Sunday, November 23, 2014

“Seven Reeds” at Overduin & Co.

“Seven Reeds” at Overduin & Co.

As others have extrapolated, Kassay’s silver market stardom was, in the style of ancient plated mirrors, an object of vanity for the rich, giving them back exactly what was loved most, their surroundings, their homes, their empire and visage. To prove the point the more well silvered even reached higher prices. The theory serves as a parable to distinguish the vanity of the rich from the more philosophically noble raisons of the art world, and that Kassay’s shift to monochromes, however derivative, was a welcome advancement past vain ideals.
Yet the monochrome itself is a flattery of the viewer. In its minimalist mode it highlights the theater of its surrounding, as Fried described minimalism almost half a century ago:
“theatrical because, to begin with, it is concerned with the actual circumstances in which the beholder encounters literalist work. Morris makes this explicit. Whereas in previous art ‘what is to be had from the work is located strictly within [it],’ the experience of literalist art is of an object in a situation - one that, virtually by definition, includes the beholder.”
Or to quote the infamous monochrome brand of Codax: “ another aspect of monochrome paintings is that they function somewhat like a mirror. They are essentially blanks. With little evidence of the hand that made them, it’s harder to attribute subjectivity to them than with most other art, so people are confronted with themselves a bit more.”
That monochrome or minimalist modes are themselves a vanity object, in which the viewer is flattered for all the intelligence that they can project into the blank objects. Serving to imbue their surrounding, gallery or living spaces with the auratic privilege of “art.” Lacking even Imi Knoebel’s color-content, the works drabness serves to disperse content and reinforce it as its surroundings, its space and viewer on the stage before it, like totems of whatever ideals they allow to be contained. That so much gentle painting today rather than a production of content, merely acts as directives for the flow of content and persons that come to it, trickling through it.

See too: Merlin Carpenter at Overduin & Co.