In the midst of reading Bert Stabler’s semi-amusing critique of Chris Uphues’s MCA exhibit, I was suddenly brought to a full-throttle stop upon reading the following line: “Happy Shower and Deathstar also hint at traditional abstraction, suggesting Picasso and Paul Klee, though both these modernists added some violent, esoteric mysticism to their semifigurative wallpaper” (italics mine).
Wallpaper?? Picasso and Paul Klee, two giants of 20th-century painting whose rich inventiveness inspired legions of artists over many decades? One wonders if Mr. Stabler ever had any undergraduate courses in modern art history.
And while Mr. Stabler’s dismissal of the Hairy Who (“revered by local collectors but long forgotten by everyone else”) is not as appalling as his wallpaper comment, it’s bad enough. Yes, they’ve been forgotten by many who don’t remember anything that goes back more than ten years ago. More serious minds (like, say, the collectors he mentions) haven’t forgotten them and they’re the ones who count.
Mr. Stabler pleads for substance in art, but one gets the idea that he wouldn’t recognize substance even if it came up and bit him on the nose.