Friday, February 11, 2005

Neat Idea!

Well, Christo's The Gates goes up tomorrow, and seeing that I'm an hour from NYC I should probably go see it. And why will I go? Christo tells me I should go because his projects are "once-in-a-lifetime" and "once upon a time." In fact according to one journalist we should all go see his work in order to "let the fairy tale begin."

Let the fairy tale begin?

Actually I, like most everyone else, will be there for the novelty. And, I'll admit, because I want to be able to say I was there. It'll be fun, maybe even beautiful. But I pity those who actually go there for meaning.

If that's what your after, fortunately Christo is not all that postmodern art has on offer.
"One of the several ironies of post-modernity is that many of is impulses are pre-modern, none more so than the return to figure and narrative in contemporary painting. The recent work of Simon Carr exempifies this trangressively post-modern return to story. Braving the puzzlement, even the mockery, of his more secular minded colleagues in the art world, Carr began almost a decade ago to connect his calling as a painter to the great tradition of religious art in the west. The ancient icon writers: Giotto; Leonardo; Michaelangelo; El Greco; these great figurists and story-tellers of the pre-modern and early-modern age haunt Carr's post-modern religious and aesthetic universe. The reemergence of Biblical story in Carr's painting constitute a return of the repressed."
That was art critic Roger Ferlo on the artist now exhibited in the Princeton University chapel (through Feb. 20th).

A former professor of mine (quite an artist himself), once made the distinction between "neat idea" art and art that comes from a habit of being - both to see and to paint - which is developed over a liftime. And while Christo's Gates may make art-history textbooks for being a "neat idea", it is the artists like Carr (and Sheesley) who in my opinion actually feed the soul.