This morning I happened to turn on NPR, something which I rarely do, as it no longer broadcasts news. Not that it did that much of it in the past. Lately I can’t help but think that God is sending me messages as what story do I hear from the hard hitting journalists on our publicly-funded news program but that “For Many Art Dealers, ‘Selling’ Is A Dirty Word (But Not For Young Collectors).” Who woulda thunk it?
And lo and behold, who do I find is the featured artist but Linn Meyers. Linn was the third spectacular choice of the Hirshhorn Museum to accompany the shining stars Robert Irwin, and Barbara Kruger. I’d neglected to mention Linn, as when I glanced at her work I got a headache so severe I had to retreat immediately into the monastic peace and tranquility of a Robert Irwin empty room.
I’m sure nobody else will agree with me or otherwise I would burden you with the digital image of her work above. And kudos to the Hirshhorn for showing two women artists and one male artist, thus redressing centuries of wrongdoing in Art Museums. If you had asked for my vote, I’d have suggested dumping Irwin entirely and putting in another woman…. as long as she wasn’t a conceptual artist.
Not having kept up with art writing I have no idea if Meyers is labelled as Neo-Op, just as we had Neo-Geo, Neo-Surreal, Neo-Expressionism, Neo-So on and So forth. But these are really styles that will never die. Op Art is the kind of thing that people will always love and respond to with oohs and ahhs of pleasure just as they do when standing in front of a funhouse mirror on the boardwalk or making their own spin art. At least a Damien Hirst had the wit to treat this op art stuff stuff as an ironic joke (taking after the ironist-in-chief Marcel D). Come to think of it, I have to give credit to Andy’s piss paintings sending up the tirelessly repetitive imitators of Jackson Pollock. (Is this another of my repetitive rants about repetition?) No! I’m being ironic!
I know. I know. While I find this kind of work so numbingly banal that it’s perfect material for an NPR highlight, the rest of you are swooning in ecstasy just as when you bask luxuriantly n a James Turrell color room or standing hypnotized before a Bruce Nauman fluorescent tube spelling out: “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.” Or close the cover to your tanning booth while chanting the mantra your guru gave you when you met him in Nepal. But did your guru know that the true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths? And was your guru a world famous billionaire conceptualist? So who needs a guru when you have this kind of art to enlighten you:
This Nauman piece from 1967 is a stunner, isn’t it? One can never get tired of it, and it’s ironic sending up of the dumb stuff that Linn Meyers is doing. Just as Duchamp was sending up, with his Moustached Mona Lisa the dumb stuff all painters were doing. Just as Andy was sending up Pollock and just as Duchamp was the artist adviser who told Peggy Guggenheim to subsidize and promote Pollock. And just as Linn Meyers paintings are entirely dependent on the great breakthrough of Pollock into the abstract swirl space spread across acres of gallery space giving the viewer a mystical and transcendental insight into cosmic reality that could only otherwise be attained by a bottle of absinthe or a shot of heroin.
We live in this wonderful utopia of scintillating neon messages and Las Vegas entertainment art (both James Turrell and Jeff Koons were having special installations in Vegas when I was there! Exciting! Heartbreaking I didn’t have time to see them.). This is art that doesn’t just ennoble us; it enlightens us as well. It brings us to the deep truths of existence that exist behind this stale comedy routine of a country we live in. And on top of that we get the ironic genius of Andy, Marcel, and Bruce letting us in on the secret that art means nothing and life is just a bowl of cherries as the great American lyrics go. Ya know?
Life is just a bowl of cherries/Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious/You work, you save, you worry so/But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go
Deep stuff, man.
It’s all a big casino. There are winners and losers. There are those that sit in the penthouse like blind Steve Wynn behind their gold-plated doors. And those of us that stroll the streets in various states of mental illness, heavily armed or throwing live alligators into the local Wendys. And yes, there are also teams of sexy and brilliant schemers like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Alan Arkin, and Elliott Gould liberating the ill-gotten casino gains through their ingenuity and derring do.
Then, of course, there are our brave fighting men and private contractors from Haliburton to Kingdom Come who are keeping us all safe to enter the ethereal realms of pop and op and conceptual nothingness where only the Illuminati were once allowed to tread.
Somad props to the hip and savvy curators of the Hirshhorn for taking down those old has-been paintings by Ed Hopper and Count Balthus and schizo Joan Mîro (a boy named Joan) that used to be on the walls there back before the new collectors needed the space to show the fruits of their marvelous collecting outings at Miami Basel and Swiss Basel and Disney Basel and Monte Carlo Basel and Abu Dhabi Basel and Wall Street Basel and all the other great venues I’m certain the highly cultured intellectual class will open up to show the always expanding discoveries and unfailingly surprising Cutting-Edge Avant-Garde Art.
I particularly love the heading of the NPR story: Art as a Lifestyle
Really, who needs a life when one can have a lifestyle? And choose from an array of fab art styles to practice your craft. Anything goes folks! As long as you keep it light and cool or deeply profound. Whatever you do don’t bring up reality! That’s a bummer!
And who wouldn’t want to be an artist who can enjoy the company of couples like Mera and Don Rubell whose eyes for genius early on picked out winners like Keith Haring from the millions of second-, third- and fourth-rate artists they had to choose from. Keith stood out from that mediocre competition with bold stick figures that were both cheery and life-affirming and politically correct! Funny, too. As the passionate Mera says. “Once you get involved inside of that universe, it’s endlessly enriching and life sustaining.” If only all those people taking prescription drugs and shoveling down dangerous drugs would go to an art museum!
You needn’t get depressed at all by the society around you totally disintegrating when you have empty rooms and empty fluorescent tube or wall painted slogans to be dazzled by. Plus you can avoid dangerous drugs that end up making you want to fuck a tree. I just can’t wait for Miami Basel!