Not Forever, Not For Now


Francois Lemoyne, Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, oil on canvas, 149x113.5cm

François Lemoyne, Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, oil on canvas, 149x113.5cm (from The Wallace Collection)

In case you heard a loud POOF echoing around the art world recently, that was the sudden deflation and disappearance of the façade of museum curatorial omniscience. In short, someone just admitted they don't know what they're doing.

As reported over at Art Fag City (for once I'm not picking on Paddy!):

The new fifth floor exhibition [at the Whitney Biennial] "Collecting The Biennial" showcases work collected by the museum from the biennials over the years.... [It] provides a good starting point for the biennial discussion, highlighting both good and bad work. "It shows how taste changes," Francesco Bonami explained while gesturing to a gaudy Julian Schnabel painting he says they thought was "forever." "It was not," he concluded succinctly.

Holy crap, I think Frankie just admitted that those clothes the Emperor was wearing a few years back, they might not have been so nice. Now if only he and Gary Carrion-Murayari could generalize this and realize that what they're choosing now is also crap, things might start improving at the Whitney.


Hello, Chris. Very apropos painting for your post --- time saving truth from falsehood. Are you becoming an optimist on the possibilities of artistic justice? Time does seem to have a way of putting everyone and "forever" in our place.

Actually, I am writing to ask if you have seen Schnabel's movie "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"? I think it is an amazing film in which he pulls off the near impossible by making a very worthwhile and yes, even enjoyable, film trapped in the body and mind of somebody who is completely paralyzed except for his left eyelid. I will not venture an opinion on Mr. Schnabel's paintings (I am one of those boring milquetoast "if you don't have anything nice to say ..." bloggers), but he does strike me as a compelling film maker.

Chris, they don't have to know what they're doing, or rather, they don't have to be good at what they're supposed to do, because being good is no longer the point. The same is obviously true for artists, so it all fits.

I'm sure it didn't escape you, Chris, that the Fag lady's take on all this is rather different from yours.

Chris, your problem (well, one of them) is that you don't adopt the opinions you're supposed to have. This is no way to get invited to blogger panels, you know. I mean, it's OK to bash the Whitney, within fashionable bounds, but you always, always make it clear that you're still hip and, uh, legit, if you get my drift. Haven't you learned anything from this Fag business?

Well, nobody said you had to be a natural at it, just put on a tolerably convincing show of with-it-ness. I mean, a lot of these hipster types are patently full of it, and not even their own kind truly takes them seriously or respects them, but at least they're "in" and get invited places.

And why can't your damn captcha thingie be as user-friendly as EAG's analogous feature? Look into it.

I'll think about it. But your captcha still sucks.

By the way, FYI, Monsieur Lemoyne, who was quite successful in his day and became official painter to Louis XV in 1736, committed suicide in 1737, a few hours after he completed the painting you used for this post.

Here's the entry from the Oxford Dictionary of Art, which is rather more reliable than an institution (the Wallace Collection) that would stoop to show ghastly, shitty Damien Hirst paintings:

Lemoyne, Fran├žois (b Paris, 1688; d Paris, 4 June 1737).
French painter. He was one of the leading decorative artists of the day, continuing the grand tradition of Le Brun but adapting it to the lighter taste of the court of Louis XV, to whom he became official painter in 1736. Much of his work can be seen at Versailles, notably in the Salon d'Hercule. He was a man of wide pictorial culture, learning from Rubens in his use of colour and from 17th-century Bolognese painters in his clarity and grace of drawing. The polished fluency of his style belies his disturbed personality; he committed suicide a few hours after completing Time Revealing Truth (1737, Wallace Coll., London). Boucher was his most important pupil.

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