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May 11, 2007

Zak Smith at Kavi Gupta Gallery Chicago

Zak_smith_portrait_of_girl_2007 Hot  young super star painter Zak Smith at Kavi Gupta Gallery Chicago.

Well.. we were not in Chicago for this opening.. nor has the gallery posted any information about the show.

But we managed to get four jpegs of a few of the new paintings in the show. We thought they were all pretty impressive, no?

Anyway.. we thought we'd share them with our curious MAO readers.

We don't yet know the exact title of any of these..They are all in Zak Smith's new show.

We think the first one is an image in Zak's series Girls from the  Naked Girl Business which were in his last "Exquisite as Fuck" show two years ago at Fredericks & Freiser. gallery in NYC

With his 2 new books out (One Picture for Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, and a D.A.P Monograph Zak Smith:Pictures Of Girls) .. a commission, from The Walker, and work in almost every major Zak_smith_abstract_2007 modern art museum in the US, you might say, Zak Smith is one red hot over valued,super hyped up artist.

So of course.. all the work is completely sold out (for like $20,000+ each).. with long waiting lists at every gallery.

And FYI...unless you're a billionaire on the board of a major museum with plenty of Doe-Rae-Mee to throw away around, don't even think about asking to be put on "The List".   

Oh.. did we mention, according to Wikipedia, Zak Smith was only born in 1976.. and also works as a porn star under the name Zak Sabbath..

So just one question..

Has anyone seen this Art Bubble..??  Cause we keep hearing everyone talking about this art bubble thing busting.. but we've not yet seen one.

Oh..But, don't worry my little MAO-ettes, we all at MAO Zak_smith_abstract_horizontal2007 will keep looking, and you'll be the first to know if we find one!Zak_smith_small_abstract_2007

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Wow, this guy's for real? The NY Times (I think) interviewed this Kid when Pynchon came out with his new novel. He seemed like some really obsessive art school student (having to illustrate every page of "Rainbow") But I am attracted to his work. I'm really surprised that everyone else is too. Or I mean I'm really surprised rich art collectors/hedge fund managaers also like this stuff.

About Bubbles:

I remember people talking about the real estate bubble in 2001-02. Top callers in every market are notoriously early. We probably still have another good year or two left in the market in my opinion. But there will be tough times ahead at some point. I'm sure.

You pump all these bores, then try to make it seem like you're so cutting edge by crossing out their PR bull, when it's exactly what you pump. A wee bit sad.

I saw the shown and I was blown away. They look different than you'd think in person.

Is it too much to ask for MAO to pick an opinion--are these pictures "impressive" or is this "overhyped"? And why are you even throwing this out if you haven't seen the show?

This is the least boring show I've seen in years.

And the kid is smart, too, read that:

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/blogon/2007/03/zak_smith_on_why_artists_shoul.php

Miss you in Barthelona, MAO!!!! Next Year!

Alexis.. thanks for the comment.

Good question. I actally love this work by Zak...though I think it is over-priced, but so is every young new hot artist these days. IMO.

I posted these images cause the show wasn't in any art magazines, or even posted on the gallery website. I think most readers don't know the work of Zak Smith.. and I think they should. I wish I could go see the show in Chicago.

I've seen several of Zak's paintings, you're right, they look better in person. I've only seen the second image, which I believe was on display at the Armory show booth of Fredericks & Freiser gallery.

"We thought they were all pretty impressive, no?"

Nope. saw the show, it's the doodles of a high school kid who forgot to take his ADD meds. he doesnt know how to fit a figure in space. the rest are an unstimulating concept.

The art market is being fuelled by globalism and a greater interest in contemporary art which has not been seen before so I do not think the bubble will burst although it may deflate a little.

http://www.artmarketblog.com

This work is formally and compositionally off. It's immature and style wise very 90s. Who sports a mohawk anymore anyway? It's like that pimply girl who wears the t-shirt that say's "diva" or the computer nird that wears a t-shirt saying
"respect my authority"

But who gives you the authority to say it's formally or compositionally off? What does that mean? And even if there is any truth at all to what ou say why do you think this artist cares about how >YOU< define a formal composition? Don't you see how the punk attitude of his paintings and subject matter may also be flowing over into giving a big middle finger to those who like classical formal compositions etc.? Actually that's part of what is "there" in these paintings - that the concept is pulled in throughout and in every aspect. And do the characters in a painting have to sport contemporary hair styles too? What if he painted people that were very "now" and cool and hip? You could easily criticize that too. He can paint who ever he wants to paint. And if there is an era or style that he gravitiates too why should he change that to please you? You either like what's going on or you don't. But at least he has a unique vision and isn't copying what's cool right now to please the gallery goers. He's doing what he likes and despite odds is succeeding at it.

"Don't you see how the punk attitude of his paintings and subject matter may also be flowing over into giving a big middle finger to those who like classical formal compositions etc.?"

it is sort of laughable to maintain a "punk" stance in 2007 when punk is now simply a commercial entity. As for finding a good way for him to say "fuck you" to strong composition and content, perhaps Smith could engage criticality rather than run of the mill adolescent snobbery. Illustrating Pynchon is an awesome idea but if you've seen the drawings you know they are rubbish.

"But at least he has a unique vision and isn't copying what's cool right now to please the gallery goers. He's doing what he likes and despite odds is succeeding at it."

Are you kidding me? That's exactly what he's doing. He's copying what he thinks is cool right now and what "wall street bankers" and the mainstream currently understands as "cutting edge". Punk is not cutting edge, but a fashion fad that had a revival in the 90s but is now again dead and meaningless. If he's so obsessed at being cool and cutting edge he should at least try to be a little inventive, and do something that doesn't look like the work of every other angry art school youngster since ca 1992.

It's ironic with all these comments on this site about what is cool and cutting edge because there's obviously nobody here that has any clue. In today's art world which for so long has been saturated by attempts to say fuck you to classical composition and color, the most cutting edge and daring thing an artist can do is probably to try to a successfully achieve a beautiful classical formal composition. In any case, I wasn’t suggesting he should go for a classical formal composition, but even chaotic art needs an artistic eye to be successful (i.e. Julie Mehretu and Dana Schutz) and this guy just doesn’t have it.

Citing Dana Schutz and Julie Mehretu as examples of artists who know what they're doing proves you're completely off your rocker.

And as to your other alleged point: anyone with even a passing knowledge of Zak Smith's work knows that he's not copying anyone's idea of anything--he's never done anything but pursue his own interests, the fact that they don't happen to be your interests is not his problem.

Half of these guys' argument seems to amount to nothing more than: "Zak Smith knows more punks than I do and draws them, therefore he's a bad artist"

That Zak Smith is very talented, his work reminds me of the graffiti art by someone like Banksy

http://www.artmarketblog.com

Banksy has depth and meaning. Zak Smith is a poser focusing on superficial matters. check out his website. he even posts a picture of himself, strategically posed amongst rubbish to look punkish and messy. How vain.

QUOTE: "Are you kidding me? That's exactly what he's doing. He's copying what he thinks is cool right now and what "wall street bankers" and the mainstream currently understands as "cutting edge". Punk is not cutting edge, but a fashion fad that had a revival in the 90s but is now again dead and meaningless. "

You're argument is ridiculous. You say punk is dead but then you say he's copying what he thinks is "cool right now." If it's dead why is it still cool? And wall street bankers think punk is cool right now? Seriously? So are you saying Zak is copying a style that's dead to please wall street bankers ...because bankers are so behind the times that they still think punk is cutting edge? I can't make any sense of this.

But if punk's dead then it's definitely not cool right now and why is he copying it? My point is he doesn't give a fu#k if punk is dead or not. And for that I respect him. And from another persepective. Tomasseli is totally in the psychedelic world but the hippie lifestyle has been long dead. So what's the difference? Dana Schutz is totally ripping on the bay area figurative movement of the 1960s. While that movement is dead. Every artist out there is drawing on previous eras for inspiration. Who cares about what's "in" or out right now except for you and style whores?

QUOTE:
"It's ironic with all these comments on this site about what is cool and cutting edge because there's obviously nobody here that has any clue."

Yes, you are the king of cool I'm sure while everyone else here is clueless.

QUOTE:"the most cutting edge and daring thing an artist can do is probably to try to a successfully achieve a beautiful classical formal composition."

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I was in art school. I now think that thought is pretty adolescent. I mean it's one thing to go out and prove to the art world that you can create the most beautiful painting ever ...and THEN tell em to fu#k off. But by doing so you are also proving to the "art world" exactly how much you want their acceptance and how much you do care. If you weren't so insecure you would just do your own thing, be self assured about it and if people like it and want to buy it, cool. Success.

Speaking of "focusing on superficial matters", if Laurel bothers to click past the photo of Smith standing in his kitchen to the 1000-odd pieces of art up on the website you'll see pictures of everything from Karl Rove to car bombs along with the familiar--and in no way superficial--portraits and abstractions.

"If you weren't so insecure you would just do your own thing, be self assured about it and if people like it and want to buy it, cool."

exactly my point, but Zak is not doing it.

Do you have even the tiniest shred of evidence that this artist, who went trough every single page of a 760 page novel for 9 months and researched and drew everything in it without knowing if he'd ever get shown and who paints with a weird, wet, plastic-on-plastic techniques that resembles no other artist, living or dead, is not doing precisely his own thing?

Do you have some letter or secret confession-booth tape hidden somewhere where he admits to spending thousands of hours hanging out with and painting these girls and making porno movies and drawing what happens in them despite not actually enjoying it or thinking it's a good idea?

Or are you just fatuously assuming that because someone's making work you don't agree with, that they must be doing it cynically?

And if he was doing this--why? Smith keeps giving all his money away to charity. Are you suggesting he spends all his time making work that he doesn't believe in just so he can make lots of money and give it away to Food Not Bombs? That would be the weirdest combination of cynicism and idealism in history.

I found this quote from an interview Zak did in a magazine before I'd ever heard of him:

"I never said my friends were more important than anybody else's. I just think there should be portraits of every kind of person, not just dukes and kings and Cambodian killing field victims and whatever artworld yuppie the latest hip photographer is using for a model today. So I am doing this batch of people--these are the people I want to work with and I want to make pictures of. Somebody else can handle the dwarfs and somebody else can handle the hot-dog stand operators and someone else can do the gravediggers and eventually we'll get pictures of everybody."

"If you weren't so insecure you would just do your own thing, be self assured about it and if people like it and want to buy it, cool."

exactly my point, but Zak is not doing it.

Then what is he doing? Oh I forgot, it's all an act. He's just trying to please wall street bankers ...that are so behind the times they still think punk is cool and so zak will make millions when they buy his out of date paintings that they still think are cool. Yes, that's the smartest business plan I ever heard.


You know I didn't think this was the greatest stuff ever. But I kind of like it. And the fact that it inspires so much hate and negativity in people it really makes me think there's really something special to this. I mean all of the top artists get this kind of vitriolic treatment. It's kind of funny.

Don't you see, Art Brute? He makes paintings that people without art history degrees might actually want to look at AND he doesn't have assistants do his paintings for him AND he uses the money to feed the homeless. Clearly he is the antichrist.

"I just think there should be portraits of every kind of person". Great, then stop portraying your poser friends that looks like every other kid in every other art school project since 1990.

"And the fact that it inspires so much hate and negativity in people"
He neither inspires hate, nor love. It's just blah... cliché...

"Clearly he is the antichrist." anitchrist? that would be a plus.

enough said on this. This is boring the shit out of me.

You keep refer to some mythical '90s art that you say Smith is copying--where is it? Can you give us a name or link?

Wow, one of Mao's questions worked. The universe works in mysterious ways....

I just like this artist. What can I say.

I just saw this guys book on sale at STRAND. Amazing this guy blew up huge! The work definitely has a freshman year art school look about it. Remind's me of people i knew back in those days who had "really cool sketch books."

roadofknives.com

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