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Daily Pic: “Forever Marilyn,” a 26-foot-tall sculpture by the 80-year-old artist J. Seward Johnson, Jr., one of the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. By pointing to this work, unveiled Friday in Chicago, I’m breaking two Daily Pic rules. First, the DP is meant to single out art and objects I like, and that I think deserve a reader’s attention. Second, I make it a rule to discuss only those works I have seen in the flesh - or that don’t need in-the-flesh seeing. I guess, in a way, that Johnson’s piece fits that last category: I really don’t think you need to see it to understand how asinine it is. I hate to pile on to the (un-)poor old guy, whose Marilyn is getting slammed by critics everywhere, but what does he think is gained, other than Homer Simpson yucks, by taking images that live just fine in one place in our culture –in this case, Marilyn’s iconic subway-grating scene in “The Seven Year Itch” – and remaking them as sculpture? Eight years ago, Johnson did that with great impressionist paintings, to almost nauseating effect. The speckled light that plays across the skin in Renoir’s portraits, for instance, became a bad case of acne in Johnson’s 3D versions of them. I gave that exhibition my most vicious review ever, describing it as a “mind-numbing, head-spinning, belly-flipping experience,” a “train wreck” of a show that was the worst I’d ever seen. Nothing has topped – or bottomed – it since.

(Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

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Blake Gopnik’s earlier review of J. Seward Johnson is a thing of beauty. Johnson was completely savaged, but he had it coming. Go read it if you haven’t seen it before.

(this post was reblogged from blakegopnik)