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Monday, January 05, 2009

Joe Bradley


Joe Bradley, Schmagoo Paintings, at Canada - I saw it right after it had officially closed, but the stuff was still up... except one of the paintings was in Miami.

Joe Bradley



Joe Bradley

Two previous mentions of this show have generated (and continue to generate) a lot of good comments... so I'm re-posting them all together... if you want your "comment name" switched to "anonymous" here in this more open posting just e-mail me and I'll fix it.

First Post 11/10/08:
Chris Sharp on Joe Bradley, at Canada - "it doesn’t get much more retarded than this". Dan Colen responds at disjointed length in comments, Dan is seriously hung up on the word "chortle". Dan is OFFENDED, which is fairly hilarious.

Anonymous said...
looking at the pictures of the opening of joe bradly i couldnt help saaying to myself, this is the new boys club and it just frankly grossed me out. there are a lot of precendents to what joe bradley does, not all male, but i think the reviewer in frieze magasine was dead on correct, it is shit, and he will get away with it because he is a boy and will be taken seriously no matter what.
11/10/2008 7:45 AM

pb said...
ridiculous comment
11/10/2008 12:45 PM

Anonymous said...
If someone out there really likes Joe Bradley's work it would be great if you could enlighten us.EG
11/10/2008 1:48 PM

Nomi Lubin said...
I chortled through the comment til I started skipping paragraphs cause of their high boring to chortle ratio.I gotta say, though, something about the bar mitzvah did chortle me.
11/10/2008 2:47 PM

Anonymous said...
i thought the reviewer was right on too.
11/10/2008 2:54 PM

kelli said...
Thanks for the chortles.
11/10/2008 2:59 PM

Anonymous said...
i like the fact that a reviewer actually was critical in a time when if something gets reviewed its always at least 99% positive, so my hat is off to that reviewer for calling on this work as lame, which it is.
11/10/2008 3:46 PM

flacktard said...
Would it be retarded to say that Dan Colen is incoherent,and cannot spell for shit?
11/11/2008 12:33 PM

Kai said...
I thought colen's comments were really sweet and heartfelt. Fantastically ranty.
11/11/2008 11:47 PM

beebe said...
It's tempting to be insulted Bradley's work . . . but it's just too dumb to get insulted by. There is nothing there: no content, no intent, just dumbness. It's like watching a toddler smear his own feces on the wall. Sure we're all upset and disgusted by it--I mean, what would possess someone the behave in such a manner?--but the kid (Bradley in this case) just doesn't know any better.
11/17/2008 10:50 AM

Second Post 11/14/08:
...because the artist doesn’t call on painterly competence, the work stands out in a gallery scene that has, overall, the ready-for-prime-time surface sheen of an M.F.A. show - Holland Cotter
- Aaron Namenwirth doesn't know what to say.
- Matt Connors doesn't know what to say.
- Chris Sharp says retarded.
- Dictionary Colen recalls Rothko (in the comments after Sharp's review).

vc said...
I think Cotter really nailed it here regarding the flavor of painting shows in general. I'm tired of competently opulent paint handling without any adventure (Logan Grider comes to mind) . Missed the Bradley on my NY visit last weekend and I'm sorry. I'm not sure I would say they are completely without painterly competence, though. It's hard to obtain and just as hard to get rid of, and it includes not only gooping and glazing but also judgement. I do wish I'd seen the show so I could be as troubled as others.
11/14/2008 7:00 AM

Anonymous said...
I did not see this show in person. However, if I did stumble upon it during my art centered wanderings, I would have done a quick about face and exited Canada without signing the guest book. This would have been my review. In my mind, art is like any experience that takes up one's precious time. There is so much out there and one must be choosey. Negative reviews are not a waste of time, for the person who writes them and the people who read them, and I truly wish more of them would appear in the print media, but positive reviews will always be much more prevalent because of a number of different factors. Writers can write about anything. There are no limitations. They can write a scholarly essay on or a glowing review of a pile of dog shit with a toy lightsaber stuck in it. They can wax poetic over some old painting. For me, the work of art, made using whatever media, must have some sort of lasting value in my mind. If the work of art can't travel through time in my mind, become a lasting memory which modifies other memories and becomes something else altogether through the creative processes of forgetting and remembering, then what is the effing point? EG
11/14/2008 8:29 AM

kelli said...
For myself there are just people who have done this exact same thing in a more soulful and poetic way (Tom Meecham: early work). The humor is more Bill & Ted than witty to me. Every gesture or style has its own academy so comparisons to similar work are always present. I'm not sure anything can escape painting tradition because everything has been done. And in this case it's been done better. The Rothko comparison baffles me in terms of form, intent and ambition.
11/14/2008 3:24 PM

Anonymous said...
i saw this show, i was insulted by it, it looked slapdash and not interesting in the way a lot of "slacker" painting can look, so soulless, even cynical and bratty. rothko i think not. does he actually think he is getting away with something, or is it all a joke, ditto a show i walked into last night, aaron young, you have got to be kidding. what is this new or old/new trend of bad boy abstract art that is about doing nothing? mind you i am not a fogie.
11/14/2008 5:49 PM

vc said...
i likem a lot. they're classical. maybe a little too restrained, but pretty.
11/14/2008 9:41 PM

chris said...
'ready for prime time' as a perjorative? go culture of diminished expectations!
11/14/2008 9:55 PM

Anonymous said...
Bradley's painting are classical vc? Please define classical for me with reference to Bradley's Canada show.
11/14/2008 11:03 PM

vc said...
Classical in the broadest and not necessariy historically accurate sense -- restrained and economical to the point of being haughty, but not without turmoil.Also it was a provocation, of course.Thinking about this half asleep last night I might have understood the Rothko comparison as a sense of uncompromising near-emptiness, and I get the impression that that is how Rothko's work looked to many in the 50s -- empty. I am also convinced that Bradley is serious and not just a huckster. Not on the same level as Rothko, but ask someone unfamiliar with art about Rothko and you will get a similar reaction to what some are saying about Bradley. Of course visceral shock and outrage are not the end of the aesthetic experience, but it's worth contemplating.I'll still take Rothko any day over Bradley. Hey while we're making ridiculous comparisons, can I bring up Matisse?And as to that commenter over on the Frieze site getting upset about reference to such an "obscure" painter as Martin Barre, I'd rather be reminded of how little I know instead of how much I know.p.s. too much digital ink spilled by me.I think these are fun. they make me happy. maybe a little guilty.
11/15/2008 6:20 AM

Anonymous said...
If there were thousands of painters during Rothko's times, who exhibited painterly hovering rectangles would Rothko have been nearly as shocking to the public as he was? No. How many works of two dimensional visual art have we seen in the past few decades that are reminiscent of Bradley's stuff in the Canada exhibition? So I do not find the specific comparison you are making compelling. If you look up the term "classical simplicity" on google the first several hits will be for plumbing, lighting, and home decor companies. The term "classical" is as good as useless.
11/15/2008 10:24 AM

Anonymous said...
I don't know anything. You made good points vc.EG
11/15/2008 1:35 PM

Nomi Lubin said...
This is fascinating. Retarded or fun guilty-happy? I don't know; haven't seen them. Though, from the pictures, for me, they are both. The scale, however, I think pushes them over into annoyingland. What's endearing on a small piece of paper is annoying on a large canvas. (Yeah, I know these are "medium" canvases. To me they are large.) But, this is part of it all, of course. Wouldn't be talking about them if they were on 3" x 5" pieces of paper.
11/15/2008 5:33 PM

dubz said...
what's weird to me is that i thought ironic hipster "dumb" painting was over... like, completely passé... isn't it? so it's surprising that these shows keep cropping up. seems to me that the good artists who made work like this have long moved on.
11/15/2008 7:34 PM

vc said...
I'm so sick of ironic hipster that I see it even where it isn't, so it surprises me that I don't see it here, especially when I saw it in his Whitney paintings.I really like the word "Dumb," but not when it describes hipster irony in the way that Dubz uses it, To me dumb can also mean courageous and abrupt, but not necessarily unfinished. Ellsworth Kelly is dumb, and his releif paintings of the last few years are urgent in a way that I can't describe. Maybe art is dumb that make me dumb. But words (like "classical," by the way) are very slippery, and they work best when they are read with imagination.
11/16/2008 12:27 PM

Gina B said...
I think Chris Sharp is right on, whether you like it or not, you feel like a fool. At the same time, I feel Joe Bradley has something, I just wish it could be discussed on its own merits...impossible, I guess.I thought his piece, 'Fisherman' (I think it was called, white vertical rectangle on yellow horizontal rectangle) from the Whitney Biennial was pretty awesome, as was another one, 'bread,' which I saw somewhere(?) An abstraction of the object referring back to the object. Like the Mary Heilman, 'Guitar' Clear, simple, minimal, pretty genius. I find it interesting in terms of discussions of abstraction versus representation. An abstraction that has no desire to separate from its original identity.I feel like his new pieces have that same pared down feeling, but are approaching from another angle. They scream 'I am making anti-heroic paintings' (except for the scale) but that's why I don't think they can be about that. Too one note and done. Although, having said that, I can't think of anyone who anti-ed quite as much in every area, no skill, no paint, badly stretched, unprimed canvas...In any case, they are paintings without paint, like his earlier pieces with fabric, and add insult to injury by using only grease to make a one-shot mark. He's definitely over paint, but I think that's secondary. It seems like he's more interested in form and language and how we 'read' a painting. Where his old pieces stopped when you got it, oh it's bread, oh it's a fisherman, with these once you see the simple (skill-less) stick figure, you have more questions. Who? The number 23 signifies what? Okay, the cross seems obvious and very specific...but they still bring up more questions than his earlier pieces. While his earlier pieces stopped with this is a loaf of bread and this is a fisherman, now they ask, why a person? Why a cross?Maybe someone said this, but with the earlier ones, you had a sense of self-satisfaction for being in on the joke. The new ones definitely make you feel like you're not getting an inside joke...
12/31/2008 11:22 AM

RELATED: Artloversnewyork photos from the opening. The Rothko Chapel. Seeing a crucifix at the Rothko Chapel. Matthew Fisher on Joe Bradley at Canada. Joe Bradley-curated "Peanut Gallery" at Journal Gallery. Jerry Saltz on Dan Colen and Nate Lowman at Maccarone.

19 comments:

Nomi Lubin said...

Oh, that 23 is so moving . . .. the way he rounds that two and hesitates through the three -- poignant, evocative.

Anonymous said...

When my calico cat gets swollen and enlarged anal glands she rubs them on the carpet, leaving faint brown lines on the surface of the white shag. The lines she inadvertently makes are random, but when looked at as a whole, they suggest many things. They question the act of mark-making. They inspire interesting and provocative trains of thought. They get to the heart of the symbolic act. EG

Oly said...

Jesus.

Um, just wondering, does anyone know if these works actually SOLD?

Just a thought.

Oly

zipthwung said...

I thought cat smears were also sometimes the result of pinworms - it's hard to tell intent without knowing the artist, or seeing the work in situ

but here are a few more comments:

1) anything worth talking about is better than sitting alone in your room with a bottle or some pills.

Sometimes.

2) Libraries with power and wifi are awesome!

3) raising questions is sometimes better than no questions.

4) Been done better and also, by me. In like junior year at a podunk school before I knew why Basquiat or Twombly or Gorky or Dubuffet even bothered to get up in the morning.

eageageag said...
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eageageag said...
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vc said...

i like the sideways guy and the fish in the mouth, especially the guy's filled-in head. Not so much the 23 and Superman chest.

as to skill or its absence, and maybe this is relevant to the intention question, a good way to approach work like this ("like this"??) is to ask: How many decisions has the artist made and what, specifically are they?

Martin said...

sorry i forgot to put the titles up -

sideways guy is Man Made Dirigible
fish in mouth is Abelmuth
superman is Superman
number 23 is Number 23

i'll add them when i get a chance but i don't have much computer access now. anyone have a laptop they want to get rid of?

zipthwung said...

let me knwo, i was given a mac the other day - it might fit the bill....

helvetica is a great font, once you get to know it. But ignore the font nerds, they will make you sleepy, very sleepy.

eageageag said...
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vc said...

tomato/tomato! there's one that doesn't fully convey online

eageageag said...
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vc said...

yeah, it would have spoken to me much more if he had made it a 30, for Sept 30.

of course 23 is some kind of mystical number. I never understood or cared when it showed up on my Throbbing Gristle records.

BTW, the title Man Made Dirigible is somewhat of a let down for me because it's clever. maybe I'm giving this guy too much credit.

eageageag said...
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Anonymous said...

joe bradley's work is lazy. it is lazy and people have mistaken laziness with 'restraint'. his works (not just these but others) are made as a prank. a prank on the viewer. he is trying to see how far the most minimal effort can be mistaken for talent.

he does sell work. he and others who do the same thing sell a lot of work lately because they have convinced people that there is something there behind the 'coolness'. they count on the viewer to project meaning and importance on shallow and thoughtless imagery. they count on the mass delusion that the art world has been suffering from lately. unfortunately, the king has no pants and the work has no merit other than to expose the sad truth that the art world today is more concerned with style and coolness and substance.

Anonymous said...

meant to say 'instead' of substance.

Anonymous said...

just plain shit. i mean really, really, worthless shit.

Anonymous said...

Going over this post and reading the comments is funny... No one gets it but no one even tried asking what they are about; Iconography: #23 (Michael Jordan's Bulls #) Evolution Fish, smile, cross etc. They are so simple they elude most people. Deceptive simplicity... just as they are meant to be!