Andre Wallace

Monday, November 16, 2015


This week brings news that Maria Abramovic is being sued by her former partner as their former collaborative relationship has disintegrated with acrimony on both sides. He claims to have been exploited. The Guardian reports that:

"Ulay claims that Abramović has been writing him out of his own history. In his lawsuit he alleges that she has withheld money from him for 16 years, and failed to give him proper credit for their joint legacy."

"Ulay claims she has paid him only four times – and that Marina argues he should receive only 20% of her 30% profit, or 6% in total. Ulay explains what he hopes to achieve through litigation: “The points I’m asking of her are: every six months, a statement on sales and my royalties. And I’m asking for absolute proper mentioning of my name.”

"When approached to comment on the case, Abramović’s lawyer replied: “Mrs Abramović totally disagree[s] with Ulay’s allegations. My client doesn’t want to comment on them, they are libellous. My client considers that this lawsuit is abusive and aimed to damage her reputation in public, which is proven by his allegations to you. My client is very confident in her position in front of the court. She will defend her rights and reputation by all legal means.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Alistaire Sooke on oil painting

Alistaire Sooke is completely out of his depth  and betrays a lack of knowledge of the process of painting in an article on Frank Auerbach from the Telegraph.

The problem is that his world frame is limited to Challenging, Subversive and Radical pseudo-judgements concerning state art so when confronted by an artist who can actually use paint to reinvent painting the boy falls off his trike attempting to criticise that of which he has absolutely no understanding!

One also suspects that Sooke is so used to the gallery publicity handouts he is lost in space when he doesn't get one and has nothing meaningful to say:

"Aside from a terse, dour statement by the artist himself, explaining that he has shaped the “form” of the show by selecting, without interference, six small groups of paintings to represent each decade of his career, there is no introductory text to hand-hold, contextualise or explain: just eight works of art hung simply against Spartan grey walls, including one early, glowering self-portrait in charcoal and chalk, patched together out of scraps of torn paper like a version of Frankenstein’s monster."
and this lack of comprehension:

" The next gallery contains a bravura studio scene with a figure on a bed delineated by nothing but a few quick curls and spurts of scarlet squirted straight from the tube. This is sexy, urgent, risk-taking painting – reminding us that Auerbach’s compositions are rapid performances, recording particular instants in time. (One of the keys to understanding Auerbach is the knowledge that, as a young man, he acted in fringe theatre: his love of performance never left him.) Despite the literal heaviness of the paint, all of his best pictures have this shifting quality – as though they have been wrestled into existence but could equally slip back into oozy nothingness in a trice."

"Urgent risk taking painting", "rapid performances" No-one alive takes as much pains with slowly constructing what he sees with 3D paint marks than Auerbach. Our critic doesn't understand the process and result on any level except the totally inappropriate conceptual verbiage, which constitutes a completely different world frame. Further proof if needed that we are loosing the capacity to see. As a philosophy professor of acquaintance used to say: "Perception is causative and directive." 

Waldemar in the Sunday Times does know what he is talking about and he argues robustly that Auerbach is the UK's greatest living artist. He writes this: " These are the kinds of marks that a fencer might make if asked to draw portraits in the air with an epee. The  result is something exceptionally rare and exceptionally difficult: a new way of painting."
This is as good a way as any to describe what Auerbach is doing with representation using layers and layers of thick oil paint.

Today the 10th of November brings the news of a new world record price for a Modigliani which the auctioneer claims is his greatest masterpiece. With prices like these how can any museum or gallery compete?