Art critics are never quite shilled in the same way as critics for other avenues of culture. Yes, our reviews likely get listed on CVs and not read, adding some vague imprimatur to an artist's career that might help move some product, but we're never exploited in quite the same way, as say, the movie critic, whose thoughtful well-composed reviews (okay not always) get diced into a few words to grace a promotional poster. Oh, if only some art critic (someone from October would be nice, or Texte Zur Kunst at least) would say "the number one feel-good hit of the summer," or "I laughed, I cried ... they'll be talking about this one for decades." Alackaday, we art critics are gladly too verbose and, well, critical.
As a small token of post-holiday soporific haze of gifting, we at ArtSlant decided to dispense a few movie quotes for future posters for artists. If Gagosian continues his world domination, it's likely to happen anyway, why not help it on its way?
A gift? Yes, a gift. Not all gifts are welcome though, now are they? And doesn't the old saw go that there's no such thing as bad publicity?
For this purpose, we've plucked out lines from the work of our critics, Jared Baxter, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, and myself, from this past year's notable hits and misses for your reading enjoyment.
These fugitive walls made it so awkward to be at the opening. Openings are already awkward of course, but somehow this awkward combines with that awkward and together they become really funny and good.
on Fiona Conner at Various Small Fires
I may have sacrificed a life to art, however there is very little in this world for which I’ll sacrifice two hours in traffic.
on the Pacific Standard Time Festival
They are sci-fi windows, the cosmic vista outside a space module plunging through Venusian clouds or skimming the surface of a twilit Jupiter.
on David von Schlegell at China Art Objects Galleries
Unknowingly built, posthumous as it is, the memorial on Tipton Way is Mike Kelley’s final installation, made by him through us, his influence bending our thoughts, guiding our hands, giving a little succor to our own struggle even as his is finally over.
on the memorial to Mike Kelley on Tipton Way
A geometry, a puzzle, a stained glass window broken all over the floor. Arrayed just so.
on Mel Bochner at Marc Selwyn
Perhaps it’s time ladies got to pour out their own bizarre, elaborate fantasies and nightmares... paint them with candy and wash them in acid. Vulnerability as both a weakness and a tenderness.
on Dasha Shishkin at Susanne Vielmetter
...they are sort of uncomfortably sexy, like pictures of animals having sex.
on Paul Waddell at Night Gallery
The safest treasure is lost, buried deeply under forgetful soil.
on Liz Glynn at Redling Fine Art
I almost want to fuck him.
on John the Baptist in the Wilderness (1604) by Caravaggio at LACMA
Liz Glynn, Trojan Surrogates, Large Diadem with Pendants, 2010 (detail), Paper trash with gold acrylic, 13 ½ x 18 x 1⁄8 in. (34.3 x 45.7 x 0.3 cm); Collection of Stacy and John Rubeli; Courtesy the artist and Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles; Photo by Brica Wilcox.
In this light, the Armory show's greatest curatorial strength is that it aims to be a portrait of a friendship... lost to the past, their voices given over to the ecstasy of forgetting.
on Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961-1976, Armory Center for the Arts
...in The Womb-Womb Room, one is drawn in and pushed away all at once, an experience miming the alluring grotesqueness of the nightmares unfolding by the thousands in the night around me...
on Alexandra Grant and Channing Hansen's The Womb Womb Room at Night Gallery
...a white duck general is sodomizing a black duck general. The other duck generals, for their part, have ejaculated on each other, each shooting a color complementary to that of the duck across from it through the metal tube that stands in for its cock.
on Richard Jackson at the Armory Center for the Arts
...Perpetual Conceptual goes a very long way towards making the case for the continued relevance of other forms of exchange...
on Perceptual Conceptual: Echoes of Eugenia Butler presented by LAND
Can an exhibition thus conceived add up to anything more than narcissism?
on Made in LA at the Hammer Museum
This is a funny show, really.
on Drawing a Blank at David Kordansky Gallery
With the hushed voices and dampened footsteps, I felt like I’d wandered by mistake into a showroom whose wares I obviously couldn't afford.
on The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol at MOCA
Sarah Cain arrives at painting through its betrayal, humbling the seriousness of the medium and its supports and laughing at the weight of its history, in order to imbue it with the aliveness of a language.
on Sarah Cain at Honor Fraser
...a thoughtful, compelling, and thus hugely welcome contribution to a dark year in LA art.
on LOST (in LA) at the Barnsdall/LAMAG
Scott Olson; Courtesy of the artist and Overduin and Kite.
Preamble: It has been true for years, I am way over spectacle.
on Heather Brown at Carter and Citizen & Scott Olson at Overduin and Kite
The new paintings ...[have] Kelly’s characteristic graphic-ness, understatement, clarity, confidence, subtlety, terseness, efficiency, self-sufficiency, simplicity, refinement, optical sizzle, matte electricity, and poise.
on Ellsworth Kelly at Matthew Marks Gallery
In general, Overby’s paint is thin and dry, seemingly rubbed and blended not unlike chalk pastel... There is Vaseline on the lens and there may as well be on the latex.
on Robert Overby at Marc Selwyn
(Image on top: Mel Bochner, Five Sculptures, 1972/2012, 35 glass stones and chalk on floor, 32 x 36 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Marc Selwyn.)