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The two paintings by David Diao on view in the 2014 Biennial exemplify the artist’s longstanding exploration of how modern art history and market forces together exert a powerful influence over his own practice. Diao is committed to expanding on formal strategies developed by modernist painters; however, his work reveals a perspective that is not utopian or spiritual, as favored by many modernists, but rather self-effacing and acidly witty.
Home Again, for instance, presents the chronology of his 1991 painting Barnett Newman: The Paintings in Scale as it is sold and resold at auction, at one point drastically underperforming its estimated value, until it is ultimately purchased by the artist himself and thus brought “home again.”
For 40 Years of His Art, Diao created a fake invitation ostensibly from the Museum of Modern Art’s Board of Trustees for a reception celebrating a fictitious Diao retrospective. The design is copied from a 1939 invitation to the Trustees’ reception for Pablo Picasso: 40 Years of His Art.
Although a sense of disappointment infuses these works, there is no bitterness. On the contrary, Diao’s warts-and-all portrayal of his career and the entanglement of his ideals with the reality of the market conveys a palpable humility and honesty.
Academy Records and Matt Hanner
Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez
Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna
Paravel, and Sensory Ethnography Lab
Critical Practices Inc.
Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst
Radamés “Juni” Figueroa
Gaylen Gerber with David Hammons,
Sherrie Levine, and Trevor Shimizu
Tony Greene curated by Richard
Hawkins and Catherine Opie
Yve Laris Cohen
My Barbarian (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon
and Alexandro Segade)
Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Steve Reinke with Jessie Mott
Valerie Snobeck and Catherine Sullivan
Charline von Heyl
David Foster Wallace