Sunday, April 10, 2005

The gold-stamped lettering on one of artist and chief curator David Boxer’s vitrines at Jamaica’s second National Biennial argues that “Artists Lose Everything when they get into bed with marketing people.” The irony won’t be lost on those who remember how Boxer’s concept of untrained Jamaican “Intuitives” in the late 1970s launched a decade of US sales. But what opened on December 12th at the National Gallery in Kingston and ran through March 29th was less about artists making a stand against the art market than about shaping a massively eclectic show that does what exhibitions of art from a single nation don’t normally achieve. It made a forceful statement that got louder with every piece, and wasn’t drowned out by its own noise. This was the proudest, most vibrant art show in the Anglo-Caribbean.

-- From my friend Leon Wainwright's review of the 2004 Jamaica National Biennial, in the current issue of Arts Fairs International.

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