Critics’ Picks

View of “Jonas Lund,” 2014.

View of “Jonas Lund,” 2014.


Jonas Lund

De Clercqstraat 64
September 6–October 11, 2014

Initially, the premise of Jonas Lund’s latest show in Amsterdam would seem to address a simple yet tangled question: Can a painting become art by following instructions from a book? Painted by four hired assistants following Lund’s specific book of guidelines during the gallery’s open hours, the finished works are then photographed and uploaded to the website A designated panel of artists, curators, dealers, and collectors reviews each piece and posts their judgments to the site as advice on which paintings should be signed and which to destroy. In this context, the gallery is transformed into a visible production line of art. The team’s materials are scattered around while paintings of various sizes stand piled against a wall or hang pending final decision. On another wall is a monitor displaying website updates in real time, as well as mounted surveillance cameras streaming a live feed of the production process to the exhibition’s virtual visitors.

The insular nature of the project—opinions within the art world blatantly determining the value of artworks made for that world—points to a certain cyclical cynicism about the contemporary production and reception of works. All of the paintings are sufficiently marketable given their Abstract Expressionist quality, and they have catchy titles such as Laura Palmer’s Curtain 2 and Offset Matterhorn #1. Given the precision with which the documenting website has been designed and managed, including an unusual presentation of the assistants’ labor contract, as well as the less significant role of the participating gallerists and the complete absence of the artist himself (apart from a final comment and signature on the chosen works), it becomes evident that Lund holds a mirror to the art world’s systems of evaluation and assignations of value.