thoughts on a jpeg, or rather, painting


Rhizome's Michael Connor reviewed the above jpeg, which refers to an acrylic-on-canvas work by Austin Lee at New York's Postmasters Gallery, and tagged the post "Internet-Aware Painting."* He noted the history of "blurry image" art including Richter and Ruff (although those are two very different concepts) and compared the style to MSPaint but we're not getting at the real issues here, which are "why paint if the jpeg is adequate?" or "what is the gallery adding to this process?" So this annotation was appended (which they needed like a hole in the head):

On an initial skim of this post I thought, "Magda Sawon is showing MSPaint?" and then realized you were making an analogy and that this is just another acrylic painting that pops online. We will have to wait for our New York galleries to develop a connoisseurship of widely available paint programs.
But seriously, let's talk about this jpeg some more (haven't seen the original). One actually probably could do this in MSPaint -- there's some of that granulation in the "spray" -- if you then treated the image with the popular "Gaussian blur" effect in Photoshop. The subject matter of the pop-eyed, no-forehead idiot who looks to have been painted by a feral child recalls a very early George Condo, in a good way.
Sadly, we're not at the point where an artist could just make an image like this and post the jpeg. You have to go through the tedious business of painting it on canvas and finding a gallery willing to promote it, which includes photographing it, converting the photo to jpeg, and sending it out with a press kit.
All of which is to say, thanks, Michael, for discussing this work in the context of "internet aware art," meaning art made with an idea to how it will look online as opposed to the humdrum concept of "art based on the internet." The ambiguity is resolved in this case with your tag Internet-Aware Painting. That's kind of a subtle, stealth critique and a validation of your need not to own the underlying artwork -- you have a perfectly good jpeg.

See also: New Dumb Little Painting Timeline

Update: Am told that Austin Lee's paintings are large in scale -- good, great. (Other new dumb little painters also worked large -- it's smallness in spirit we're talking about here. Scale is certainly one of those reasons to get off the internet and go see work -- just please don't say "MSPaint" when the gallery doesn't show MSPaint or "garish netart colors" as a way to sexy up a well-established art form.

*Just to be clear, the post is titled something else -- "internet-aware painting" is only a tag at the bottom. It's that molehill we're scaling here, with full climbing gear.