The Start Of Your Ending (41st Side)
Can’t Get Enough Of It
The Start Of Your Ending (41st Side)
Can’t Get Enough Of It
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…]
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…]
1949 | 2017
Excerpted from Jesus’ Son
Car Crashing While Hitchhiking
A salesman who shared his liquor and steered while sleeping . . . A Cherokee filled with bourbon . . . A VW no more than a bubble of hashish fumes, captained by a college student . . .
And a family from Marshalltown who headonned and killed forever a man driving west out of Bethany, Missouri . . .
. . . I rose up sopping wet from sleeping under the pouring rain, and something less than conscious, thanks to the first three of the people I’ve already named–the salesman and the Indian and the student–all of whom had given me drugs. At the head of the entrance ramp I waited without hope of a ride. What was the point, even, of rolling up my sleeping bag when I was too wet to be let into anybody’s car? I draped it around me like a cape. The downpour raked the asphalt and gurgled in the ruts. My thoughts zoomed pitifully. The travelling salesman had fed me pills that made the linings of my veins feel scraped out. My jaw ached. I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside it I knew we’d have an accident in the storm.
I didn’t care. They said they’d take me all the way. [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…]
Kang Seung Lee’s two part exhibition at Commonwealth & Council reflects in part on photography’s documentary capacity by re-examining and reproducing photographs. Lee’s project grapples with the indexical nature of photography, but moves beyond merely exploring concerns surrounding what Roland Barthes called photography’s “evidential force.” [Read more…]
Point Blank is the title of the exhibition of four new paintings by Berlin based German painter Marcel Eichner (b. 1977, Siegburg, Germany) at James Fuentes Gallery, New York. In this show, Eichner works in acrylic and ink, with vigorous ink drawing and marks on broad washes of acrylic ground in pastel pinks and blues, and areas of white. These paintings mark the fulfillment of a new phase in Eichner’s approach to painting, since he has now moved away from his earlier idiom derived from the style of his mentor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Jörg Immendorff. In his earlier work, Eichner emulated the piecework integration of figure and ground that is characteristic of Immendorff, an almost claustrophobic “interior-view” aesthetic so often found in the German Expressionist tradition. [Read more…]
“The voices of dust, the soul of dust: these things interest me many times more than flowers, trees, or horses because I sense they’re so much stranger.”
The Hammer Museum’s exhibit entitled Dubuffet Drawings 1935-62 is, according to their literature, the “first in-depth exhibition of Dubuffet’s drawings.”
I’m not sure if they mean in the United States or perhaps even world -wide. No matter. It is an extraordinary grouping of almost 100 works on paper – many borrowed from France – and the sheer volume is not only a treat for the viewer but provides important insights into Dubuffet’s idiosyncratic technique. His “backstory” – as we say here in California – is quite unusual. Apparently, he showed early artistic talent and had many significant artist friends, but for twenty years was a wine merchant. Not until 1942, at the ripe old age of 41, did he finally commit to being a full time artist. He had his first solo show in Paris two years later. [Read more…]
“I am poor and I am naked, but I am the chief of the nation”
Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Sioux
The Hammer Museum has mounted a massive, sprawling and entertaining retrospective (the first in North America) of the multi-faceted sculptor, poet and activist Jimmie Durham. He is little known in the United States since moving abroad 30 years ago. In 1990 the United States government passed the Indian Arts and Craft Act requiring Indian artists to register in order to protect the consumer. Durham refused to register and wrote the following tongue in cheek statement:
I am a full – blooded contemporary artist, of the subgroup (or clan) called sculptors. I am not American Indian, nor have I ever seen or sworn loyalty to India. I am not a Native ‘American’, nor do I feel that ‘America’ has any right [Read more…]
It would be easy to say that the alternative histories portrayed in the works of Umar Rashid are perfectly timed to reflect the era of “alternative facts” taking place in this historical moment. But the truth is, if you are going to make art intended to talk, both directly and indirectly, about the oppression of people of color and the suppression of their history, there is no time in the modern era when the work would not seem timely.
As Frohawk Two Feathers, and now Umar Rashid, the artist re-imagines 18th century history in images that recall traditional portraiture, folk art and Native American art but updated with details from the contemporary world. The mash-up allows him to speak simultaneously about the past and the present, accompanied by a complicated written narrative that must be read to fully understand the work. [Read more…]
Silent Voices at LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe NM Reviewed by John Biscello
During a recent visit to Santa Fe, I chanced upon the artwork of Linda Stojak. Her show, Silent Voices, was being featured at LewAllen Galleries, and entering the shrine-like atmosphere of the nine-painting exhibition, I immediately felt as if I were holding sacred vigil or bearing witness to metamorphic elegies.
The female subjects comprising Silent Voices seem to exist in a haunted chrysalis state, or embryonic purgatory. Their faces, ashen swabs which are kin to Di Chirico’s faceless enigmas, suggest not only the tragic obliteration of identity but also the potential for rebirth, i.e., a Bardo makeover. [Read more…]
at The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos NM
Reviewed by Erin Currier
Not unlike tin scraps gathered, then painstakingly crafted and painted into ex-voto offerings under the dim flicker of propane lamps in the outer rings of Mexico City, Antigua, or Salvador, and not unlike the mid-century Beat “cut-ups” of William S. Burroughs scattered like lotus petals on a mosaic tiled floor in the junk-sick dawn of Tangiers, and not unlike the embroidered Ayahuasca-dreamt songlines of the Amazonian Shipibo, Anthony Hassett’s pen, ink and glaze drawings in Japanese Moleskin albums are rhythms of a history at once autobiographical and universal: poetic calling cards shuffled and laid bare in a line by an adept renderer’s hand that has the strength and fury of a fighter’s fist combined with the mystical empathy of a Stigmata. [Read more…]
On Saturday, January 21st of this year, Tony welcomed me into he and Erin’s warm home. Greeting me at the door with a big hug and smile, Tony, despite his ongoing lengthy battle with cancer, was his usual self: cracking gallows humour jokes about his health, about the newly inaugurated President Trump, the cop-rotten planet, and so much more. [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…]
No one said anything, or even guessed. Everyone waited for it, what could come after abstract expressionism, which had died alongside Jackson Pollock in a senseless, drunken car crash on August 11, 1956. There weren’t any theories on how artists could further the surface of a canvas with paint and tool. The growing meaninglessness of abstract painting merely ramified after numerous aesthetic dead ends. Unquestionably, no American painter could replace Pollock. However, what would come next didn’t need a spokesman, or a macho flâneur with an anger problem for that matter. The art world was about to explode with an androgynous art wave imbued with the spirit of Duchamp, who said: “The whole trend of painting was something I didn’t care to continue” (Tomkins, 2014, p. 100). Many artists of the next generation excoriated the canvas, turned away from the emotive and toward the cerebral. For them, experience became the creator and the artwork. [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…]