To the Vault by William Dolan


A while back, a friend and I were discussing music that had been overplayed over the years and had determined that some of it should be locked up in a vault; to be released at a later date when it might be fresh again. We both agreed that the Beatles should be vaulted.

Well, the same is true of the art world. There are aspects of it that, due to ubiquitous, do not have any impact anymore or have lost their importance. It’s not necessarily that they are bad. It’s just that they have been played out to the point of being a cliché. By placing them in a vault, we can make room for something new and make them appear to be fresh when we’re ready to release them from the art world time capsule again.

I’m listing what I’d like to put in the vault for future rediscovery. This is by no means an exhaustive list and does not reflect a hatred toward anything, just that these subjects have lost some of their importance due to overexposure.

Andy Warhol — He set the art world on its ear when he hit the scene, but his repeating images and colorized black and white prints became old 30 years ago. His stuff has appeared on every kind of object you can think of and mimicked by graphic designers for so long that his work is as about as interesting as a section of sidewalk. Time to put him in the vault and by the way, he can take the Velvet Underground with him.

Keith Harring — A one-trick pony to begin with, his Barrel of Monkeys-looking figures have adorned marketing material for fund raising events for the last 25 years. To the vault with ye!

Jackson Pollack — Often imitated by lazy designers, splatter paint is used to break up the monotony of long hallways, and bolts of fabric. It’s no longer exciting to view one of his paintings. I can get more out of observing the sparkles when I grind my fists into my eyeballs. By the way Jack, there is no smoking in the vault.

Jerry Saltz — On the one hand he brings to attention many of the ills of the art world, which is good. On the other hand, he embraces many of the goofy stunts that pass for conceptual art. I believe he does this to be around young artists. By doing so, they keep him young. He’s a vampire! Throw him in the vault so he can’t suck the life out of any more recent grad students!

Video installations that have a TV set on the floor of a gallery — I don’t want to bend over and look at a loop of nonsensical imagery coming from a monitor on the floor. Make a film and have a proper screening in a theater, for crying out loud! Take your blabbing heads and pretty girls with paper maché animal heads dancing through the forest and stuff them in the vault. Besides, CRTs are so last century.

Well, anyway that’s a start. What are your contributions for The Vault?