Maxed Out

In spite of Max Schacknow's emphasis on quantity, some quality work can be found in his juried exhibition

Not far from Chrissy are two similarly deceptive images, acrylics by Stan Slutsky that evoke the spirit of op art. Hexagon is a large, six-sided canvas blanketed with shapes that start out as squares in the center and then become more rectangular as they radiate to the edges. The neon colors, too, gradually shift, from warm yellows, oranges, and reds in the center to cool purples, blues, and greens on the outer portions of the canvas. Virtuoso is a less-effective rendering of colorful shapes that spiral out from the center.

These pieces and several others scattered throughout the exhibition could be assembled into a small but satisfying group show. But as always, Schacknow's aesthetic generosity wins out, prompting him to go for quantity at the expense of quality. For every outstanding piece here, there's also a handful of stinkers: by-the-numbers landscapes, dreary still lifes, maudlin portraits (including an especially hideous portrait of a clown that looks as if it could have been picked up at a roadside art sale).

No one could accuse Schacknow of being an elitist, and I suspect his seemingly indiscriminate enthusiasm has inspired many a neglected artist to persevere. But the numbers that so impress Schacknow can overwhelm museumgoers who justifiably expect a rhyme and/or a reason to an exhibition.

Circus II, a mixed-media work, is one of the nearly 300 pieces on display at the Schacknow
Michael McElroy
Circus II, a mixed-media work, is one of the nearly 300 pieces on display at the Schacknow

Group shows in general and juried competitions in particular, of course, are almost always highly variable. Even so, I wish Max Schacknow could bring himself to be a little pickier.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Loading...