Eric Fischl, the New Leroy Neiman

After a longer than expected hiatus which involved some rehab time between the fabulous WigWam Inn and Canyon Ranch in sunny Arizona, we are now back with exciting news! A source will talk about goings on in the heart of the arts!  Covert and fearful of the damage the powers that be can wield upon a career, all will be in secret. We all know that critics really are like the baby with ball peen hammer in a Hong Kong gift shop. Our exclusive source will talk with us under the clever moniker  ”Deep Palette”.

What triggered this deflection from the lockstep go-along establishment?  For one; the shameless reporting by Randy Kennedy in the New York Times about the creatively bankrupt artist Eric Fischl and his humorless, self promoting bus tour around the good ‘Ol USA bringing New York art “culture” : to all us rubes. Mr Kennedy’s article finally put our source over the edge. The idea of this washed up 1980′s artist stuffing a tour bus with ‘art’ by his cronies and driving the blue highways trying to educate and hawk their wares to mid America, is an appalling story by any yardstick, even a bloated New York Times Art critic.

It’s becoming increasing clear that Eric Fischl is the Leroy Neiman of our generation. Always a headline chaser, he has stooped to sculpting figures that fell from the World Trade Center to illustrative renderings of bullfighters. Fischls’ research consisted of once attending a bullfight and taking photos on his Blackberry as he sat on a puffy pillow (hemaroids) eating tapas in a perfumed, violet Marc Jacobs shirt, double patron, friends, he’s been putting on a few pounds.

But let the source speak!

Q. Did you see the article by Randy Kennedy about Eric Fischl and some self promotional bus he’s going to pilot around to bring “culture” to the rubes in the heartland? This is good as it will bury both Kennedy and Fiscle with this moronic move. Look it up on the NYTimes site if you didn’t see it. Have a barf bag ready.

A. I just looked up that article. I had missed it.  The disappointing thing is, his art-circus-comes-to-town caravan seems to be populated with artists who haven’t done anything significant for 25 years or more.  It’s his friends from the 70′s and 80s.  This way American can see what art was like in the “olden days” of Soho and the era of 80′s art stars.

I don’t mind the idea in principle  but somehow it seems silly and no match for the drift of American culture into an anti-art rightward spiral. These people have no idea what art is.  What it addresses.  What it’s about.  Good luck Eric, (oh boy)

Q. See the AbEx show yet? It’s really great and when you compare a guy like Philip Guston to a Fischl, you can really get the full reading of his stature in the artworld.

A. I’ve seen the Abex show three times already.  ha.  Fischl has had a career Guston could only dream about.  The career of a wealthy prince!  Guston of course is a towering giant next to Fischl. When Eric Fischl began exhibiting his work it looked like he HAD to paint it and everyone else be damned!  Now he looks like he HAS to paint it – like a job.  And the clients are wealthy, privileged and elite, and he paints to their tastes and sensibilities only.

An artist from my gallery was in a summer show Fischl curated in the Hamptons.  He held a big dinner at his home out there in honor of the occasion.  It was a 206 person seating with full china settings.  Like the f*cking White House!  The guy is totally loaded – and puts it on display.

Q. This is really fun to watch him slowly implode on a spectacular media scale like a small ball of vacuum bag dust. Any more?

A. I went to see Fischl lecture at Pratt last year.  He spoke about the human body in art, how it has navigated from artists painting the figure to artists using their own bodies as the subject of their work. That part was interesting.  Then he spoke about how morally important it is for art to return to it’s humanistic roots. Like we had lost our way. (this is of course always the complaint of the conservative.)  He spoke about recent figurative painters like Lucien Freud (recent?)  Jenny Saville and others making strong and notable work, but he never mentioned John Currin, Liza Yuskavage or any of the other ironic and humorous figurative artists who have emerge in the post-modern era.  So at the question and answer after the lecture I said to him, without using any of the names he was obviously avoiding,  ”What about the whole strategy of “bad painting” that comes out of the tradition of Picabia, in which artists use narration, overt sexuality – as you did in your early painting, “Bad Boy”  or use irony and sentimental devices?”

He just said, “I’m not interested in kitsch.”  That was it.  He wasn’t going to go there.

(later an art world person who I didn’t know was there said to me –”

Your question was far more sophisticated than I think the audience at Pratt was going to understand.  I’m not sure they knew what you were talking about.” I wonder.)

Fischl’s work has gotten so dead and bourgeois and humorless. Well, I guess it never intentionally had humor.

Q. It’s really a funny article but annoying. The pomposity of this idiot actually makes me gleeful. In a big way I am very happy to see the evil demon hubris bite him hard on his fatty calf and plant the inspiration to drive a bus across the heartland for a major spanking from some true and centered Americans, all to ready for a good laugh at puffed up New York art snobs.

to be continued…

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