Art Review

Zombie Birdhouse

Keltie Ferris
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NYC
Through October 17, 2015

A screenwriter bursts into his agent's office. "I have a great idea for a new picture," he enthuses. "We do a remake of The Wiz. Only with white people!" Clichéd Hollywood joke, sure, yet pretty much on point with regard to current trends in art and music. The mash-up, dub, remix, redux, or whatever you want to call it, has replaced the "appropriation" strategies of the 80s. It has morphed into something called Zombie Formalism that for better, or worse, is now seen as a legitimate art movement.

Endless Waves

October Waves: Photography by Sandra Gottlieb
Walter O. LeCroy Gallery
The New York Hall of Sciences, Queens
9/1-10/31, 2015

The New York Hall of Sciences in Queens presents Sandra Gottlieb's powerful 2013 photographic series October Waves, curated by Marcia Rudy. Twenty-five large scale photographs (30 x 40”) and five smaller scale close-up shots feature images of pristine waves with patterns of foam and strongly moving undercurrents in an homage to the ocean’s majesty and its ever changing inexorable might. Gottlieb documents the especially devastating 2013-hurricane season with shots taken at sunset from the same location, each day in October, with the sun over her right shoulder. Often she enters the ocean in high boots to catch a wave at its peak, before it crashes to her feet; she describes the experience as “dancing” with the rhythms of the currents, where her past career as a dancer enabled her to segue with the ebb and flow of the tides. The show offers a brilliant view of pure nature, undiluted by subtexts, at its most sensory and direct.

Vanity Fair II: Franklin Evans + Bradley Rubenstein

Franklin Evans creates painting installations with the artist's studio as his subject. Since 2005, he has had twenty solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe and numerous group exhibitions at venues, which include, among others: MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. He will create a new site-specific installation spreadsheetspace at Prosjektrom Normanns in Stavanger, Norway in September and a collaborative installation shelflife with artist Kate Gilmore at Art Production Fund/Cosmopolitan Hotel P3 Studio in Las Vegas in December.

Little Q + A: Marcy Rosenblat + Bradley Rubenstein

Marcy Rosenblat was born in Chicago, Illinois, received her B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and her M.F. A. from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has exhibited at Fordham University, The RawlsMuseum, Galerie Berlin am Meer, Smith College, Oresmon Gallery, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kouros Gallery, Frumkin Gallery,  Art Helix , Centotto, and BCB Art, Hudson NY. Ms. Rosenblat is an Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

The Immigrant Song

One Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
hrough September 7, 2015

One of the most startling impressions that one takes away from seeing the reunited Migration Series at the Museum of Modern Art is how current the paintings still feel current in a way that Céline still does, or Christopher Isherwood, or John Steinbeck -- documenters of a very specific moment of transition, faithfully recording sensitive observations. Jacob Lawrence’s cycle of sixty paintings on the subject of the Northern Migration is both a landmark work for an artist who was just twenty-three years old when he began it, and it is a work of historical importance in American art of the 20th Century. 

RIP, Chris Burden

Performance artist Chris Burden died today, age 69. I think this video would be an appropriate obituary. The song "Joe The Lion" from David Bowie's Heroes album was about Chris Burden's early period performance work. He was known as one of the foremost performance artists of the '70s, often putting his body, literally, into his art.

Peel Slowly and See

Bill Jensen: Transgressions
Through May 9, 2015

There was a time in modern music when the role of the artist changed from being the custodian of cultural knowledge to something more of an autobiographer. We might choose that moment in the late sixties when Lou Reed abandoned the writing of pop ditties about boys and girls, to focus on his own, more personal interests, like boys and girls and heroin.

Clean, It Just Looks Dirty

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks
Brooklyn Museum, NY
April 23-August 23, 2015

"Words are all we have."
 - Samuel Beckett

"I cross out words so you will see them more." 
- Jean-Michel Basquiat

There are some painters who are born great (Picasso), some who attained greatness due to circumstances of their time (David), and some whose work grows in importance posthumously (Kahlo); Jean-Michel Basquiat is a rare case of a painter who managed to fall into all three of these categories.

Kicking Against the Pricks

Peter Williams: Common & Proper Nouns: The N-Word
Novella Gallery, NYC
Through April 5, 2015

And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." - Acts 26:14 (King James Version)

Tick, Tick, Bang

The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
December 14, 2014-April 5, 2015

Between 1942 and 1963 Dorothy Canning Miller was the curator of the influential Americans shows at the Museum of Modern Art. Beginning with Americans 1942: 18 Artists From 9 States and ending with Americans 1963, Miller presented the work of artists such as Hyman Bloom, Robert Motherwell, Jay DeFeo, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Lee Bontecou, and Frank Stella -- artists who would ultimately be the defining contributors to the mid-century American art historical canon. After a gap of nearly a half-century, MoMA once again is reviving this tradition with Laura Hoptman’s The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemoporal World, an exhibition of seventeen painters representing current trends in painting.