Stuart Shave’s Modern Art Gallery in London has not have an acceptable show for a long time. Houston-based Mark Flood’s new logo paintings are literally and metaphorically a joke. I know that this will come across slightly optimistic if it is born in mind that they are humorous but that there is nothing funny about them. In fact, they are the representation of the conditions that might make a joke functional in a corporate environment. By this, I mean that these images are the kind of humour that aims at not engaging but pushing people away in the ‘politically correct/cool’ way. It appears as engaging but in fact , it aims at creating a business like distance. An example of this is the kind of humour that comes with the inscription on mugs or, possibly, the kind of humour implied in the birthday gifts that one colleague gives another colleague in an office.
It does not come as a surprise, however, that this kind of art is promoted by Stuart Shave who has transformed the job of the art dealer into an emotional hoover that cleans everything from meaningful connections. Going to his gallery and dealing with his people is a tortuous experience where bad art and snobbery reaches the point of rococo non sense. It is very difficult to define this show as either conceptual, pop, dada or anything like that for there is a sense of shallow pastiche that would make Dada’s Hannah Hoch very depressed. It would obviously be a mistake to even push it closely to any avant-garde because there is no hope in any future but a very detached, clean and ironic approach to life that is not far from publishing a love poem in a Starbucks corporate newsletter.
What makes these logo ‘paintings’ even more pointless is the fact that they joke about the logos that make those jokes possible. There is no irony on irony on irony here but the decision to transform a painting into an easy joke that could not only be used by the viewer to hide from himself and the world but also by the artist and the gallerist to do what? Earn money? I don’t even think it is about that for this is sheer stupidity without any purpose. This show is so shit that I don’t even know why the hell I am reviewing it. Just a thought.