Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Category: Art Los Angeles Reader

Father Figure

Anxieties about modern American manhood played out in the bedrooms of little girls

2.tumbleroom2000

Martin Kersels, Tumble Room, 2001, installation, courtesy the artist and Mitchell-Innes and Nash

“A crock of shit” is how Mike Kelley once described what he called the “modernist cult of the child.”[1] He was talking about the idealization of children – of childhood, rather – over the past two centuries, since Romanticism exalted it as a pure state, uncorrupted by the mores and hang-ups of culture and society. In visual art, this was manifested in the self-consciously childlike styles of Picasso, Miró and Klee, and the later affectation of children’s art by Dubuffet, Jorn, and countless others who, for associated reasons, also fetishized the ‘primitive’ and the ‘insane’. “Where do the children play?” asked Cat Stevens in 1970, testifying to the persistence of that myth of purity even through late ‘60s counterculture, the era of the Flower Children.[2]  Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

SPRAY

CMF_009

John Knuth, Angeles Crest, 2015

Ultimately, it’s about God, or at least a whiff of the divine. And also about not getting shit on your hands.

Read the rest of this entry »