Monday, December 14, 2009

Bad Review: The New Yorker on Artist Urs Fischer

Since New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl's deliciously nasty review of the Urs Fischer show at the New Museum is so short, I'm posting it in its entirety:
“Why must the show go on?” Noël Coward wondered. The question recurs apropos a desperately ingratiating Urs Fischer exhibition at the New Museum. Frail japes by the mildly talented Swiss-born sculptor—the international art world’s chief gadfly wit since Maurizio Cattelan faded in the role—are jacked up to epic, flauntingly expensive scale. There are huge aluminum casts of tiny clay lumps (you can tell by the giant thumbprints), walls and a ceiling papered with photographs of themselves, and big mirrored blocks that bear images of common objects. When a hole in a wall is approached, a realistic tongue sticks out of it. A faux cake is suspended in the air by hidden magnets. It’s all nicely diverting—but from what? If you spend more than twenty minutes with the three-floor extravaganza, you’re loitering. The New Museum could just as well not have done the show while saying it did. The effect would be roughly the same: expressing a practically reptilian institutional craving for a new art star.
36-year-old Fischer is a Swiss artist who lives and works in New York. The New Museum exhibit is his first solo show in the U.S. The image above shows the detail of Fischer's piece "Noisette," (2009) which the New Museum describes as "a motion-activated plastic tongue
pops out of a hole punched in the wall, in a mischievous slapstick routine."

New York Magazine's art critic Jerry Saltz is kinder than Schjeldahl, but his praise is muted:
"Thrill seekers, be forewarned: There’s bravura work but no drop-dead moment here. Each of Fischer’s three floors is beautiful, and each has an elfin elusiveness and deep material intelligence. They also have dead spots and duds."

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