Spiritual America (part 2)…

OK, by tomorrow, apparently I meant “way off in the future.”

And apparently this is going to be multi-part.

Also apparently, the review is going to be severely edited before going into Comment Magazine.

All right, on to the paintings. I’ve pretty much liked Prince’s paintings from the start. The racist, off-color and tacky jokes just add to the conceptual jab at what America is largely about. Face it, we’re just like them (the paintings). We’re big, loud, tacky and inappropriate. That’s what American culture is. Not that other countries don’t have or do similar things, but really, who does them as loudly or with as much waste as America? Our foreign policy is a racist joke. Our TV and movies are sex jokes (or just bad ones), and all those marital infidelity jokes…they could be so many things…how about good ol’ American corporate policy for one. America does have its good side, but that’s often not the side we lead with. Something I also noticed in the paintings was a thinness I hadn’t seen before. I guess I had always seen them in shows and thought they were much more thickly or richly painted. some of the ones at the Guggenheim were fairly rich, but many came off as just barely enough to support the weight of the concept – leaving me in a similar position as with the advertising photographs. I wanted better paintings.

This brings me to his famed “Nurse Paintings.” A lot of people told me they think that the Nurse Paintings are Prince’s best work. I can’t figure this one. They are more aesthetically balanced, in my opinion, than the joke paintings. This is to say that they give the viewer the same conceptual weight to absorb and think about but also a bigger and richer visual payoff. That said, I don’t think they come close to the car hoods and sculptures. They’re nice paintings, but nurses seem too easy a stand in as metaphor – maybe when compared to the jokes they come off as subtle.

Part 3=Why “Spiritual America?”




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