Francis Bacon and the representation of grief

Enough blogging about money. Instead, I want to point out a great post in Looking Around – Art – Architecture – TIME on a new show at the Tate Britain museum. It’s a retrospective of one of favourite artists, Francis Bacon. While it his fifth retrospective, it is apparently a great one.

But I think this one passage is an interesting one, especially in light of the attention that artists like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst have been getting lately

“To see this many Bacons gathered together reminded me again how rare it is to see new art that attempts, much less achieves, a genuine tragic dimension. Irony you can find in any gallery these days, also low comedy, puerile cool and industrial strength enigma. But in a time that has its share of tragedy — have you noticed? — where is the art that even tries to strike an equivalent note. What we have almost no language for anymore, at least not in art, is acute pain.”

While Hirst draws on Bacon, you get no sense of any great depth of emotion that Bacon has. He has dark representations without the feeling.

Instead of “I have nothing to say and I am saying it”, it is more “I have nothing to feel and I am painting that”.


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