Art Review

... 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 »

Yin Yang

anderson_bull_collageOne of the best aspects of the Manhattan art scene, and perhaps my favorite, is its diversity. You need only go to a handful of galleries to experience a broad range of concepts and aesthetics. Once in a while, you hit a few shows that blow out the borders a notch or two, keeping the whole thing increasingly fresh and expansive.

This is the case with two current exhibitions, Michael Anderson: Media Violence at Marlborough Chelsea, and Hiroshi Senju at Sundaram Tagore Gallery. Michael Anderson's art has painterly, fluid, reactive and compelling iconography culled from street posters. Read more »

Frolic: Humor and Mischief in New Taiwanese Art, Pt. 3

yi_li_yeh.jpgThe third and final leg of Frolic opened November 6th at the Taipei Gallery, an impressive space that unfolds from the lobby of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office building to an open second floor space. As was the case in the first two shows, curators Thalia Vrachopoulos and Jane Ingram Allen chose art that evoked whimsical thought.

Projected above the throngs of opening visitors is Yi-Li Yeh's double video Orange Flower 1, showing a young woman dressed in a yellow, phallic-laden outfit as she runs through a series of martial arts poses while spewing flowers (life) from her outstretched arms. Read more »

Frolic: Humor and Mischief in New Taiwanese Art, Pt. 2

wen-fu-yu.jpgThe second of three exhibitions collectively titled Frolic: Humor and Mischief in New Taiwanese Art opened at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York on October 18th. The atmosphere at the opening, as it was at 2 X 13 gallery two weeks ago, was energizing. For the second installment, curators Thalia Vrachopoulos and Jane Ingram Allen offer the work of 13 young artists who, this time around, have a bit more of an Eastern focus esthetically.

Inspired by the exhibition’s focus on humor, Wen-fu Yu offers “God Bless You!” (above left), a mixed media installation composed of bird netting and white duck feathers. Read more »

Chicago: Some Notes Upon My Return...

dread_by_mosley.jpgSome of you who know me would have heard about the Intelligent Design Project that Michael Zansky and I have been presenting in a number of spaces throughout the U.S. . The third show in the series opened at Kasia Kay Art Projects on the 12th of October, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who sees the show in Chicago.

From this point on, I would like to tell you about what I saw in other Chicago galleries, all well worth a visit. First, in the west loop, I happened by four exhibitions that were real winners. Read more »

Judit Reigl: A Survey

center_of_dominance_reigl.jpgBorn in Kapuvár, Hungary in 1923, Judit Reigl resides in Paris and is considered a major figure in European art – but not here. In fact, you could say she is relatively unknown in the U.S. save for shows like the one up now at Janos Gat Gallery, her first New York exhibition.

Reigl, like the show as a whole, is abruptly pure. It took me a few minutes to rewire my brain to think in terms of art that truly was made for cerebral pleasure, for the artist herself, and not for the making of a marketable object. And that, to me, is a very European attitude – or at least this was the case in the middle of the twentieth century. Read more »

Frolic: Humor and Mischief in New Taiwanese Art

frolic_1.jpgThe atmosphere on opening night at 2 X 13 was festive and tantalizing. The exhibition offers a sampling of works that put forth a diverse overview of the concept of humor. Nothing is too overt, and most works suggest some sort of social or emotional mores, but less specific than I expected. Curators Thalia Vrachopoulos (based in New York) and Jane Ingram Allen (based in Taiwan) managed to project, via their chosen artists and works, an eastern feel with western bent, making it all seem comfortably different.

Fay Ku's large gouache on paper works reminded me very much of Amy Cutler's works, but the narrative in Ku's art is a bit more problem-oriented. In one work, a woman spies her heavily overgrown pubis while in another, half tree, half nubile women attempt to swallow blowfish whole, which leads to punctured cheeks and problematic situations. Read more »

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