I Burn Pinecone And Throw In Your House (2009)
New York Times art critic Ken Johnson does not like David Lynch’s new art exhibition, David Lynch: The Unified Field, and not because he doesn’t like David Lynch. No, Johnson seems to be under the impression that Lynch’s work isn’t Lynchian enough, saying:
Is Mr. Lynch as compelling a fine artist as he has been a filmmaker. The short answer is no. Images of sex, violence, trauma and black comedy abound, but many of the qualities that make his movies so singular—so “Lynchian”—are missing. The convoluted narratives, shifts from noirish realism to hallucinatory surrealism, erotic sensuality and creepy voyeurism, atmospheres of suspense and dread, mood swings from wonder to hysteria to bottomless grief, battles between innocence and evil: these dimensions aren’t fully realized in Mr. Lynch’s paintings.
First of all, I actually find Lynch’s art to fit very nicely within his larger canon, and I wonder why Johnson can’t see what appears so obvious to me (Eraserhead immediately came to mind). Mind you, Lynch actually started out as a visual artist, and since half of the work displayed was created before his film career (the other half being more current pieces), it’s ridiculous to say this isn’t a coherent body of work. More to the point, it’s surreal to hear a critic say an artist isn’t creating art within their own self-made idiom—I’m pretty sure whatever Lynch makes is going to be “Lynchian,” by definition.
A little more research into Ken Johnson’s previous criticism shows that he’s caught some flak for sexist musings on women artists, and once in a review of a black art show, argued black people aren’t suited to assemblage style sculpture because it doesn’t reflect their black suffering or some shit (I wonder what he’d do if he saw a black ballerina or black classical musician). I say enjoy Lynch’s paintings if they’re your thing—or don’t, if they’re not your cup of (hot!) coffee—but can we all agree that The Times’ art critic ain’t much of an authority on “authenticity?”
Boy Lights Fire (2010)
Pete Goes to His Girlfriend’s House (2009)
Bob Loves Sally Until She is Blue in the Face (2000)
Mister Redman (2000)
Sick Man with Elephantine Arm (1968)
Woman with Screaming Head (1968)
Flying Bird with Cigarette Butts (1968)