Dana Schutz @ Petzel NYC

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Dana Schutz @ Petzel NYC

Postby CAP » Mon May 21, 2012 1:53 pm

I looked at this show on the Petzel website and thought ho hum, not mad about it but at least Dana hasn't resorted to some safe formula, at least she's trying things. I wouldn't have bothered writing anything except I happened to watch James Kalm's You Tube of the opening and even with James' rough and ready camerawork you could get a pretty good idea of the surfaces and scale and errr... it was not pretty.

My fear used to be that Dana would sort of burn out and just resort to cute, Muppets/Sesame Street-like figures in amusing situations. There is that side to her. I think that's the side that appealed to Saatchi. That was about 8 years ago. To her credit she has avoided that. Her style has broadened from Muppet Expressionisti to nudge Picasso, Matisse and all stops to Joan Brown and Judith Linares. And yet she's not Californian. If anything she now seems to be over-reaching. The large scale things in particular just seem clunky, when once they had a sort of comic bravado. I think she's just trying to be too clever. The smaller things in the back room work much better. They show she's still got it. But now I wonder how much longer anyone's going to want it? All that scattered glee feels like it has a short shelf life.

:cry:
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Re: Dana Schutz @ Petzel NYC

Postby jasperjoffe » Tue May 22, 2012 11:04 am

good that she's trying something new, bad that they don't look so great
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Re: Dana Schutz @ Petzel NYC

Postby CAP » Tue May 22, 2012 11:47 am

The thing is, do you award points for trying? I don't know how long we're supposed to say "Oh, too bad, that didn't work either".

And her last few shows have been so so at best. I know no-one wants to jump on the brave young thing, but who's kidding who? I went back and looked at JPGs of the stuff- 2002-2005 and it's just way better. Saatchi doesn't even have the best stuff, but I'm linking to that for convenience (I'm supposed to be doing other stuff right now).

Sorry I've just turned into one of those annoying critics that "prefer the earlier stuff'. But I do. The gigantic scale of recent stuff is part of the problem, but all the gimmicky applications (woodgraining combs, etc) just look inept and on a big scale, that really starts to look empty and B A D. Not bad in a good way, just B A D.

And just to go back to my earlier remark about Judith Linhares - I was echoing a common complaint - probably from other (older) NYC lady painters - since she was taken up in a way Linhares (a 70s vet of the Bad Painting variety) never was, but quite frankly Schutz takes little if anything from Linhares. They are as different as night and day, in mood, themes and technique. Schutz never uses Linhares' distinctive planar modelling for figures and generally grounds them with something closer to conventional anatomy. Linhares are closer to folk art and textile design. Dana's Expressionism is deceptively sophisticated, in drawing, colour and facture. They sometimes share a comic exhuberance in poses, but Linhares is essentially idyllic or mythic, Schutz fictive but grotesque.
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