Art Review

Assenting Voices: Agitprop Art in North Korea

Assenting Voices: Agitprop Art in North Korea
Andrew and Anya Shiva Gallery at John Jay College
November 12 through January 23, 2015

Curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos, Assenting Voices presents twelve oil paintings on canvas and thirteen posters by North Korean print-making collectives. Two "Social Realist" style posters were created as early as 1956 and 1960, but the majority of them were produced in the 1970s and early 1980s. Posters by seven artists, working mostly with the Chosun Labour Party Publisher and Pyongyang Total Print Factory, are included. The carefully rendered contemporary oil paintings, dated 2011 and 2012, present idealized images that portray scenes of young woman in a variety of life pursuits. 

Fantastic Voyage

Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India
The Rubin Museum of Art
Through February 2, 2015
 
Two Tents
Mary Boone Gallery
Through December 20, 2014

The original impulse in my life as an artist was to write and to break from writing into image.... Art is the last oral tradition alive in the West. - Francesco Clemente

An Interview with John Mendelsohn

I first came to know Kook Projects from curator Soojung Hyun, who asked me to participate in their inaugural show Kooky Cutters: Redefined Realities. What I find particularly intriguing about this gallery space, besides being new and not in your typical art district, is its discreetness. Founded and directed by Kate Kook and co-founded by its curator, WooJae Chung, Kook Projects stands as one of the more unorthodox spaces in New York City, as it has no street visibility. For their openings, this nicely converted ground floor apartment directs its visitors to enter through an iron-gated service entrance, down a set of stairs, and past the building’s recycling area to an alleyway that leads to a fenced-in courtyard and interior spaces. 

The Shape of Things to Come

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
The Museum of Modern Art
Through February 8, 2015

In the early months of 1945, Matisse wrote to his daughter that he had gone as far as he could with painting in oil, intending instead to focus his efforts on a large-scale decorative project using the cut-out paper technique he had employed to make sketches and maquettes for his mural and theater projects in the early Thirties ("Red Dancer" [1937-38], and "Two Dancers" [1937–38] for Diaghilev's Rouge et Noir). "Painting seems to be finished for me for now… I'm for decoration -- there I give myself everything I can. I put into it all the efforts of my life." Although he had already been employing this technique for years as an adjunct to his paintings, it was not until the mid-Forties that he turned almost exclusively to cut paper as his primary medium, introducing a radically new operation that came to be called a cut-out. The Museum of Modern Art has devoted an entire exhibition, a mini-retrospective of sorts, to this final chapter in Matisse's work.

Bong Jung Kim Gets Right to the Point

Bong Jung Kim has a very deliberate and consistent way of working. His intention, which is navigated through bold combinations and contentious juxtapositions of symbols, mixes metaphors as he vies for a deeper cord in our psyches. He is primal with respect to color and technique, yet he tells his tale with references to the darker side of the collective contemporary social condition and our quick to throw away and ever-upgrading technology.

Poetic License in Public Spaces

Siah Armajani: The Tomb Series
Alexander Gray Associates
September 4 - October 18, 2014

Iranian-born Siah Armajani, inarguably one of the finest sculptors in America to have emerged out of minimal and conceptual art, the main aesthetic strategies of the late 1960s, creates deeply affective rigorous and ruminative work. It appears to be at once elementarily simple and tautly complex.

Little Q+A: Margaret Roleke + Bradley Rubenstein

Margaret Roleke's life has been spent in New York or the surrounding tri-state area except for three years living in London and two studying in Ohio. Her many trips to Europe, Asia, Central America, and South America have informed her practice. Roleke's art has been exhibited widely in the tri-state area, and also in several international shows. In the last year her work was seen at Scope Miami, Cutlog in New York, Fountain Art Fair in New York, and in several group exhibits in Connecticut, Harlem, and Brooklyn.

Little Q+A: Gina Magid and Bradley Rubenstein

Gina Magid is a Brooklyn-based painter who creates psychologically and visually layered imagery in paint, charcoal, satin, and other materials. She was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2003 and a McDowell Colony Fellowship in 2004. Magid has had solo exhibitions at Feature Inc., New York; Acuna-Hansen Gallery, Los Angeles; and Artists Space, New York. Her work has been included in group shows at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York; DiverseWorks, Houston, Texas; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Exit Art, New York; and Greater New York 2005 at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York. Her work is currently at Ana Cristea Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, New York.