Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Is Beauty a Grecian Urn or a Blond?

tracing of engraving of Sosibios Vase by Keats

What is beauty? Is it a Grecian Urn? There's some controversy brewing about the show of Anna Weyant’s work at Gagosian. One reviewer compared her to both John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage, both to whom she was deemed to come up short.  “There is a weirdness about Currin and Yuskavage’s art that isn’t present here,” says Alex Greenberger in ARTnews. The point is that she's apparently just sophisticated enough. However, the real problem lies not in the beauty of the paintings but that of the artist. She's so beautiful your eyes are glued to her picture. Could it be that looking at her is the esthetic experience? What would happen were she to appear in real life? Would she stop you in your tracks? Would you be turned to stone or drown, like Narcissus, but in her rather than your own image? Does she create pileups on the LIE? In addition, how does a 27 year old artist of her caliber whose work is masterful, if derivative get a show at the hottest gallery in the world? The backstory is both predictable and boring. Larry Gagosian as you might expect is purportedly having an affair with her. Would she get into his gallery otherwise? Would a man fifty years older get into her, were he not such a powerful art world figure? What to do with this information. Why not say simply that an extraordinarily beautiful young woman with nice but not exceptional work got the attention of an aging gallerist. She must realize, if she has any feeling for him, that he will, from an actuarial point of view outlive her? And he has to accept the fact that she likes him for his  power and money as much as she does for his "self," if one can be extricated from the other. There's something horribly unfair about so many aspects of this story that it might be said to resemble life.

read "The End of Genius and the Rise of the Compassionate Artist" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Modern Love" by David Bowie

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