Sunday, 12 March 2017

Brief Comments on Current SHows

Tate Modern:

Rauschenberg: Typical, awful, dull, Tate Modern curating, makes the whole show look like a series of 3D prints. Dante drawings stunning and unharmable. I don't the regret the lack of queer readings, I don't need an ambitious US queer theorist to show the truth, I think if you don't get that the abused, golden Japanese screen is about being in sex, cum and piss and libidinous disorder, then you don't need to. Chacun(sic) à sa vue, so as to speak. Some of the work looks like very tired once radical gestures, the Goat. One could miss this.

Tillmans has become a kind of one man Kabakovs, in his own way, a marvellous mixture of seeing, recording, imagining, thinking, a kind of activist anger embedded it the working of art with a sensuous wonder with the sexual, processes of transformation and decay and stasis (see the section in the tanks). Not to be missed. In this light the showing of the Concorde series at Tate B looks better than ever. A big relief after the above elderly master.

Emilio Isgrò at Tornabuoni London. Another very good show at this gallery, after their Boetti that showed his collection of things to look at, borrowed from his heirs. Isgrò reminds us that Tom Phillips Humument was one of the tips of an especially interesting conceptual iceberg that involved defacement and refiguring of printed books, and here the 24 Britannica open pages articulate idea and hand-marks together, with intellectual fascination and the obsessive beauty of a certain kind of skill. Wow, can he make marks.

Systems room at Tate Britain. For me all of my version of radically growing into art in the '60s-'70s. Systems was a quite a woman-open grouping, something the Tate web site curiously neglects on its main page for this show, preferring a particularly horrible John Ernest moebius  sculpture that I have hated for decades, rather than Gillian Wise. However the great piece here, in a dismal and mean Tate release, a huge painting that I watched being made, by Jeffrey Steele, which is part of this series, but three huge panels.

Forget the easy and factitious and overworked, overloaded 'colourism' of the late Howard Hodgkin, this is the truly great painting of the last few decades. Get there. See Elizabeth Price video In The Tent for a fine contemporary insight into this work, and a very fine work in itself.

Nash, at Tate Britain, took all his life - I found out - to do without either rather schematic birds or war stuff in his skies. The last room was achieved in a new way, with some of the finesse of the first, the interim is rather second rate. Not the accomplishment of Ravilious in the end.

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