Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sam McKinniss at JTT


People hate McKinniss, possibly be the most polemical painter not being spanked for absurd auction digits. The hate against McKinniss's hamsters seems incommensurate. But maybe his continual painting of hamsters, or making hamsters of his subjects, that cloying adorbz of the neotenic focus-group-tested rodent/celebrity, is what drives the want to wring the necks of those oh so vulnerable and useless. Everyone so cute, loved, like the adored really needed a court painter. How rare that McKinniss paints someone that isn't massively completely almost annoyingly loved.

The point being, at some point, desire itself became "critical." Your teenage bedroom becomes a "site," a "presupposition" of "critical vanity," the art terms attach easily. Putting cultural touchstones on display you obviously vampire their cultural relation if not their capital, forming a portrait of culture through its blood. Consumption becomes a form of value. Relation has value. And post-kitsch understands that no amount of kitsch is not recuperable by artistic "criticality." The invisible framing of art does that. The way On Kawara paints "9 JAN.1973" McKinniss paints a more adorned version, pointing to Prince or JTT, whatever celebrity moment, the cultural object is a signifier, a blank date hung on its readymade coatrack with an affect of cultural valorization: painting, the embellishing act that makes them proper in the silver gilt halls of art. The act could seem redundant to celebrity itself or simply inevitable. Your becoming a heavily trained marker of culture.