Art Review

Things that Never Were and Are No More

frank-lloyd-wrightFrank Lloyd Wright
From Within Outward
Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim has chosen to celebrate its golden anniversary by paying an appropriate homage to its legendary architect. For the devoted Wright aficionado this current exhibit, Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward, constitutes the chance of a lifetime to see the original blueprints for projects left unbuilt and photos of those long since demolished. For those less familiar with Wright’s work, it will prove an intimidating crash course on one of the art form’s finest masters and can only whet the appetite for more. Read more »

You Can Look, But Please Touch

neto_6Ernesto Neto’s current installation in the Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Park Avenue Armory is an ideal museum outing for children of all ages and adults who are willing to experience the wonder of being a child again. Neto’s anthropodino is an adventurous invitation to see, touch, and smell, spanning the epic height and width of its venue.

Bridging the gap between sculpture and architecture, this exhibit does away with the traditional “do not touch” rule that one expects when visiting a museum. Read more »

A Colorist's Mature Artistic Statement

m-hackett-artMelinda Hackett's stunning current exhibition of abstract watercolors and oil paintings at Charles Cowles Gallery in Chelsea displays a mature body of work combining her unique vocabulary of images with her skills as a colorist. The visual presentation of the work in the space evokes a display of ancient manuscripts or tapestries, possibly suggested by the framing of the watercolors with grey mats and matching frames. Yet on closer observation, the work seems very hip and contemporary. The paintings simultaneously suggest the future and the past. They reference everything from the solar system to nature to pop art, with the circle acting as the main theme.

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Trees with Personality

Moving_On_CC.jpgIcon - Mary Hrbacek
Creon Gallery

Anthropomorphic trees. Some of you have seen them: a shadowy form of a tree darkened by day’s end,looming like a spirit inhabited by a human soul. Or maybe you have seen a face in oddly contoured bark that exhibits the characteristics of a human face. The intent of Mary Hrbacek is to take some of these personifications and paint them as evocative portraits to show all living things as equally important and integral. By using trees, a form that can be found in all ages and cultures, Hrbacek creates a basis for a universal essence that weaves through all life forms. Read more »

Four One One

Baiz_Alone_I_Sing.jpgI recently had the opportunity to see a number of shows in Beacon and in Chelsea. These are the shows that inspired me to write my new colmn.

Hetty Baiz: This Very Body at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York looks great in that space, which is somewhat angular, of mixed materials, multi-functional, and vertically oriented. Baiz's work (above), which is life-sized, mixed in media, and representative of lone figures, falls somewhere between the domesday look of Manuel Neri's eroded sculptures and the solitude of Nathan Oliveira's lone figures set against stark landscapes. With Baiz, we see a more profound infusion of an individual soul, a definite human presence, despite the fact that her subjects look as deflated as a balloon that lost its air. Read more »

Passive Aggressive

pink-menOne of the greatest things about New York City is how art is exhibited all around us, even on the third floor of the shuttered-looking New York Psychoanalytical Institute, where a small exhibition of mixed media works examines a loaded topic: "On Aggression."

Given how innate aggression is to humanity, the venue is appropriate. Exhibition notes remind us that aggression is as primordial as the sex drive, and the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination has used the exhibition as a jumping off point for a series of interrelated panel discussions, the final one of which, "The Politics and Psychobiology of Sex and Violence," takes place on April 5th. Read more »

Midtown Madness

strangelove-1Strangelove is bizarre indeed, yet very successful. This installation by Michael Zansky takes full advantage of its unique location. Curated by D. Dominick Lombardi, it’s staged at The Lab, a gallery in a busy corner of midtown Manhattan. The viewer cannot enter the all-glass gallery but must view the piece from the street. This installation is minimally staged, consisting of four large circular lenses, actively reflecting street life, and an expressionless female mannequin dressed in business attire and slumped on top of a rotating pedestal. Read more »

Hot Tattoos on Graphics Action at Brooklyn Gallery

020-untitled.jpgD. Dominick Lombardi Toyota vs. Godzilla Tucked away in an arty office building in D.U.M.B.O., Brooklyn, Artlexis is the name of a small gallery run by Blurred Books, an experimental comic books publisher. D. Dominick Lombardi's efforts have been included in several issues of Blurred Vision, their collection of current offerings of what used to be called underground comics before big money smelled blood. Inspired by a recent trip to the Far East, Lombardi's exhibition consists of eight acrylic paintings on canvas, three knee-high sculptures, and two digital prints. 

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Modern Takes on Figurative Art

game-with-fishThe Nicholas Robinson Gallery has two interesting shows currently occupying its two-level space this month, each representing figurative art in powerfully different moods. On the first floor, contemporary Chinese artist Wei Dong's large, fantastical portraits of "fish women" -- part cool Asian beauties, part repellent amphibians -- are hung expansively, each large canvas alone on a wall. The Chinese-born artist now lives in New Jersey, and his art has elements of both East and West.

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Deceptive Realities in Photography

reality_03Reality Check: Truth and Illusion in Contemporary Photography

The advent and popularity of the digital camera provoke consideration of many questions regarding authenticity, reality and representation in the world of contemporary photography. The special exhibition Reality Check: Truth and Illusion in Contemporary Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art attempts to address these issues with a collection of work that challenges the viewer's perception of what is tangible and artificial, representative and contrived. Read more »

A Different Kind of Perspective


Walter Niedermayr 
Robert Miller Gallery, NYC

Walter Niedermayr's large, painterly photographs show nature in expansive stretches of land and sky, inhabited by humans and creatures no bigger than ants. In one, miniscule cows graze over miles of rolling green pastureland like a plague of insects. In another, a snowy mountain slope is covered with tiny dots that throw long shadows on the intense whiteness of the snow. Read more »

January Blues, and Reds, and...

Klein.jpgRichard Klein and Julie Rofman
Caren Golden Fine Art

The ability to move through a style, series, or material in an intriguing way for a substantial period of time is a very important trait for an artist. One artist who does this thoughtfully and intelligently is Richard Klein. His primary material is found glass -- mostly eye glasses -- meticulously welded together to suggest a functional form. What has always delighted me about Klein's work is the way the clustered glass that he employs creates light and shadow, like a comet passing through the black night. Read more »

Vibrant and Varied Works on Paper

At_It_hrbacek.jpgWinter Salon: Works on Paper
Björn Ressle Gallery

Björn Ressle has had galleries in Stockholm, Bogota, and now New York, specializing in abstract, minimal, and conceptual art. When I asked him the theme of his current exhibition, he responded "nepotism" with a knowing smile. I like that, the straightforwardness, the honesty -- and when you look at the roster of names, which include Carl Andre, George Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, John Cage, George Condo, Neil Jenny, Alex Katz, Sol Lewitt, Dennis Oppenheim, Dorothea Rockburne, Robert Ryman, Richard Tuttle, and more, you can't help but be impressed. Read more »

Dream Video

pipilotti-ristInstallation at MoMA: Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic meters)

MoMA's Marron Atrium, which soars 110 feet above street level, has been designated a temporary installation space since the museum's renovations in 2004. Multimedia Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist was given the monumental task of creating an installation in this vast and multi-storied space and has succeeded in building a lovely, relaxing, and surreal environment. After spending several hours studying modern classics, it was refreshing to join a crowd of over one hundred mellowing out on and around a giant pod/couch in the middle of the room. Read more »

Gimme Shelter!

nobby-clark-stonesNobby Clark's London Blues is a melancholy tune, captured in 101 black and white photographs taken over 40 years of walking the city with a camera in his pocket. Clark's pictures don't show the London that visitors come to see. His is the London of grim working class neighborhoods, pubs, National Front marches, and gnarled old people. It's a place of diffidence and neglect and, occasionally, dignity.

And this major exhibit at Tribeca Arches has an unexpected kicker: on the upper floor of the gallery are a further 120 never-before-shown photos of the Rolling Stones, taken by Clark during the StarF*cker tour of 1976, at Earls Court. After the seeping grayness of the London pictures, the vibrant color of the Stones in action brings to mind - in a burst of pure energy -- the other London of the day. Read more »

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