Jonathan Lasker @ Timothy Taylor

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Jonathan Lasker @ Timothy Taylor

Postby CAP » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:52 pm

In the PR they boast how influential Lasker has been over the past 30 years. But apart from Christopher Wool and early Monique Prieto... like, who exactly has displayed any compelling influence of Lasker over this time? People might say well, Gunther Förg, but really, on the linear tip you could as well argue for Brice Marden or Australian aboriginal art.

In Art Forum, Lasker points out how visible or well exhibited his early work was, how it got bracketed with the Neo-Geo and Po-Mo dudes like Taaffe and Halley, as well as the more trad NY abstraction like Tom Nozkowski and Gary Stephan, while also showing at Michael Werner (German Neo-Ex king) as a demonstration of how it fits in a lot of places, slightly, but nowhere especially well. And that's its strength of course - originality if you will - but in the end I think it also sidelines it when critics fall to looking at longer art history and broad strokes - like in Art Now - by Germans Grosenick and Riemschneider, where they just completely discount him (and Lari Pittman) basically because Germans are never quite comfortable with Minimalism, much less the Maximalism that follows it.

I like Lasker, but I can also see how people quickly grow bored with the work - you sense he's not about to embark on the kind of errant pilgrimmage that makes Marden a star - then again Marden doesn't rate a mention with the Germans either. 8-)
Last edited by CAP on Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jonathan Lasker @ Timothy Taylor

Postby jasperjoffe » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:24 pm

I like lasker too, but he asks the question is it ok to do one small thing in art really well? Perhaps yes.
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Re: Jonathan Lasker @ Timothy Taylor

Postby CAP » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:09 pm

The thing is, it needn't remain a 'small thing' - that's down to what the artist is prepared to do with his 'problem' or 'forms' - the parameters for variation. In really early Lasker (late 70s/early 80s) there is in fact a figurative element, inherited probably from P&D motifs - Saatchi actually used to have a nifty one of these! - alas now gone... But Jon was looking to forge a more elaborate, elusive kind of pattern and so ditched figurative cues (more here). There then follows a long period where he builds relations between line and shape and field and develops that distinctive tool for making a continuous even line - I don't think it's just a signwriter's brush - maybe some kind of wheel or icing-bag type of gadget? Obviously he was inspired by felt-tip pens - because that's what he uses in his sketches (which although small. often have a terrific spontaneity) - but felt-tip pens mostly do not have a permanent pigment or sufficient width for large canvases - so he either has to laboriously brush in those curvy (Harold Cohen-like) patterns or find a tool that will give his line that evenness and continuousness - this is how they make fields that contrast with shapes on top or underneath. And that seems to be it for Lasker. He could have pushed the shape/line on into script or text - and the things do sort of carry a notational connotation, but it seems to be the textural, impasto thing that mainly holds his interest. The mixing or blurring of colours with a palette knife or heavy brush kind of opens the door to other things for shape and line, only Bernard Frize has pretty much got that angle covered.

I suppose we should be grateful for Lasker taking us at least this far, but one always wants more. If abstraction is going to have any legs in the 21st century, it's probably to people like Marden and Lasker that it ought to look, although from what I've seen, 50s Tachiste stuff is probably holding more of an appeal just now.
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