los-angeles

“The Undiscovered Country”

Hammer Museum

For proof of how lousy this show is, you need look no further than the catalogue essay and the solitary wall text, both of which begin by invoking the idiotic received idea of painting’s supposed death. Even in the 1970s there was no real juice in that orange, and it’s been decades since there was even pulp. Painting, like any other medium, goes in and out of fashion, but it’s never not being made, shown, or sold.

Curator Russell Ferguson panders to “the ongoing frustration felt by a wide-ranging group of painters in the face of this burden, the struggle to continue with painting, and what relevance such a practice can still have today” instead of telling them to just get over themselves. Everyone has a relation to painting of some kind, especially the representational: from finger paintings taped on refrigerator doors to Impressionist masterpieces packing the museums; from Picasso and

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