A Return to the White Cube

After a mind blowing week of auction headlines, records, and buzz, I decided to return to the gallery space, the white cube, and see what was happening with art itself rather than the marketplace. As mentioned, perhaps in an old-fashioned, didactic way, the galleries are great opportunities to look at art on its own terms – devoid of all the wrappings, PR, and market push.

Yayoi Kusama  WHERE THE YOUTH IS , 2013. Image Courtesy David Zwirner

Yayoi Kusama
Image Courtesy David Zwirner

David Zwirner, Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived In Heaven
November 8 – December 21, 2013

I am happy to announce that the David Zwirner show has renewed my faith in Kusama, and if I didn’t find all the works up to par, I think she has pushed her interests, her form and her coloration (perhaps sometimes borrowing too heavily from other periods) to a fresh idiom. Casting away the ubiquitous Infinity Nets, which today even an extremely poorly painted one fetches exorbitant prices, Kusama has managed very late in her life to show her real resilience and deep creativity as an artist. Yes, in my eyes, she is vindicated!


Lever House, Jonas Wood: Clippings
September 27, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Jonas Wood is all the rage, the new boy wonder, but for me the jury is out. The marketplace is not waiting however, with two recent auction sales records: Sotheby’s (Lot 435) at $36,200 for what is clearly a mediocre work; and Phillips (Lot 272) at $56,250 for what is a much better one. After a platform of the Lever House exhibition space – a building owned by mega collectors – the market is unlikely to overly discriminate quality at this moment. However, one should try to distinguish, as market selectivity is always of primary concern.


Gladstone Gallery: Rosemarie Trockel
November 9 – December 21, 2013

Another female artist who I have studied and appreciated since her 1980s conceptual works is Rosemarie Trockel. This show is perhaps one I was most looking forward to and one of which I was most disappointed. Although her work showed visible understanding of the conceptual feminist pieces, which have now become iconic in merging conceptualism with challenges of craft, they were not repeated.  

However, the new work, an assemblage of string pictures wherein the fabric and fibers are exposed and assembled in minimalist stripes, misses the mark completely. Instead of the neo-avant-garde role – the work seems so simplistic in its regression, exacerbated by 1970s-style heavy Plexiglas enclosures. I had to leave after only a few minutes. I keep hoping that someone would convince me otherwise, but I have now committed to my opinion herein. I would be gladly wronged – but the market will not care either way.