A Bad Review is still a Good Review

© Jean Luc Mylayne

© Jean Luc Mylayne

No, good god, it’s not about ME.  And I don’t know the work of the artist in question, a Jean Luc Mylayne, whose body of 8×10 photographs,  is being shown at the Parrish Art Museum of Southampton, NY.  But I have to hand it to Richard D. Woodward of the Wall Street Journal in Wednesday’s review, “His Pictures Belie Lofty Words,” (WSJ, September 2, 2009, B12), for skillfully deconstructing what I informally refer to as “The Emperor Has No Clothes Syndrome” wherein a curator is so enamored with an artists’ work and/or artist statement, that they drink the painted-word kool-aid and they expect you too as well.  In most recent memory, for me, it was the Richard Misrach exhibit at the National Gallery of Art that best exemplified this abomination.  I know, we are supposed to be playing nice here on the interweb, and I mean no disrespect for the ouevre of Mr. Misrach, but On The Beach? Anyone who has ever sunbathed on the beach would understand the ridiculousness of Mr. Misrach’s hypothesis . . . if ever there was a more peaceful experience than the Vitamin D overloading the system as the gentle sound of the surf lulls one to sleep, and the Jackie Collins tome further dulls the senses . . . . I mean, really.

OK, sorry, digression is the name of the game here on Look Underfoot.  You will get where I am going.  The WSJ is kind enough to post a link to the piece of which I speak on the web, so I will let you read the well-writ gist yourself, here are just a few salient quotes:

Contemporary art is mysterious enough for many people without setting them up for disappointment.  The weighty rhetoric supporting Jean Luc Mylayne’s show at the Parrish Art Museum is a case study in mismanaging this tricky game of expectations.

At the point in her [the curators] essay where she invokes Proust -“Mylayne’s art posits an exacting reconstruction of our memory of seeing something” – my patience was at an end. . . I’ve long suspected that Mr. Mylayne’s high reputation depended as much on the romance of his life and his fluency in artspeak (his degree is in philosophy) as on the quality of his photographs.

Just because an artist gets high on his own inflated oratory is no reason a curator has to participate in this folie a deux.  The museum here neither serves a public skeptical about the opacity of contemporary art nor does Mr. Mylayne any favors by framing his modest, if persistent, achievement under crushing layers of grandiloquent hokum.

Stay tuned my next blog post will indubitably be in regards to my upcoming solos at both the National Gallery of Art and the Parrish Museum.  I just have to finish up my artist statement.

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