Neo-Structuralist film with overlapping geometric colors, photographs about photographs, projectors screening loops of grainy black-and-white archival footage, abstraction that’s supposed to be referencing other abstraction...Saltz concludes that much of the problem lies in the education of artists:
This generation of artists is the first to have been so widely credentialed, and its young members so fetishize the work beloved by their teachers that their work ceases to talk about anything else. Instead of enlarging our view of being human, it contains safe rehashing of received ideas about received ideas. This is a melancholy romance with artistic ruins, homesickness for a bygone era. This yearning may be earnest, but it stunts their work, and by turn the broader culture.Having studied art in an academic environment, this critique largely rings true. That's not to say there's anything wrong with earnest yearning, nor that artists shouldn't learn the history of their art. Robert Indiana's extended homage to Marsden Hartley, for instance (below), demonstrates how contemporary artists can craft rich, subtle pieces that reference and rehash old art. But even Indiana's elegies enlarge our view of being human in a slow, stilted way that demands years of study and ultimately proffer an intellectual stimulation.
The Thin Red Line or Taste of Cherry shatter it and (more importantly) offer profound creative insight.