Worst Shows of the Last 10 Years
We try to forget, but some we just can't...
1. Diane von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress
LACMA (Winter 2014)
The exhibition version of the “promoted article”—adjacent to LACMA, advertised on the museum’s site, but conceived of, and paid for privately, by the fashion designer herself.
2. Gagosian’s Winter Independents
Harmony Korine in 2015. Alex Israel/Bret Easton Ellis in 2016. Both shows succeeded in capturing the worst of independent films—as pretentious as they are vapid.
3. Mr. Brainwash: Life Is Beautiful
Pop-up exhibit (Summer 2008)
The climax of Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, this show successfully brainwashed the general public —and art collectors—into thinking that (self-produced) hype equaled (outsourced) talent.
4. Dennis Hopper: Double Standard
Was the double standard that this exhibition, organized by Jeffrey Deitch for his friend, taking space away from much more talented artists?
Cohen Gallery (February 2014)
Shia LeBeouf wearing a paper bag over his head, with the words “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” written across it made New York seem justified in laughing at Los Angeles.
6. Matthew Barney: Drawing from Guardian of the Veil
Regen Projects (December 2007)
Drawings from an artist not known for his drawings. Rendered in thick overbearing graphite so that—maybe that was the point—the viewer had to restrain their desire to reach out and increase the brightness.
7. Tyler Shields: Mouthful
Ace Gallery, presented by A|X Armani Exchange (May 2012)
Shields is a multi-hyphenate: photographer-tool-schmuck-ass-hat. I kept hoping the vernissage was a performance piece subversively critiquing the celebrity-exhibition vernissage: cameos by C/C+-list celebrities, free Diet Red Bull, inspired work like an axe in a TV set (being filmed by the crew for Tyler and Clint Eastwood’s daughter’s reality TV show).
8. Any Street Art
Not on the street (Varied)
“Know where that wheat poster critiquing consumer culture, placed illegally on that concrete wall, would look great? On the immaculate white walls of a gallery. Then I’ll be able to tell if it’d go on the immaculate cornflower-blue walls of my Hollywood Hills mansion.”
9. Crazy 4 Cult, 1–whatever
Gallery 1988 (2007–Until Such Time As It Becomes Unprofitable)
Responsible for the gallery-88ification of art: hundreds of pop-up shows around the country on themes like “Quentin vs. Coen,” “Joss Whedon x G1988,” “Turtles In Time” (New York’s Bottleneck gallery’s TMNT-themed show), and “Garbage Pail Kids”. The art-world equivalent of fan fiction. I own multiple pieces.
10. My Kid’s Shitty Crayon Garbage
My Fridge (circa 2006–2009)
Just awful. Don’t quit your day job selling lemonade, Veronica.