How Much is that Dog in the Window?

Xu Zhen at James Cohan, Sep 8-Oct 8 2016

Eternity-Aphrodite of Knidos, Tang Dynasty Sitting Buddha 2014
Eternity-Aphrodite of Knidos, Tang Dynasty Sitting Buddha, 2014

One reason that there is so little art criticism is that the shit just doesn’t seem worth talking about. Another is that the artist him-or herself incorporates all possible critiques.

Like this crass half-assed factory-made mash up that supposedly manipulates consumers and simultaneously examines consumer manipulation in late-capitalist societies. By the way, I’m even wondering how “late capitalist” our society is—this object seems enthusiastic-capitalist to me. It could have been manufactured in any amount—but somebody decided that an edition of three would maximize profits.

Can works of art really do two opposite things as often as the artists, critics and gallerists say they do? What if I said this thing is way too big for its idea? No doubt the artist would respond, “That’s the point.”

I suppose that the Buddhists can dismiss this thing as just an illusion, like everything else in the world. But who will defend Aphrodite, who represents “sex, affection, and the attraction that binds people together,” if I don’t?



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