A form Socratic questioning of prevailing values pervades two recent exhibits in New York; the recently closed Josh Smith show Currents at Luhring Augustine and the Martin Kippenberger retrospective The Problem Perspective at MoMA, on view through May 11.
Two recent TED talks embody an affinity to busting through similar notions of "common sense" and they were brought to mind as I walked through both exhibits.
David Carson is the iconoclast-cum-icon who, although not formally trained as a graphic designer, through his at times anarchic total immersion in the substance of text/image relationships has had an immense influence on the look of the media with which we're presented with on a daily basis.
Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs talks about the sweaty source of wisdom, and fittingly (somehow) coming to terms with the idea that sucking the nugaty contents from a living goat's scrotum into one's mouth may indeed be the best way to get the job done.
Kippenberger and Smith both, through their work, provide evidence of a holistic tweaking of the predominant notions that frame the appraisals of value of an artist's production. The two artists reside at different points along the arc of a life and a career. Kippenberger blazed a certain trail, and there are points of coincidence shared by Smith's more recent journey.This tweaking is all encompassing, marking and re-marking the terrain of the expected, changing its nature each time it's trudged upon.
Progress can be dirty, and as Carson admonishes in his talk: "Don't mistake legibility for communication."