I have a vested interest in finding whether essential differences exist between the art of women and that of men. A woman, I’ve been doing, appreciating, thinking about art all my life. Questions assail me as I approach the MOMA exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction. Is their work different from their male counterparts? If it is different, in what way? Is their art worse, justifying the relative obscurity they have been left in? Is there a unifying quality to the work, or is the collection of individualities more defining than the elusive gender? [Read more…]
Matthew Marks Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Donald Lindeman
A confusion about media is at the heart of Vija Celmins’ artmaking. In her new show at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, are paintings, prints and sculptures, but we soon learn that things are seldom what they seem in Celmins’ art. The paintings and prints are based on photographs made by her, and some of the sculptures are ‘real’ found objects, e.g. stones, writing tablets, that are juxtaposed to mind-boggling “doubles” crafted by the artist. [Read more…]
The Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”
Edgar Allan Poe
“Dreamland,” Frank Romero’s sprawling (like Los Angeles itself), exuberant retrospective at the Museum of Latin American Art, is jam-packed with over 200 paintings, monotypes, mixed-media low-relief wall pieces and jazzy neon sculptures. Romero, a founding member of Los Four in 1974 with Carlos Almaraz, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan and Roberto “Berto” de la Roche, came of age artistically in that heady time when identity politics was being shaped. Groups underrepresented in the art world at that time -women, gays and lesbians, Chicanos – all separated into their respective tribes to develop and nurture art that both described and celebrated their unique experience. [Read more…]
A Pen of All Work New Museum, NYC Reviewed by Martin Woessner
I still find it strange that there is a contemporary art museum on the Bowery, but the Bowery is no longer the Bowery. The New Museum is located a block and a half down from a Whole Foods and about three blocks down from where CBGB’s used to be. There’s a John Varvatos boutique there now, selling designer button-downs, vintage vinyl and even—if you have the cash—vintage turntables on which to play said vintage vinyl. I’m sure the framed photographs of the Ramones I spied through the window can be had for the right price as well.
It is impossible to ignore these things when you visit the current, career-spanning exhibition of Raymond Pettibon’s work at The New Museum, “A Pen of All Work.” [Read more…]
Fowler Museum, Los Angeles
Reviewed by Lorraine Heitzman
The recent show at The Fowler Museum, Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, was the first major retrospective of Ayón’s powerful and emotional work in the United States and inarguably one of the most significant exhibitions that opened in Los Angeles last year. Nkame, meaning “greeting” or “praise” in the language of Abakuá, was a welcome homage to Ayón’s signature black and white prints and featured a comprehensive selection of her work never-before shown together outside of Cuba. [Read more…]
JTT Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Michael Hilsman
Dan Herschlein’s current exhibition, “Safe as Houses,” at JTT Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side, consists of wall works, sculptures, and works on paper. Situated in the center of the gallery floor is a work titled The Tenant, which, like much of the sculptural work in the exhibition, is made from pigmented wood, plaster, and pigmented joint compound painted in thin washes of milk paint, a type of paint similar to casein and used by early American furniture makers. [Read more…]
Justin Lyons is a mixed media artist living in the Florida panhandle. We spoke with him on the eve of his solo exhibition at the Bruce Lurie Gallery in Los Angeles.
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: Before addressing your most recent work, I wanted to briefly touch on a few signature elements in what is considered to be pivotal career pieces, elements which not only define but help flesh out your global visual language. This language, by the way, initially and superficially registers as being quite primitive, even crude, but upon spending time with these pieces it becomes apparent that something more thoughtful and sophisticated is taking place. [Read more…]
Pierogi, New York City
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban
Elliott Green’s show at Pierogi is an eye-opener. The dozen ambitious canvases exude enormous confidence and verve, and more than most contemporary abstract painting, bring the once-radical genre of abstract-expressionism back to its original roots. While essentially abstract, these works are nothing if not expressive on a purely visceral level, a painted barometer of a roiling subconscious encountering disorienting change. [Read more…]
The Broad, Los Angeles
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner
“Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.” —Albert Camus
“Creature,” at The Broad Museum, brings together 55 diverse artists whose engaging work, according to the curatorial statement, demonstrates a “representation of the self.” This vague description states the obvious, as art is always crafted of its maker’s fears, obsessions, thoughts, attitudes, neuroses and beliefs. However, let’s examine the word creature. What does the word “creature” conjure? If you are of a certain age, you might automatically think of the cheesy fifties B movies such as, “Creature of the Black Lagoon” or “Godzilla,” our favorite irradiated lizard mutating into a rampaging gigantic freak of nature. Creatures can inspire fear, dread or curiosity. They can be small and terrifying (tarantulas, snakes), or unknown and unknowable like aliens. They can even be invisible like ghosts, goblins or spirits. Real or invented, they populate our imagination and our nightmares. [Read more…]
Neville Wakefield is the Curator and Artistic Director of Desert X, a site-specific contemporary art exhibition ongoing throughout the Coachella Valley from February 25 to April 30, 2017. RIOT MATERIAL spoke with Neville on the eve of Desert X’s launch.
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: What is it about these artists you’ve selected for Desert X that speak to you personally, or speak to a greater vision you’re trying to articulate through the exhibition, and I refer to them more as an inter-connective group as opposed to distinct individuals? [Read more…]
Desert X, a site-specific contemporary art exhibition in the Coachella Valley, curated by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield, will become the sweeping canvas for work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues ranging from climate change to Tribal culture, immigration to tourism, gaming to golf. The exhibition, which opens to the public this weekend, 25 February, will focus attention on, and create a conversation about, environmental, social and cultural conditions of the 21st century as reflected in the greater Palm Springs area.
In an online roundtable discussion, RIOT MATERIAL spoke with Desert X artists Jennifer Bolande, Glenn Kaino, Phillip K. Smith III, Tavares Strachan about the desert, their driving visions, and their particular installations. [Read more…]
Works On Paper And Sculpture Art Los Angeles Contemporary / Kayne Griffin Corcoran By Christopher Michno
At this year’s Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the international contemporary art fair of the West Coast, the Los Angeles gallery Kayne Griffin Corcoran devoted its booth to a display of 46 works on paper and two mixed media sculptures by David Lynch. The four day affair, running January 26-29, 2017, offered a dense sampling of the 70 year old artist’s drawings and watercolors, the majority of which were dated from 2008 through 2014. Though most of these works have been previously exhibited, it was a welcome reprise, and Lynch’s works on paper addressed threads that also repeatedly emerge in the auteur’s better known film oeuvre—the desire to probe the unconscious mind, the sense of the uncanny, the need to stare directly into the murky depths of humanity’s darkness. But as is the nature of small works on paper, they are quieter than his film work, and more reflective. [Read more…]
Elizabeth Peyton’s portraits of both her friends and members of the cultural elite of her era, (Kurt Cobain comes to mind), first gained celebrity in the mid-to-late 90s. Since then, there has been what one might informally call a Peyton school of portraiture, particularly among young or emerging artists. Peyton herself owes a debt to the great portrait painter Alice Neel, known for her incisive psychological studies, and in fact paid homage to Neel with a nude image of the artist (referencing Neel’s own famous nude self-portrait at age 80.) [Read more…]
Memory is a useful faculty in a painter’s toolbox. It can be used to conjure the color of an emotion or deployed in the pursuit of perspective. It is the mind’s Instagram filter, tinting the images of our past. In the case of Washington-based artist Andrea Joyce Heimer, whose new exhibit, A Jealous Person, is currently on view at Hometown Gallery in Brooklyn (her first New York solo exhibition), memory is wielded as a powerful device for navigating neuroses borne of a set of formative experiences worthy of the Tenenbaum family, and with an equally pleasing palette to boot. [Read more…]
Kerry James Marshall’s Mastry
Met Breuer, NYC
Reviewed by Prajna Desai
When a much-awaited survey of a leading light finally takes shape, and on hallowed ground, it should be forgiven its hagiographic excesses on grounds of perfect execution. The Met Breuer’s staging of Mastry, the first-ever retrospective of MacArthur Foundation Genius Awardee Kerry James Marshall, now 61 and a resident of Chicago, was exactly that, adoring, excessive, and majestic. [Read more…]
Icons in Ash: Cremation Portraits
Ubu Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban
Somewhat hidden, the small, subterranean Ubu Gallery, on 59th Street, close to the East River, is the perfect place for the haunting show by Heide Hatry, known for her use of unique or transgressive materials–such as fashioning flowers out of animal offal, something she artfully did in a previous series. [Read more…]
May Be Seen Moskowitz Bayse Gallery, Los Angeles Reviewed by Christopher Michno
Loosely speaking, Jack Hoyer is a painter of landscapes. May Be Seen, his debut exhibition at Moskowitz Bayse in Hollywood, expresses the hallmarks of modern landscape painting, identified by some historians as beginning with Gustave Courbet: eschewing romanticism in favor of empiricism and the conveyance of inner states of mind. Strictly speaking, only three of his seven oil-on-linen paintings are landscapes; the other four are scenes – places in Los Angeles, or unremarkable locations chosen by the artist on lengthy road trips – that include concrete, buildings and infrastructure. [Read more…]
Anselm Kiefer at White Cube Bermondsey, London Audio commentary by Rachel Reid Wilkie
Rachel Reid Wilkie examines Anselm Kiefer’s exceptional exhibition, Walhalla. The five audio tracks below address the five main rooms of Kiefer’s sprawling underworld. Press play and imaginatively amble through the halls of this dark yet deeply affecting show. [Read more…]
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: There seems to be an explicit call to action in much of your work, or at the very least the demand that one take note of some supreme injustice in the land or amongst peoples. Yet what I appreciate about your work is that, more than it being mere critique or some one-dimensional, stop-action capture, it instead offers a way forward, and in my mind that way forward is dependably the right way forward. I’m thinking of, as an example, a new work of yours titled American Women (Dismantling the Border). Can you speak more to this idea of there being a constructive framework or, rather, this inherently optimistic baseline level of production which seems not only to shape but lay a distinctive stamp across your entire arc of expression? [Read more…]
New Museum, NYC
The New Museum’s three-floor exhibition, Pixel Forest, from Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, is an immersive wonder. If you’re looking for an enchanting, into-the-wilds experience where you can literally lie around — beds and floor cushions are in plenty — then this is the show for you.
The appropriately titled Curtains, Eileen Quinlan’s spare exhibition at Miguel Abreu, unsettles in ways few shows dare. The 24 black-and-white prints, all gelatin silver, communicate a spirit that is both cryptic and choleric. They dampen, these images, as in deaden. They silence. One feels in their presence as if having stepped into the afterings of a wake, casket still open, all guests gone. Something yet lingers. [Read more…]
The press release for Ascension describes an exhibition where “fragmentation abounds in multitudinous ‘selves’, highlighting large-scale interactions between national and, arguably, mystical realms.”
Moving through the Rox Gallery’s two-level group show, however, my impression was that the artists in the gallery’s meandering lower level were engaged in a far more interesting and urgent discussion about a virulent kind of masculinity that is proving to be not just failed but fatal to the longterm existence of our species. [Read more…]
I’ve not been to a wax museum but I can imagine the Frankenstein on display might look something like Corpus Americus, the new group exhibition at Driscoll Babcock. Then again, the better analogy might be in the source material itself, in Shelly’s nameless creature who to this day stalks the starless wilds of our imaginations. For beneath the patchwork of skins stitched loosely into an ungainly whole, there is indeed something alive at the heart of Corpus Americus.
The animating strike is the question, “what does it mean to be an American today,” an idea that resides as much in abstract notions of America as in a chimeric Americana, those fabled high periods of yore. America today is a country far downwind from those onetime peaks, and in the lowlands things have begun to smell a bit foul. The stench no doubt lifts from the Corpse Politicus, our national institution that’s been so supremely bungled by the very leaders we entrusted with its care. [Read more…]
Vincent Desiderio is perhaps settling too comfortably into the role of master. Long considered one of the more skilled and thoughtful painters of our generation, his impressive 2011 showing at New York’s Marlborough put him amongst our best. The exhibition remains a peak moment in Desiderio’s career, where decades of discipline, contemplation, experimentation and deliberate execution came together in an inspired and powerful grouping. His Mourning and Fecundity II, I liberati, and Sink are contemporary masterworks, while few else in the series fell exceedingly short. The collection spoke of an artist in that perfect present tense, aware as much of a considered audience as in the assured lead of his own explorative hand. The best of these paintings hung with a consciousness above craft, their ranging stories both lucid and open. You do not stand in front of Morning and Fecundity II without wending imaginatively through the grave hours prior, nor is it possible to stave away the nearer end. The effect, long one of the great pleasures in Desiderio’s work, is a movement within and beyond the canvas that feels wholly cinematic.
Little of that movement exists in the new collection now on view at Marlborough. And though the theme of this series is “reification,” which suggests a solidification that might intend a termination of movement in the technical narrative as well, too many of these paintings nevertheless feel inert beyond the theme, which should not preclude a heartbeat.
Two works in particular highlight the contrast. [Read more…]