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Posted inBooks

Reading Ian Berry’s Fred Tomaselli

The Brooklyn Museum’s catalog for their Fred Tomaselli exhibition is pretty mammoth for a show that only takes up three galleries. Still, the tome serves well as a way to expand on ideas presented in the exhibition and give a greater view of the artist’s work than would otherwise be possible in the limited space. Just do yourself a favor and don’t stop at the book version.

The diversity of works included in the catalog, from early installations and sculptures to constellation drug charts and later lacquered collages, is fascinating to see, but the ability to see so much at once also comes at a cost.

Posted inArt

Fred Tomaselli’s (Non-Chemical) Influences

One might be excused for mistaking Fred Tomaselli’s solo show at the Brooklyn Museum for a pharmacy. Upon closer look, the collaged paintings, baroquely-arranged magazine clippings coated in a thick layer of resin, are embedded with pills the way a microchip is implanted under the skin. Sometimes the names are visible, Vicodin, Oxycontin, even a few Viagras. More often than not, though, the pills only become pills upon closer inspection. From afar, they just look like another element of Tomaselli’s works. Drugs are synthesized into the artist’s paintings, and though the psychological shock of recognizing a pill name remains, the chemicals form just another ingredient.

Yeah, there are drugs in the paintings. Most of them are probably illegal in such vast quantities at Tomaselli uses them. But though that’s the form of the work, that’s not the content: in this case, the medium is not the message. Aren’t we all done with the drug hysteria and fetish, now that weed is basically legal in California and the cliches of the painkiller-addicted housewife and the coke-snorting, bowl smoking banker are just that, cliches? So let’s giggle and move on. What’s behind the drugs in Fred Tomaselli?

Posted inArt

Warhol Keeps His Cool to the End

There is a constant dual narrative with Warhol between reality and fantasy, the physical and the mechanical, the life lived and the life watched on a screen, and Warhol, in the end, found it all to be one in the same. This exhibit of Warhol’s late work, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, is no exception to the contradictions and in fact reveals just about as much as it obscures.

Posted inArt

Always Social: Getting Noticed (2008-2010), Part Two

The most striking aspect of social media art is that it contains facets of net.art, by being digital; visual art, by existing on a two-dimensional surface; public art, by existing in spaces used habitually by hundreds of millions of people; and performance art, by being inherently social. Whether the aggregate is greater than its sum remains to be seen …

Posted inNews

Whack-a-Warhol at the Brooklyn Museum, “Long Live the Art-ocrats!”

If the image of the Warhol piñata at the Brooklyn Museum didn’t freak you out enough, the videos of everyone from Jennifer Rubell to Jerry Saltz taking a whack at the thing (and right in the mouth no less) will surely disturb you to no end. If the art world ever needed a good therapist then now is the time, I mean even if it’s just to deal with members of the art-ocracy “bashing a gay guy” thing as a form of dessert!

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