Down the Rabbit Hole with Artist John Zinsser


Contemporary art devoid of irony, imagine that. In what artist John Zinsser describes as a 25-year love affair with the New York art scene, his new show at James Graham & Sons delineates old-school gallery alliances with geographical borders. Think of it as a primer for whatever happens at Miami Basel this week: without Leo Castelli, would Warhol be selling for a bajillion dollars today? Can the young guns possibly compete? More images after the jump.

The art created and sold in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s has yet to be placed in a historical canon, and Zinsser’s amorphous geography assembles the facts into a kind of Rorschach test for the industry. The imagined maps of Art Dealer Archipelagoes, rendered in “painstaking detail,” depict the rosters of galleries like Sperone Westwater, Tony Shafrazi, and Xavier Fourcade.

Zinsser, who typically paints in the abstract and has lectured on art history at the New School for a decade, says, “Taken together, the maps convey a larger sense of family—a family of idiosyncratic characters who collectively define the history of post-war American art. There is something inherently funny about the whole undertaking, the groupings, the borders and implied territories – and a sense of the larger triumph and pathos, those artists who made it and those who didn’t.”

Art Dealer Archipelagoes will be on display at James Graham & Sons through January 5, 2010.