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
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,
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
textured, painted surfaces of the gallery wall on which they hang.
I remember how the previous A.I.C. director,
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
the permanent collection of 20th C. American art
which will be reinstalled
into to the new
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?
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?
And what better color for him,