L and XL Art

One of our pet peeves is the reckless abuse of scale in art. A lot of artists make their work just big enough to get into the elevators on Park Avenue. On the other hand, there are a lot of artists who make their work just big enough to get into the garage doors at Gagosian Chelsea.

The Kaws show at Mary Boone immediately gave us a bad feeling. We were amicably introduced to his “catchphrase” characters. They stood 16 feet tall but were sad and dejected. Maybe they just realized that they were being used by their creator to establish himself as a serious artist. Which is what we think he is. But is this the best way to go about it? Obviously, they were to be purchased by a museum or some large developer. We felt sorry for them. They were being abused and there was nothing we could do about it.

There is a saying artists use, “If you can’t make it good, make it big.” The line between creating XL Art for authentic reasons and creating XL Art for bombastic reasons isn’t thin. The line is as wide as a Julian Schnabel’s waist.

Thomas McManus is a writer and artist in New York City.

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