Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ghost Meets Manchurian Candidate

Robert Altman's The Player is one my all-time favs among movies, so I was happy to see it celebrated in The New York Times the other day. The clip posted by The Times includes the great opening scene, an unbelievably long pan that shows, amid all the other activity in this sunny ant farm, shots of screenwriters pitching movie ideas to producers. The movie biz demands, absolutely, that the new must be old. The innovative is the tried and the true remixed--Frankenstein reassembled or should we say resutured? So the writers talk of "Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate" and "Psycho meets Gidget Goes Hawaiian." And so on. The possibilities are so very endless that they have spilled over into the art world. Thus Richard Prince's one-line joke paintings are Henny Youngman meets Generic Monochrome. Jeff Koons's new paintings, mentioned in an earlier post , are Sue Williams meets Alain Jacquet, a Nouveau Realiste from the 1960s. As for Damien Hirst's new paintings, Nothing Matters, these are Early Francis Bacon meets Later Francis Bacon. What does it all mean? It means that in the high-end art world, art is product. But we knew that already. Old Thought meets New Examples. Insight recycled--or, shall we say, resutured?

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