Mar 27, 2016


'A whole room could have been put together from the subset of works interrupted by the French revolution, including  David’s portrait of Adelaide Madame Pastoret and her son (1791-2) left unfinished because of emergent political differences between David and Pastoret’s Royalist husband with the result that the sewing needle she is supposed to be holding is not there, invisible — one of the daintiest net effects of the Jacobin Terror imaginable.  Less satisfying  is the latter portion of the exhibition, when the non finito aesthetic meets the modern artists who most fully embraced it, when the exhibition catches up with itself, so to speak  — the result being exquisite self-cancellation. Here are Janine Antoni’s heads in soap and chocolate, missing the noses bitten off by three visitors, a testament to their own impermanence, or  Edward Ruscha lithographs in the That is Right portfolio — variously titled That is Right, Actual, Correct, Definite, Certain,  Sure, Exact and Final — in direct mockery of our completist urges, or Andy Warhol’s  Do It Yourself (Violin) 1962, a facsimile of a paint-by-numbers kit with only the  bottom half of violin  complete, the rest of it numbered blanks awaiting color from the bored suburban housewife who is to be imagined dabbing at it while she waits the arrival of her husband back from work. It’s not just the loftiness of the irony that is off-putting — although it does scream 1960s as loudly as Mad Men-era porkpie hats — but the fact that this testament to the unfinished is itself, painstakingly finished, inch by pedantic inch.' — from my review of 'Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible', at the Met Breuer

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