OCMA Plans Jennifer Guidi, Alice Neel Shows

Jennifer Guidi, Meditation Cave, 2022. Painted bronze

The Orange County Museum of Art is planning what it describes as the first U.S. museum show on Jennifer Guidi. OCMA director Heidi Zuckerman will curate "Jennifer Guidi: And so it is" (Sep. 15, 2023–Jan. 6, 2024).

Meanwhile the Alice Neel moment continues. OCMA has also announced "Alice Neel: Feels Like Home," an exhibition of about 40 paintings (June 23–Oct. 22, 2023) drawn largely from the artist's estate. This is not the large traveling show ("Alice Neel: People Come First") that closed last year, but it is apparently substantial enough to merit a catalog. 

With any luck, these exhibitions will appear in a definitively finished building. OCMA will be closed Jan. 23–Feb. 13, 2023 to let builders complete an unusually long punch list.

Alice Neel, Two Nuns in a Park, 1946. Courtesy of the Estate of Alice Neel and David Zwirner


Jennifer Guidi's work reminds me of the work of two Black American artists: Alma Thomas (1891-1978) and Howardena Pindell (b. 1943).
[Full disclosure: Ms. Pindell lives and works in my NY apartment building.]
Alice Neel (1900-1984) is nothing if not a crowd-pleaser. Her Met show in 2021 was a phenom.
Most of the best paintings lent were credited to the Alice Neel Foundation. I assume it's her estate. Pity they're not widely dispersed in public collections where they can be duly appreciated.
Anonymous said…
^^^As if the building weren't bad enough. Now a Guidi show.

Folks, do some research. Read what she's said about her own work. It's zomblie formalism with a splash of mysticism. No wonder she's gotten almost no curatorial support from major museums --- no invitations to major biennials, no major commissions, no major group shows.

This show reeks of collusion --- collusion between collectors and a minor museum to prop up the artist's reputation.

--- J. Garcin

Mr. Garcin- I do not hold with your assessment.
A trenchant counterpoint may be find in a broadly positive review of her oeuvre, in The NY Times last fall.

Anonymous said…
^^^That was a positive review???

The review introduces the notion that her work is decorative. Then, it gets one of her collectors to say this:

“She’s an important part of the L.A. art scene,” said the collector Susan Gersh, who with her husband David bought Guidi’s “Pink Sky Mountain” in 2017. “It’s very ethereal looking, very romantic. At different times of day, the colors change.”

The colors change??? Well, how pretty!!! LOL

... When the NY Times does a positive review, it reads like this:


--- J. Garcin
You say "The review introduces the notion that her work is decorative." You make that sound like a bad thing.
"Decorative" decribes the entire Baroque and Rococo periods of Western art. Even one of the greatest masters of the age, G.B. Tiepolo, leaned fully in to the "decorative" element of art.
As an aside, Guidi has long been represented by the Gagosian Gallery, which is not nothin'.
Anonymous said…
^^^Are we living in the Baroque and Rococo periods?

In the critical jargon of today, "decorative" is NOT a complimentary term. It means your work is pretty, but has no profound subtext or preoccupation.

It's true some curators have tried to recuperate the "decorative" NOT by linking today's decorative art back to Rococo models, but by linking it to fringe art or "termite" art. I don't think the most significant attempt to do that was successful, in large part because works like those of Guidi perfectly fit the current market, master narrative.

As to the Gagosian gallery, you are too easily impressed. Gagosian represents artists whose work sells for a lot of money. That's his primary criteria. He's not trying to advance culture or art.

Gagosian has also been in the news recently for staging a show of his girlfriend's work.


That show did not help her or his credibility.

On that note, it is worth mentioning that Guidi was formerly married to another artist --- Mark Grotjahn. I am sure that helped. Grotjahn makes a lot of pretty paintings too. So his collectors probably rushed to buy Guidi's work. Instant market.

... If you want to follow a gallerist who is trying to advance the art dialogue, look at Matthew Marks. Marks represents Jasper Johns. Gagosian would die to represent Johns, but Johns keeps better company.

--- J. Garcin
Baroque, Rococo, Now. All of a piece.
I'm Team Pretty.