Sunday, November 11, 2007


It's a disaster!

All of the American art (1900-1950) has been removed,
and the entire second floor of Regenstein Hall
at the Art Institute of Chicago
has been given over to
Jasper Johns


There's every gray painting he ever made,
a true monument to
the pretentiousness of vacuity.

Why Jasper Johns ?

Why has the Art Institute
given him the largest exhibit of any living artist ?

Is there something especially intellectual,
art theoretical,
about the color gray ?

(none of those intense, populist colors of
say, a Gerhard Richter, whose one-man
show got a small fraction of this floor space)

They certainly are art theoretical,

because there's nothing but theory
(especially the Institutional Theory)
that privileges the textured gray paint on the canvas
from the
textured, painted surfaces of the gallery wall on which they hang.

I remember how the previous A.I.C. director,
James Wood,
had a special interest in Johns.

Since it's all about art theory,

it's my theory that Johns

is the kind of contemporary art that's appropriate
for the more sedate, patrician, established Art Institute

(while the pop and shock artists belong a mile north,
in Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art

And how symbolic,

to have the largest Johns exhibit ever mounted
temporarily replace
the permanent collection of 20th C. American art
which will be reinstalled
into to the new
Modern Wing
that will open next year
in direct competition with the M.C.A.

Why not just leave Regenstein Hall empty
for a year ?

Wouldn't that vacuity be even more profound?


Note: I didn't see any point
to illustrating this post
with images of Johns' dreary grayness,

so instead I've posted images just taken
from a newly installed room of Whistler,
who also specialized in gray.

But there's gray....
and then there's gray.


And here's a revelatory questionnaire
that the artist just completed for Vanity Fair.

What do consider the most overrated virtue?
Virtue itself

On what occasion do you lie?
When I think it is useful

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
no one, no thing

What is your most treasured possession?
my refrigerator


And what better color for him,
than gray


Blogger Amanda J. Sisk said...

Enjoyable rant, Mr. Miller.

November 11, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

The director obviously thought grey was an appropriate colour for November!

Still better than the shark.

November 12, 2007  
Anonymous marly said...

How hilarious--you didn't even show the images! You ought to have one or two, shouldn't you?

November 12, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...


November 13, 2007  

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