Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: richard jackson

Father Figure

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


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 »



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.

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Richard Jackson

David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Richard Jackson’s preferred brand of paint is called BREAK-THROUGH. ‘A new paint chemistry,’ boasts the label, ‘The tradition continues!’ Half-empty tins of BREAK-THROUGH, in primary colours, lay around his cataclysmic installation The Little Girl’s Room (2011), his first solo show in Los Angeles for 20 years. The rest had been pumped through tubes threaded into the penis of an inverted, pink fibreglass unicorn, and exploded out of its anus. Red, yellow and blue paint is spattered all over the floor, the walls, the ceiling and the unicorn himself.

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