Huh. I guess Artforum’s back-of-the-book review section does not purport to ignore the art market’s overdetermining forces any more.
Ben Carlson’s review of Jacob Kassay’s show this summer at L&M Arts in Los Angeles is framed around the burning question, “Does Kassay’s work properly account for the auction hype and thus, its own presence in this high-end gallery?”
But L &M Arts’ interest in this young painter is no mystery: Regardless of their merit, Jassay’s silvery-reflective monochromes made a splash at auction last fall. Anticipating the cynics, the staff penned a press release that was quick to distance Kassay’s older output from the new work he made for this show. Calling attention tot the differences in surface treatment, it announced that his most recent paintings would feature a “surprising yet deliberate lack of reflection.”
[part where 29-yo Kassay is chided for not taking better hold of his secondary market and is as yet found to be no Ryman or Kelly omitted]
Offered a chair at the high rollers’ table, Kassay could have made only one compelling move–a wager with the potential to break the bank. Of note: His Paris dealer, Art: Concept, has already offered public assurances that the artist is not about to meet the market’s demand for more of the same. In fact, had Kassay overperformed (or overproduced) this summer, he might have presented a distance from these overdetermining forces or even productively embraced them…It appears, however, he’s chosen to ignore them altogether. [ellipsis original]
Some day, maybe the discussion of what we see when we look at Kassay’s distorted, mirror-like work will not be characterized by such a surprising yet deliberate lack of reflection. But that day is not yet.
Previously: On Jacob Kassay and collaboration