by Jerry Saltz
In the last years of the boom, numerous artists came to the fore who have their esthetic heads up the aesthetic asses of Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Cady Noland and Christopher Wool. They make punkish black-and-white art and ad hoc arrangements of disheveled stuff, architectural fragments and Xeroxed photos. This art deals in received ideas about appropriation, conceptualism and institutional critique. Before the schadenfreud-aholics concur, I am not talking about artists like Wade Guyton, Kelly Walker or Josh Smith, all of whom deploy the above artists in optically original and intellectually complex ways, but hordes of wannabe followers who do so in safely imitative unoriginal ways. These second-stringers have spawned a cool school, admired by jargon-wielding academics who write barely readable rhetoric explaining why looking at next to nothing is good for you. Many of these artists have sold a lot of work, and most will be part of a lost generation. They thought they were playing the system; it turned out that they were themselves being played.