I went to see both the Whitney Biennial today and the Jewish Museum show called “Mirroring Evil.” I went with my ol’ pal, Mary, who is probably closer to me with regard to aesthetic sensibility and sensitivity than almost anyone.
Revelations were as follows:
1. The Biennial was almost completely lackluster save for a few video pieces by a guy named Janowicz in which he fakely or not recreated an evangelical television show while the artist lay on the pulpit, video camera in hand. Very hard to explain but quite mesmerizing and brilliant — so complete with irony that it was serious.
2. I’m now no longer moving forward in making art but up and down. In fact, as Mary said, the axis changes or has changed when you reach our near middle age of 30-middle-something. Instead of the horizontal, you go vertical, deeper into yourself and your own definition of self and higher into greater realms of increasingly spiritual difficulty.
3. Further to this, I made the realization that I am really only interested in art that either attempts to connect with the spiritual or psychic depths of the world or demonstrates a certain inability to connect or misconnect with that same thing. It’s the faith or faithful ambivalence of art-making that I’m really dedicated to — in fact, it’s always been that way, but now I just have no time for critique of commodity fetishism, illustrations of race baiting, or pointing out the fallacies of 1960s hippie culture.
4. Someone needs to write (very soon) a piece about the Jewish Museum and its inability to focus on work that is actually revelatory about the Holocaust and its horrors. I mean, art should rarely be about something as horrific as the Holocaust anyway. But the reality is that the best art in the show is by Polish artists — the ones closest to the horror that was and continues to be in the backyard.
5. I really thought Maciej’s work was a breakthrough at the show — it showed a rich video tapestry of 1990s commercial fashion photography interpolating 1940s commercial fascism photography and film. So much more rich than his ealier pieces ten years ago – I am a newfound fan.