Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pretty Lady's Biennial

Pretty Lady just got back from the Whitney Biennial. She has one word to say about it, and that word is: Hmph.

So she is curating her own Biennial, right here, right now, along the time-tested principles of Nepotism, Favoritism, Elitism, and Extreme Prejudice.

Her Biennial will be, at the very least, Pretty.

Libby Pace.

Some people accuse Pretty Lady of being conservative, hidebound, and behind the times; they accuse her of being Against Installation Art. Perish the thought! She is All For Installation Art! The Installation merely needs to be as carefully thought-through, exquisitely crafted, poetically evocative, and aesthetically stunning as Libby's 2003 window project at Healing Arts Gallery in Williamsburg, and Pretty Lady is all over it.

Jennifer Coates.

Who is to say that the traditionally visual cannot also be abstractly metaphysical? Ms. Coates illustrates the Landscapes of the Expanding Mind.

Sophie Jodoin.

Viscerally compelling, emotionally complex Political Imagery--Sophie has been going to town on the war images, lately. She blows Kathe Kollewitz out of the water.

Simplicity, subtlety, depth and whimsy? That's our Danny-o. Pretty Lady is certain that he'd come up with something brand-new and surprising for her Biennial, perhaps crawling over the outside of the building, perhaps a roomful of toys indoors.

RA Friedman
Enigmatic, apolitical, immersed in the potentialities of an archaic medium--nice counterpoint to Sophie. Perhaps hang them across the room from one another, as a sort of echo effect.

John Morris.
Organic Abstraction is where it's at, or at least where John's head is at, 99% of the time.

Oriane Stender.
Recycling, sociopolitical commentary, and Really Finicky Detail, to match John's obsessiveness.

Chris Smith Evans.
Pretty Lady met Chris while selling erotic sketches on the street in Soho, one penurious winter. Chris was selling these cute little Shaker paintings, which were flying off the racks like hotcakes when the homosexual gentlemen came by. Later, they discovered that they'd both had a run-in with the same chauvinistic sculpture professor, fifteen years apart; by the time Pretty Lady encountered him, he'd at least mellowed out enough to teach her to weld.

Chris's work does a masterful job in slipping subliminal social commentary into the homes of the petit bourgeois, in Pretty Lady's opinion. Subversion does not have to be aesthetically abrasive.

Nancy Baker.

Our Rebel Belle may project a bit of an Edge, here in the blogosphere, but her lovely paintings demonstrate all the playful, ambiguous joy of artist who careens on a tightrope between Kitsch and the Sublime. No BS at all!

Wayne Thiebaud.

Every Biennial has at least one Token Old White Guy; why should Pretty Lady's be any different? At least dear Mr. Thiebaud's work is cheerful. Pretty Lady always wanted to meet him.

Tara Donovan.

Well, who could resist? Chris, maybe, but who else? As far as Pretty Lady is concerned, Tara may have a whole floor.

Deborah Fisher.

As long as we are going for the Raw Construction Aesthetic, let us be thoroughly committed to it. Raw lumber is boring; alchemical amalgamations of recycled trash, much less so.

You will note that Pretty Lady's Biennial is light to absent upon the video/performance fronts. This is because Pretty Lady's standards for moving pictures have been set by the viewing of actual Films, i.e. those by Kubrick, Bergman, the Coen brothers, etc; similarly, her standards for Performance are at the level of Mark Morris, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the RSC. She has yet to see an 'art performance' that qualified as such.

The catalogue essays for Pretty Lady's Biennial will be provided by Chris and Franklin, pending their approval. If you are, perhaps, a friend of Pretty Lady's and are feeling miffed by your exclusion from her biennial, remember that biennials happen every two years, and she had to save some of you for the next one. ;-)

UPDATE: Oops! Forgot Swoon and Barry McGee. Chris Ware and Julie Mehretu are not included, solely because they've been in the WB before.


Kate said...

Some lovely work... I am passing two names on to a curator who is putting together a show. Thanks!

CAP said...

Only 12 artists - that's a pretty small Biennale for the Whit.

Is it true the Whitney's opening a branch in Houston?

When you compare fine art performance with theatrical performance, do you think they're doing the same thing? - The RSC and Matthew Barney or Janine Antoni?

Surely not?

Pretty Lady said...

Hey, Cap, who said this was at the Whit? Pretty Lady's apartment is a bit smaller...

Pretty Lady said...

And as regards the performance aspect--yes and no. They are doing different things using similar forms. The thing they are doing can either be an extension of the affective boundaries of the genre, in which case it qualifies as 'contemporary art,' or it can just be a re-hash of old forms, in which case it's entertainment.

There are a very few performance artists who do extend the boundaries of performance in this way, Meredith Monk being among them. But the vast majority of them are just co-opting an old form to very little effect, and I haven't got the time to study them seriously and go to the symphony, too.

Ergo the other curators. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Freakin'-A, it's wondeful art. Thank you for putting this together, PL. I'm late to the party on this whole "visual aesthetic" thing; forgive me if I'm totally co-opting you as mentor ;)

Anonymous said...

Me, finicky? I've been called a lot of things, but...
Hey, thanks for putting me in the PL Biennial!



Anonymous said...

Are you accepting nominations?

Mary Judge

Andrea Champlin

David Palmer said...

Hey PL, this is off-topic, but I thought you might find it interesting. Gary Hart comments on Hillary

Chris Rywalt said...

I was bummed at first at being left out, but then I realized -- okay, I don't think all these artists are better than I am, but I'll admit to being not quite fully formed yet. Also, leaving me out, I see, elevates Pretty Lady's credibility: If her biennial consisted of all her artist friends, then she'd look as bad as all the other lousy gallery directors out there. By leaving me out, at least, she can say she's not basing her decisions entirely on friendship.

My goal now is to make work worthy of Pretty Lady's next biennial!

Pretty Lady said...

Go, Chris!

Sus, those are GREAT suggestions.

David, that's a good article. How did you know how obsessed I am with this primary? Is it that obvious?

Anonymous said...

PL, you should so do this for the next Biennial. PL's Alt Biennial, it would be marvelous!

Pretty Lady said...

Do you know, I think I shall. It will give me some incentive to keep notes on my gallery-going. The whole point of this post is that there is worthwhile art being made these days--it's just that the Whitney and a whole lot of Chelsea dealers, for whatever reason, are ignoring it.

David Palmer said...

How did you know how obsessed I am with this primary? Is it that obvious?

No, nobody else would notice. I just took a wild guess :)

Anonymous said...

This work looks lame and vapid, decorative, non-engaging, unimaginative, provincial, uninspired, taking itself too seriously, trying to prove to oneself that they can construct something well, rather than just making the damn work. (besides barry mcgee)

Pretty Lady said...

Gosh, an anonymous negative comment, criticizing the taste of someone with no power or influence in the Art World at all! We have reached new depths of craven cowardice!

Not to mention that the comment takes the form of a string of standard, unconsidered and inapplicable clich├ęs. Woo hoo for originality! I'm so proud to be an artist!

Anonymous said...

i love love love love wayne thiebaud, precisely because his thick, creamy paint is so damn pretty.