Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Neo Rauch Woo-Woo!!!

Neo Rausch2
Originally uploaded by Corncub.
These paintings are wetter and juicer then one's I've seen in previous shows... The figures aren't as stiff as I remember them and his palet even seems more complex. I've come 'round to liking Neo Rauch in a big way. So much has been written about this show, here are a few interesting bits I've come across;

"Rauch's fascination with the figure and work-related props allow for a formal exploration, based in part on the properties of paint itself. A glob of paint draped over an arm, for example, or a rake dragged though a patch of grass, leave behind marks and swirls that blur the line between rendered object and reference to the simplicity and necessity of the artist's materials. It is as if the figures enable, or are perhaps in a state of reacting to, their own painted environments."
-Press Release from
"Although he claims "never" to use photographs or "any" pre-existing source, so much of what he paints seems like it comes from somewhere that these claims feel fishy."
-Jerry Saltz
"When Neo Rauch's parents were killed in a train crash, Rauch was six months old, and his father had just entered art school. Rauch has no idea why they chose his unusual name, but the suspicion that some sort of wry art inflection was intended..."
-Alexi Worth
"Jamaica Kincaid once said of her native Antigua that it is a place where the past feels like the present and the present often feels like the past. You get the same sense looking at the work of Neo Rauch"
-Martha Schwendener
"Rauch's disjunctive narratives suggest a world whose comforting order has been shaken apart by unseen and unfathomable forces and subjected to a new logic whose outlines remain obscure. In this, they offer an apt response to the post-Cold War world."
-Eleanor Heartney

Oh, Corny, I want, want, want to like these paintings! But upon viewing they did not give enough visual pleasure. The color seemed moldy and the narratives pointlessly obfuscatory (sorry!). But they also exert a power and I can't ignore them. So many people I respect really dig 'em, so I will go back and try again, trying to keep the openest of minds.
p.s. It is so cool of you to give props to good art on yr blog. That big Dana Schutz painting at PS1 did rock my world very hard.
Jeeze, I'm afraid I must agree with the sloth. I have been a fan of Neo's work for many years. The odd, hallucinatory scenes seem to have been conjured up directly from some of my deepest toad-licking benders. I was a bit disappointed by this show, however, because of the turbid palette and the lack of structure in the paintings. Few of the images seemed memorable to me. Just to make sure my judgment wasn't clouded from the usual dyspepsia, gout, or prostate flare up, I consulted the catalog by the front desk and, sure enough, the work from the previous shows seemed lighter - a sense of airiness pervaded. I don't know, the paintings just seemed to hang together better. Not quite so gloomy. Not that there's anything wrong with gloomy, I mean look at the world we live in, fer chrissakes! Don't get me wrong -- still a fan of the Rauch.
I guess It comes down to a matter of taste. I thought the old paintings were ocular Melba Toast.
So dry, they actually sucked the moisture from my eye balls, me leaving the gallery with two little shriveled up raisins dangling from the scockets. yeah, the color is muted, I can't argue that's his great strength, what he does so beautifully is make space slippery and twisted, depicting a new model of time, like there is no past and future, all events happen simultaneously, he's like a modern day cubist or something. No doubt there are some obscure signifiers, but it doesn't take too much work to decode the paintings. Slothy, there's a write up in last weeks Time Out that talks about the narrative in his work, it's an interesting read. I know what you mean cranky t. critic, a few of the paintings feel like they are going to fly apart, but in some of them the sturcture is pretty straight forward. One in particular is built on a very classical piramid configuration. I talked to another artist yesterday who was disapointed by the show. He thought they were clunky and awkward, also that Rauch was being repetitive and more calculating, the older ones, to my friend, felt more spontanious.
Yo Cranky T, you got's a web page or blog?
Never mind I see it, cranky the critic. Cool.
I couldn't agree more vis a vis Rauch's ability to integrate references to different eras. Slippery and twisted indeed. I also appreciate his use of architecture to create the uncanny. As for his iconography, who the hell cares -- he creates a complete and mysterious world. Very engaging.

I am embarrassed about the paltry postings on my blog. What with the black-outs and all, it's a bit hard to keep up. Must be more disciplined!
Yes Cranky, make more with the talking!
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