I guess the real question is, who cares about The Scream? The Times got it right, if you’re willing to put up with the crowds, the mini-exhibition is quite wonderful. MoMA has a magnificent collection of Munch prints which I happen to love. The Scream itself is rich and bright and worth seeing and (unless you have $120 million) who gives a shit how much it costs. You can’t buy this one anyway, that ship has sailed. Go buy a Scream mug or a iPhone case if you want to own it. Enjoy the wait!
The Austrian Cultural Forum’s Against the Specialist is some combination of an exhibition and a failed piece of nationalist propaganda. I am reviewing it, or really just drawing a bit of attention to it to talk about the exhibitions purpose and availability. There are a great many cultural spaces like this in New York which offer interesting exhibitions that don’t appear on our usual radar. Surely the Asia Society has made a mark well beyond the usual national/regional/cultural institute. I would argue that the Swiss Institute and the Japan Society among others add another valuable layer to what is available to us art viewers here in New York. Sadly, the Austrian Cultural Forum falls short.
The goal here was to discuss Arnold Schoenberg’s conceit that the capacity develop oneself is truly where genius lies. The work in this show does not express that ideal. Maybe it does, but you certainly cannot tell from the way it is shown and how it is laid out. The group of artists showing here do not get a fair shake. The spaces that the work is wedged into are cold, slate gray landings with no real space to appreciate the work.
The thing it does seem to embrace is the curators goal at exemplifying Schoenberg’s interest in Bauhaus-like multidisciplinary work. What we really get is “multimedia” installation that doesn’t do justice to those ideals of the “post-media condition.” The exhibition design really beats most of the individual pieces, but there are standouts I will track. Robert Howsare uses turntable to create drawings that become tight-knit webs akin to a spirograph unbound. It is a gimmick, but a good one, and the result is excellent. Rainer Kohlberger infinite loop of digital forms sometimes read contemporary like Tauba Auerbach, then reach back to Malevich and Albers (Josef and Anni). Gerald Moser’s installation of thousands of feet of nylon robe with a projection over them creates a green-dripping-figures-in-the-matrix-like funhouse space.
The fact is that while this is not a show I will recommend, the short comings are not the fault of the exhibiting artists.