Wednesday, August 4, 2010

'Why so Panicky?' - Sean Landers (2004)

Here's an intriguing piece by Sean Landers, one of my favorite (and in my humble opinion, one of the best) contemporary American artists.

If ever I thought I might suffer from Stendhal Syndrome, I definitely feel it when looking at this painting. This seems fitting, given the title and the subject matter.

It doesn't take itself seriously, this is a good thing. Words are overlapped and repeated, but particular color choices keep it from being literal - "Trust" is done in yellow, a color of cowardice, "Money" is represented as black and blue - melancholy colors reminiscent of bruising. You can follow along and create your own sentences out of the words, "Respect, support immortality" or "Recognition changed excellence" - the meaning changes depending on where you look. It's constantly evolving, never boring, this is what makes it great art. It's self-generating genius.
Landers talks to his audience as a comedian like Jim Gaffigan talks to his audience - in jokey asides. Note the "Art making is narcissism... yes, that's what my videos were about," in the far right portion of the painting.
He may be deliberately making fun of the viewing public, or people like me who ironically dissect his work, but that's neither here nor there.

Samuel Beckett said, "Words are all we have."



  1. I'm typing his quote here that resonates with your closing: "See I wanted to paint pictures but I wasn't that great at it so I decided to write on them to make them better. And check it out, it worked!"

    Haha.. wondering where I can get his replica paintings for sale.

  2. Haha, yeah that's a great quote. Heard it from Matthew Collings. I like Hirst, but I also liked his response to why he used a monkey in his art, "Well, at least I didn't saw the monkey in half and put it in formaldehyde."


Total Pageviews

About Me

My photo
I love to read about linguistics, behavioral economics, theory and philosophy. I listen to music some might call outdated, write satirical and high testosterone plays, consume too much caffeine and ruthlessly defend modern and contemporary art.