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Update: Nasher, Old 97’s, Toadies


by Manuel Mendoza 15 May 2008

Gloria in Excelsis $4.3 mil Two more multi-million-dollar paintings from the Nasher Collection, a Hans Hofmann (above) and a Jean Dubuffet exceeded their expected sale prices Wednesday, driving the total take to almost $45 million so far. The Nashers are being auctioned by Sotheby’s to benefit the endowment of the Nasher Sculpture Center in the […]

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gloriainexcelsis.jpg
Gloria in Excelsis $4.3 mil

Two more multi-million-dollar paintings from the Nasher Collection, a Hans Hofmann (above) and a Jean Dubuffet exceeded their expected sale prices Wednesday, driving the total take to almost $45 million so far. The Nashers are being auctioned by Sotheby’s to benefit the endowment of the Nasher Sculpture Center in the downtown Dallas Arts District. Pre-auction predictions had the 140-some modern pieces bringing in between $30 and $40 million, and there are still four more on the block next week.

The sale is one of the three most blogged-about recent North Texas arts stories (not counting the Tony Romo-Jessica Simpson imbroglio, and it doesn’t really count so no links). The other two involve bands, Dallas’ Old 97’s and the Toadies of Fort Worth, who are both suddenly everywhere. The latest of their activities is a mysterious new Toadies video and live performances by the 97’s at the Richards Group and near where they used to live.

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  • The Hoffman and the Dubuffet are both way overpriced, cold, and harsh. Same for the Picasso pictured in the blog from the same collection.
    Would anyone want them in a cosy home?
    Dali said, “Nothing has ever aged more rapidly and more poorly than modern art.” He may have been too harsh, but I tend to agree in the case of these three.
    Modern art hasn’t been modern for about 50 years. Time for a revolution in the arts.

  • Bill M.

    “Would anyone want them in a cosy home?”
    Art is not home decoration.

  • Art should relate – Coleridge said, “The first object of a writer is to be understood.”
    If these works relate they do so as harsh, cold, unfeeling, baffling art – though the Dubuffet has some humor to it, and the Picasso is clearly a kiss.
    Art SHOULD be in the home and the community to. When it is too ghastly to touch anyone’s life, then it isn’t great art. Great art is woven into the entire community. It touches more than just a few so called ‘experts’.
    Modern art went off on a personal selfish tandem that has led it to a dead end of artist self involvement, where the art no longer relates to anything outside of that artist. That’s why most bad art needs the artist to explain it. The Hoffman needs that title. It cannot stand by itself as a great work of art IMO.
    Most Rothko’s and the better Pollacks do not need explanation. These are great art that would look great in a cozy home, in a church, in the community, anywhere. So too would the better works by Picasso and Dubuffet.
    The Nasher collection seems to be limited to harsh, cold, unfeeling works. I don’t know why but it’s there in their choices.

  • Bill M.

    Yes, but relate to what, to whom? Hendricks’ mistake is to assume that because a work does not relate to him and his sensibilities in the way he would prefer that it is then selfish, harsh cold. I’ve heard the same thing said many times by people who do not relate to Rothko or Pollack. Beware of erecting personal taste into esthetic judgment. There are many many ways of relating to a work of art.

  • There is a subjective opinion, and an objective opinion. It’s important to keep those separate.
    I appreciate the skill and talent of a lot of artists, but I don’t like them personally. That in no way limits my respect for their talent. Any good critic keeps the two separate and makes the distinction clear.
    Like any good piece of art, great art communicates the same message to all. And viewers of the work pick that up. So it relates to all, not just me. It’s in the colors used, strength of color, use of line, composition, brushwork, etc. etc. etc. All things that are clearly discernible by anyone. Great paintings speak clearly to all
    Even when a painter is nebulous such as Giorgione, he is nebulous to all viewers, everyone sees the same nebulousness – that’s a great work. The message to me or you or anyone from a great painter comes across, communicates loud and clear.
    Do you disagree and think that these specific Nasher owned works are not harsh and cold? Do you find them nice and cozy? I doubt it. No one would.
    Renoir is more soft than Goya’s black paintings. And everyone sees that.
    Good paintings relate to all – not just me. Bad works just confuse and have to be explained by their artist or their gallery rep. The Hoffman is by far the weakest link in these 3 when it comes to communication, and the other two are pretty clearly harsh.
    You ask me to beware not to relate my personal taste. But my personal taste is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about an objective view that is almost universally shared by critics on the same painting.
    Rothko for example, with his floating squares would at first seem somewhat vague. Yet objectively I see a great spiritual work in the best of them. Then I find out that, not only is that view shared by many critics, but it is exactly the message the artist intended to paint.
    This idea that somehow all art, music, or lit is completely objective is nonsense. And its time to quit treating some child’s fingerpainting as if it were the equal to Rembrandt’s brushwork. And then say its only one’s opinon that determines what is good.

  • Correction, I meant in the final paragraph,
    ‘This idea that somehow all art, music or lit is completely SUBjective’.

  • Bill M.

    “I’m talking about an objective view that is almost universally shared by critics on the same painting.”
    This assertion is in dire need of evidence. Suffice it to say that “nice and cozy” are not the adjectives that snap into one’s mind when describing great art. Sublime, certainly. Enigmatic (if it’s Giorgione). Arresting. Absorbing. Intriguing. Even disturbing.
    Time, of course, winnows all judgments. Will Hoffman survive? I have no idea. Picasso? Most likely, even the “ugly” works. Dali? Dubuffet? The jury’s out. Remember, Vermeer was an also-ran, a has-been until a century ago. So was de la Tour,
    “Great paintings speak clearly to all”?? This reminds me of a story. A Chinese audience was watching the film “Titanic” — the old black and white version. They were caught up in the action, deeply absorbed. Then the victims on the deck of the sinking ship began singing “Nearer my God to thee,” to most Westerners a wonderful and moving old hymn. The Chinese audience burst into laughter. It was clearly not wonderful nor moving to their ears. Human responses to art are not lock-step.

  • Evidence is called art history. There are exceptions but generally great talent comes through. Yes innovation challenges old ideas about what is great art with new ideas about art, but overall great art is not a subjective vision but an objective one.
    You know there are good doctors, and bad doctors. You know there are good ball players and bad. Art is no magic system outside of reasonable analysis. You should know there are good artists and bad artists. Human responses are amazingly similar even with cultural differences.