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Awful Interview with Lisa Yuskavage

PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:25 pm
by CAP
Some interviews should just never be granted, no matter how desperate your career is. Yuskavage, whose career has pretty much stagnated from a critical point of view (but she is with Zwirner and probably still selling loads) unburdens herself in The Paris Review about her working class roots, her halting development (stopped painting for a year after her first NY show) her weight (lost heaps recently) and designer wardrobe – all those oversize parachute numbers now donated to a worthy charity, of course, gay friends for the frumpy outsider and finishing somewhere behind John Currin in her Yale class.

Yeah, Yale, that kind of outsider... ;)

Whatever there was that was vaguely interesting about her work in the 90s has long gone (she’s in her 50s now) and all this heart-searching will not bring it back. The weight was not the problem. It was a symptom though. If only she’d bummed around Europe for a few years or something, put the careers on hold for just a little longer.

Wow, ain’t never reading anything more about her. :twisted:

Re: Awful Interview with Lisa Yuskavage

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 9:33 am
by Jim
Two things occur to me reading this. One is, I can't think of a European painter who does something similar to Currin or Yuskavage. I mean paint technically excellent but otherwise dull paintings and make a stellar career out of it? I think here we prefer the less polished but more open-ended.
The other thing was her reference to what she called the aristocratic element of the art world. It's not often mentioned but true I'd say. Dealers, collectors, gallery people are probably mostly priviliged types and are most comfortable dealing with their own kind.
What do you think?

Re: Awful Interview with Lisa Yuskavage

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 1:11 pm
by CAP
Well Richard Watham springs to mind – shudder. Although he’s hardly as sleazy. But he has the same stylistic coyness, disingenuousness. Wince. And there are a couple of German painters I’ve seen doing something vaguely similar to Currin – but that’s because of the example of Otto Dix. Not sure how much of an influence Dix was on Currin but Late Dix (i.e. 50s) is uncannily like Currin’s pinups. There’s one in the Scottish National Gallery, but I can’t find the URL for it just now. English artists are more likely to get suckered into the very fussy, virtuosity thing like Glenn Brown, Richard Patterson and Matthew Weir. Lot of that about and it’s just as bad. But at least they don’t pretend there’s something authentically vulgar or appropriately working class about it.

As for the aristocratic thing – that’s always been there. Patrons have to be rich, to be super patrons they need to be super rich. Most dealers used to start out collectors (hence rich, hence know one another) while new school dealers who pick up some shitty little degree in art history are either rich enough to pursue such an unpromising career path or connect with a patron at some point to allow them to move into dealing/schmoozing. But it seems trivial to observe that as a struggling artist you are dealing with top end money once there is serious interest in your work. I wouldn’t describe it even as aristocratic – that seems a typically American projection onto old European custom. These days it’s as likely to be in corporate livery, with a public school locution.

Are they most comfortable dealing with their own kind? Not when it comes to artists, in my experience. They rather like the excitement of mixing with the other half, the rough trade and great unwashed. It's part of the myth. It’s part of the fun. Artists that feel cowed by the manners and savoir-faire of sponsorship are just on a steep learning curve, called social mobility. Yuskavage wants to play some kind of class card, but she has none. I’ve always tried to be tolerant of art world acquaintances on private incomes, yachts and islands, but somehow they are often acutely discomforted by my presence, on those few occasions. We’re not talking déclassé wardrobe or grooming so much as technical and art historical insights. In those cases, I’m not the pretender – there’s too much on the line for me – but those conversations are short because even the super rich are not really informed about the devilish detail. That takes a little too much dedication, rather spoils the fun.

Re: Awful Interview with Lisa Yuskavage

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 2:52 pm
by Jim ... r-gma-2195

(Sorry i don't know a better way of doing that.)

It is a very interesting painting, thanks for the info.
I'm going to look at some Dix. If you know what i mean.

Re: Awful Interview with Lisa Yuskavage

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 3:34 am
by CAP
Yes the SNG’s example is from the 30s – as are most online examples.

And for the reader who can’t be bothered googling – here’s a very Currin-like, Venus with Gloves from 1932, Vanity of Vanities also from 1932, and this one I didn’t catch the title of, but I think you’ll agree VERY Currin-esque.

I should also admit that the perception Currin <> Dix is not mine. I got it from an article in a magazine in the early noughties (?) by Richard Morphett. Old Dickie, still probably the last really good curator The Tate has had (from before the split into Britain and Modern). His downfall: the ill fated Kitaj retrospective of 1994, when bad crits blew Ron’s fairly precarious state of mind. But Dickie’s eye was pretty damn good. I’d back him against a bunch of Fleet Street slaggers any day. I think he’s still around, but obviously retired by now...

Anyway, for some reason he unearthed a Late Dix from the 50s that was so like a Currin it took me some time to accept that it actually was a Dix. It was eerie! Apparently by the 50s Otto went full-on teenage/sleaze pinups, in the American style, teetering on MAD magazine territory. Well you could see how it might be an extension of his decadent programme. But not even Dix fans could really go there; hence they’re rarely seen, even on the web.