My favorite blog writer, Alfredo Triff, has recently picked up on the article about Stefan Simchowitz that was going around a while ago. He makes his usual great analysis. But what strikes me is that just because a lot of celebrities listen to Simchowitz (a fact of which he brags) doesn’t mean he’s right. He tries to justify himself as part of a new Internet-centered paradigm, but to me it looks like ignorance leading ignorance. What qualifies him? I know much better which art counts, and in addition can exercise the artist’s Right of Self-Election, which extends to evaluation of other art. But then how can my position ever be proven? Will history come through with the right measures and corrections? And who is history? Internet or not, Simchowitz and everyone like him will have to deal with academic art historians, the final line of evaluation. Sadly, they are a sorry bunch. But coming down from those elevated levels of the market we find certain concrete problems in daily practice, I think well laid out by Jerry Saltz in a recent article. The looking-the-sameness of so much recent abstraction is a practical studio problem, which we all have to deal with, but Saltz is no better than any other American critic at seeing that it lies in the standard historical narrative. He criticizes artists for lack of originality, and conformism to the discourse of art school, but doesn’t take any exception to the all-over composition for example, or throw Gerhard Richter into the crowd, where he belongs. To say that contemporary abstraction needs to be different from the past accomplishes nothing—different in what way? Different from what? It’s up to artists to make those decisions, and up to gallerists and consultants and critics to listen to them.

Lucien Smith, A Simple Twist of Fate 6 2012

Lucien Smith, A Simple Twist of Fate 6 2012

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