This exhibition of Ellsworth Kelly’s plant drawings is a companion exhibition to Ellsworth Kelly, Last Paintings, shown at the Matthew Marks space directly next door on West 22nd Street. The late Ellsworth Kelly’s oeuvre is unusual in that he pursued quite various themes and ways of artmaking in a range of media, including painting, drawing, prints, and photographs. Ellsworth Kelly had wanted to pursue art from a young age, and following a tour of service in the Army during World War II, he studied art in Boston and then Paris. He began making drawings of plants in the late 1940s in both of these cities, and his fascination with plants as subject continued throughout his career. [Read More…]
Few contemporary painters nail the zeitgeist as pointedly as Eric Fischl. The artist is in top form at his current show “Late America;” five large-scale canvases that pack a paunchy punch: the Hamptons’ haute bourgeoisie, magnified poolside by harsh daylight in the full flawed glory of their middle-aged decadence.
Fischl’s merciless vision is equally unkind to the men and women in these works, but here the men fare slightly worse. This is the decline of the American empire in painted Technicolor, and its various iterations depict the nominal heads of household as gracelessly aging emperors without any clothes. Although the show’s press release states that the pieces are not political, it is hard not to think of the wizened white patriarchs currently in power. [Read More…]
June 15, 2017
Socialism was to be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, a consciousness-driven model of social transformation but without the processes that would allow it to validate its understandings against how the world really worked. Focused more on mobilization against an enemy than understanding itself and its society, the Communist Party and its state were both constituted through mechanisms they also made. The way in which they were made also prevented authorities from recognizing the real problems they faced.
I wrote that paragraph to describe Andreas Glaeser’s book on the political epistemics organizing the East German society communists ruled. One can understand Trump Rule better in light of that work, as well as of others illuminating communist rule.
It’s not only the pervasiveness of the lie. Do we need to trust authorities to act on our behalf and require no evidence that they do? Do we need to emulate the sycophancy of the leaders’ lieutenants in order to find our place in the new order? If we challenge authority, do we risk becoming an enemy? In this kind of order, it’s not the rule of law but the rule of loyalty that determines trustworthiness and truthfulness. [Read More…]
In 1916, when Florine Stettheimer was 45 and had been painting for over 20 years, she had her first solo show at the Knoedler Gallery in New York. Half way through the show, she wrote in her diary: “I am not selling much to my amazement.” And, at the end, “Nothing sold.” She did not get the recognition she expected as an artist through the sale of her paintings. Reviews were derisive or indifferent at best. It must have hurt. Had her paintings sold, she would have joined the ranks of painters such as O’Keeffe and Aaron Douglas and Arthur Dove and Gaston Lachaise, her Modernist friends who lived from their art. Instead, she was denied an escape from her position as an upper class idler. From then on, she refused all solo shows. She embraced brazenly her identity as upper class, at least publicly. She overpriced her paintings to prevent any sales. [Read More…]
at David Krut Projects, NYC Reviewed by Robin Scher
Since the days of cave paintings, the human need to represent and be represented has served as a powerful impulse to create art. This desire has manifested in many forms and been fulfilled in various fashions. Icons and Avatars, a current group show at New York’s David Krut Projects, presents five international contemporary artists who continue this tradition through portraiture. [Read More…]
Was it all a dream—
I mean those old bygone days—
Were they all what they seemed?
All night long I lie awake
listening to autumn rain.
This poem from the Zen monk, Ryokan, could serve as an emblematic preface to Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women. Claustrophobic poignancy and stringent wistfulness, shot through with quirky humor, characterize the autumn-flavored tone of the seven stories comprising the collection. [Read More…]
at Cristin Tierney Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Robin Scher
Picture documentary and artwork as a Venn diagram. Sometimes the line between the two categories is blurred. A fine example of this can be found in Janet Biggs’s three channel installation, Afar, currently on show at New York’s Cristin Tierney gallery, which offers viewers a brief visual sojourn to East Africa’s Great Rift Valley — “the most unlivable place on earth.” [Read More…]
The Georgia O’Keeffe show at the Brooklyn Museum is an ode to the artist as icon. The exhibit combines little-seen early work with the artist’s own clothing–including dresses, jeans, shoes, and hats—as well as photographs taken by her famous husband, Alfred Stieglitz, and a dozen or so other noted photographers, to illustrate the extent to which O’Keefe — much like Warhol — was the brilliant architect of her own enduring image. [Read More…]
Leave of absence; Absence without leave at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles Reviewed by Christopher Michno Kang Seung Lee’s two part … [Read More...]
Though New York for years has had an inspiringly lively and progressive jazz scene, Kamasi Washington, approaching the American cultural front, is … [Read More...]
at REDCAT, Los Angeles Reviewed by Ellen C. Caldwell It is obvious from the map, an exhibition at REDCAT organized by Thomas Keenan and Sohrab … [Read More...]
A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Edo-Period Prints and Paintings (1600–1868) at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto excerpted from a … [Read More...]
Undercover Boss at Reyes Projects, Detroit Reviewed by Megan Garwood The group exhibition, Undercover Boss, opens a conversation on the ubiquity of … [Read More...]
at LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion, Los Angeles Reviewed by Jonathan Griffin There was no way it was ever not going to be a mess: eleven years of one of … [Read More...]