PRINT December 1999

David Rimanelli

1. Abject Art If abject art wasn’t exactly the miserable stepchild of a market fallen on hard times, its various forms nevertheless found a perversely suitable terrain on which to thrive as we witnessed the overnight disappearance of an art scene that had hitherto nurtured scores of art students on dreams of ’80s largesse. In contrast to the pristine fetish objects of Neo-Geo and the bombast of neo-Expressionism, the art of abjection found its proper forms in a Pop-inflected version of scatter, viz. installations by Mike Kelley, Cady Noland, and Karen Kilimnik. Other artists, e.g., Sean Landers, skidded around abjection’s mutable playing field, theatricalizing the gulf between real and ideal. Abject art also freely colludes with another of the decade’s reigning trends, the ascendance of fashion, as in Kilimnik’s drawings and paintings of various glamour images—works that tear apart the

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