Crazy & Wackers

IsaGenzken sculpture 1

Isa Genzken “Bouquet” 2004
plastic, wood, lacquer, mirror foil, glass

“A kind of artistic bag lady.” That’s how one French critic described sculptor Isa Genzken.    Her “bricollage of   materials and manners, idioms and styles creates a willful and bewildering confusion.”

An English critic went further.  He saw the artist’s work in the context of what he calls “the one insurmountable fact” about her, “that Genzken suffers from prolonged periods of mental ill-health.”


Isa Genzken, “Abendmahl (Last Supper),” 2008
Aluminum plate, mirror foil, spray-paint, tape, color print on paper

What?  An artist making work whose meaning you can’t “always grasp”?  She must be nuts!    Whatever Genzken’s difficulties, the “ungraspable” quality of an artwork hardly qualifies as a reason to get out the butterfly nets.

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Looks Like Collage, But Not (Pt. 1)


James Rosenquist, “Tosca” 2009

In the movie Holiday, Cary Grant’s motto is: “I just ask myself what General Motors would do, then I do the opposite.”

My parents, when it came to their kids, had a variation on this. They asked us what we wanted to do, then told us to do the opposite.

After I’d started collaging, my mother once asked, “Why put pieces together? Why don’t you just paint it that way in the first place?”

I doubt that James Rosenquist’s mother made that kind of an intervention. But nevertheless, the artist, who often made collages, did the work above which is mostly painting.  The lace is collaged, but the rest is painted to look like collage.  Why?

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