Monday, March 26, 2007

Money Talks.

And it sounds like a fool when it utters the words "Less than." to a woman.


Kiss Me, Stupid, Rosalyn Drexler, 1964

Excuse me for a moment while I go all Jennifer and Jerry on you, but this pisses me off. It all started with a casual question from Roberta Fallon when I saw her Friday night. She asked me if any of the Rosalyn Drexler paintings had sold yet. At the opening a number of the paintings were designated as "Reserved" but that was it. Not a single red dot in the bunch.

When I went to see this jaw-dropper of a show a second time on Saturday I was disappointed to find that I had no changes to report to Roberta. How many ways can I say, "What the hell?" This show came out of left field and knocked me on my ass on its way to the dugout. It was already a crime that I hadn't even heard of Drexler until Roberta introduced me to the work. Now this pathetic display of fiscal misogyny and fear. Am I surprised? Unfortunely, not so much. Money is just another reflection of the art world's general attitude towards women.

Here's the stock list breakdown for the 30 paintings as of 03.24.07:

Not For Sale: 4
Loan: 7
Reserved: 9
NOT SOLD: 10

Seriously. Misogynist, fear-filled market . . . please burn in hell now. That would be great. With all the money that's been flying around you would think that there would be some out there who would be willing to "take a chance" on this work. Drexler's paintings are some of the best and smartest in town right now so there's only a few diseased notions that make the idea of buying them a "risky" one. First of all, she's a woman. Secondly, she's 80, and most people aren't familiar with her work. Of course, the reason that she's been off so many of the significant institutional radars is the fact that, well, she's a woman. Ah, the circle of stupidity. It do not disappoint.

I've got an idea for all you well-moneyed monkeys* out there. Look at the art. If it tears down your house, buy it. Let the value be on your wall and in your life, and not in the anticipation of some future stock list at Sotheby's. Trust me. There's no risk in that.

I don't want to pass judgement though. Maybe the game is all you really care about. That's fine. It's a free market, baby. Enjoy that ugly-ass, badly painted Schnabel on your wall for the next six months.

* I felt a little bad about having used such a caustic phrase here, but then I read this article in the April 2 issue of Fortune magazine and that put an end to that.

11 comments:

markcreegan said...

Yes yes and yes! The title to that painting "Kiss me, Stupid!" How fitting for this situation! Great rant!

libby said...

Ditto on the rant, and thanks for the link to that swell Fortune article. 300 galleries!!! mama mia. But I so don't get some of the hotties, and why Rosalyn isn't one of them, 80 years and all. Her work sizzles and raises all kinds of questions about context and celebrity and just what is it that a photograph captures and means.

Heart As Arena said...

Thanks, Mark. And a totally money description of the work, Libby.

Susan Constanse said...

Holy paint brush, Brentman!

Umm, can I send you a cape?

Bravo, dude, bravo!

roberta said...

Wack, wack, wack...what will it take to get this work into the "canon?" You are a brave guyo, Brent. Rant on.

closeuup said...

When I saw it I said "How have I never heard of her before?" Hayden Herrera needs to write the book!

Heart As Arena said...

EXACTLY my feelings closeuup. How did this happen?

JD said...

Having just seen the show (and gotten a huge kick out of it), I'm getting to thinking about how women are "supposed to paint." Drexler paints images of male power and sexual violence, in a Pop, hard-nosed, unsentimental style. That's a no-no: not romantic, not "dreamy," not using images of her own sexuality, and, god forgve me, not referring in any way to what is considered "womens' work:" no crocheting, no ceramics, no vulva imagery. Bravo to her, but look how she's been dissed by the art world.

Heart As Arena said...

Wow, JD. Best comment EVER. Right on the money. Power does not like to be challenged. That takes away from that special time that it could be using to garner more of itself.

n8shac said...

Woman or not, this person is inspiring. Selling or not, she's getting a veritable shyteload of attention -- from what I understand to be relative obscurity?

As a young person fresh out of school it's great to see someone continuing their work this long without having a lifetime of core recognition behind them, and then discovering her work being talked about absolutely everywhere.

Kudos to her on that.

i am the beautiful stranger said...

I am writing a paper on Rosalyn Drexler. I also am shocked no one has heard of her. Its because when the rest of the pop culture voyuerists were promoting she was married and raising her daughter. Being a woman artist is a bitch. In interviews she claims to actively avoid celebrity. I give it 5 years till everyone else catches up and realize what a rad chick she is.