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Jerry Saltz

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One argument goes that recessions are good for female artists because when money flies out the window, women are allowed in the house. The other claims that when money ebbs, so do prospects for women.



John Currin’s exaggerated realism and his twisted women kept me off balance, never knowing if they were sincere or ironic or some new emotion.



All of Koons’s best art - the encased vacuum cleaners, the stainless-steel Rabbit (the late-twentieth century’s signature work of Simulationist sculpture), the amazing gleaming Balloon Dog, and the cast-iron re-creation of a Civil War mortar exhibited last month at the Armory - has simultaneously flaunted extreme realism, idealism, and fantasy.



Abstract Expressionism - the first American movement to have a worldwide influence - was remarkably short-lived: It heated up after World War II and was all but done for by 1960 (although visit any art school today and you’ll find a would-be Willem de Kooning).



A sad fact of life lately at the Museum of Modern Art is that when it comes to group shows of contemporary painting from the collection, the bar has been set pretty low.



It took me twenty years to get Steven Parrino’s work. From the time I first saw his art, in the mid-eighties, I almost always dismissed it as mannered, Romantic, formulaic, conceptualist-formalist heavy-metal boy-art abstraction.



Too many younger artists, critics, and curators are fetishizing the sixties, transforming the period into a deformed cult, a fantasy religion, a hip brand, and a crippling disease.



Urs Fischer specializes in making jaws drop. Cutting giant holes in gallery walls, digging a crater in Gavin Brown’s gallery floor in 2007, creating amazing hyperrealist wallpaper for a group show at Tony Shafrazi: It all percolates with uncanny destructiveness, operatic uncontrollability, and barbaric sculptural power.



Just as Pollock used the drip to meld process and product, Richter ’found’ and used the smudge and the blur to ravish the eye, creating works of psychic and physical power.



I also take pleasure in the so-called negative power in Grotjahn’s work. That is, I love his paintings for what they are not. Unlike much art of the past decade, Grotjahn isn’t simply working from a prescribed checklist of academically acceptable, curator-approved ’isms’ and twists.



Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for upsized art and more of it. I’ve heard of photographers asked to print larger to increase the wall power and salability of their work. Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast.



I’ve always said that an art critic can put aside politics around art.



When people in stadiums do the Wave, it’s the group-mind collective organism spontaneously organizing itself to express an emotion, pass time, and reflect the joy of seeing the rhythms of many as one, a visual rhyming or music in which everyone senses where the motion is going.



My nominee for Best Picture of the year - maybe the best picture ever, because it’s essentially made up of and is an ecstatic love letter to all other movies - is Christian Marclay’s endlessly enticing must-see masterpiece ’The Clock.’



’The Panorama’ is also the last place anywhere in New York where the World Trade Center still stands, whole, as it stood in the early morning of September 11. I can also see the corner where I saw the first tower fall and howled out loud. Seeing the buildings again here is uplifting, healing.



When museums are built these days, architects, directors, and trustees seem most concerned about social space: places to have parties, eat dinner, wine-and-dine donors. Sure, these are important these days - museums have to bring in money - but they gobble up space and push the art itself far away from the entrance.



I love art dealers. In some ways, they’re my favorite people in the art world. Really. I love that they put their money where their taste is, create their own aesthetic universes, support artists, employ people, and do all of this while letting us see art for free. Many are visionaries.



Art is for anyone. It just isn’t for everyone. Still, over the past decade, its audience has hugely grown, and that’s irked those outside the art world, who get irritated at things like incomprehensibility or money.



Now people look at ’The Scream’ or Van Gogh’s ’Irises’ or a Picasso and see its new content: money. Auction houses inherently equate capital with value.



’Untitled’ is a time machine that can transport you to 1992, an edgy moment when the art world was crumbling, money was scarce, and artists like Tiravanija were in the nascent stages of combining Happenings, performance art, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and the do-it-yourself ethos of punk. Meanwhile, a new art world was coming into being.



When money and hype recede from the art world, one thing I won’t miss will be what curator Francesco Bonami calls the ’Eventocracy.’ All this flashy ’art-fair art’ and those highly produced space-eating spectacles and installations wow you for a minute until you move on to the next adrenaline event.



Much good art got made while money ruled I like a lot of it, and hardship and poverty aren’t virtues. The good news is that, since almost no one will be selling art, artists - especially emerging ones - won’t have to think about turning out a consistent style or creating a brand. They’ll be able to experiment as much as they want.



The last time money left the art world, intrepid types maxed out their credit cards and opened galleries, and a few of them have become the best in the world.



In the seventies, a group of American artists seized the means not of production but of reproduction. They tore apart visual culture at a time of no money, no market, and no one paying attention except other artists. Vietnam and Watergate had happened everything in America was being questioned.



One argument goes that recessions are good for female artists because when money flies out the window, women are allowed in the house. The other claims that when money ebbs, so do prospects for women.



Not to say people shouldn’t get rich from art. I adore the alchemy wherein artists who cast a complex spell make rich people give them their money. (Just writing it makes me cackle.) But too many artists have been making money without magic.



Art usually only makes the news in America when the subject is money.



Money is something that can be measured art is not. It’s all subjective.



The forties, seventies, and the nineties, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn.



Summer is a great time to visit art museums, which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools - only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art.