Saturday, October 02, 2004

Nicolas Mavrikakis on René Donais


As I'm catching up, I'm going to hit each post individually, those thematically linked posts take me an awful long time, perhaps I can use the sheer volume of catch up posts to try to make the lack of posts all right. Again, more than two weeks ago, Mr. Mavrikakis wrote 533 words about René Donais' exhibit at the Galerie Clark. The first thing that struck me was how similar, the image that accompanied the article (or what could pass as an article at less than 600 words) was to the photograph by Richard Avedon in this week's New Yorker magazine (albeit, not available on line, despite Mr. Avedon's untimely death) - look for the article by Calvin Tomkins on Maurizio Cattelan on your next visit to the magazine store.

Picking up where I last left off when discussing M. Mavrikakis, I can't believe his ridiculousness. In his first line M. Mavrikakis states (my translation) "I'm always surprised that the public prefers to watch violence in films or on television instead of in the Visual Arts."

Ummm, not to belabor the obvious but a) I think that the public prefers to watch serious drama, comedy, or just about any damn thing in film or on television instead of in the visual arts. B) Film, and television are acknowledged by M. Mavrikakis as freakin' "low-brow" culture suitable for only the most intellectually challenged people in our society, while Visual Art, is only for the most gifted and intellectual among us (gosh darn it, I'm not even worthy enough to open my eyes sometimes). [ed. note: end sarcasm]

M. Mavrikakis then continues by making a comparison between the Andres Serrano exhibit at the Musée d'Art Contemporain here and the television series "Six Feet Under." Now, (as I've mentioned before) how many people reading M. Mavrikakis' articles are going to remember a ten year old exhibit at the MACM? He finally gets around to his explanation, which goes as follows:
"l'art est toujours ressenti comme un (dur) écho du réel, alors que le cinéma et la télé grand public sont perçus comme présentant des fictions distrayantes qui finissent malgré tout assez bien (même la mort s'y révèle souvent comme une leçon pour tous). Pourtant, l'art nous pose des questions primordiales."

Or my translation: Art is always resented as a (hard) echo of the real, while the public views cinema and television as presenting distressing fictions where everything ends up bad while in real life, everything being all right (even if death is being used as lesson for us). However, Art poses primordial questions.
Obviously M. Mavrikakis missed the point when he went to see Fahrenheit 9/11, and he was too busy to watch (on TV) the debates on TV (the Canadian ones, not US ones that happened after he wrote the article). The freakin' snob attitude of calling every TV show and every film something where there is a comforting distance between the viewer and the people making the art is so simplistic as to almost be laughable, maybe that's why M. Mavrikakis is not getting as much space in the paper as he was back last winter. Gosh! I'd hate to hear what he thinks about radio.

But to get back to M. Donais and his art, M. Mavrikakis spends a grand total of 14 words describing what he saw ["Il a créé une série de gravures s'inspirant d'une femme hirsute ayant vraiment existé" - My translation, also 14 words: He created a series of prints inspired by a hairy woman who really existed.] If you're reviewing an exhibit, I would hope that you would spend more than 3% of your space describing the art.

Then to wrap everything up M. Mavrikakis gets back up on his high horse and flogs the words "confront" and "confrontation" until they are as dead as his high horse. I wonder how he would react to BodyWorlds?

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