10/24/2006

Keith Mayerson

68 comments:

Painter said...

Keith Mayerson @
Derek Eller Gallery
615 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001

triple diesel said...

Nice choice of painting, painter. Not the signature work of the show, like the Beatles or Elvis paintings, but this one glowed (must be that halogen oil).

kalm james said...

Congratulations Keith Myerson, you have now officially joined the ranks of the triple featured artists at PaintersNYC. Thus far, this rarified terrain is shared by only three other artists, George Condo, Amy Sillman, and Brad Kahlhamer.

Other artists with multiple appearances include: Alex Katz, Dave Miko, Daniel Hesidence Tom Sanford, Nicole Eisenmann, Lisa Yuskavage, Elizabeth Peyton, Ann Craven, Katherine Bernhardt, Jocelyn Hobbie, Julia Jacquette and Inka Essenhigh.

SisterBee said...

Is this from a photo? Or from the artist's imagination?

SisterRye said...

I like the Proust painting, weird cropping though. It reminds me of James Ensor and Monty Python. How does the work hold up in person? The photos feel a bit overly warm in tone, but that could be the photography.

painterdog said...

I don't get it can someone explain why this is a good painting?

kokeeshi said...

Anachronistic -'M'odern tone and awkard. Are these time capsules? The cast of yellow in quite a few pieces (at Eller anyway) combined with overly modeled paint has got to be a stylish quip. The humor sits there as humorless and self-conscious as the paint and subject matter. I'm looking forward to the comments about this...

kokeeshi said...
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heidilolatheayatollah said...

What's with figurative painters and the celebrity portraits? ?(too many to list comprehensively)

Is that to place themselves out of the "futsy figurative art" category and into the self aware slightly ironic pop art just keepng you on your toes category?

kelli said...

For this genre I like Dawn Mellor a LOT more.

heidilolatheayatollah said...

I looked at DM's work wow those were really interesting, she delivers through and through . Not just repeating the glamour or awkwardness of a magazine cover in painting form, but sooo much more.

triple diesel said...

painterdog, maybe they are good because they are bad. But they are good bad.

heidilo, KM uses celebrity figures for cultural critique. it's like the success of a pop star is evidence of the surrounding culture's appetite. A culture that lifts Keanu Reeves as its champion is different than one that lifts John Wayne.

heidilolatheayatollah said...

Hey Triple, that's a good point, I guess I see that but I question how effective it is to merely throw back the general consensus (corny celebrity worship) without any further interpretation by the artist.

And it is also a bit like preaching to the converted, we all nod knowingly wink wink nudge nudge, those silly plebians that make up American society.

It just reminds me of the 9/11 paintings that vendors sell, I'm sure a better comparison could be made but you get my jist.

poppy said...

i'd like to know why this is a bad painting,.. tell me what is missing for you p-dog and patriots...

triple diesel said...

heidi, that's valid. However, it's unclear that KM is doing the wink wink nudge nudge; I think he's more neutral than that.

He's representing the popular heroes we celebrate, and simultaneously memorializing and mocking them - they look iconic and freakish at the same time - cheery grins become demonic, piercing gazes turn dull. And these aren't glossy, flawless portraits, but rather messy paintings with scrappy handling and pukey colors. But KM seems to spare the audience, acknowledging that he is part of it, and not above or beyond it.

It's also interesting that he selects many gay or semi-gay actors (James Dean, Monty Clift) and gay icons (Judy Garland). That complicates the gender specificty of the hero myth.

kelli said...

Triple I see your point but a lot of artists do this pop critique of celebrity driven culture and Mellor is operating on an entirely different level.. the painterly skill, the humor, the aggressive political content and this off-kilter deranged quality that is sort of unique to her.

poppy said...

i don't think anybody ( coming from previous thread) needs to justify their opinions here to the thought police or whatever,... but just like having an opinion means having an open discussion which might also mean having some questions...this much is allowed?//

triple diesel said...

That's true, kelli - they are operating on an entirely different level.

kelli said...

Good point triple. Maybe not better or worse just different.

zipthwung said...

this painting is painted in the folksy/sunday painter style of the painting that would be on the wall of the house.

In that sense it might conform to the critique articulated by Frankendorno, who said every reification is a capitulation, and inevitably, all images are surrenders to the night;
le petit mort.

Nobody likes old people. Particularly ones who persist in wearing unfashionable horn rimmed glasses - they might as well be a beehive or a mullet.

Self awareness, does not give one immunity to ridicule.

Let us get to the-matter-at-hand though. Adorno famously hated Jazz.
Not sure why really.

Jazz is music for musicians, or people like musicians, music for musical people, or people who wish they were. Its also music for people who dont like syrupy romantic secretary music.

THis art is a visual etude, but not for the masses. Its for an art audience. Still, I dont think making work about popular culture or snapshots or whatever makes it critical in the way that dynamiting gagosian's new toilets would be.

Instead, Adorno might say, its a humble attempt at identity within a group.

That only leaves you guessing - how many are there and will they flush-bomb toilets?

heidilolatheayatollah said...

In suicide solution by ozzy he sings "you can't escape mr. peepers" but i know the line is "you can't escape the master reaper" . So that is why I think these paintings are not as good as they could be, I know what he is going for in theory but I am seeing something else.

Actually, i just wanted everyone to listen to Ozzy say you can't escape mr. peepers.

closeuup said...

Icons of liberalism. Sneer or cheer, depending on what you already think?

heidilolatheayatollah said...

oops the original line is master keeper not reaper

zipthwung said...

Dont fear the peepers.

Runaway Train is about far more than a runaway train. It is about personal freedom and how hard we are willing to struggle to get it. It's about how willing we are to give up our personal freedom to be comfortable. It's about dehumanization inflicted by social institutions. It's also one gripping, suspenseful action-flick.

poppy said...

runaway train the song?,..

in Soundgardens song 'heretic' he sings
'ritual' emphasizing each syllable. My sister used to think he was saying itchy
wool and that's why he was screaming so loud. Maybe this painting is like itchy wool to some people

cha said...

a lot of geometry lines, yellow blackredbrown, cheesy grins..it is what it is... I wish there was more to it. As you said Kelli, re DM.

no-where-man said...

i perfer "Fassbinder And Warhol On The set of Querelle" perhaps the narrative seems to have "more to it" i hear he sells well, with a dealer who is not big on pushing sales.

Cooky Blaha said...
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Cooky Blaha said...

ps KJames that EM thread is still going

Cooky Blaha said...

I think that original photo you posted, nowhere, is ten times more thrilling than the painting he made of it.

poppy said...

i forgot kelli,
thanks for emotional support and nwm as always..

kelli said...

Hey Poppy I put a note on your blog.

no-where-man said...

Cooky Blaha - odd when a painting makes you have nostalgia for a photo... eh, yet this one does so little for me. i guess that says something to the painting.

anytime poppy :)

brent hallard said...

The world is a photograph?

... content is always there, right! but if there is no meaning, then not a lot of people are going to stay with it. I think here sweeps a very important point:
On a superficial level a painting, or anything, exists in the world. This world has meaning, however it's meaning shifts depending on context and desire shuttle bugging for meaning. In fact the world we live in doesn't have any meaning. There are no hidden secrets to the meaning in/of this world, there is only.
Also as things without meaning don't exist, I think it very important to strip meaning from things to see if they exist or if the things stripped of meaning disappear with a pop. And guess what sometimes the things do, just stop.
It's good for the other thread too, cooki, and abstract.

BTW, I recognize the dude in the background, is that AW dressed up in front there?

Cooky Blaha said...

define:shuttle bugging
"There are no hidden secrets to the meaning in/of this world, there is only."
that a zen koan?
I see only one point in what you said:an artwork gains legitimacy if it can exist without its meaning simply as a visual force. ok. the rest just contradicted itself but I guess thats the point.

brent hallard said...

Cooky, at least you bothered to read what I posted, for that I say thanks!
definition: moving constantly between two points with exasperating consistency to produce 'a thing' or the illusion 'of the thing'.
Typed in 'only the lonely' roy orb, http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/roy+orbison/only+the+lonely_20118986.html
but thought it would confuse things, so left it hanging. Visual force!!! That's it!!!!! I think art before we know everything behind it, is a mystery, something i like to unravel with what is there.
And the rest is not a contradiction cooky its an absurdity! 'shuttle bugging' is the contradiction, maybe.

zipthwung said...

No asylum for the soul for me, man. Epic or absurd its still strut strut strut.

Hairshirts,
godot,
people come and go,
you know michaelangelo?
Rad dude. Me too.

hellhellhell said...

"i once had sex with someone famous."

"you already told me that story a zillion times, grandma."

cha said...

Godot rings true for me.... ta Zip...

zipthwung said...

"I was following the Lord wholeheartedly until we switched churches and I was invited to the new youth group. I had a conviction against rock music, but as I was surrounded by it, my beliefs were corrupted. This music eventually led to rebellion and moral failures. The Lord has gained victory in my life now, but the music still brings on rebellion if I listen to it. Please get rid of this music and play melodious, harmonious music!"

A Fifteen-Year-Old Student From Pennsylvania

dont hate the players, hate the game
-Samuel Becket

zipthwung said...

By their fruits ye shall know them

Decay Image said...

Brent, are you trying to say that work that is dependent on the recognizability of pop culture icons, borrows its import and power from those icons, without which it would be fairly meaningless? Because that's what I think is happening in this case.

I know we're not really talking about Warhol, but since he started it all I think we should point out the distinction of his accomplishment from this. Especially in the way Warhol superficializes the iconization of celebs which simultaneously worships them and reimagines their commodification.

I haven't seen these paintings yet so I really can't say, but from the repros I've seen this work doesn't really advance my understanding of anything. Celebrity, painting, history painting, popular culture. I will grant that the work seems to be searching for something. But there isn't enough made-up in it to make it his own, it's way too dependent for photography for its look. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Kilimnik.

no-where-man said...

do you mean Elizabeth Peyton?

i live in a disposable culture only embodied in disposable means.

JpegCritic said...
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joypie said...

Mayersons painting is alot like Sauls, theres even a light fitting in the picture and the 'lady' has glasses a band round her arm. They're both not saying much though but 'the guy' looks alot happier, maybe because the 'lady' is leaving! cultural icons eh aren't they cute! I think its again another aweful 'wonderful' painting

brent hallard said...

Decay,
Remember Sherrie and the gang's take on high modernism, the height of E. Said O&P, Hal Foster, the whole aura you-dig-my-grave? Anything is easy target as long as it's known, has an established meaning. The beauty of AW is that his oeuvre was his story, not someone else's, not just an idea.
Cooky says, 'artwork gains legitimacy if it can exist without its meaning simply as a visual force'.
Sounds good to me!

Decay Image said...

well, all "meaning" in art is something that we individually construct using our personal histories and how they have interacted with other works of art and cultural artifacts and the context in which they exist. Even the idea of "visual force" must be a culturally relative idea.

Manet made paintings using and examining historical personages and events from his time. And although they are never my favorite of his paintings, they have an interesting place in his work.

I don't rule out the possibility that Mayerson couldn't do something with this, but he hasn't yet either conceptually or painterly, the transformative power isn't there. Nowhereman, I do also mean peyton. I think she transforms her subject matter for precisely the above mentioned reasons.

brent hallard said...

Even the idea of "visual force" must be a culturally relative idea, though, not in an insular way. Manet used language that holds up till today, bearing in mind, the finer symbols, and the demographic of interpretation, has shifted, even when long since it has been dislocated from an art dialog. Are we unbalanced (by) looking at a Manet today? We are definitely not positioned at the center, however...
I thought about my reply and felt pretty uncomfortable with it. A train of thought, counter to what was posted, went out to magnetics, solar systems, strong and weak forces, eventually to spots, engulfers, and the transporters.

no-where-man said...

From what i have read Andy's work was his story - him being served the can of soup a day growing up, mother giving him candy for drawing movie stars, love notes to Truman...

same feeling = y i enjoy Mayerson, Payton and such they are tender and personal. the work is in love with a fantacy, urge to be a part of - shamanistic pop divining rods... seems like a good point to mention this.

AW @ Gagosian Gallery
Opening reception: Wednesday, October 25th, from 6 - 8pm

Decay Image said...

You bring up an interesting point. Manet's visual language was borrowed from Spanish painting, though his use of it through rhyming, ambiguity, and his overall inventiveness was totally innovative, though most people didn't know what to make of it at the time. He positioned himself historically and addressed issues that were cultural and social as well as formal. So yeah, of course it has impact today--to me and you, but I would bet most young painters don't get it, because it is not all on the surface.

With the Mayerson, the problem is where his imagination breaks down. Of course the JFK and Eleanor are recognizable, but he really doesn't go beyond a photographic expression. They are not vivid as people, which is where this painting could have perhaps broken through to something original. I don't mean "realistic" as in academically real, but within his own painting language. Hate to hit a hot button, but it's exactly where Yuskavage (&Currin!) is more imaginative.

mr peeps said...

none of it really works in any transcendent way because mayerson basically makes illustrations... dirty color, obedient to photography, no surprises throughout the surfaces. how did manet, with one of the most beautiful senses of touch in modern art, get into this discussion? as much as i might like mayerson´s work for completely other reasons, i dont think he really gets at what makes paintings tick. these are kitsch. like it or not, currin and yuskavage both have incredible senses of touch.

triple diesel said...

peeps and decay - it seems hard to agree that the paintings are subjugated to their photographic sources. The short, angular brushstrokes and pointillist colors bring up post-Impressionist painters, and more importantly, record the role of insistence in realizing the image.

These don't seem photo-realistic at all - they are more hearty, tactile, and tenderized - and in fact the dependence-but-divergence from the photo seems to be part of the content.

Did you see the James Dean painting? The foliage surrounding the figure was like stained glass, fragmented and biomorphic. And the confetti surrounding the Beatles was made for impasto.

Decay Image said...

TD, I wasn't implying photorealism, when I wrote that it doesn't go beyond a photographic expression. No matter how he paints the image and gussies it up with painterly paint, the figures are totally plucked from fotos. No human wears those facial expressions except in photographs. There is no real invention in their depiction. To do that would require, a) an understanding of how facial expression and body language works, and b)how painterliness and color, and light work to create an imagined space in a painting. Yeah, despite the not quite perspectival ceiling in the background. Also look at Eleanor's right hand, such an important element in the painting, and yet the gesture goes nowhere,it has nothing to do with her facial expression, he doesn't even make it pop out of the picture plane, which would at least be interesting, but kind of glues it to the belt. I can't see what she is holding in her left hand, but it has no import, metaphoric or otherwise, it just was something that was in the photo he got it from. Her eyes focus down and to the viewer's right. Why? JFK is not looking in the same place, and neither of their gazes have any interesting compositional implications. I like E's necklace, the painting behind JFK and the candelabrum on the table.He should leave the figures out of these, they would be more interesting.

triple diesel said...

"the figures are totally plucked from fotos. No human wears those facial expressions except in photographs"

Everything you carefully observed about the pictorial problems is helpful to hear, decay. It's true that Currin and Yuskavage are more inventive, although Mayerson is about "recall" and not "imagination."

And that is part of the point: that his dead stars live on in memory as images and icons, and resurge in the paintings as if channeled from a collective unconscious. Again, the paintings seem to be about a) the image and b) the way this particular painterly process diverges. It's the painting recalling the photo/image/icon and what is signified by the style of painting.

closeuup said...

I wonder if such a thing is visible--the difference between an educated painter working in a folk/ameteur style, and an actual folk/ameteur painter.

kelli said...

Triple you seem to know a lot about him. My issue is that some of the older stuff I've seen interests me more and it seems to have become a static formula unlike Mellor who is sort of a human train wreck. How long has he been doing this and does it fit in with people like Katherine Bernhardt who thumb their noses at pop imagery, people who use celebrity images like Kilimnik or even someone like Richter. So how would you place him and his development over time? I'm curious because this seems to be an area of interest for you.
I don't see Currin/Yuskavage. I think they are approaching kitsch from a different angle.

kelli said...

I would even see Kurt Kauper more as a comparison.

Decay Image said...

Those are interesting ideas, TD, and I can even sort of see the possibility of that someday happening in these. I do come on this blog to hear how younger artists are looking at work, and your comments are enlightening. Maybe I'm too jaded, but I don't see those particular ideas really coming to life in this work. It feels more like a justification. Why does recalling a photo that the painting "diverges" from make the painting compelling to look at? It seems more of a degradation of the image, not a reinvention of it. What does this style of painting signify to you? I get thrift store chic, which while interesting for me 10 years ago, now seems too much of a layering of vernacular culture on pop culture, and not a re-invention of a high art form. I think we have conceded too much power to popular culture and need to find ways of reclaiming the power and formal history of our medium. (really I don't have a paintbrush stuck up my ass, even if I sound that way)

Decay Image said...

Kelli, I was actually thinking about Kurt Kauper earlier on. Each is inventive in ways that the other lacks. Kauper is imaginative in humanizing his characters, and Mayerson is more inventive in formal painting aspects or maybe just more energetic. I enjoy that you like the train-wreck aspect of certain artists' work, I just don't have that feeling in my gut for it. I like fender-benders. As for C&Y, all I meant was that their imaginations enliven whatever subject they happen to be taking on in a way that transforms it from whatever original source they are using, and I thought that was what was lacking in KM.

zipthwung said...

Woopsie. My sweet peanut of brittle, My little pompitus of love! This painting is not familiar to me, and yet it is entirely too familiar.
Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?
Which one? I like the Marylyn one.

This painting is all about the paint man, the subject is immaterial. Specificly, the surface. It makes me so hungry I could cry. And that, people, is all a painting is, or should be.

Oh I could go on about Vicktor Shklovsky and how defamiliarized narrative space is THE BOMB, but I'd rather go to the next thread and continue the art-as-therapy dealio.

kelli said...

I always wished Kurt Kauper would paint The Divas Of The B Train. The proplem I have with this type of work is that it doesn't usually break out of the confines of the topic at hand, the historical subjects or the original photo sources.
Some of the playful aggression of Oehlen (totally different type of work) is lacking.

Cooky Blaha said...

is divas of the b train referring to something specific or do you mean everyday homegirls like from a Maloney ?
I really do find some of Kauper's work compelling, mostly because his fetishization of technique and subjects seem to come from the balls, even though they obviously display some kind of intellectual foresight.
Pdog, as someone who appreciates realists what do you think of Kauper's work? (though I wouldnt refer to him as a realist offhand)

kelli said...

Cooky all the ladies on the B including the Russian women wearing furs in September. I've always liked Kauper but wasn't opera divas kind of an obvious if sincere choice?

Cooky Blaha said...

Yeah I'm not really big on that series either..

kalm james said...

First off: cooky, I followed your recommendation to recheck the Elizabeth Murray thread, Ha ha ha, You’z kids got skills and been up to some mischief. Colors fit right in too!

I went by the Keith Mayerson show this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised. As far as the painting goes (disregarding for the moment his choice of subject matter) I just like his paint handling. It’s a kind of “small brush” mushing that put me in mind of late Renoir. Malcolm Morley uses a lot of small brushing to fill in his spaces and is an artist who derives his subjects from photos as well. Also I like Mayerson's use of thinned down crimsons, violets and blues to draw in the forms, and oddly enough a lot of his techniques would be the antitheses of how I’d construct an image but in these pieces they work. Saw the Yuskavage show and prefer Mayerson’s treatment of the open spaces, more noodling with contrasting under-painting and visible texture, nice counterbalance between the shinny and the matte surfaces. Coloristiclly they are a bit fruity (using spectral or impressionist color with almost no earth tones or blacks) and his use of yellow as light can grate, but I kind of liked the “aged” and “yellowed” feel of the pictures, especially as he’s dealing with images from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

Subject wise, I’m not a big fan of Hollywood nostalgia, seems like we’re already swamped with the stuff, but there’s enough “bad” drawing that it lends a sense of the naive to the work. Portraits are close enough to be recognizable, but still “off” enough to let you know he’s not just working with a projector. One danger of the nostalgia gig is turning it into a shtick like the McBoys (McDermott & McGough) and being stuck in a time warp. Looks like they’re doing some business for his as well.

I’m such a boy scout that twenty minutes later, while I was at the Paul Kasmin show of Warhol “Hats,” two ladies walked in and asked the receptionist (a fresh young thing plunking away on her lap-top) if she could tell them how to get to the Eller Gallery. She fained ignorance, but I jumped to the rescue and gave the Madison Avenue Matrons precise directions. (I want a finder’s fee if there’s a sale)

painterdog said...

I'm not going to comment on Kauper, he taught at the school I went to.

I will say hes very into posr-modern theory, every thing starts and stops there for him.

Hated the Cary Grant paintings, what load of pretentious bs. I heard that the Grant family where not amused.

painterdog said...

well i guess I did comment.
he's a smart chap, I will give him that.

jean said...

Mayerson is cool and IMPORTANT, I believe, because he has alot of range. I remember him in LA some 15 years ago when he was painting like laura owens before laura owens started her thick thin schtick, the thing is he does it and moves on instead of killing the same horse over and over. He also did these amazing drawings before drawing was cool we're talking drawings in all shapes and styles really virtuosic and fuck now that I think about it, he was painting back when painting wasnt cool like 1993 and stuff. and as far as the celebrity portraiture it has always been in his work in some regard; although I wouldn't call it celebrity as much as pop culture and modern mythology. Anyone who relies on the MAGAZINEs or auctions to tell what is cool is so misguided it is pathetic. To really know what is what you have to see the shows and ignore the propaganda that is rampant in the artworld. THIS GUY IS THE REAL DEAL to bad he's at such a marginal gallery when he should be in the palaces; says alot about the politics of the artworld. THERE SHOULD BE A MAYERSON RETROSPECTIVE. that would be a blockbuster.