A couple of months ago I visited a well known Toronto gallery (well known in Toronto), which had just moved to a new space. As it happened, the gallerist was alone when I arrived, and the whole encounter gave me new thoughts about anxiety. I’d be curious to know how the work sold, or if it did, because Gedi Sibony’s piece of plastic with a few bits of tape attached is nothing if not anxiety ridden. The gallerist was looking a little unsure, but who knows the reason. The paradox is that the art world isolation bubble

Gallery with Gedi Siboney's plastic sheet with tape in the background at right

Gallery with Gedi Sibony’s plastic sheet with tape in the background at right

actually muffles the anxiety of work that tries to advance by doing less—turning a risky, on the edge strategy into a matter of mere tasteful knowingness, or maybe knowing tastefulness. When Sibony casually brushes white paint on a piece of cardboard he evokes Ryman by making the painted patch roughly echo the rectangle, and he evokes Gabriel Orozco by showing something that looks like it was found in a vacant lot—but all that smartness is just a cosy blanket for an exposed sensibility. What could a collector who bought that possibly be aspiring to? If they didn’t feel like a fool for buying it, and didn’t want to throw it away afterwards, they wouldn’t really know what it was.

Sibney's painted doorskin at the back

Sibony’s painted cardboard at the back

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3 Responses to Anxiety

  1. Tony Baker says:

    Sounds like a place around Shaw St., T.O. to me. Ciao Amigo.

  2. John says:

    I am unclear of the point you are trying to make …the language is very economical but your position is implied and not clear… are you discussing visual art literacy … are you discussing commodification of art … are you speaking to the language of art modernism and post modern language being the Latin of the 21 century… are you discussing clever VS skillful, insightful art … are you discussing a communication that only extends to the priestly, in the kingdom of art? god knows it’s hard to write about the visual arts and sound smart and at the same time demonstrate that we can reference our own knowing as demonstration of knowledge… but that… hardly make a point about art beyond a like or dislike about some smart strategy…. or not … but we must make a clear point… anxiety is about being fooled by the clever rather than being informed by the intelligent

  3. Mike says:

    nice one. anxiety is best located in the stomach!

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