Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

ART REVIEW : Sean Landers: A 'Bad Boy' Goes Bad

March 19, 1994|SUSAN KANDEL

Sean Landers belongs to the second generation of "bad boy"/"just pathetic" artists. His predecessors--Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Cary Leibowitz, et al.--got in their licks before the ranks began to swell. Now, there's more competition--and Landers doesn't handle it well.

Things begin to go wrong when he adopts a strategy that already seems hoary with age, and then shifts into overdrive, aiming for a pathos so overwhelming it is transgressive. Yet to paraphrase Marx, history plays the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. At least tragedy can boast a certain integrity; the same is difficult to say of Landers.

His show at Regen Projects is structured around two enormous "word" paintings--massive canvases covered in the artist's characteristically whiny, autobiographical prose. It is virtually--and purposely--impossible to get through the text, especially when Landers notes, in the first few lines of one of the paintings, that if you read too much, you will inherit his "nerosise" (sic). The other painting informs us of his crises of the day, how much his art "sucks" and what a failure his color stripe paintings are.

To the right of this latter painting is, of course, a color stripe painting, in which the horizontal bands of red, green and blue are shaky and irregular. If Landers' "confessions" are made tongue-in-cheek, we are being directed to admire this painting; if they are not, we are directed to empathize with him. It doesn't really matter since the painting is neither so good nor so awful that it commands attention. Like Landers' work on the whole, it leaves us indifferent, making him neither a "bad boy," nor "pathetic," but just possibly, in the wrong business.

* Sean Landers, Regen Projects, 629 N. Almont, (310) 276-5424. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, through April 9.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|