Continued: Fischl vs Neiman










Bull fight pics                  

Eric Fischl (left)   &   Leroy Nieman (right)


Lift Trucks:  You mentioned earlier about “Had to and Has to” regarding painting. I hear you. But I think a lot of great work comes out of the second category. Somebody or some reason making you produce some art can really shove the process up a notch-stunning example is the Sistine Chapel. Many times being forced can bring out the best. Just always paint as if you are going to be hit by a bus tomorrow, and this, this, is what you are going to leave us with?

Artists need to be aware of the marketplace, as it has replaced the Pope’s and King’s commissions. The case is here that both these guys went go too far, pandering , I think, might be a good word. Both Leroy and Eric paint exclusively for the marketplace with no inner need to create. Think about an artist like Goya or maybe Jackson Pollock for the other extreme.

Here with our source’s reply:  Good point about be forced to produce. I think Fischl is running on empty.  During his lecture at 92nd St Y, he mentioned that the bullfighter series was his dealer’s idea.  Anytime your dealer is telling you what you should paint, I think you’re in trouble.  Plus all he did was go to one bullfight in Spain, shoot some pictures – then head back to the studio to slap out these empty fashion illustrations that didn’t feel like they had anything to do with bullfighting.  I saw the show.  It was just so UNINVOLVED, is the best way to put it.

Speaking of successful artists that other artists never think or talk about – Terry Winters is my most annoying example.  He used to go out with Roberta Smith and she talked him up all over town. She would write reviews in the Times and mention stuff like, “One artist not included in the show but who would have fit well is Terry Winters.”  How outrageous is that?  Your boyfriend isn’t even in the show and you work him into your review!  In the Times! Winters made a fortune, was in tons of shows. Lots of press.  But I never heard any artists ever talking about him.  Artists just didn’t care about him at all.  Funny how it works. (Do you have to pay this kind of luck back in the afterlife??)

Lift Trucks: Fischl seemed to never have the interest or diligence to learn classical drawing skills, his composition is bland, he plods away with pedestrian colors and now this shameless, aggrandizing self promotional bus tour across America? Actually really good for us as he will be out of town and maybe we don’t have to hear about him for awhile.

There are artists that other artists admire; Like Philip Guston and David Smith, and others they don’t-(sorry) but Jim Dine is a good example here, Clifford Still produces a gag reflex just about anytime his name comes up. Motherwell is not well regarded by artists but some collectors still like these guys to a degree. Maybe because they are heavily vested in them?

So, who’s coming out ahead so far?

Our Source:. Eric Fischl is a way, way better artist than Leroy Neiman. I just googled them to be sure. Neirman is more famous — 58 thousand image hits vs only 38 thousand for Eric.  Andy Warhol has 3 million google hits on “image” by comparison.   We just have to keep this in perspective.  Eric is already on the bus trying to find a way, a path for himself in his waining years and he’s stuck at 38 thousand hits.   I thought he was a huge star.  But let’s focus on the work.  Eric vs Leroy.  Leroy’s people have more clothes on which is interesting since he used to do that little cocktail glass girl for playboy. Eric has mostly naked people.  Or if they have clothes on – he needs to get them off fast.  Leroy’s uses color for no reason at all except that it’s just colorful. His work is like an old TV set on acid.  Eric’s work is like a new TV set.  All the color is tonally matched and professional.  Neiman (I’m tired of calling them Eric and Leroy) paints an exaggerated imaginary world where every pitcher is throwing the best game of his life.  Sinatra is in top form. The wind is up for the sail boats. Everything is fast, furious, colorful.  Super exciting.  (Never a grey day in this world)  Fischl’s world is a place you just never want to be in. Everyone looks like a fat overfeed creep.  Because that’s his world now.  So maybe that’s honest.  I like Fischl’s early work.  He was struggling to learn how to paint while at the same time he was struggling to say things that were important to him.  Stories about his childhood.  His alcoholic mother. The emptiness of suburban paradise.  It took about two years.  Then he was kinda done.  Since then he has been a mannerist.

With these stupid art referencing figures all piled up like late Reginald Marsh but without a transcending component of surreal weirdness.  Fischl has the curse of watching his own brush.  (it’s a painting version of masturbation…shh)  He is overwhelmed by the tradition of painting and trapped by it.  That’s because he didn’t go to a  traditional art school and learn from the masters when he was 19.  He’s been learning from them as an adult.  When you learn from the masters as a kid — you kill them and move on.  When you learn from the masters as an adult – you fall to their feet and follow them like an unremarkable disciple.

Thanks, you going to share that cigar? more to come…