Art Review

Blister in the Sun

Dana Schutz: Piano in the Rain
Friedrich Petzel Gallery
Through June 16, 2012

The sitcom, or situation comedy, is a television show format that usually features a family scenario (for example, a husband and wife, like in The Honeymooners), or a larger, extended family (The Cosby Show), or some kind of surrogate family (Barney Miller, Cheers). In this weekly formula a mini-crisis or drama ensues, threatening to unravel the delicate fabric of the familial tranquility. Historically, theatrical comedies have often dealt with the concerns of human activities and conditions in ways that drama can't, cloaking tragedy with humor. Shakespeare, for example, often used his comedies to deal with subject matter that might have been problematic to present as drama; the entirety of Restoration theatre was based on the use of satire as a form of social and political critique. Read more »

Cuts You Up

Robert Yoder: DILF!
Platform Gallery
Through June 16, 2012

Van Gogh wrote, "Ah, portraiture, portraiture with the thought, the soul of the model in it, that is what I think must come.... It is one's duty to paint the rich and magnificent aspects of nature.... Do I make myself understood? I am just trying to make you see this simple great truth: one can paint all of humanity by the simple means of portraiture." Rober Yoder, in his current show at Platform Gallery, seems to exemplify van Gogh's credo. Unlike van Gogh, however, Yoder uses the portrait not to paint all of humanity but, rather, to get inside the subject, using painting to examine each individual, well, individually. Read more »

The Heart of Darkness

Eugene Lemay: Navigator
Mike Weiss Gallery

The way I entered Eugene Lemay's exhibit was not the way I left it. At first glance I was baffled by what initially seemed like enormous black rectangles lining the gallery space. The size of the work left me feeling alienated and lost, aimlessly meandering through the gallery, not quite sure where it starts and ends, my eyes shifting from one enormous black abyss to the other. Read more »

Black and Blue

Ron Gorchov
Cheim & Read
Through April 28, 2012

Endurance is a character trait often overlooked in an artist. Ron Gorchov, who is exhibiting new paintings at Cheim & Read, is definitely a marathoner in the art world, and one to whom more attention should be given. Born in 1930, Gorchov has lived and worked in New York since the early '50s, where he had his first solo show in 1960, was included in the Whitney's Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six, and was friends with Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. His most recent museum exhibition, in 2006 at PS1, garnered the attention and support of Vito Schnabel and The Brooklyn Rail publisher Phong Bui, who curated this current exhibit.  Read more »

Night Dark Night

Mira Schor: Voice and Speech
Marvelli Gallery
Through April 28, 2012

From the Muses of Helicon, let us begin our singing, that haunt Helicon's great and lofty mountain, and dance on soft feet around the altar of the mighty son of Kronos. This from Hesiod's Theogony. "Night bore hateful Doom and dark Fate and Death, She bore Sleep, and she bore the Tribe of Dreams...."

"We live as we dream," wrote Joseph Conrad, "alone." Mira Schor's recent exhibition at Marvelli, Voice and Speech, makes a compelling argument against Conrad's existentialist notions with paintings that are interrogations of thinking, speaking, writing and, of course, the act of painting. Read more »

The Architecture of Noise: Joseph Nechvatal & Taney Roniger with Bradley Rubenstein

On the occasion of Joseph Nechvatal's upcoming exhibition at Galerie Richard in New York (April 12 through May 26), the recent publication of his new book Immersion into Noise, and a concert of his remastered viral symphOny in surround sound. Taney Roniger is an artist and writer who lives and works in Brooklyn.

Bradley Rubenstein: We really want to get into the new book, as well as the upcoming show, but can you take a minute and give us a little backstory? You have always slipped in and out of categories: actions, painting, sound art, writing.... Read more »

Girl Gone Wild

Cindy Sherman
Museum of Modern Art
Through June 11, 2012

We are walking through a deserted town almost 500 miles from The City. We had been riding for days. Chancellor Nirenberg ordered all the major ports closed, walled off The Capital, and retreated to an undisclosed bunker, leaving us to deal with the Zombies. What he didn’t tell the survivors was that it was the Vampires we really had to worry about. “This set is amazing. It even smells like a street,” says Justine, who is 17 and who I picked up along the highway. She was camping, after having run away with her sister, Juliet, who used to work for some asshole Hollywood screenwriter (who once brought a roadkill squirrel to a party at Mario Batali’s house, who drunkenly cooked it and served it to Gwyneth Paltrow, who ate it, thinking it was tofu) before the Terror. What was left of Juliet had been roasting on a campfire and I was starving.  Read more »

When Darkness Doubles

Tilton Gallery, New York
Through April 14, 2012

Let's begin with this, from Les fleurs du mal: "Everything, even the color black/Seemed refurbished, bright, iridescent/The liquid encased in its glory/In the crystallized ray..."

Although better known as a filmmaker, David Lynch, who is exhibiting his paintings, collages and photographs at Tilton Gallery, has for years walked the fine line between art and entertainment. Like Julian Schnabel, though, Lynch's paintings occupy a separate terrain, and offer a rare opportunity to see into the psyche of a very private artist who also happens to be a very public figure. Read more »

Talk Talk Talk

Vicki Sher: Yes/No
frosh&portmann
Through April 15, 2012

Vicki Sher has been using a reduced visual vocabulary in her drawings for many years, combining simple line and color drawings with text to create oblique narratives. In her recent exhibition, Yes/No, she elaborates on this strategy, weaving a story, both personal and symbolic, of her Grandmother Pearl's post-stroke search for a descriptive language, based on her diminished capacity for speech. Sher integrates Pearl's story with one of the great modernist tropes in both painting and literature: the ability to describe and illustrate complex thinking through limited means. Read more »

Smoking White Hot: Mana Flames the Art Fire

In the heart of Jersey City’s colorful and eclectic Little India neighborhood is a secret that is about to explode the art world. Mana Contemporary is more than a gallery, more than a studio, more than a sensation. It’s a burning impression on the mind, body, and heart -- an interior garden of sorts that stimulates the senses by creating sparks in a quiet, light, white space. Housed in a sprawling, abandoned, brick tobacco factory, the industrial exterior trimmed with concrete loading docks and the crunchy sound of aluminum garage doors rolling up and down serve as a gateway between the quotidian and the imagination.

From the deep warm belly of the earth, the boundless starry sky, or the walloping waves of the sea, Mana’s diverse collections seem to ask, “Where do we come from and when will we meet?” Let’s start on the sixth floor. A ramp with a fenestrated wall on one side and a series of large photographic panels of black sky and rising red sun that radiate heat leads to the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF) Gallery. An avid art collector of American and international art, Kaminsky traveled the world selecting pieces that touched an emotion in her. Before entering, she shares a few words about what is inside: Read more »

The Thing Itself: Mira Schor + Bradley Rubenstein, part 2

Mira Schor is a painter and writer living in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. She is the author of A Decade of Negative Thinking: Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life (Duke University Press) and the blog A Year of Positive Thinking. She is an associate teaching professor in MFA Fine Arts at Parsons The New School for Design. She is represented by CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles and Marvelli Gallery in New York. The exhibition Mira Schor: Voice and Speech opens March 29 at Marvelli Gallery at 526 West 26th Street, 2nd floor, New York, New York, and runs through April 28. Read more »

Halber Mensch

Georg Baselitz
Gagosian Gallery
Through April 7, 2012

"Art demands fanaticism" -- Adolf Hitler, 1915

Georg Baselitz's (born 1938, Deutschbaselitz, Saxony, Germany) recent work at Gagosian, paintings on a monumental scale, presents the artist as a still-vital explorer, using both his personal history as well as myriad art historical references in a search for a unified, iconic image. Enormous canvases, measuring over twelve feet high, combine elements from his early works, such as "Die grosse Nacht im Eimer" (1962–63) and "A Modern Painter" (1966), remixed in a gambit designed to distance himself still further from the nearly thirty-year span of his signature, inverted, pseudo-Ab Ex work. A sense of nostalgia and reflection is evident here, as well as an undiminished appetite for new forms and styles. Read more »

Tessellation Row

Terry Winters: Cricket Music, Tessellation Figures, & Notebook
Matthew Marks Gallery
Through April 24, 2012

Abstraction, particularly in painting, is difficult to write about. You are often stuck with banalities like "that white area should be a little bit more to the left," or "that blue reminds me of this one day when I was surfing Zuma." Andy Warhol, whenever he wanted to avoid a subject of discussion -- such as death -- would fob off the topic by saying, "Gee, that's so...abstract." The bane of writing about art, this abstraction is. Read more »

Small Faces

The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through March 18, 2012

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in conjunction with the Bode-Museum, Berlin, has gathered over 150 fifteenth-century portraits: sculptures, drawings, paintings, and bronzes. Unlike most Renaissance portrait exhibitions, this one limits its purview to Italian artists and focuses specifically on the courts of Florence and Venice, as well as the princely courts of Ferrara, Milan, and Naples (the Met has supplemented the exhibition with some examples, from its permanent collection, of Northern European Renaissance works; not to be missed is Rogier van der Weyden's three-quarter portrait of Francesco d'Este (after 1475; below right), here displayed in a vitrine so as to permit a rare viewing of the d'Este coat of arms and dedication van der Weyden painted on the verso). This approach wisely narrows our view of this seminal moment in history, one that literally defined the way that "the portrait" would be viewed for centuries to come. Read more »

Celebrity Skin

Eric Fischl: Portraits
Mary Boone Gallery
Through March 17, 2012

We are eating lunch at La Mer. Fish tacos, something called Bischon Frise Ceviche, and churros y sea urchins chocolat. There are seven empty bottles of a 1983 Dom Perignon on the table, along with several empty phials of what I thought was cocaine, but wasn't. Spike Lee, David Salle, Winona Ryder, and Trent Reznor are trying to discuss a new Julian Schnabel film, but I can't hear them as Oleander, a model/actress/waitress (my date), keeps interrupting. Alba Clemente (sans Francesco), Gwyneth Paltrow, and Dave Navarro are discussing the new Coldplay CD.  Read more »

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