Sunday, December 25, 2011
JOHN CHAMBERLAIN RIP
i can't think of anything that represented action in the late 20th century more than a car. judging by the many commercials for the damned things on tv, it seems like it still carries that meaning, now semiotically. mid-20th century american painting was dominated by the abstract expressionists, pollock & de kooning particularly. theirs was an art defined by action, by drips & swirls & slashing smears. chamberlain just took that idea & made it 3 dimensional. i say "just" but it involved a big jump for sculptural art at the time & it operated on many levels. there was the tangential reference to de kooning but there was the implicit critique of consumerism & the rejection of the minimalist "object." duchamp's ready-mades were lurking in the background & maybe even a critique of the museum.
i think he came to the color much later &, personally, i like it. that first piece looks like what frank stella was putting on walls just recently.
many of the new college sculpture students apprenticed w/chamberlain. his studio was somewhere on the purlieus of a bad neighborhood in sarasota as i recall. according to a few of the new college students, chamberlain had many bad habits. the common idea was that he wasn't going to last very long. that was back in the 80s. he lasted a long while past all predictions to the contrary & i think his art will pull him along for a longer while still.