On January 17 a group of performers hired by French artist Loris Gréaud smashed nearly half of the artworks in his new exhibition at Dallas Contemporary. The stunt, staged during a members’ party, did little to change Dallas Observer Arts Editor Lauren Smart’s opinion of the show — in fact it echoed her own urge to destroy artworks she sharply critiqued for their “decorative hollowness.” Her review is funny, incisive, and very opinionated.
However, Gréaud does not consider opinions to be the sort of thing that should appear in art reviews. In a series of sexist Facebook messages sent to Smart — which she then published on the Dallas Observer‘s Mixmaster blog — the artist advised her to find “a boyfriend with at least 400 mg Anadrol a day,” and accused her of not having “the ability, the capacity, the culture, and the elegance to formulate such a simple, objective review.” (Anadrol is another name for the steroid Oxymetholone; Gréaud is advising Smart to find herself a buff boyfriend.)
Irrespective of the merits of Gréaud’s work, and setting aside the many misogynist passages of his rants — for further outrage in that department, see Jezebel’s hilarious take on it — his frustrated desire for a “simple, objective review” is telling. Only an artist who is profoundly confused about the purpose of criticism, which is by its very nature complicated and subjective, could want reviews of his exhibitions to be simple and objective. Those types of reviews exist; they’re called press releases.