Art Review

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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 »

Visual Goodies with an Edge

continuous-mile-detailIt is a privilege to view the exhibit of Liza Lou's beaded sculptures at L&M Arts. Lou has not had a solo show in New York since 2002, so this is not to be missed.

The gallery is housed in two floors of an ornate townhouse on the Upper East Side. One has to ring the bell to be personally let in, adding to the ambiance. Upon entering the lobby one encounters two minimal sculptures, "Tower" and "Continuous Mile," (image left, detail) as well as the wall piece "Condition of Capture 1" and a small lithograph. Read more »

The Elusive Shapes of Ron Gorchov

gorchov-serapis.jpgModernist thinking reaches new levels in the recent paintings of Ron Gorchov. Working within a time-tested format of the concave and rounded, saddle-shaped canvas, Gorchov paints and over paints until his uneven colors and curious shapes echo forward and back. In viewing these works, you may think you see a positive form, then the space around that object or thing moves forward and that original thought recedes like a mirage - it's a mental play between perception and pre-thought. And it is also about the structure behind the surface, where angled, curved stretchers pull the taut, frontally stapled linen tight like a drum -- a surface for the artist to work his colors, often to a very thin, drippy consistency.

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Seduction By Camera

bill-henson-photoTame! - Bill Henson at Robert Miller Gallery

After Australian photographer Bill Henson's recent show in his homeland in which images of naked adolescents were seized from the wall and the show was shut down, I was expecting a controversial reception here in New York. With our economy in shatters, no one put up a fuss. But why should they? This show is a beautiful, formal exhibit of powerful and pleasing images. There is nothing shocking or offensive. Instead it is a show of a mature artist presenting well-crafted and sensuous photographs. Read more »

Women of New Orleans

dedeaux-hurricaneCurrently on display at VanBrunt Gallery in Beacon, New York, is the exhibition Women of New Orleans. One would expect, from an exhibition with this title, some references to Hurricane Katrina. Yet here, the thoughtfulness, talent, and intelligence are the first things you notice. The star of the show is Dawn DeDeaux. A pragmatic thinker and elegant doer, DeDeaux turns glass, mold, and mud into focused visions that stick to your thoughts like barbed seed pods. Read more »

... time I got to Woodstock

gottsleben_chrysalisAs I have done for the past several years, my first stop in the Catskill region is to the home and studio of Tom Gottsleben. Whether it is his free-standing sculpture, his earth works, or his home, Gottsleben blends the natural with the man made in ways akin to the timeless approach I experienced earlier this year in the ancient art forms of South Korea. With Modernist tendencies at his core, Gottsleben holds nature, geometry and the spiritual as equal partners - a fact that is easily found in his sculptures of metal, stone and glass. These works are built from powerful shapes, forms and concepts, and settle somewhere between the physical and the ideal (as in "Chrysalis," left). Read more »

Fay Lansner at PGartventure

night_landscapeFay Lansner's fine art career began in the middle of the twentieth century when Abstract Expressionists were breaking new ground. This was the post-World War II art world - a time when the American avant-garde was beginning to achieve upper art world status. Lansner was in the mix of the 10th Street scene, a second-generation New York School artist who was showing with the Hansa Gallery (early 1950s). Artists she knew and exhibited with were Philip Guston, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning and Jim Dine. In the early days, Lansner studied at Hans Hoffman's school (1948-49) with the likes of Larry Rivers and Lee Krasner, who happened to be the class monitor. Read more »

Karim Hamid: The End of Play and Infancy

karim-hamidWhile viewing the works of Karim Hamid, I was reminded of the London School -- artists such as Euan Uglow and R.B. Kitaj. Uglow, because of the way both artists leave visible marks which let on as to how the painting's composition is formulated; and Kitaj, because of the distorted perspectives and odd anatomy for which both artists seem to strive. There's even a bit of Francis Bacon here, where fleshy, toothy grins float where faces should be, and incomplete, writhing figures fill chilling voids. A review of his resume online shows Hamid studied in Brighton University, in England, which should account for my impression that Hamid is influenced by the London School. Read more »

Birds of a Feather

lori_fieldIf you love to look at intricate, well-designed art work, there are three artists showing in Chelsea now that have very special qualities.

The two-person show at Kinz, Tillou + Feigen is a must see. Megan Greene's intensely detailed fabric and floral-based abstractions made with white pencil and gouache on black paper are stunning, edgy, and beautiful. The work is outlaw, along the line of a Hells Angels aesthetic, yet refined with the finesse one likes to see in fine pencil work.

Also at Kinz, Tillou + Feigen are the mixed media works of Lori Field, who offers wondrous drawn and painted collages (left) under an encaustic skin. Read more »

The Oppression of Negritude

walker-excavatingIf you think that because in 2008 in America we finally have a gentleman of color and a woman who have realistic shots at the Presidency, we've buried the bloody hatchets of racism and sexism, then you must see the simultaneously exhilarating and harrowing exhibit Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love.

Kara Walker, the young (a year shy of 40) African-American artist who is rapidly gaining fame and notoriety with her expansive and jarring silhouettes of larger-than-life scenarios from the antebellum South, is making waves, both positive and negative, with creations that slam the senses as they depict scenes of conflict, exhilaration, power wielding, and sexual reverie in the context of racial discrimination and gender bias. Read more »

San Antonio Never Disappoints

sala_diaz1Last week, in between installing my exhibition at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center and attending the openings for that show, I was able to visit a number of galleries in San Antonio. As I had experienced in my four previous trips to San Antonio, I found a lively art scene fueled by a proud community of hard-working artists, gallerists, curators, and directors supported by a good number of critical publications, city officials, and enthusiastic collectors. Make yourself available for a First Friday and you'll be amazed by the four or five thousand visitors that will pass through just about every art space in the downtown area. Read more »

Shoe Sale: Works by Ed Radford

crinkled_shoeMost art aficionados will recall Andy Warhol’s early work as an illustrator, when he made fanciful renderings of 1950s fashion footwear. Recently, I’ve come to know two artists who focus a considerable amount of time and effort on the art of the shoe. During a recent studio visit, I was treated to a sneak peak of the shoe paintings of artist and hat/clothing designer Yuka Hasegawa [right], as she prepared for her solo show at Gallery Milieu in Tokyo. Her shoe paintings ranged in style from smoky Surrealism to more concrete representations, each having a certain personality in mind for its wearer. Read more »

Indianapolis Art FYI

bosch_ecce_homoWith its famous Speedway, the once champion Colts, and the popular Pacers, Indianapolis is first and foremost a sports town. What most do not know is that Indianapolis has an art scene, albeit limited, with one world-class institution, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), as its core. At the IMA, you will find a number of stellar art objects ranging from Asian and African antiquities to formidable examples of modern and contemporary art from Europe and the United States. For one, they offer one of the Ecce Homo (ca. 1510, left) paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, which features a relatively calm Christ before of a mob populated with the typical Bosch crazies. Read more »

Brooklyn 1, Queens 1

spiders_in_loveDuring a recent visit to Brooklyn and Queens, I went to two galleries where I will be showing in 2008 and found intriguing shows. The first location was Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, a pristine space with a world-class program that features four guest-curated shows per year. At this time, curator Joshua Altman, who is also the current director at Stux Gallery in Chelsea, offers his take on artists who create animations that, for the most part, ignore any standard animation techniques. The show is titled Extremes & In-Betweens, which refers to how the outermost positions of a character's body movements set the mark for the changing movements in-between, a concern or approach that rarely, if ever, enters into the minds of the artists assembled here. Read more »

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