“The Pressure To Paint”

This is a show not about art but about power: the power of money, the power of hype, and the power of exclusion. According to curator Diego Cortez, the first two are justified by an undisguised (if ludicrous) process of inversion: middleman becomes producer (the “new” dealers’ marketing techniques are, he writes, part of a “strategy of the soul,” and his “admiration and respect” for them “is at least equal to that of the artists and their work”); and high-powered commercial gallery becomes radical alternative space (“Yes, Marlborough for my purposes is an alternative space”). In other words, the ethically ambiguous becomes holy. The third or silent partner in this troika is a sexism which is glaringly obvious but never overtly mentioned, not even to be glossed over and turned inside out.

The inversion tactic is an old one, useful in providing a new thrill for jaded palates. Cortez’s catalogue

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