Friday, September 28, 2012

Regarding Warhol at the Met. Sorta Ho Hum.

I wasn't surprised by Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists Fifty Years at the Met. It's not that I don't revere Warhol for all sort of reasons, from his work ethic to his inventiveness to his knack for holding the spotlight, even unto death. And his Bowie-like looks, more Bowie-like than Bowie.

And it's not that I consider his art to be mere novelty, though novelty is part of its appeal; nor is is that I wasn't excited by the prospect of several galleries of Warhol. I wasn't, but hey. 

I was even less enthused when I realized the galleries were bursting with art inspired by Warhol. Simply, I couldn't imagine being enchanted and I wasn't enchanted. Though Regarding is fair-enough tribute considering the staying power of Warhol's slo-mo moment in history, and a reasonable enough exhibit to draw in crowds, not that the Met is suffering from inattention.

But not my thing. My thing, which I visited after the Warhol, is this summer's roof art, Tomás Saraceno's architectural sculpture Cloud City. See it, enter it, re-see the world in its presence. Before the Warhol I spent time with some no fail masters--Hals, Rembrandt, Steen.

The Warhol galleries abounded with lots of strong craft, much skill. Me with my standards, I want more than craft and skill at the Met. Warhol-inspired works which didn't disappoint were by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Vija Celmins, Takashi Murakami, Edward Ruscha, John Baldassari. True, I'm predisposed to those artists, to begin with, and Ruscha and Baldassari are Californians, which gives them a special glow in my book of glow. I'm not interested in Chuck Close or Jeff Koons, who produce crafty novelties. (I know some will fight me on Close.)

I rarely miss Met exhibits. My sense of obligation to my favorite museum--a sense that prompted me to the Warhol--is usually met with joy, delight, intellectual prodding, companionship of the soul. I'm not sorry I saw the Warhol, which was crowded crowded crowded. I'm never sorry I've visited the Met.
pictured: Burning Gas Station by Edward Ruscha.

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