judge a man

Paul Gauguin – What Are We? Where Are We Going?


Gauguin, on the evidence of this show, was a monstrous sexual predator, a near-perfect embodiment of the malignly lubricious male gaze, a man from France who took himself off to the French colonies, and not only sexually exploited many of the women he saw there, but also did his best to exoticize them in his paintings, to lay them out sideways, scantily clothed, in dreamy readiness for everyone-knows-what, and surround them with inscrutable ancestral gewgaws and snatches of mumbo-jumbo writing, all in the service of creating a seductively alluring species of art for mock-serious-minded, top-hatted collectors in Paris. Or so he hoped.

Carlos Saladen Vargas ‘apotropaic’ (2013)

While based in Margarita Island, Venezuela, Carlos’s work embodied an evolving journey, encouraged, in large part, by being in contact with the island’s local art production and tradition (naïf art as conceived by the avant-garde at the turn of the 19th century). This led him to investigate two main lines of inquiry. The first, related to theories concerning the primordial origins of art as well as Primitivist attitudes in Western Art. The second examined contemporary Decolonial thought that attempted to dignify the ways of life, thinking and feeling of cultures demonised by Modernity.

Carlos Saladen Vargas ‘Apotropaic #1’ (2013)
Carlos Saladen Vargas ‘Apotropaic #2’ (2013)
Carlos Saladen Vargas ‘Apotropaic #3’ (2013)
Carlos Saladen Vargas ‘Apotropaic #4’ (2013)

social classes of the Art world


Slim Aarons. Pop and Society: Marianne Faithfull, Desmond Guinness, and Mick Jagger at Leixlip Castle, Ireland, 1968 Staley-Wise Gallery

“I didn’t need a sociology degree to know who were the generals, the majors, and the lieutenants. Norman Podhoretz, the relentless spectator of New York society, used to say that the generals stay away from those of lesser rank, for fear of being aggressed against, while lieutenants avoid their superiors, for fear of being patronized or made to feel uncomfortably humble.”

how to be an artist


Louise Bourgeois in 1975. Photo: Mark Setteducati, © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS ), NY

These days, an artist might exhibit an all-brown painting with a long wall text informing us that the artist took the canvas to Kosovo near the site of a 1990s Serbian massacre and rubbed dirt on the canvas for two hours while blindfolded to commemorate the killing. Recently, while I was looking at boring black-and-white photographs of clouds in the sky, a gallerist sidled up to me and seriously opined, “These are pictures of clouds over Ferguson, Missouri, in protest of police violence.” I started yelling, “No! These are just dumb pictures of clouds and have nothing to do with anything.”