joseph deeney

the national museum of joe

America After The Fall *** @ The RA – London, UK

14th of April 2017 – £13.50

Joined by Sinead Flament

What can I say about American art of the inter-war period? Well, as you can see by the word count, not much. I’ve nothing against the movement, per se, and I’m always open to new aesthetics and ideas, I just felt a little bit bored. There’s something very cartoony about a lot of the work, like Beryl Cooke without the humour. It’s not bad, but it’s never going to electrify me.

Edward Hopper, of course, always manages to stir and he paints a lonely, striking picture, but his paintings numbered two. Although one of an attendant in a dark cinema was the pick of the lot.

It was great to see American Gothic itself, but I was underwhelmed. I’d seen it so many times through so many channels that upon finally seeing it, it was like realising the Mona Lisa is a bog-standard portrait. Is this the mere-exposure effect? Is all art the mere-exposure effect? It was earth all along? Don’t drink the cool-aid! The cake is a lie! Soylent Green is people! Chem trails! Ringo is dead! Wake up, sheeple!!!!!!!

It’s pretty decent, actually

The connections between the themes seemed pretty weak. It was quite transparent that they’d landed a coup with American Gothic, then had to fill in the gaps the best they could.

The art deco trimmings made for good mise en scene, but if I’m paying attention to the mise en scene, what does that say about the actual art?

Like the old joke about the food here being terrible and such small portions, the gallery is all too brief. It’s worth a look, but don’t cancel any hot dates for the privilege.

America After the Fall? American Gothic and a few less famous paintings, more like!

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