Smee nails Venice: it’s intellectually fattening

Sebastian Smee has reviewed the Venice Biennale in The Monthly – and at last someone has some insights into the rise of hyper-realism. What was the attraction of the naturalistic effects of Ricky Swallow’s gelutong carvings, or Mueck’s and Piccinini’s special-effects modeling? Now SS has put this move nicely in context as a post-Duchampian aesthetic – as a form of one-upping the readymade, perhaps as a kind of fetishisation of the mundane. Touche. Hence the rise and rise of Hany Armanious – widely regarded as having a god-like touch by Gen-Y artists – but also the contributions of Mike Nelson, Murizio Cattelan, and Urs Fischer, plus Bruno Jakob’s “Invisible Paintings” elsewhere in the Biennale.  Cough cough. And then he mentions Mexico’s Gabriel Kuri, Sweden’s Klara Liden, and China’s Song Dong. It’s a good wrap.

The nail gets its final whack when Smee concludes that there is the “preciousness – the safety –  of irony” in all these ‘moves’ (of endgame art)…

“The beauty of irony, as Julian Barnes pointed out in Flaubert’s Parrot, is that “you can have your cake and eat it: the only trouble is… you get fat.”

PS and here’s another exhibition that could be the beginning of a thread…

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