This exhibition review was originally slated to be published this month, but the commissioning magazine pulled it, saying my opinion was too biased. They claimed I wasn’t properly differentiating the work from the person. Normally I would agree with them but in this case, Wolfson was so a part of the Zwirner show, especially in Raspberry Poser, that that distinction was almost impossible to make. His mug is all over the whole thing. Regardless, maybe it had more to do with Zwirner being an advertising powerhouse. Who knows. But here it is, in the dregs of my blog.
David Zwirner Gallery, New York
6 March – 19 April
It’s remarkable that Jordan Wolfson’s first solo show at David Zwirner is notorious for only one thing, its animatronic stripper (Female figure) (2014), especially when it faces such tough competition from the accompanying video Raspberry Poser (2012), which features Wolfson as a skinhead punk in black face, surrounded by chirpy, bouncy animations of the HIV virus and little red hearts slipping in and out of condoms.
Perhaps it’s because the jerky robot is such a novelty, like the first television set probably was, or the first slow cooker. But while those things actually do something useful (one wonders how stews were ever made before the slow cooker), Wolfson’s stripper doesn’t do much but babble – “My mother’s dead, my father’s dead, I’m gay” – and do a little jerky dance while wriggling its fingers (which is actually quite incredible technically). The bionic woman wears a skimpy white dress and thigh-high white stiletto boots, as well as a really cheap-looking white wig. Most disturbing of all is the figure’s mask, which looks like it was taken off the face of some grotesque creature out of a Hans Christian Andersen story. Though one imagines that (Female figure) is meant to offer some critique of how modern technology has rendered our flesh-and-blood bodies obsolete, it seems more like something to laugh at and to photograph than to seriously consider, like a blow-up doll creepily come to life. Imagine your iPhone’s Siri as a tired, defeated, 45-year-old stripper – kinda entertaining, but mostly dumb.
Raspberry Poser, however, is just dumb. It references so many problematic issues of race and sex that it sucks the air and interest out of all of them. The video shows mainly red HIV blobs bouncing around empty stores in SoHo; filling up and pouring out of floating condoms; a kid cartoon character, ostensibly a reflection of Wolfson, cutting his own body into pieces; and Wolfson himself as the aforementioned punk, in blackface and not, laughing and chatting with a suited man and trolling around Paris. There’s a lot of doting attention paid to the artist, staring at the camera like some sort of vague anti-hero who, after selling out and/or becoming ineffectually rebellious, has decided to take off his pants and writhe on the grass naked, ass pushed up high in the air. He does this for an extended take, as if trying to get a rise (literally) out of viewers by combining white supremacist and porn star into one, such that he’s a straight, white, racist, gay sex object, like a Paul McCarthy persona gone horribly wrong. Raspberry Poser is complemented by a few paintings that riff off of its confusion of stupidity with shock: cartoon characters pee into their own mouths, bumper stickers read “Jazz Cunt! Jazz Penis!” It certainly doesn’t make me hard, or especially angry at the way he exploits homosexual desire. Rather, it just seems like an exercise in narcissism
Wolfson once asked me at an opening—after he spotted me fucking a friend of mine on a Brooklyn side street—if I thought him hot. This personal anecdote may be self-indulgent, but it confirms my nagging suspicion that—especially as evidenced by his show at Zwirner—Wolfson’s more into himself than anyone else.
— David Everitt Howe
Why is Frank Ocean so hot???? He needs to be put in Gay Jail for his hotness, so we can all get our work done in peace.
I got inspired to post something on this corpse of an unused Tumblr because of Brie, who’s fashion review of the Met Gala is making me LOL literally, and making it very easy to procrastinate from writing ArtReview's newsletter than was supposed to be turned in, like, days ago. OOPS.
Instead, I’m lusting after Frank Ocean and Riccardo Tisci, seen above being Naomi Campbell’s favorite faggot at the Gala. Rumors have it that Ocean and Tisci slept together, which is such a pairing of sexy men it makes me want to jump in front of a bus, or move to Chad, or lock myself in a closet somewhere with Carrie White’s mother.
In my ongoing quest to become as trashy an intellectual as possible, I’ve been trolling Tumblr-land to find images of dudes with tattoos and/or nipple rings because I want both. Everyone, gay and straight, thinks getting a tattoo is a great idea, duh. But almost every straight person thinks nipple rings are awful, while gay guys universally think they’re the sexiest thing ever. And since I want to be trash-tastic, I’m considering it. After all, who doesn’t like a pierced precariat?
Anyways, this is the first image of many that I will be rolling out, so gird your loins for some bearded, pierced, and tattooed hipster bait brought to you by yours truly, who’s been going through a fag-life crisis since turning 30.
So I’m going to the opening of Charles Harlan’s “ISHTAR” tonight at Venus Over Manhattan, which I’m kind of excited about (and which I previewed recently for ArtReview), as well as the opening of my friend Margaret Lee’s show “Closer to right than wrong/closer to wrong than right, “at Jack Hanley beforehand. So I thought, fuck it, I’ll make a day of seeing some art, which I hardly ever do, simply because I either don’t have the time or don’t really care, opting instead just to go see shows I’ve pitched.
Secretly, though, I love “gallery hopping,” and even more secretly - and which I shouldn’t be admitting here, since it will tarnish my downtown credibility - is that I love to gallery hop in…Chelsea. CHELSEA…
CHELSEA!!! (cue cracks of thunder)
…that land of big-money artists in big-money white galleries. Did chunks rise from your throat? Did you crawl back into bed and close your eyes? Did I just become a straight white male? Did I just get fired from PARTICIPANT?
The last time I was in Chelsea I was reviewing Cyprian Gaillard’s exhibition at Barbara Gladstone, and I decided I’d pop into Pace because I forgot it existed, and there was another big-dick, big-machismo straight male artist on display, who has the biggest dick of them all: Richard Serra. I actually had a good time. It was the first time I witnessed a Serra work in the flesh, so the art history nerd in me got giggly. I couldn’t help it. And then across the street there was a horrible show, I can’t remember the gallery now, because it was like a lot of Sally Foster gift wrap. But worse.
Regardless, Chelsea is the kind of place that’s constantly surprising you, because there are so many big-name artists everywhere. You can literally go next door, or up some stairs, and witness two textbook practitioners making, sometimes, pretty good work.
On my agenda today: Joel Shapiro’s show at Paula Cooper, which I’m reviewing for Modern Painters. I’m strangely excited about this one, primarily because it’s so resolutely minimalist. It’s like minimalism 101, which I’m a whore for. I actually didn’t know the dude was still alive. He’s a name you hardly see, so associated is he with the art of the 60s. As I wrote to my editor, “He’s such an old-gaurd artist people forget about—which is in and of itself interesting…”
Also on my agenda (and which is not in Chelsea) is Julie Ault’s “Macho Man, Tell it To My Heart” at Artists Space, a display of Ault’s personal art collection. I’m interested to see how she’s used the space, and the space itself, which is so lovely since they refurbished it into an old-school, New York-like loft. It’s the kinda space you should have sex in.
We’ll see what else turns up. I plan on going into a lot of galleries, just for the fun of it. It’s okay to have fun.
I found this website article, written by some white bitch, about how you can make your Butt delicious-looking. She says wisely, “if your Butt is engaged, it will change!”
Somehow, I haven’t engaged my butt enough for it to look like this dude’s ass, which is certainly perfect looking. I want a perfect ass (what I have now barely constitutes an ass), so I guess I better get cracking on these five exercises, the best stills of which I’ve uploaded here.
Looks kinda like porn, no? Look at that ass! It should be stuffed and put on a mantle.
My tattoo dream.
Just kidding, I would kill myself. What a gross belly.
Happy Birthday Alisa Baremboym!!