Art Review

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 »

SquARE zERo: Gudjon Bjarnason


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 »

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