A while back, Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik discussed the "hot artist of the month"... John Currin and his success in the art world.
Apart from the silly and erroneous headline, this is actually a very readable article, and as posted by me earlier, I somewhat agree with Gopnik's puzzlement as to Currin's success in the art world.
However, I think that Blake gets most of his supporting arguments wrong, when he discusses why Currin has been so successful.
This is a perfect case where this eloquent art critic lets his personal beliefs and tunnel-visioned agenda get in the way of being remotely close to objectivity.
And that's somewhat OK, as critics don't have to be objective - but they should be clear about their beliefs rather than appear to speak from an objective pulpit.
Let's start by recalling that Gopnik has clearly shown that he doesn't like painting and above all he doesn't like realism. According to Gopnik's "Long Live Realism - Realism is Dead" lecture at the Corcoran, realism has been done, so why would "serious" artists still waste their time attempting to continue to do it?
Thus, it is understandable that Gopnik would be particularly repulsed by Currin's work - in fact I dislike it too. But he is wrong in attempting to use its success as an example of why contemporary realism is "dead" in his view.
Gopnik writes that "Within the art world, where Currin's career and reputation have been forged, he can get praise as an original not because he's doing anything new or special but simply because some vanguard curators and collectors don't get out enough."
I disagree that this is the main reason, but I certainly do agree that "vanguard curators" (whoever they are, as no star eclipses faster than a "vanguard" curator once his or her show has closed) don't get out enough.
As far as collectors, I do not believe that Mr. Gopnik (or most museum art critics) knows anything about art collectors, so these are just extra words.