Art Review

Swimsuit Edition

Willem de Kooning: The Figure, Movement and Gesture
Pace Gallery, NY

This is for Irene, who still gets a thrill, when she sees Bill.

It has been said that memory recounted at leisure is adventure; if we hold that as truth, then the paintings of Willem de Kooning, those tortured creations of his struggles, constitute High Adventure, indeed. The Pace Gallery exhibit The Figure, Movement and Gesture focuses on his painterly transformation from abstraction to figuration and back again. "The figure," de Kooning once said, "is nothing unless you twist it around like a strange miracle." Twist it he did, contorting it into the pastoral landscapes, creating a new style of painting and blurring the boundaries of representation and abstraction.

Sylvia Roth: Paintings and Monoprints

Sylvia Roth: Paintings and Monoprints 
The OUTSIDE IN Piermont, NY

Sylvia Roth, founder of Hudson River Editions, is a painter and master printer who has worked with the likes of Karen Finley, Richard Pousette-Dart, April Gornik, Alfonso Ossorio, and John Chamberlain. Among her many early brushes with greatness was Roth's study of painting with one of my all-time favorites, Philip Guston, at New York University.

Standing on a Beach

David Salle: New Paintings
Mary Boone Gallery, NYC

It was not that long ago that David Salle seemed to strike a collective nerve with his simulations of paintings: for some, he resurrected Painting; for others he fucked its necrotic corpse. Among critics he was praised for revivifying the art form, along with his colleagues Julian Schnabel and Eric Fischl, and vilified by feminist critics for his reified soft-core porn subject matter. Artist and writers such as Peter Halley and Mira Schor drew up highly articulate sides in the battlefields that Salle called paintings.

Transience Is the Meaning: Gary Stephan

Gary Stephan's recent one-person exhibitions include those at the Baumgartner Gallery; Cristinerose Gallery; Mary Boone Gallery; Diane Brown Gallery; and the Margo Leavin Gallery, CA. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Grant, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant.

Horizon Lines Lost and Found

Sandra Lee Eula: Two Waters (Seeds in a Wild Garden)

It's an April day, actually Palm Sunday, and my mind is on how the warm sun and cool air meet on the surface of my skin, creating a brew of sentimental storm of dawn and departure. The morning's gauzy mist lifted to reveal lines – lines from my window panes, yellow lane dividers, disappearing train tracks, and sinuous subway lines that deliver me to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's front step to witness artist Sandra Eula Lee’s Two Waters (Seeds in a Wild Garden).

American Caesar

Jasper Johns
New Sculpture and Works on Paper

Woody Allen once said that he didn't want to achieve immortality through his art; he wanted to achieve it through not dying. The octogenarian Jasper Johns has seemingly pulled off the ultimate trick, managing to do both.

Tyson vs. Bacon

Nicola Tyson responds to the work of Francis Bacon, now on view at The Helly Nahmad Gallery, NY through June 18. Ms. Tyson will be reading from her collected letters at the Fredrich Petzel Gallery, NY, May 18.

Dear Bacon,

I’m sick and tired of how often my work is compared to yours! OK, there was a stage in my student years when I got myself embroiled in an S&M relationship with your work. Well not quite...what I mean is, I was seduced into wanting to be a top to your bottom, or rather I wanted to top your painterly top, except that you weren’t really a top...except that all tops are really also bottoms, except I don’t want my bottom smacked so I must just be a top.


Manet: The Man Who Invented Modern Art
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France

In Round Two, Ms. Tyson steps back into the ring, this time with Édouard Manet, whose exhibit at the d’Orsay, Paris, runs through July 3rd.

Dear Manet,

Phew! I really get it why you are so influential on pondering your suave painterly maneuvers, and I'm not being flippant! Were you quite simply the first person to be cool in Art History?? It's a given that you are Archival Gold, and that when the World ends (...a year from now) your stuff will have been loaded onto the exit spaceship, and rightly so.

Head Like a Hole

Sascha Braunig
Foxy Production, NYC
Through April 30, 2011

Sascha Braunig's debut solo exhibition at Foxy Production is a quiet, understated affair, in perfect accord with her diminutive, portrait-like paintings. Braunig approaches the practice of the studio portrait from a different angle: she creates imaginary subjects, though rendered with a convincing, surrealist precision. Like the French Academic still-life painter Chardin, Braunig eschews heroic subject matter, concentrating on the simple portrait, rendered life-sized, on small, unframed canvases. And with quite powerful results.

World of Skin

Berlinde De Bruyckere: Into One-Another to P.P.P.
Hauser & Wirth, NYC

Through April 23, 2011

"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! How like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither...." Hamlet's despair. The existential dilemma. Before his untimely death at the hands of a trick gone bad, the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (The Gospel According to Matthew, Accattone!, and Salo) captured the ruins of post-WWII Italy -- and the metaphoric inner decay of its people -- by showing the beauty of man corrupted. Belgium artist Berlinde De Bruyckere pays homage to Pasolini and the history of Northern Renaissance masters in the exhibit Into One-Another to P.P.P. currently at Hauser & Wirth, New York.