Painting is dead. Painting isn’t dead. Painting is dead! No, it isn’t! Yes, it is! Isn’t! Is! Shut up shut up shut up shut up!!! Okay, now that we have that out of the way… Painting isn’t the denial-plagued zombie elephant in the room — art theory is. It’s one of the lines Leonard Cohen left out: Everybody knows a work of art that doesn’t speak for itself is a failure as a work of art. Fortunately, in spite of the best efforts we critics have mustered to impose Artforum’s Rules of Order on the rabble, art — and particularly the medium non grata of painting — just won’t shut up.
Painters in the contemporary art world, particularly those from L.A., have to maintain a chameleonesque indeterminacy about their artistic intentions — be all things to all people — or face ghettoization. Is this an abstract painting? Or a painting of a painting of an abstract painting, wink wink? It’s the emperor’s new clothes all over. The ultimate irony is that the emperor is actually decked out in an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — the plausible deniability cultivated by painters for the social sphere creates a temporary autonomous zone in the studio wherein a thousand flowers have blossomed. No one can pin them down, so they can get away with anything. The psycho art-market bubble hasn’t hurt production either.
more from the LA Weekly here.