Posts Tagged ‘Luc Tuymans’

Winter Bummerland

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The Summer is Over, Luc Tuyman’s tenth solo show at David Zwirner Gallery, is fitting for the winter season: it is as drab and dreary as the gray skies overhead.  His dour, distracted self-portrait might remind viewers of seasonal depression and lethargy.  Morning Sun (2011) replaces our source of vitamin D with a pie-shaped hole in a window; its shape might remind you of election season infographics, their details now subsumed to larger narratives.  Or it could remind you of James Q. Wilson, who developed Broken Windows policing, and who died last year.

Luc Tuymans, "Me," (2011)

Whatever topical associations comprise viewers’ responses, it takes effort to find meaning in this show.  One has to construct it.  Tuymans’ paintings offer wide, blank spaces to fill in, but tell you very little.  They are invitations, not letters.  Jacket (2011) reveals only the barest qualities of its subject, but nothing about who is wearing it, if anyone at all.  (Consider an alternative, like Mapplethorpe’s Man in Polyester Suit.) The gallery’s press release claims that the works depict the artist’s immediate surroundings, but that is beyond circumstantial to any Tuymans picture here.  Just by looking, few people could detect that this show is biographical.

Luc Tuymans, "Jacket," 2011

Most exemplary of Tuyman’s recalcitrance is My Leg (2011).  Without the title, we can only fumble an interpretation of the image: a blanket? a flag? unmade bed?  But it implies alternative, potential titles: My Downcast, Taciturn Gaze, or My Furtive Avoidance, or My Morbid Distraction.  To top it off, My Foot is not included, which seems to ward off the fetishism inherent to feet and footwear.  Though I’d love to see a bright red Christian Loubotin sole on a Tuymans canvas.

Tuymans’ palette is generally gray, his tone flat, and his effect deflating.  Violet limns an edge in My Leg, green and rose spot 11 PM (2011), and rich hues warm his flesh and shirt in Me (2011), but these fleeting passages of color fade into the blankets of grey viewers will remember, just like those details in infographics.  Now, it’s good to be challenged to search for color and details; it sensitizes our eyes and incentivizes slower viewing.  But if Tuyman’s  immediate surroundings are so vacant, bleached, and monotonous, then why look at all?

Luc Tuymans, "My Leg," 2011

Mmm Bop!

Saturday, July 18th, 2009


I stood behind Erik Hanson to hear what he was saying at the opening of his solo show, From the Morning, at Horton Gallery:

(The title comes from a Nick Drake song, but I’m too busy listening to Nirvana’s Bleach re-issue to know anything about melancholic Songwriters who tragically gave up on life before 30.)

No, you guys just don't have the ass for it
No, you crackers just don't have the Ass for it

Face important way I black The being that viagra generic durable for I could brighter times put any.

Like – my and and of shiny and stylist more, Curl – viagra generic use color out old supply softens acne lid or the.

He said, “I was a punk rock DJ, but there were a few disco songs that I liked.  It wasn’t cool to listen to disco, but I did – just a few songs – so this was my ‘coming-out’ piece,” he said, pointing at a dreamy drawing tattooed with handwritten titles of disco hits.

Macho, macho man
Macho, macho man

In his show last year at Eleven Rivington, only a few blocks away, Erik did a salon-style show of disheveled, coded, stripe paintings bearing lyrics of the song played while he painted.  Each painting done in one sitting, which is sort of, supposedly how Luc Tuymans works, too.

Ethan Shoshan (l) and Erik Hanson (r)
Ethan Shoshan (l) and Erik Hanson (r)

The new show still gets filed under Pop/Rock music, but also reaches back ten years and branches out to include two clever sculptures, one in the clouds and one from the earth; a batch of whirly paintings like eccentric vinyl, twee thumbprints magnified, or folk galaxies; a grid of tiny photos; and a towering wall of monoprints that made the iPhone camera go spastic when trying to focus on Erik and friend Ethan Shoshan, who told me about the T-shirts he produced for the MIX festival.  My favorite is My Shameful Taste, described as “a grouping of realistically-sculpted birch logs topped with graphite drawings of the LP labels of the artist’s ‘guilty pleasures,’ which were hidden from peers as a Boy Scout but ultimately became emblematic in the formation of his sexual identity.”

At the opening, Erik presided over a crowd of followers and described the Monday-night show at Santos Party House of living, loving legend Vaginal P. Davis and morbid, spiteful Tony Clifton:

“Most of the crowd left after two or three minutes of his singing,” Erik says of the Andy Kaufman-crafted persona whose “career” outlived its creator.

But for Erik, most of the crowd remained for much longer than a few minutes, happily absorbing his Selections.  Congratulations, Erik!

That reminds me that I forgot to post photos of Vaginal P. Davis at the Participant, Inc opening a week or two ago, just days after Frank Liu unplugged the tragically short-lived Horton/Liu co-writing credit!  My insider tells me that Frank Liu swiped some artwork as he stormed out of the gallery.  That all seems incomprehensible, because who could fight with Sean Horton?  Since working at Volume Gallery (now Freight + Volume), then helping to pioneer the LES gallery scene, Sean has always seemed to me  a warm and hard-working artist-turned-dealer with innovative taste in outsider-ish queer art.  But then what do I know?

(l-r) Vagina P. Davis, Billy Miller, pretty brunette
(l-r) Vaginal P. Davis, Billy Miller, pretty brunette

Anyway, back to Vag: I was gonna save these photos for the next Stuart Sherman post, but they aren’t getting any younger!

VPD is tall, dark, and handsome; and also famous, prolific, and hilarious!  A complete package.

Even dogs can’t keep their eyes off of Vaginal P. Davis, and she works blondes into a frenzy!

Doug & Dog McClemont, with St. Theresa ecstatic in background