Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Bodhisattva of la Rue de la Bûcherie

Professional art training is a much different affair in France than it is in the United States. With very little value placed on advanced degrees or university affiliations artists tend to work much more independently than they do, say, in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. The approach in Paris is much more liberal, freer and less tethered to the academy, be it of the traditional variety or, as Robert Hughes put it, "the academy of the avant-garde."

My friend Currado Malaspina is the perfect example of this systemless system of art education. He has availed himself of the grand legacy of French painting but he is neither stifled by it nor feels compelled to repudiate or condemn it. His is the Middle Way, the method of an artist comfortable in their artistic skin. Whatever aesthetic innovations are stumbled upon he accepts with the grace of the fortunate rather than as the spoils of the aggrieved.


Palimpseste I no. 16, Currado Malaspina, 2012
One could argue that with the absence of an anxiety of influence Malaspina is condemned to an oeuvre that simmers beneath the boil but that would presume that he is a naïf. There's a cunning side of Currado, a side that misdirects as it lures the inattentive eye into a maelstrom of subversion.

Whether Currado is just a dabbling journeyman or an apostle of some new disruption still remains to be seen. What is certain is that as a character he is sui generis, a man untainted by trend and untouched by any prevailing taste.

Hélas, could he be one of the last authentic egghead savants?

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