Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture
This event has now finished. Until Jan 17 2010
Time Out says
Bright young thing from the Lower East Side, Agathe Snow, opens Saatchi's haul of yoof-ful Americana with three crucified dummies: one kinda good, one straight-up bad and one butt ugly. The latter aesthetic is what much of this recent generation seems to aspire to, building up from a base level of pitiful materials and hang-loose constructions to a crescendo of bad taste and gaudy CGI-inspired paint effects. Sterling Ruby's lolling red tongue, dripping blood and saliva, is certainly primal in its raw ugliness, while Gedi Sibony's leftovers from the office move or Jedediah Caesar's trashy resin blocks are grey and bland in a good way.
Ripping the exalted past a new A-hole is surely the motive behind such crummy looking sculptures as Rachel Harrison's lumpy, be-wigged head or the minimalist Donald Judd box being devoured by a snake, chucklingly called 'Ssspecific Object', by Stephen G Rhodes. 'I want my SUV' hollers another loping sentinel, but even though it's good to be ugly, there's too much here that's just plain bad and I don't rate Mark Grotjahn or Kristin Baker or West Coast duo Eric and Heather ChanSchatz (for starters).
What do we learn from these young bucks about the state of their States, apart from inhaling the air of some cool kids with cool names (not forgetting Amanda Ross-Ho, Peter Coffin and Bart Exposito)? Not much, although Baker Overstreet takes bragging rights, not just for the coolest name, but for mixing Trekkie geekery with strip mall architecture, painting masonic lodges for the Illuminati with Native Indian symbology thrown in for good measure.
In the end, without the messy context from which these artists have been plucked - namely the hole-in-the-wall galleries in Dumbo or the LES - any decline and de-development in US art or society is lost in the white-out of the enormous galleries. Where are the motorbikes used to create Aaron Young's brilliant performance pieces? Yo Saatchi, can we please have some more grunge?