michael manning enjoys a crit of his jpegs, i mean paintings

A one-time commenter was dissing Michael Manning's paintings over at ArtFCity and Paddy was agreeing with him so the death-paddle had to come down. The fun started with Johnson's run-down of what was selling in the online auctions (yawn). A Manning sold, and the peanut gallery weighed in:

wiki minaj • 4 days ago

I don't think it's the lack of big names that made it hard, it was the overall quality. The pieces just weren't that good, cohesive, or well curated. The market responded as it ought to, minus a couple 'gaming for reputation' pieces.

I mean, if Michael Manning's lethargic finger wiggling is the highlight of your lot then you don't have much to present. Even the recognized names' pieces weren't particularly strong.

Only a few lots were worth looking at and the lack of visual documentation makes the first impression the ONLY impression. Zooming in on a picture only to be treated by a low resolution, bilinear blur set the tone immediately. This shit doesn't matter.

Paddy Johnson • 4 days ago

I totally agree that this was a big problem. I wonder if people are distrustful of the sales format? I mean, Phillips isn't a small name—it shouldn't have been a problem to get better work.

tom moody • 3 days ago

Michael Manning's finger wiggling is anything but lethargic, wiki minaj! His muscles are toned, and so powerful he has had to register his fingers as weapons. His studio floor is littered with broken phones from his enthusiastic jabs.

Kidding aside, Manning has yet to find a Harold Rosenberg to pen the definitive "American Action Painters" essay for phone and tablet painting, ultimately rendered as printed canvas, daubed with actual physical gel. So we are having to rely on the collector's nose for quality at this moment. The paintings are good in person -- have you seen them, or are you basing your dismissal on jpegs? There is a bit of a goofing quality to them but they also have a sense of freedom and openness, owing to the large scale. They don't read like "digital art" much at all, yet have an interesting artificiality. The viewer thinks about how -- and why -- they were made.

10 years ago you could hardly give away a digital painting, collectors were so nervous about them. Manning has broken the ice for more people working this way.
But who gives a tinker's damn about the money? Let's talk about the art.

Paddy Johnson • 2 days ago

I don't think it's a good idea to rely on collector noses for quality. A lot of the time that's the last thing they are interested in.

I haven't seen Michael Manning's paintings in the flesh. I'm a little skeptical of how much they could be transformed IRL, though your vouch for it does make me question that skepticism.

From the jpegs and videos, I can see that scale helps the work, but they still still feel a little hotel-y to me. What's so unique about them. Are they really staking out a position for themselves?

tom moody • a day ago

I've seen two shows of the work in person but I was already intrigued by the way Bill Brady presented it, just from the installation shot: http://www.billbradykc.com/mic...
I know of one feted new media painter (via hearsay) who was convinced by actually seeing the work.
Hotel-y is part of the story -- in quotation marks -- but in person you are vacillating between the skepticism you would have if this work had actually been made with paint and the digital aspect, which is all about simulation and physical modeling (at the most accessible level of "consumer" tech). It's a matter of scale -- these things tower over you -- but also of presence and presentation. The gel medium is smeared on as if it were painted, yet has little actual relationship to the underlying strokes. This is funny, but is also adding a weird kind of solidity to the work.
They are pretty but not merely pretty, and certainly not cloying, in person.
By the "nose of the collector" I only meant that plunking down money will have to do until someone actually provides the critical exegesis. By then the flippers will be on to something else. I don't see any of our established NY painting critics providing this exegesis. I think they will avoid this work because it's "digital" and they still don't know how to talk about that. (Of course I'd be interested in any articles I might have missed.)

Paddy Johnson • a day ago

Where did you see the work in NYC? (Or did you see it elsewhere?)

tom moody • 20 hours ago

These were the two I saw:
American Contemporary (East Village, NYC)
Apr - June 2014
Retrospective gallery (Hudson, NY)
May - June 2014