I had heard so much criticism about Damien’s Spot paintings before going to the three New York shows, that I had the sneaky suspicion I am going to love them. They gave me pleasure – pleasure is hardly an argument – you either like having it or not. The flavor colored paintings made me want to lick every single dot, were named after various chemical substances and defied Jerry Saltz’s argument “You see one, and you really have seen them all.” In fact, they all tasted different.
When I think of Damien – I also can’t help but think of Zaphod Beeblebrox. Hey, if that artist’s intent is to make a lot of money – that is not a reason to reject the work – although this is not my intent but can’t speak against that being someone else’s. The spots aren’t things by themselves and they do not create a traditional artistic value (via the artist’s hand ). We all know from math that a dot cannot be defined as having a substance, it’s a destination. Each room of the three Gagosian galleries was brilliantly hung – thus all the paintings in a room worked together with scale to triangulate space and create a giant, Three-dimensional musical piano ( you know, the toy ones – i had one when i was a kid ).
It was a pure pleasure to indulge in the simple language of color, to occupy the space within the dots and just listen to the music.
The exhibition Opening at Pace gallery’s Happenings: New York, 1958-1963 was packed with the Who’s Who in the art world today. Although the crowds for the most parts obscured the actual show – I think it was more or less the point. The exhibition opening was, all over again, a Happening on its own.
Works by Jim Dine, Simone Forti, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman.