Glenn Goldberg

The New Criterion

Glenn Goldberg’s patchwork universe, by Mario Naves

June 19, 2018

To get an idea of the curious byways an artist might find himself exploring, here, in the twenty-first century, you can’t do better than head to the New York Studio School’s “Glenn Goldberg: Plums and Breezes,” an adumbrated, if somewhat bumpy, overview spanning forty years. “Plums and Breezes” begins in 1977, when Goldberg entered the Studio School as a student, and works its way to pieces of a more recent vintage by the now–Associate Professor of Painting at Queens College. Goldberg’s trajectory, and more so his landing place, offer an example of how quixotic the artist’s lot has become. Contemporary artists work in a media landscape teeming with imagery, not to mention a culture inured to the notion that art is an endeavor free of standards or definition. Creative types have been left to their own devices in ways that were unimaginable one hundred, let alone five hundred, years ago. The challenge of operating within this increasingly fluid playing field isn’t realizing an individual vision, but instead making that vision matter. Given the rabbit holes into which artists ensconce themselves nowadays, the big question is why the rest of us should feel obliged to follow.