This is the article in The National in support of the show that we wrote about earlier -- RSTW: From the Private Collection of Larry Gagosian.
I usually enjoy reading The National, but this article is terrible. I've posted a comment to it on their website, but I don't know if it will show up, so I'll expand here.
The editorial errors are one thing ('textual abstraction' instead of 'gestural abstraction'), but Anne Baldassari's comments are something else. If you don't know she is the curator of the show and is the director of the Picasso Museum in Paris.
Here is what she says about the curatorial idea for the show:
"Firstly,” she says, “RSTW is part of the Roman alphabetic order and it was a more objective way to start investigation of the Larry Gagosian collection.” Letters from the end of the alphabet were chosen, she says, because Arabic is read from right to left."
Could the idea be any more thin? Shouldn't the show be called "WTSR?"
But here is the paragraph that is really over the top:
As well as their influential role in post-war 20th-century art, all of the artists have links with Gagosian himself. “They are all,” Baldassar says, “like Larry, artists from families who emigrated from Europe. They were not immersed in American culture; they were discovering it through advertising signs, commercial posters and text.”
What a load of crap. As Jenn said, America can't win for losing. It takes a European to really know America. Cue De Tocqueville. And earlier Gagosian was described as Armenian-American, so he counts too.
Here's another gem:
“All of them have been closely linked to the West Coast creation in the US,” she says. “Gagosian is from LA, Rauschenberg has been living in LA for most of his life and Warhol is a kind of Hollywood star. The West Coast was, at the time, in creation – the US was built from east to west in a lateral passage – and this desert and the American creation of the landscape links closely to Abu Dhabi. At the moment Abu Dhabi is also creating a new landscape, so there is a parallel.”
This is laughable, incorrect and provincial. Rauschenberg in L.A.? Not at all. Try New York and Florida. Ruscha is the only one based there. For all of them, Gagosian included, New York is where their careers were made. And the whole bit about the "creation" of the West and her East-to-West trajectory is pure Eurocentrism. It's a throwaway idea that is used to make a facile comparison to Abu Dhabi.
These ideas are coming from the curator of the show, a high-powered artworld professional. It's a disgrace. Don't piss on my shoe and then tell me it's raining.
All of these useless and gauzy falsehoods and platitudes mask any real discussion about the show and its limitations. Its a fine show. Its great to look at those works. I'm glad they're here. But is this the best show to have here now? The problem is that it flows only one way. The rhetoric of the show is that these works are Masterpieces and show is here to train the locals in how to appreciate them.
Here's the new boss, same as the old boss.