Wednesday, August 30, 2006

schjeldahl on klimt, zp on aerin lauder

It's no secret that I don't actually hate Schjeldahl. And I'd love to know how to pronounce his name. His essay on the Klimt at the Neue Galerie in the July 24 issue was particularly sharp. Thus:

"Klimt made serious art of frankly decorative aesthetics, in service to a reigning aristocracy of wealth and sensual indulgence, and his greatness is secure partly because no subsequent, first-rate talent or comparable milieu has arisen to rival its terms. Klimt and his world remain marginal to the battered but still persuasive avant-gardist chronicle of Western modern art: roughly, Paris to New York, and Cubism to abstractionism, with special status for futurism, Dada, Russian Suprematism and Constructivism, Dutch de Stijl, and Surrealism."

So he leads me to wonder, "For what very interesting cultural reasons would we now be interested in Klimt's decorative aesthetics still marginal to ye olde avant-garde?"

But then he slips in a little jibe:

"The purchase of “Adele” tests the possibility—ever less to be sneezed at, these days—of rewriting art history with a checkbook."

Interesting cultural reasons, bah! How could be so naive, little zp? You of all people. Remember:

"On varying scales, such manipulation has been a regular feature of the art game in the century since the Machiavelli of dealers, Joseph Duveen, in order to boost his trade in Old Masters, was said to have bullied a seller into accepting more payment from him than had been asked. But attempts to make self-fulfilling prophecies of publicized prices have never seemed more a participatory sport than they do today—among collectors, auction houses, and dealers. (Lauder sometimes sells works from his collection at auction.) Money talks, always. Lately, it roars, drowning out other measures of comparative value, among them the humble sentiments of critics, curators, and independent scholars."

All these quotes actually follow one another one right after the next, and that's why I like the review. Short, but very very descriptive, both of the work* (that part I didn't quote, but it's here) and the purchase.

"A rule of gold uniquely befits the art business, whose material goods, by any criterion that is not strictly subjective, are worthless. And no chemical analysis can sort out, in a given sale price, a ratio of considerations that may include honest judgment, heartfelt passion, and competitive exigency."

This is weaker, though. The first sentence I can't figure out what he means, exactly, and the second I'm not sure I want to.

"Plainly, a decisive factor for Lauder is his devotion to his institutional scion, the Neue Galerie. However the publicity haloing 'Adele' affects the expensiveness and prestige of Austrian modern art, it certainly escalates the prominence of the museum, which, to date, has been less well attended than its consistent excellence deserves. (It is miles above the class of Huntington Hartford’s short-lived Gallery of Modern Art, though that 1964 folly, on Columbus Circle, promoting the supermarket heir’s anti-modernist taste, can’t help but come to mind as a precedent.) I met Lauder by chance at the Neue Galerie, days before the opening, and remarked that, thanks to “Adele,” the intimate place may soon have a crowd-control problem. He replied quickly, 'I hope so!'"

Very tidy. Like most of Schjeldahl's reviews, this makes me not only curious to see the work, but to see the setting in which it has been exhibited.

Except for this complication, via the Gothamist. Oh, little naive zp. It costs $50 dollars to see it. There's an image there too; blogger photo was taking forever.

*Also, this is funny because, of course, Adele looks sort of like Aerin Lauder before she got that tepid nose job. I mean, if she did get a nose job I have no idea but I remember she used to look way more striking. Her hair was darker too. Or maybe I'm actually thinking of someone else altogether . . .

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Blogger mzn said...

Why do you keep blogging about pieces I didn't read? Not your fault, of course. Perhaps this will change with the education issue (I saw it in the bookstore but it hasn't seen my mailbox yet).

I went to wikipedia to see if it had pronounciation advice for Schjeldahl. Nope. But some cool little tidbits. Like this one, quoted from an interview PS gave:
"writing things that people want to read is my bread and butter."
It's amazing that anyone who makes a living writing would think to say something so obvious and banal, but on the other hand, I like the expression "my bread and butter."

3:42 PM  
Blogger zp said...

Perhaps we are getting different magazines?

I like the construction "would think to say something so banal" . . . it actually sounds more complimentary than not . . .

I've often wondered if I could somehow encourage readers to discuss a given issue without so much direction from me, like by posting just a kind of blank invitation for every issue, sort of like I did for that double issue. But then no one took me up on that at all, really.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly you've figured this out by now, but it's Shell-doll. He's my cousin.

11:21 PM  

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