Art Review

Art As Liberty

Helene Pavlopoulou: Dithyrambs of Liberty

Helene Pavlopoulou’s Dithyrambs of Liberty series fits into the post-modern art paradigm in that it is inclusive of other cultures and periods. Globalization with its many cultural influences has impacted not only her work, but that of most artists around the world. This blurring of borders, geographies, cultural tendencies, and categories has been the cause for Pavlopoulou’s fluid re-creation of an artistic language that addresses contemporary issues like alienation, the electronic revolution, and political turmoil.

A Talent To Amuse

Andrew Heard 21st August 1958 - 9th January 1993

The artist Andrew Heard was a combination of contrasts, contradictions and charm. Although his large immensely detailed canvases referenced quintessentially English topics, it is a testament to their brilliance of construction that the viewer didn't need to know who his subjects were in order to be engaged by them. Usually British actors, comedians and neglected television personalities held centre stage. It helped, enhanced and enriched the viewing experience if you knew them, but as he was more successful in Europe, the references were secondary to the visual impact of the work. Heard had more recognition in Germany where his paintings sold well via the Friedman-Guinness Gallery in Frankfurt, he also exhibited at Turske & Turske in Zurich, where the essentially English comic Arthur Askey held little in the way of a visual translation abroad. His work was initially monochromatic and stark but developed into a cavalcade of color. Andrew Heard's pictures are layered, complex and deeply emotional, littered with references both subtle and profane. The term exquisite could be applied to many of his works. They remain a gift to the eyes.

Pox Populi

Yayoi Kusama
David Zwirner Gallery, NYC
Thru December 16th, 2017

Spots are a disease -- a "Pop Art" pox; a sign of madness, an hallucination. As Tony Hancock says in his brilliant comic movie The Rebel (1961) where he plays a modern artist: "I get the spots before my eyes, the red mist, and I'm off."

Yayoi Kusama is off again at David Zwirner Gallery on 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea. You will have to queue around the block to see her new installations. But you can just walk into a room on 19th street and see 66 of her new paintings. This is a review of the work in that room.

Black Art is the New Black Music

I cannot believe that even the most devout American fascist has not danced or punched their fist in the air to a song created by African American musicians; at a prom, at a frat party or a wedding. "1999" by Prince, "Rock n Roll" by Chuck Berry, "Nutbush City Limits" by Ike and Tina Turner. Black music is an ever-present treatise on American life.

A Prayer for the Souls in Purgatory

Tony Moore: Sculpture - Children of Light
Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn
Though November 12th, 2017

Fallen empires, lost peoples, ancient cultures and what they once produced -- like fallen leaves and dead trees -- comprise the very ground we walk upon. What has passed before, what Tony Moore refers to as “the relationship of humanity and nature," that magnificent mix of man and mother earth is at the core of his content. There is that sense of monumentality, that massiveness of told and untold history that we might feel, what Moore gathers in through direct experience, cognitive or corporeal, as he builds up and cuts away with and within his earthen clay is his expression. He remains connected, as we all should, to the past as there is an endless life energy that both stirs and cleanses Moore’s thoughts and imaginings. To Moore, all cultures, all systems and societies past and present are part of a continuous need to feel connected and complete. It is also vital that we have hope and that we stand up for unity and understanding so good can triumph over evil intent and oppression.

When the Saints (and Sinners) Go Marching In

D. Dominick Lombardi: Saints, Sinners, and the Collective Unconscious (2014-2017)
Hampden Gallery
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Saints, Sinners, and the Collective Unconscious is riveting. Mr. Lombardi is an artist with an intimate understanding of history in regard to religion and popular culture. After careful viewing of the 30 works in the exhibition, I was compelled to research the titles of the works because they seemed to hold the key to unlocking Lombardi’s intentions. I focused on the works in the Saints section of the exhibition because I found their cryptic iconography most intriguing. The research of the saints depicted in Lombardi’s work opened up a new route for me to access the works’ meaning.

Things Past: Brenda Goodman at David & Schweitzer

Brenda Goodman: In a New Space
David & Schweitzer Contemporary, NYC
September 8 - October 1, 2017

If there is a thread that unites the varied bodies of work that the protean painter Brenda Goodman has produced over her five-decade career, it is the sense of urgency -- in the need of the artist to articulate her thoughts and emotions onto the painted surface, but also a feeling of immediacy in the directness of expression, the painterly "hand" manifest in the work. Even in the Ingre-esque drawings of her work in the 1970s, one senses Goodman's need to capture a moment, a relationship between her psychological characters, and then move on, leaving a generous space unfinished for the viewer to move around in. This restlessness pervades her work, in fact defines it, as she jumps from style to style, figure to abstraction, throughout different periods.

From Warm To Cool

Anselm Kiefer: Transition From Warm to Cool 
Gagosian Gallery, NYC
Thru Septemer 1, 2017

An older creative man who finds energy in their work from having a new young love in his life can represent a wonderful coda. In 1857 when Dickens was 45 years old, he fell in love with the 18-year old actresses Ellen Ternan, a passion that lasted the rest of his life. In 1917 the composer Janacek met Kamila Stösslová, 38 years his junior, who inspired a host of new works. A young woman's sexual ecstasy is the central theme of a suite of new pieces by Anselm Kiefer at Gagosian on 21st Street in Chelsea, up until September 1st.

Unless You're Planning a Trip to China...

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit of the First Emperor
Pacific Science Center, Seattle
Thru September 4, 2017

Upon entering we were informed that this was a world class exhibit. Not certain what exactly that was meant to imply, the term stuck in my head as I began my journey... by the end of my time there I had my answer.

Presently on display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, "Terracotta Warrior Exhibit of the First Emperor" offers a rare opportunity to view a large collection of the famed Terracotta Warriors of the the Qin Dynasty. Along with the legendary statues themselves, interactive displays help bridge the gap between a professionally curated instillation and a hands-on approach utilized elsewhere at the Pacific Science Center to engage school children. This touring showcase succeeds in being child friendly without being childish, inviting people of all ages to approach the exploration of these artifacts with the kind of beaming excitement often reserved for children.

Beginning with a dramatic and somewhat cinematic introduction, projected images and a looming voice-over prepare audiences for the ancient wonders just on the other side of a pair of closed doors. This presentation induces a fitting amount of anticipation for this momentous opportunity as the Terracotta Warriors aren't often on displayed outside of their home in the province of Shaanxi. Unless you're planning a trip to China some time in the future this may be your only opportunity to witness in person such an extensive collection of these haunting figures.