Art Review

SquARE zERo: Gudjon Bjarnason

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Gudjon Bjarnason employs chance, relying heavily on a very extreme form of controlled chaos. At the core of this exhibition are variously mangled minimalist metal sculptures that he fabricates and later destroys, either by dropping them from great heights or blowing them up with dynamite. Extreme, but Bjarnason is from Iceland -- a land that tends to suggest extremes, from the immensely various amounts of available sunlight through the year, to the strangeness of the glaciers and volcanoes that dominate the landscape. Read more »

Holistic Art - P.C. Turczyn: Gilded Paintings

maelstrom.jpgI came to know the Omega Institute through a show I co-curated with Kathleen Cooley (Fear is a Four Letter Word) at their last Being Fearless conference in New York City. Omega, as you may already know, is an innovative institute with a holistic approach to life and living that is progressive and full. I went up to their main campus in Rhinebeck for Family Week this summer and had a fulfilling and spiritually uplifting stay. While there, I happened by the Ram Dass Library at the center of the campus where the mixed media works of P.C. Turczyn were on display.

As a rule, library shows can be pretty mediocre, even amateurish, so I didn't expect to be impressed -- but I was impressed. Turczyn's work, which is based on basic patterns found in nature, was meticulously crafted and beautifully designed. There was a palpable energy or force in the work that really grabbed my attention. Read more »

Mark Wiener: Inside Out

strokes_blue.jpgThe chances of seeing a storefront in midtown Manhattan converted into a blank canvas for an artist to create an automatic, abstract work of art is pretty slim, given the real estate values in the city these days. But the Lab Gallery has been doing such outside-the-box thinking for some time. I had the good fortune of being associated with this progressive approach as a curatorial advisor through January of this year, so I like swinging by now and again to see what is going on at the Lab. Read more »

Dustin Yellin: Suspended Animation - Robert Miller Gallery

dustin_yellin_resin.jpgAmidst the cacophony of fast and loose summer group shows offered in Chelsea this year stands, literally and figuratively, one unforgettable exhibition. The art of Dustin Yellin is a cross between painting and sculpture, science and science fiction. His magical objects, some taller than the viewer, are comprised of dozens of layers of resin that are meticulously painted with acrylic and inks - layer atop layer - until a sinuous "life form" appears that looks like it would be at home in sea, sand, or air.

Each object is a comment on nature, genetic experimentation, color and form, culminating, in this reviewer's mind, in some of the freshest and most distinct art being made today. Read more »

Automatic Update: When Life Goes Pop - MoMA

lars_laumann.jpgAutomatic Update, MoMA, NYC

"The art of our era is not art, but technology. Today Rembrandt is painting automobiles; Shakespeare is writing research reports; Michelangelo is designing more efficient bank lobbies," notes oft-quoted Howard Sparks.

Well, the sensible Barbara London, Associate Curator, Department of Media, The Museum of Art (MOMA), might just have forced Mr. Sparks to augment his theory an iota. With her entertaining new exhibit, Automatic Update, which runs until September 10th, London clearly showcases the reverse process, with five contemporary artists extracting art from technology. Read more »

Incarnation: Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY

nam_june_paik.jpgContemporary art from Asia seems to be increasingly abundant everywhere you look, from our leading museums to our most progressive galleries. So it is no wonder that more and more curators are scrambling to shed light on the differences and the distinctions from country to country. And it is hard to say where influences originate, and it is even harder to say what came first. But I do see an intriguing amount of crossover from American artists to Asian concepts and esthetics, and vice versa in Incarnation, a stellar show curated by Inhee Iris Moon.

And from what I understand from Ms. Moon, this is just a piece of a pie that is far more diverse and complicated. With all that said, I am thoroughly impressed by all the work in the exhibition, especially with respect to the curator's emphasis on art that reveals great clarity of vision, an emphasis on craft, and the indication of the larger, more wholly spiritual picture. Read more »

Shinduk Kang: Heaven and Earth

tenri1.jpgShinduk Kang’s art is a breath of fresh air. The colors, materials, and techniques she employs are clean, ageless, and fine. There is a festiveness, and a reverence too, for the things she makes, while her focus is keen and sharp, making her art bold in a very easily absorbed way.

The main gallery at Tenri is lined, floor to 14-foot-high ceiling, with a patchwork of silky, translucent fabric that is generally used in making the inner slip of traditional clothing (Han Bok). The use, or reuse of these lightweight and durable fabrics also refers to another tradition in Korea, of using off cuts of fabrics as gift wrapping (POJaGI). Read more »

Chelsea Buzz

bing_lee.jpgI never have enough time to get around to see everything I want to see. So if you are too busy too, maybe a quick pass through these few shows will give you enough of an art fix to last you till the next time that window opens a crack.

2X13 Gallery, located on the fourth floor at 531 West 26th Street, offers two one-person shows. The one I thought to be more than worth anyone’s time was Bing Lee’s two rooms of art. The main room is a wall painting titled “Nacho American Cheese” (left), a curious work that balances quirky and oddly repetitive black forms against a traffic sign yellow ground. Using just a few stencils and somewhat narrative free-formed shapes that all fit together, Lee manages a mix of organic fluidity and mechanical control. Read more »

Abbas Kiarostami: Five - MoMA

kiarostami_five.jpgInstallation art allows the viewer to enter an alternate realm of perception, one created in space by the artist. The renowned Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami has created an intriguing multi-screen video installation, called Five, on view at MoMA until May 28 in its first presentation in the United States.

Kiarostami’s films (ATaste of Cherry and Through the Olive Trees, to name a couple) are characterized by their view of ordinary people whose everyday lives reflect the depths of human feeling. But when asked to discuss his films in 1998, he spoke of how he looked at filmmaking, as opposed to his subject matter: “When I look at nature, I see a frame of painting. Read more »

Van Brunt Gallery

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In his gallery in Beacon, NY, Carl Van Brunt has managed to hold his audience through sheer honesty--grooming a stable of mid-career, young, and emerging artists, some self-taught--and his approach keeps you coming back for more. As you entered the space in April, you were surrounded by Stanford Kay's paintings (left). Kay seems to have shifted to a more lyrical, painterly approach with a subject he has been "in series" with for some time: books. It is not hard to reference Rauschenberg's quarter-mile installation with his hand-selected history and book stacks. Read more »

Bodo Korsig: I Can’t Stop

i_cant_stop.jpgBodo Korsig’s work is both funny and serious. He plays with the subconscious, the familiar, the mundane, and the miniscule. He gets you though, hitting you head on with the periphery, turning things around, stretching, reorienting.

His art can be painting, print, or sculpture. Everything is hung on the walls, some coming out a bit from the wall, such as his painted aluminum works. Even the paintings, despite their diminutive sizes, are made on very thick stretchers so they jut out into the space. Read more »

Tony Moore: In the Age of the Innocents

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The title of this exhibition, In the Age of the Innocents, brings to mind The Age of Innocence, an Edith Wharton novel about society, class, and culture. However, I suspect sculptor Tony Moore is not making a reference, with his spelling of the word innocents, to the rules of the society. Moore, instead, is addressing the state of the world today, and how so many moral codes are being broken while so many innocents are dying. You only need look at a television news broadcast for a moment, skim a newspaper, or tune into a talk radio station to be reminded how many victims of unnecessary violence there are. Read more »

Roz Chast: Theories of Everything... And Much, Much More

our_group_photograph.jpgRoz Chast is funny. Best known for her nearly 30-year stint with The New Yorker magazine, she is the quintessential observer. Let’s say she can best be described in artistic terms as a Situationalist. (You need those ists and isms.) What she takes from her everyday observations, she turns into crisp, clean extrapolations of a given situation, event, or moment, often filling that extrapolation with emphasizing details in curious locations. She can find, and express with wonderful words and images, the confounding and confusing to the commonest of experiences. What I find most appealing about her work is that it is sublimely approachable. Her drawn lines are expressive, yet forgiving. The expressions her subjects bare are subtle yet telling, and her compositions, which are straightforward and true, are filled with wit and humor from edge to edge. Read more »

Looking at Mr. Godbar

chocolatejesusSure signs of spring: The groundhog not being frightened by his shadow. Baseball standings showing the Royals, Devil Rays, and Pirates tied for first place. Articles about income tax. Marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies. And Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, denouncing another “attack” on Christianity. This year – and this is not an April Fool’s joke! – the last two are related, because Donohue’s mad about a new chocolate Easter treat, which he claims is “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” He must have very delicate sensibilities and no sense of proportion whatsoever.

What is this horrible assault? Artist Cosimo Cavallaro’s “My Sweet Lord,” a six-foot tall, 200-pound depiction of the crucified Christ made out of milk chocolate. Read more »

Lauren Beck: Miasma from the Well of Loneliness

alien_probe.jpgThis show’s title tells you all you need to know about the almost polar opposite elements of morbidity and sexuality that run throughout the exhibition. But it is not so necessary to know or understand the artist’s specific intentions to sense the import of the art offered here. After all, work of this caliber will stand alone, separate from any overall narrative or intention.

Lauren Beck is a wizard with watercolor. Read more »

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