Lil Picard, “Vin Ordinaries Chatel du Roy,” 1957 (Collage and oil on canvas)
A cabaret performer in Berlin before World War II. An artist in New York scavenging the streets for collage materials in the 1940’s. A journalist covering the art scene in New York in the fifties. A pioneering performance artist in early ’60’s “happenings” (think Cafe a Go Go). An habitue of Warhol’s factory who appeared in his films and wrote for Interview.
You’d think someone with this resume would be famous. But you’ve probably never heard of Lil Picard. I know I hadn’t.
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.