Can space break? I mean the space of art galleries. Over the past 100 years art galleries have gone from looking like Beaux Arts salons to simple storefronts to industrial lofts to the gleaming giant white cubes of Chelsea with their shiny concrete floors.
Artistic qualities that once seemed undeniable don't seem so now. Sometimes these fluctuations are only fickleness of taste momentary glitches in an artist's work or an artist getting ahead of his audience (it took me ten years to catch up to Albert Oehlen). Other times however these problems mean there's something wrong with the art.
Appropriation is the idea that ate the art world. Go to any Chelsea gallery or international biennial and you'll find it. It's there in paintings of photographs photographs of advertising sculpture with ready-made objects videos using already-existing film.
It took the Metropolitan Museum of Art nearly 50 years to wake up to Pablo Picasso. It didn't own one of his paintings until 1946 when Gertrude Stein bequeathed that indomitable quasi-Cubistic picture of herself - a portrait of the writer as a sumo Buddha - to the Met principally because she disliked the Museum of Modern Art.
I'm noticing a new approach to art making in recent museum and gallery shows. It flickered into focus at the New Museum's 'Younger Than Jesus' last year and ran through the Whitney Biennial and I'm seeing it blossom and bear fruit at 'Greater New York ' MoMA P.S. 1's twice-a-decade extravaganza of emerging local talent.
Abstract Expressionism - the first American movement to have a worldwide influence - was remarkably short-lived: It heated up after World War II and was all but done for by 1960 (although visit any art school today and you'll find a would-be Willem de Kooning).
It is not possible to overstate the influence of Paul Cezanne on twentieth-century art. He's the modern Giotto someone who shattered one kind of picture-making and invented a new one that the world followed.
I also take pleasure in the so-called negative power in Grotjahn's work. That is I love his paintings for what they are not. Unlike much art of the past decade Grotjahn isn't simply working from a prescribed checklist of academically acceptable curator-approved 'isms' and twists.
Willem de Kooning is generally credited for coming out of the painterly gates strong in the forties revolutionizing art and abstraction and reaching incredible heights by the early fifties and then tailing off.
Imagine it's 1981. You're an artist in love with art smitten with art history. You're also a woman with almost no mentors to look to art history just isn't that into you. Any woman approaching art history in the early eighties was attempting to enter an almost foreign country a restricted and exclusionary domain that spoke a private language.
Many museums are drawing audiences with art that is ostensibly more entertaining than stuff that just sits and invites contemplation. Interactivity gizmos eating hanging out things that make noise - all are now the norm often edging out much else.