

zipthwung said...

Wow that is in bad taste.

zipthwung said...

This si the kind of art you buy to piss of the republicans on the nicer side of the lake.

zipthwung said...

because your republican neighbors bought a hideous objective cow painting.

zipthwung said...

your nephew is a pretentious avant guard artist who thinks your republican neighbors work is conservative and provincial in its attempts at rigourous lyrical modulations.

In fact the ideological mud slinging is a result of a long standing sibling rivalry based on the relative love of the mother and the relative fortunes of the clan.

Not my family. My family collects bric a brac such as fiesta ware and puzzles. They might find this work engaging but find the price inconceivably high.

How can such a populist work achieve museum status where the local chainsaw art does not? I think its entirely contextual.

In that light, why do the children of the middle class insist on marketing their tchotchkys to the hoi poloi?

Its criminal, is it not? Promethean hubris? Wear not the wax wings! A rolling stone gathers! No mas!

But on the other glove, shall we say that philosophy is for cowards? Let them run up the beach. Our traps will tank them! Our cross hairs are planted firmly uppon their beadled brows! Our mines are like magnets to their leaded feet. Our machine guns are like unto hornets nets unleashed from medieval catapults. Our stomachs are full of brie and finer! WHile the enemy, forced to row their own triremes, have eaten only hard tack, and drunk only their own urine. Water water everywhere, and yet the pond evaporates, the shore vanishes, and the horror, the horror.

exu said...

aaaargh.

Cross said...

Browse thru these paintings on the Pace website and imagine a gallery visitor saying "Oh aren't these FUN!"

But they are not fun, for me, but even a little sad. Sad because here I see a major artist not leading, but trying to follow by looking current. In doing that, she brings along too much from the earlier work of Stella and even Peter Saul, with just enough of her own style to make it 'hers'.

So. They don't look fresh or new (although that was my first reaction). They have that faint feeling of nostalgia for a time when her work was 'current' and artists actually were influenced by her... not the other way around. I really want to like them, but it takes me too much into the past to try. Her personal messages hiding within the symbolism and early '80s electric colors are too much like looking through old abandoned kitchen cabinets and cedar chests.

Maybe in person the scale would overcome some of this, or tomorrow my attitude could change.

Cooky Blaha said...

uurrrgghh

zipthwung said...

“Beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is ‘bold, exciting, innovative, and new.’ There are many ideas that are ‘bold, exciting, innovative, and new’ but also foolish.”

—Donald Rumsfeld


Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm

The grapes of wrath are rotting in the barell!



"I’m talking about getting brutally weird again. I’m talking about doing art that’s beyond co-option. I’m talking about forging new myths. I’m talking about creative resistance that scares the shit out of the rich robots, Sex in the City slaves, stockbrokers, cultural gatekeepers and pigs in power. I’m talking about dangerous expression that’ll make Todd and Ashley think long and hard about moving into the ’hood and exposing their little banker to the new hip warriors of the American night."

That is so retarded I dont know where to start my irony.

judex damnatur ubi nocens absolvitur

or:

“Black Flag kills ants on contact.”

SisterBee said...

Cross - you said it (and more eloquently than I). This work is dated. I have a hard time relating to it as fine art. It frustrates me. I wonder if the artist realizes her work screams "80's" or if she thinks it's fresh. It'd be more interesting to me if I thought she was making a statement about '80's graphic design but somehow I don't think this is the point.

zipthwung said...

Isnt Henry Rollins the Hulk Hogan of punk? Isnt Green Day the boy band - th O town of pop-punk?
Isnt punk dead? Isnt it?
Isnt neo-geo dead? isnt it?

Get thee to a mausoleum! museum. Get thee to a deep well contanment center!

"Let us leave good sense behind like a hideous husk and let us hurl ourselves, like fruit spiced with pride, into the immense mouth and breast of the world! Let us feed the unknown, not from despair, but simply to enrich the unfathomable reservoirs of the Absurd!'


Or not and say we did.

zipthwung said...

I could say the same thing u dudes r saying about datedness about EVERY FUCKING PIECE OF ART I SEE. DEMATERIALIZE THIS<><>MOTHERFUCKERS!

I'll freshen you albatrosses up with a bit of spiced rum and a slice of uglyfruit! Feel the bite of me x-bow!

Decay Image said...

okay, the exhuberance of Elizabeth's work of the past several years usually brings out the cynic in me, but the fact that she was instrumental in moving painting out of the incredibly narrow niche it had occupied in the 70's and that she is dying while singing her song louder and full-throated than ever, has to give one pause. Even if you don't like it, she's earned our admiration.

zipthwung said...

Break in the sun till the sun breaks down

George said...

I wonder if the artist realizes her work screams "80's" or if she thinks it's fresh.

At 66, I suspect Murray could probably care less. As a young artist all things are possible, including the "new", "hot" or "fresh". Over a career, one defines a set of personal parameters, a way of working, a vision of the world seen in a particular way. If one is honest with ones self, the artwork reflects this vision. It is all you have after the naivete of youth wrinkles into middle age.

FWIW, I saw the Murray, Oehlen and Furnas exhibitions Saturday. I was pressed for time but thought the Murray show was better then either of the other two. I wanted to like the Oehlen’s but I found them thin and unconvincing. Furnas, well he yells loud, but the new iPod billboards are better and the come in more colors.

Decay Image said...

The intellectualism of the minimalist painters was always based in Greenbergian formalism. Murray's strength was to keep their formal rigor, while showing that paintings don't have to have the "look" of intellectualism. They can be irritating when they are merely wacky, but I like them when they cross into madness.

The weakness in the work comes from trying to reconcile the use of primary geometric shapes with the fact that cartoons are also based on the same construct. Her struggle has been to endow through paint a real emotion into the inherent cartooniness of geometric formalism gone wild.

She often doesn't succeed for me, but I can't help but feel the struggle to stay alive is very present in the work:
This is your brain on cancer.

closeuup said...

There's a difference between someone who "is" the 80s and work that "screams" 80s. She's not referencing.

But I have a fondness for has-been-hood. Like zip likes DL Roth. It's not exactly pretty. It doesnt relly have self respect or gravitas like Pat Steir. But there's something really real there. Oh it's poignant I guess.

zipthwung said...

I done stained my toga

zipthwung said...

Not everyone with brain cancer gets a museum retrospective. WOnder why that is.

But enough of this intellectual vadeville - these are ugly as sin. Cant we get something a little more pat lipski but a little less Pat Steir? Greg Bogin with a little more gravitas. Oooh I know, Frank Frazetta.

zipthwung said...

Superbad, page 6:


"By 2005 I headed up The Department of How Things Are. My job mostly involved circling pictures of women's breasts in fashion magazines. It wasn't the easiest job in the world -- I had to use one of those permanent markers, and the squeaking and the smell damn near drove me nuts some days -- but I got really good at it, and by my third month there I rarely accidentally circled the head or the hand."

I wish I had written that.

tomas said...

Self-respect is an extravagance for the young. I think gravitas is over rated.

The brain cancer stuff is really not funny.

kelli said...

This is really no better or worse than Frank Stella's MTV type assemblages. It suffers from the same issues over generations: a color palette and formal language which was so specific to it's time it now looks dated and a focus on formal issues and play which no longer seems at least as primary. I don't like to disparage female artists who just faced the same quandries similar male artists did. If anything the playful and personal elements and even the willful brassiness makes it more appealing to me than Stella.
Her health problems should not be an issue either way. I kind of felt like the Finch review a while back turned the issue against her when really a lot of artists with a long career have similar retrospectives. Best wishes to her.

kelli said...

I'm agreeing with decay image's first remark too. Maybe she had to thumb her nose at formalism in a brassy cartoony way so we wouldn't have to take it so seriously and we owe her on some level.

tomas said...

Yeah, I think those formal issues that seemed paramount and necessary to many people in the 70’s look like random constraints now. There are lots of things like that in the last 100 years.

kelli said...

It must have been pretty oppressive. Irving Sandler's account makes it sound almost cult-like. And she messed with it more than Stella. Also if someone 24 made these and put Donkey Kong and Mario in we might like them more. Close-up what about Vija Celmin's comeback? Artists with a cold aesthetic seem to age better than the warm ones.

brent hallard said...

Murray is not the best when dealing with large areas of color. A decision was taken to break the color down into small bits, shapes, and amusements, to attempt to free and glee things up, right? So nuts and bolts dislodged from the carcass of canvas's square exist hovering in the gaps of a tightfisted formalism. Excellent!
Murray never had the formal thing down. If so then she'd be really breaking it and we'd all be having some serious fun.
Can anyone tell why 1 and E are backwards?

George said...

One of the great strengths of Murray’s work is that it has a strong identity, there is no confusion about who made it. It doesn’t matter if one likes the work, this is a function of opinion and the taste pocket of the current time. If this was the late 40’s - early 50’s, paintings would look a certain way and one would know who the artists were because one would be involved in that historical moment of time. Yet today, if we were to see paintings by say 25 artists of the same period, those identities would blur together, many would look a lot alike or refer to the names we did know.

I find the reactions to her paintings interesting, people seem to like them or hate them, with little in between. Part of this may just be the taste of the time but in discussing her work with others, it seems to be the case regardless of generation. Her work seems to polarize opinion, this seems like a good thing.

no-where-man said...

house-wife Art fails the same way Stella's maximalism does, with a wimper not a scream.

kelli said...

Murray vs. Cory Archangel. If you are old enough to remember the clothes you are too old to wear them. How are these different from Keegan Mchargue? Porny bits, Donkey Kong, maybe some spray painted styrofoam balls
( remember him) would pull it out of the Bill Cosby sweater lined pit.

cadmiumredlite said...

I saw the show, i thought those later paintings were kick ass good, brave even. i dont know where people say they look like the eighties, if a young artist did the same thing in a young gallery everybody would be coming all over themselves, i thought the imagery, color all looked fresh to me, very sculptural, especially the ones that were in the second room, there were some truely strange passages and things she does with breaking up of space that noboddy else does. There was one painting with a Teepee for instance and some other cubist jokes. This generational thing about her i think is an excuse for sexism, does everybody go all the same about Brice MArden, who looks very conservative and decorative, Murray keeps pushing it. her illness shouldnt be an issue here, she deserved that retrospective. and by the way, she doesnt care a whit about what people think, i know a lot of young artists who get her. and dig her.

closeuup said...

I wasn't aware that Vija Celmins went anywhere or had a comeback. To me she has always hovered in the same place just below the radar, making timeless work. Her work doesnt seem cold to me, it just has a cosmic frame of reference.

I went to a screening of all the films of Bruce Connor, and at the Q&A after, a woman asked Bruce what women artists he admired. He said Vija. Black & white is always in fashion ;)

Re: E Murray. I wonder if any women artists feel that they stand on her shoulders, or do you want to slag her off as a housewife?

tomas said...

The 70’s look from here like a really constrained time, but lots of smart, young people working within those constraints or pushing on them thought they were working way out on the most advanced edge. And that it would always be that way.

It takes a kind of hubris to think lots of the work being made now won’t seem to have been made under constraints of form or style or ideology that come to seem random once enough time passes.

Talking about Murray’s work just in formal terms doesn’t do justice to her intentions.

kelli said...

Closeuup when Celmins was in the Whitney she was for a moment what you called a "hot geezer". I'm working on a new video release:" Scope Miami: Hot Geezers Gone Wild".

kelli said...

I love Celmins BTW. She is timeless like Agnes Martin.

closeuup said...

I'm not sure what I meant by hot. Relevent, I think. But aren't we all still playing on the Artists stickball team?

SisterBee said...

Thanks to those of you who provided context. Although I still don't connect to this stuff I feel less judgemental about it (or at least more willing to look at it) than I did a few hours ago. Still thinking about it...

This blog is great.

closeuup said...

Can anyone tell why 1 and E are backwards?

I see the word YALE there, but not sure if its really there or why

Cooky Blaha said...

if y'all start waxing romantic on Jim Dine next I'm bailing

Decay Image said...

There is very little art that deals with joy, so that when we see some it can feel a bit embarassing. I didn't mean to problematize Murray's illness, just as it is not fair to evaluate Chuck Close on the basis of his. However when I feel embarassed by the relentless wackiness of Murray's work, I remind myself that there is a refusal to be cowed that this work represents. And that inevitably must be a feminist issue.

I think it is dangerous to characterize any work of the past 50 years as timeless. Insofar as the change of context that time brings, I agree with tomas, but I don't ever see the ideological shifts as random. There is a dialectic out there and it isn't particularly progressive. Timelessness is simply what sticks out against the noise of culture and often innovative things are drowned out by what they inspire. But the one thing I took from George Kubler's The Shape of Time is that the first innovation in a series is usually the most powerful.

brent hallard said...

Ah, something secret. I'm looking for the word Oakland. Didn't E.M. graduate there?
Interesting: one person says it's poor to box liz in the formalist camp. And I agree! And then another person says she's right out there with these relationships, or something, and young painters get this, the spaces. So I'm wondering: Are the spaces here literal, figural, animated, or social-o-cultural spaces?
I'd never put her in the camp of housewife painters, in fact, I wouldn't put anyone there, except my best friend.

Closeuup, I can see the yale thing 'now, wow!'
Mystery never ceases.

Clemins' bar heater and Martin's make very different use of line and space, if you know what I mean. I wonder if Martin was ever referred to as 'that old bar heater'.

kelli said...

Little chance of that Cookie. Although I do get kind of excited by Larry Rivers sometimes.
Decay I don't think you problematized her illness. I think the Finch article did.

zipthwung said...

Yeah the Finch article did, which I thought was tasteless, But also, if you cant joke about brain cancer what can you joke about? The weather? You and your rules.

tomas said...

Never said you couldn't joke about brain cancer. You can joke about anything. Said it wasn't funny

zipthwung said...

Decay said :"I can't help but feel the struggle to stay alive is very present in the work:
This is your brain on cancer.

I dont think that is like "ha ha" funny, but it is "sunny side up" funny.

If it was soemthing I said, nothings "funny" because "I mean it, man".

Which is my way of asking if someopne like Carol dunham who did styrofoam balls like ages ago, is in the same tone as this?
Not joy at all. The illusion of joy. WHich is what real life is like sometimes.

closeuup said...

yeah DK Image--some people just wont shut up (does that make zip a feminist). Dont get what you're saying about timelessness tho.

And dont get me started on oakland! That CBGB article relates so perfectly to the situation in oakland right now.

zipthwung said...

Larry Rivers

I guess thats an important piece.

zipthwung said...

The quote i pulled was funny i thought - the one from Superbad.

It has a Charles Voysey reference and might I direct you back to the idea of the enlightenment, and the counter enlightenment as usefull terms for the dialectic that ELizabeth Murray could be part of, or not, depending.

Decay Image said...

Zip, how about the struggle for joy? Trying to be happy despite everything. I mean the illusion of joy, well inasmuch as all painting is an artificial construct, I guess illusion could be apt, but prefer allusion to illusion when it comes to painting. And don't you think Dunham is all about anxiety and combat (or the illusion of anxiety?) but of course the two painters are related in more ways than formal.

What I meant by timelessness is that it is sort of an accident, something to hope for, not something to aspire to. We are way too tied to our time to make work that aspires to exist outside of our context. I enjoy trying to imagine what a lot of work that is presently hyped will look like 5 yrs from now. One can try to be innovative, to say something no one else is saying, but subsequent imitation by a lot of second-rate artists can totally blur the originality of innovative work. And Agnes can aspire to Nirvana, but that doesn't make it so. Now that is something that is the illusion of timelessness.

kelli said...

People think of Vermeer as timeless. His rediscovery is usually tied to Romanticism but I think it is just tied to early photography. That whole camera obscura look was probably just a curiousity for centuries and then became what we think of as timeless and real based on it's resemblence to photographic standards of veracity. We started out just talking about intergenerational conflict and this came up. Timeless is a long time.

kalm james said...

After a long cold slog through Chelsea this afternoon I ended up by accident at the Elizabeth Murray show at Pace. After seeing at least twenty shows, many of which were received here with glowing praise, I have to say the Murray show was far and away the best thing I saw. Not that I don’t have problems with some of her devices and techniques, but if you’re talking about painting then this is “painting”.

Her handling of the medium is exquisite, she gets all kinds of surface incident happening and obviously loves futzing and reworking the different passages of the works till they get a painterly “glow” that is rare compared to the slapdash, photo-shop banal limp crap that passes for “painting” at so many other venues. Maybe it’s my attachment to the Ab-Exer’s sense of paint as a material, not just a vehicle for some kind of representation that hooked me. Someone in an earlier thread spoke of Andy Warhol’s wonderful color sense, well Perry Rubenstein had a batch of the “Skulls & Hammer and Sickles” and Murray’s colors sang to Andy’s humming.

The caveat that the work “screams the 80s” simply says to me that we’re dealing with the opinion of some youngsters whose probably been painting for five years so twenty years ago is a lifetime, but in a long career that lasts for decades the ark of development and change takes on a different less “trendy” “fashionable” reality. All this talk about whether the work is fresh enough or young enough has a snarky bitchiness and reminds me of Mr. Black’s “Worst Dressed Women of the Year Awards”. (Man chicks can be so harsh to each other!)

Now to get critical: I did find some of the pieces too busy. The painting posted here like many in the show, is an example that has a filigree aspect to it which diminishes its painterly qualities. When there are lots of little parts, they begin to take on aspects of groupings of things, wall sculptures. Although they are beautifully crafted, they loose a homogenizing effect that a single surface provides. Murray is a master at edges, that point where planes of different color or textures meet, and she needs lots of flat space to get that to happen nicely. I guess she wants to use the wall as part of the painting not just something to hang them on, but I preferred some of the larger pieces that although made up of different sections, the pieces interlocked, with fewer overlapping planes and less space of wall showing through, like “Kind of Blue” or “Do the Dance”. Murray’s technique allows the narrative of development to show through. Scratched in lines or ridges from edges that were painted over remain as painterly presences, and she has a wonderful feel for shinny against matte surfaces.

Okay, I’m a fan, but when I compare these works to Barnaby Furnas, (big and red) Keegan McHargue, (early David Hockney meets Jim Nutt) Albert Oehlen (big limp ab-ex with spray paint) Roberto Juarez, (serial progressions of circles) Chie Fueki, (Chric Ofili in gasha drag) or any of the other dozen shows I trudged through, Murray is golden. Go girl!

Ursula's Dad said...

Nice work from an old gal. Does anyone care about tradition from an indidual anymore? Or is it all about lemmings and stock in aapl? Funny how the older an artist gets- the brighter their palette becomes...Guston, Marden, Lewitt, Dekooning, Stella, Cezanne.

Cooky Blaha said...

YOU APPLAUD MONOTONY
EM has been doing this tired shtick for decades. this conversation is absolutely absurd. I am flabbergasted. Now all you older artists can proceed to browbeat those of us who lack the intelligenceto understand the beauty of rampant unfettered formalism. fuk me

kalm james said...

A few brief addenda to my above statement: I also checked the price list; everything in the show was sold except on tiny piece at two hundred big ones.

The catalog essay by Dave Hickey is delicious.

kelli said...

Kalm James it goes both ways. Intergenerational conflict is accepted and desirable for male artists and has been for centuries. Giotto wanted to be better than Duccio. The whole "standing on your shoulders" concept derived from the civil rights movement is in my opinion a thorn in the side of female artists. The fact that older female artists are judged by harsher standards and have less career longevity than say Brice Marden is a separate and important issue. Their work should be in galleries but not neccesarily enshrined in the hearts of younger female artists. Every artist has the right to be original and new and to cast off earlier artists who are useless to them. It has nothing to do with being "hot" or with loyalty. It's a right not a privelege.
That being said Tomas and DK brought up a good point: She took some of the piss out of formalism and we take it for granted now but at the time it was a fight and she fought it. The way to honor that is to fight our own fights.

kalm james said...

cooky, rampant unfettered formalism? What’s your definition of “formalism”?
Art Speak, by Robert Atkins defines it as:… “deriving from form. A work’s formal qualities…imply an artistic or interpretive emphasis on form rather than content…generally associated with the thinking of…Clive Bell, Roger Fry and Clement Greenberg.” Murray’s not part of this camp at all, (which might include folks like Ryman, Kelly and yes Agnes Martin) but seems to me to derive more from a mingling of Neo-cubism and Pop.

Kelli, good points, but don’t through out the baby with the bath water. I’m talking about “painting” not fem theory, civil rights, psychoanalysis, fashion, post-punk-geezers, bad daddies etc. All this other stuff just clouds ones ability to see “painting”.

JpegCritic said...

ah, ursula's dad, tradition is one thing
painters posting on a painting blog
should know full well. And how problematic
that word has been within the context
of painting and art. And further, within
a larger context of lemmings and appl:
It becomes even more probematic
wouldn't you say...

If only we were all born as lemmings.

no-where-man said...

Hotel Whimsical !

oh wait Dave Hickey, Pace, red dots.... i am willing to place a bet on where this is going,

kelli said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kelli said...

KJ you know I'm a big Lefty and sort of a closet hippie pretending to be punk ( haven't eaten meat for 20 years) but you don't respect other artists by putting them in a shrine or in the case of women a fiercely gaurded pantheon that includes people like Kusama and Mary Cassat who actually don't really belong together at all.
Plan for tomorrow. I'm going to wake up make a wish for Murray's health and well being and honor her legacy by working on something that looks and is very different.
No irony intended. Best wishes and be well.

JpegCritic said...

There is a Rauchenberg quote on Scott Taylor's blog
that's gripped me today-- partly because I think it's
destructive and heresy, and partly because I've always
held it as a mantra.

"...When an artist loses that terror, he's through..."

And only a lemming would say that's heresy.

And of course alone in the studio, trying to
do something at all, let alone trying to do
something different -- can be quite terrifying.
Cuz if not the the weight of tradition, then
the weight of the market. If not the weight
of bills, then the weight of our critical peers.
And still the weight of bills.

Terrifying i tell you. If only I were a lemming.

And counter to Rauchenberg's statement,
is a contemporary one -- 'if you haven't sold
out by the time you're 30, you've got no brain'.

If only we were lemmings.

brent hallard said...

The further we go into the information age the more it seems sensible to head out of it into experience.
Think! OK, yawn first!
Maybe we have discovered all the graphic computations of life, the vertical, diagonal, and the horizontal, which can be turned into a venus, the circle, and the cube, but still, think, at the level of how you know how, how it works. Hmmm!

We've discovered the box! We can also put human feelings inside and outside of that!
Think we are clever with box construction?
Think! Nervous people have grievances. Think it funny!
Think!
Nothing about it!

Someone fighting your battle is not fighting their own.

kalm james said...

Just because you like a particular artist, be it painter, musician, poet or actor, and you express an opinion on their interest or value to yourself doesn’t mean that you expect everyone to become members of some personality cult for the adulation of that particular artist. Hell, I’d prefer it if people hated them, so long as they hate them for some good reason. Murray isn’t a “formalist”. Maybe the work does resonate with concerns and graphic qualities of the 80s (plenty of young artists who were in dippers then are appropriating the superficial devices and looks of that period to acclaim here and elsewhere).

Too many of us come to an art work with preconceived notions of how we’re going to respond to something without clearing our heads for an honest viewing. Whether you hate the work or love it, there’s still something to learn from it that you might be able to pull out at some point and use to solve your own problem. I’m not trying to put Murray or anyone else in to some sanctified pantheon of art “Gods”. As I stated, I went to a crapload of shows in Chelsea, and I thought she was better (as far as “good” painting goes) than the rest.

kelli, no fish, milk or eggs ether?

kelli said...

Hey KJ I'm not that strict. It's true it's hard to see her work without preconcieved notions and I admit to being in the con camp but people brought up good points about her historical place. I still think it would be funny to photoshop in Miss Pac Man and send a slacker guy with a fake M.F.A. out to galleries with a doctored slide sheet.

kalm james said...

Lisa Yuskavage?

tomas said...

I might be too late- people may have moved on to the next post. But Kelli, that’s not what I meant to say. I think I was trying to say something about problems when artists believe in the mainstream/market. If you believe that history is a line and there is a mainstream, then, yes Elizabeth Murray helped move away from minimalism. But there were lots of other people around then doing things that didn’t fit.

She seemed to think she was taking on the mainstream. I remember hearing her say if you want to be counted as one of the big boys, you had to work big. I’m pretty sure she loved Stella and thought she was also taking him on.

I do admire her for trying to get the clamor and contradictions of lived life into a form (painting) that many people saw as pure, abstracted and detached. At the time it seemed risky.

But I have trouble with her work- for me the shaped canvas/painting-as-object makes a problem with the imagery. Once in awhile she gets a sculptural weight where everything works together, usually where the edges of the canvases correspond with the edges of the images. But for me, most of the time, the shaped canvases seem like a result of the anti-representation, anti-illusion dogma of the time. It makes the images look applied. And when I look at the images, I think the drawing is weak.

I also admire her for still being in there. Any artist who manages to keep working (even one with her success) for 30-40 years deserves a certain amount of respect. I read the snarky, art schooly, oedipal attacks on this site and have mixed feelings- I get pissed. But I also think the site would be really dull without some snark.

closeuup said...

As I recall, she got attention because she made em big and ugly like Schnabel & JMB and they called it neo-expressionism.

Most of the meaning and impact falls by the wayside for a young person, it seems. Like how painting the objects of everyday domestic life big and splashy was a feminist statement. How can someone born in 1982 understand that? The meaning is lost, apparently.

tomas said...

She got attention for rectangular paintings before Schnabel began to show.

SisterBee said...

Back again after taking some time to think... Tomas - did you perceive my comment from yesterday as snarky? I didn't mean it that way. I just genuinely find this work to be irritating. It's static. It lacks evolution. It's rooted in '80's vernacular graphic design. But why? What do these shapes and colors and gestures mean outside the decade that inspired them? What do they mean to the artist? Are veiewers able to comprehend the artist's intentions? Why hasn't the artist moved on?

I hear what others have said about the age thing.. How time shrinks as one ages and the '80's might not seem that far off to someone in her sixties... But since this work refers so directly to late '80's, early '90's graphic design I'm unable to look at it without experiencing an uncomfortable wave of nostalgia. Is this what Murray intended when she made these paintings in 2003?

It may be that more time needs to go by before I can appreciate them as paintings, not mementos.

tomas said...

She got attention in the mid to late 70's, as part of a loose group of painters that included Ron Gorchov, Marilyn Lenkowsky (any of you heard of her?), Bill Jensen, John Torreano, maybe Linda Benglis' was pieces, maybe Guy Goodwin. Didn't then have anything to do with neo-expressionism or 80's graphic design.

closeuup said...

Well that was pre-national attention, tomas, her early work. The big ugly mid 80s work was her famous stuff--

Jerry says: Murray's accomplishment is breathtaking but knotty. She built a bridge between the formalist-pluralist-pop concerns of the 1960s and '70s and what followed. For this she is respected and loved. I'm sometimes afraid that this bridge strikes young artists as being too brazen, Dionysian, and leading too close to areas currently deemed too excessive and expressionistic. Nevertheless, I think artists like Dana Schutz, Matthew Ritchie, Katharina Grosse, and Chris Ofilli, among others, are making use of this bridge, even if none of them profess a specific interest in Murray. No matter. Murray's bridge will likely serve as a crucial link to the undiscovered country that lies ahead for painting.

kalm james said...

tomas, wow Marilyn Lenkowsky, you’re really showing your age now. After coming across her name in several rave reviews in ARTFORUM in the late seventies by none other that Roberta Smith et. al I’ve tried to find images of her work on the net with no luck. At the time she had been in a show at the Whitney and at the Corcoran in DC. My researches indicate she’s teaching at some school in the North East and is still working but seems to have faded out of the NYC scene. Know where we can see the work?

Is the problem with Murray that the work is to extravagantly excessive?

tomas said...

The last I heard, a long time ago, she had quit and was working full time as a nurse.. could be wrong though.

zipthwung said...

anti oedipus

The new generation does not understand this appolonian-dyonysian duality, even though its rooted in physiological truth. It has beeen scientifically shown, somewhere, I'l look it up, that the mind (mine and yours) uses metaphors, metonymy and - synecdoches and other literary stuff - to make order from chaos.

To make readable. Why are our pictures puzzles? BEcause the audience is the academic power structure? The academic power structure gives creedence to a overhyped hobby? The hobby that jack built? COntingent on a faith - a tissue of lies? The lie that keeps on giving.

ELizabeth Murray Makes chaos from chaos, and so its hard to judge her on formalist grounds - wahts the game?

THe game is resistance, and in that she failed, having been INEVITABLY assimilated. having been assimilated, she should emerge from her cocoon, change to a style that is more true to form, or be reviled as a museum.

Resistance isnt an age thing, other than old people get tired of resisting and yearn for the security of health insurance, vacations, and regular meals. Yes, old people are soft.

If that is oedipal, who gives a fuck. Its true.

But so then what is the use of resistance? In its own way it can be as mindless as the so called lemmings.

Or mindfull. Lemmings of the resistance unite and turn the wheel!

closeuup said...

When I saw the Talking Heads in 1980, I loved the music, but it was such an incredible deal to see Tina playing the bass. I had NEVER seen a woman playing an instrument in a band before. Can you imagine that? Susie Quatro doesnt count;)

tomas said...

I don't think you know what resistance is until you've been around longenough to pay a price for it.

KISSMYABSTRACT said...

Did Someone say"Teepee for instance and some other cubist jokes."


http://www.peterreginato.com/NewWork-1-PeterReginato.com.htm
http://www.peterreginato.com/ButWaitHoldIt.htm

KISSMYABSTRACT said...

And if First is that important to you ?...Check This Out



http://www.peterreginato.com/fearlyyears.html

zipthwung said...

Duuude. Pay to play man. I dont care if I spent the governments money, my parents money, my money or Ceazars money (all of the above) - its all money and its gone daddy gone. Just like my youth. I can feel that going too. I have a good imagination so I can see where its headed. Cavities, organ failure dementia and abject destitution. I might add I have a good cancer chance based on metal dust and xylol or whatever.

Well spent I'd say. this prodigal son may not be able to go home again, but what they quote on that stupid art rag - form follows wallet.

In conclusion, peter seems to be headed in a good direction - i thought he was a gonner what with all that wine and cheese. Full circle? I dunno.

As far as being first - well where were the trenches and where were you in relation to the Turkish machine guns?

zipthwung said...

Also - is art just bon motts or is it more a religion, because I am pope. pop. Whatever.

zipthwung said...

Heres a good cancer story. My friend growing up (I had three or four) calls me up and says do I want to go to the ciuty and hang out because his mom is going and he has to go.

I say ok. I forget if I knew why we were going, but now I probably would have said no.

SO we go into the city and my friends mom drops us off and we go and do stuff like I dont know play video games.

So my friends mom comes back and says her friend just died of lukemia and it was very painfull and I just look at her and I have no idea what leukemia is, really, and the most painfull thing I ever felt was hitting my knee on the gym floor or maybe when my brother tricked me into walking into a patch of thorns when I was three.

DO you think I could make money off that story? If so where should I publish it when I get it polished up?

brent hallard said...

wow this thread is still going. Peter's URL chimes in, new homepage, new work. There's this new color thing going on. The message here is the war was won, at least by one. And most here seem to support The formal as old klu klux klan.
Formal for me was something like the song 'nothing going on, or another word for Prom. Though, with just about everything, you can talk the formal side of things. And heck, the real good shit you don't need to talk about anything, at all--it's just out there!

Anyhow, when you put things together, and you are not really sure of what goes next, your are having fun, the war was won, things fall apart one by one, or in a shower, in a bucket, the war was won!

kelli said...

Brent you made me laugh hard. I had heard that about Krispy Kreme but never formalism.

brent hallard said...

hey kelli:)

zipthwung said...

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion-year-old carbon,
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.

I mean Im not the target audience, not even in a polysemic ambiguous multivalent polymorphous way. Except maybe the Russ Meyer Angle. The real obtuse one.

zipthwung said...

oh wrong thread. Still it fits. If this work doesnt include "angry" Im not into it.

Cooky Blaha said...

unfuckingreal

kelli said...

Nice job Cookie.

closeuup said...

You mean nice job zip. Pay attention kelli!

kelli said...

I can't always keep up with Zip. Now who is going around to galleries with this doctored slide sheet. Ruggedly handsome, scruffy, 6 foot tall hipster guy in the house?

mr peeps said...

right on kalm james.

Cooky Blaha said...

just to belabor, I see this as formalist work because I percieve it as having zero content. To my eyes it is just a haphazard celebration of generic form and color. I see a conscious choice on the part of the artist to disregard whatever content these forms and colors connotate (ren and stimpy? she predates them. 80s confetti? that too . if shes having a dialogue with Picasso its just with the trashy cartoon works of his, not the analytical pure cubist stuff), so what pop sensibility would em be alluding to? I always saw this as taking the worst elements of late Miro, rainbow Kandinsky, and Hockney's lowpoint when he was making those gaudy opera stage designs, putting them in a blender than endlessly rehashing the combinations. If the selling point on this work's intellectual merit is its relation to the formal elements of Picasso, then that seems an incredibly tired proposition for a late 20thcentury artist. For someone to belittle the Oehlen show as ab-ex w spray doodles and then to laud this work (which gains merit from Picasso references?) is astonishing. If this is pop art, then it is castrated pop art without its bite or critique, taking on the forms of Pop only for their abstract visual qualities. Pure formalism to me is when art is treated just like an everchanging jigsaw puzzle, where each piece is placed next to the other because it looks good, or creates an interesting visual response. This is how I see all of Em's work, and that type of artmaking I find incredibly frightening.
Kj I have found other things you have said to be interesting, I'll agree to disagree on taste, but am interested in any elaboration on the merits of the pop argument.

zipthwung said...

cookly, are you saying EM is anti-ntellectual (no content) or are you saying she is using stand ins for her chess pieces?

Im never sure, because I get in fights when sincerity is the issue.

Cooky Blaha said...

Perhaps I'm saying she gives no discernible justification for what she uses as her chess set, which is why the whole premise of this kind of art is so confusing to younger generations. I really dont understand what the point of inspiration in this painting is, besides playing out a game of set aesthetics. And yes, one doesnt need justification to create art, I agree, but ascertaining the reasoning behind the artist's thoughts can help.

KISSMYABSTRACT said...

And yes, one doesnt need justification to create art, I agree,

But you do think there has to be "content" which is the ART RULE number 1*...My feeling is the content is always there so why worry about it and make such a big deal over content ...what is the content of Donald Judd? If the work isn't appealing visually no one is going to like it and if no one likes it your a failure



*Maybe the reason for so much "bad Painting"?

Cooky Blaha said...

I think a Donald Judd can be seen to have a huge amount of content, as a reflection of its time, the philosphical underpinnings to the movement it belonged, the way it can be viewed as a reaction to previous art, and as a pure aesthetic statement. For example I'm not a fan of that painting, but the Pat Steir shown here can be argued to possess a great deal of content, although it is a somewhat pure abstraction. I can read content in EM, but I cant make rhyme or reason of it.

NNCGT said...

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