Artists aren’t fans of rules. After studying art history and theory for years, many creative practitioners subvert all they’ve learned in order to make something that feels fresh and new. Painters, in particular, wrestle with age-old ideas about their craft—which can be traced all the way back to when the Neanderthals brushed pigment on cave walls. Naysayers have been purporting that “painting is dead” since photography gave society a new way to freeze momentary images into everlasting art. How, then, to keep it exciting?
One way that artists address this quandary is through innovative materials and processes. Abandoning that most traditional painting tool—the brush—allows for greater experimentation and radical new gestures (though it can often run the risk of seeming gimmicky). Many of the following artists transform the physical act of painting into a violent act, often literally destroying to create.
For nearly five decades, Howardena Pindell has explored the intersection of art and activism. Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen features early figurative paintings, pure abstraction and conceptual works, as well as personal and political art that emerged in the aftermath of a life-threatening car accident in 1979.
The Rose Art Museum’s presentation is a major return of the artist to the museum. In 1993, the Rose hosted Howardena Pindell: A Retrospective, 1972 to 1992. What Remains To Be Seen explores the continued arc of Pindell’s career, celebrating her singular vision and its enduring imprint on contemporary art.
In a famous essay published in the January 1971 issue of ARTnews, Linda Nochlin reiterated the question that was constantly thrown in the faces of women who dared to paint or sculpt: “Why have there been no great women artists?” For Nochlin, it seemed obvious that no effort to respond with a historical counterexample would serve. Not that Artemisia Gentileschi or Berthe Morisot shouldn’t be taken more seriously than male art historians had done thus far. But still: “The fact, dear sisters, is that there are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even, in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol,” she wrote, adding for good measure, “any more than there are Black American equivalents for the same.” The art historian’s problem in her view was to show why...
In the first gallery of the Soul of a Nation exhibition at Brooklyn Museum one is confronted with a Manichean visual scheme. Except for Richard Mayhew’s Pastoral painting, which is itself a muted arrangement of heathery tones, this introductory room is monochrome, black made stentorian situated against shades of white, and white made vivid against ebony. How meaningful this contrast can be is illustrated by two paintings by Norman Lewis. The one that faces the viewer entering through the main doors, Processional (1965), contains a ground that is black, and an abstract array of interwoven, almost-cubist off-white figures wend across the canvas like an undulant line of figures seen through a fun-house telescope. Then, in another painting by Lewis, this one from 1960, the figures metastasize throughout the background, shrouded in white as if enrobed by it — some of them look like triangles with heads and two feet. Then there is a cross. I knew in that moment that if the story alluded to in the image played out, that cross would soon be on fire. The painting is titled America the Beautiful.
From a catalog that sheds new light on black models of mid-19th-century French painting to a collection of mid-1980s art criticism by the novelist and playwright Gary Indiana, the best art books of the past year provided a balm for turbulent times. Below, the New York Times’s art critics choose some of their favorites.
The histories of art are always in motion if you look hard enough. This year it didn’t take much looking to see waves being made by several books and catalogs that delved deeper into familiar areas or pioneered new ones, adding some euphoria to our blighted moment.
When Ronald Ollie was an engineering student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in the early 1970s, he would take dates to the St. Louis Art Museum. “The other engineers would say, ‘Why are you taking that woman to the art museum?”’ he recalled
The woman on the cover of Junctures in Women’s Leadership: The Arts is coming right at you, radiant with spirit and energy, a serpent clutched in one hand, a flowing gold-spangled blue cape in the other, her skirt flaring above her powerful thighs. The sense is that she’s breaking through barriers, leading the way, ferocious, unstoppable, the enemy of oppression and complacency (the fallen angel she’s crushing under her running shoes is “said to be” a symbol of patriarchy).
No one, to my mind, embodied the spirit of 1960s Chicago like Penelope Rosemont. Rosemont, along with her husband and creative partner, Franklin Rosemont, was at the center of the scrappy Chicago Surrealist Group and worked with Students for a Democratic Society and other radical groups to help instigate the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. I once had the pleasure of speaking with her about those momentous days, which she described as a heady mixture of outrage, terror, camaraderie, and high spirits — a combination that, during the convention, caught the imagination of the world. “Not bad,” she said, “for a bunch of kids.”
“Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950 to Now,” currently on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is billed as the first major survey of Native American contemporary art. With that exhibition in mind, below is Robin Cembalest’s article “Native American Art: Pride and Prejudice,” originally printed in the February 1992 issue of ARTnews, with a spotlight on a variety of indigenous artists in America and the many issues they face while trying to get their work into mainstream institutions. (The article makes use of the term “Indian,” a label used more often than “Native American” at the time.) During the ’90s, the story notes, contemporary Native American artists were faced with a decision: How much or how little should they rely on their heritage? For some, playing up their identity in their work was unavoidable. As the artist Kay WalkingStick told Cembalest, “I happen to be a native person. Of course it affects what I do.” —Alex Greenberger
“Native American Art: Pride and Prejudice”
By Robin Cembalest
Outdated images of Indians abound in museums and the art market. As the Native American community fights to transcend those stereotypes, museum policy, scholarship, and Indian art itself are changing radically
The Housatonic Museum of Art is open for rediscovery.
An excellent, if remote, starting point is a painting from 1963 by the Pop artist Allan D’Arcangelo displayed at the far end of a corridor on the third floor of Beacon Hall, the second of two main buildings at Housatonic Community College.
This fall, the story of our changing relationship with the natural world is being comprehensively told through a groundbreaking exhibition encompassing three centuries of American art. Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment presents more than 120 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, videos and works of decorative art, from the colonial period to the present, exploring for the first time how American artists of different traditions and backgrounds have both reflected and shaped environmental understanding while contributing to the development of a modern ecological consciousness.
Between 1966 and 1969, Chicago artists Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum came together to stage six group exhibitions — three in Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center, and one each in San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Immersive, wild, and irreverent, these shows struck a chord with the changing society and art world of the late 1960s. Calling themselves the Hairy Who, the artists subverted the group exhibition format by drawing attention to their individual talent and skill through comic-like exhibition catalogs and promotional posters. (The tongue-in-cheek name originates from the group’s discussion about WFMT art critic Harry Bouras. Wirsum, interrupting, asked: "Harry who? Who is this guy?")
Howardena Pindell, like many of her fellow Black, female peers, has long been under-appreciated for her contributions to contemporary art, and this touring career survey covers a full fifty years of her artwork, activism, writing, and work as a curator and educator. Embedded within the exhibition is a timeline of Pindell’s life. Among the contents are two photographs of the artist, strikingly dissimilar despite the fact they were taken a mere five years apart. The first, dating to 1967, shows Pindell as a 24-year-old career woman sitting in her office at the Museum of Modern Art, looking neatly polished and professional. She sits upright with impeccable posture, hands crossed, looking demurely away from the camera. The other, taken circa 1972, shows her in the studio, sitting casually on a bucket or can, with her elbows resting on her pants soiled at the knees with the materials of her practice. The artist looks straight at the camera, with one hand raised to scratch her head, with a slightly quizzical look, as if asking “What are you looking at?”
The two photos are somewhat ancillary, but their striking juxtaposition drives home a truth about Pindell that is demonstrated over and over again in the exhibition: her life and work cover an array of modes and tenors, moving between and among artistic mediums and styles, art world factions, and activist camps. Not that Pindell comes across as a chameleon who blends into any situation to remain unseen or be readily accepted. In fact, the opposite seems to be true; despite the risks of disconnection, strife, or misunderstanding with those around her, Pindell unapologetically refuses to conform or be true to anyone but herself. She pursues her interests and concerns, disregarding the parameters of existing tribes and silos. As exhibition co-curator Naomi Beckwith states: “Before it was a term, Howardena Pindell was thinking about intersectionality… what it means to create in this world, but also be a full human being.”
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith and five Montana artists will be presented with the 2018 Governor’s Arts Award in a public ceremony at the Capitol in Helena, 3 p.m., Friday, December 7. The Montana Arts Council will host the ceremony and a reception that follows, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
The first exhibition since the late artist’s 2017 solo outing at Art + Practice in Los Angeles, this show, titled Space, Time, Light, showcases paintings and mixed media works produced by Al Loving between 1976 and 1993. Spotlighting the abstractionist’s experimentations with geometry and color, the show features Loving’s collages and fabric wall-hangings made from torn canvas, which were often made in mind of work by Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, and Hans Hofmann.
Art is in a real sense a war on cliche, it is a way of seeing better than our first glance. And so Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art means to engage with one of the comfortably numb corners of the American scene with its new, free exhibit Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Now -- a look at work made by American Indian artists since 1952 that challenges (and occasionally subverts) the idea of Southwest kitsch and the aura of noble mysticism that attaches to our idea of Indian art.
Despite the prevailing notion of such art as decorative and tchotchke-ish, even a casual stroll through the current show is liable to explode notions of earnest solemnity.
So look at Monster Indian (1968) by Fritz Scholder.
Here we see a pop pastel palette reminiscent of, say, Ed Ruscha, and a heavy Francis Bacon flutter-and-wow influence. This isn't a solemn mystic or a stoic victim -- this isn't Kaw-Liga or Tonto. And no monster, either: the subject, befeathered with a bone breast plate, looks beseechingly vulnerable.
Scholder, who was born in 1937, is one of the more familiar names in this exhibit, and probably the most essential one. Or, as Coyote, a character in an imaginary play by academic Norman K. Denzin called The Traveling Indian Medicine Show (which exists in Denzin's intimidatingly titled 2013 book Indians on Display: Global Commodification of Native America in Performance, Art and Museums), called him: "... the one and only. The King. The man who helped rewrite how Native Americans have been painted by whites. The painter who painted Indians drinking Coors beer. The painter who painted drunk Indians in the back of worn-out cars. The painter who wrapped Indians in the American flag. An Indian Andy Warhol who painted flags, cats and beer cans. The painter who gave us white Indians and Indian vampires."
Visitors stepping out of the University of Michigan’s Taubman Gallery (currently paying host to a punchy and politically-charged exhibition of art of the African diaspora) who then wander in to the adjacent show, Abstraction, Color, and Politics in the Early 1970s,will perhaps find themselves in a gallery space austere by comparison, containing four allusive abstract paintings and sculptures. It’s a highly conceptual micro-exhibition comprising works by Helen Frankenthaler, Al Loving, Sam Gilliam, and Louise Nevelson. In spite of the show’s title, as political statements, their significance isn’t self-evident (something perhaps tacitly acknowledged by the interrogative opening line of the show introductory text: Can abstract art be about politics and identity?), but what the artists in this tactfully assembled ensemble have in common is their defiant refusal to conform to the art-world’s expectations of what their art should be.
Viewers first encounter a geometric abstraction by Al Loving (one of Detroit’s own, though he later lived and worked out of New York City). Influenced in the 1970s by the hard-edge color squares of Josef Albers, Loving’s Bowery Morning is a simple yet disorienting network of shapes which could be read variously as an ensemble of polygons or cubes. Loving created the work in 1971, the same year he participated in the Whitney Museum’s highly controversial Contemporary Black Artists in America, a show which acquired notoriety when fifteen artists withdrew to protest the decisions made by the show’s mostly white curatorial staff. But conspicuous by its absence in Loving’s work was any commentary on the social or political issues of his day.
Even before one steps through the doors to the new temporary exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum, art is already on display, drawing the viewer in to the ongoing conversation of what exactly constitutes American art. Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now challenges the viewer to consider the often neglected perspective of Indigenous peoples as part of the American experience, and further, what exactly modern Native art can be in that context.
The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery will present Faculty Exhibition 2018, featuring new work by Stony Brook University’s acclaimed Department of Art faculty. The exhibit, which will be on display through December 16, includes painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, mixed media, video and digital work. The 18 artists engage a broad range of ideas, creating innovative new work.
Pace Gallery is exhibiting a selection of works inspired by Rosalind Krauss’ critical writing on Sol LeWitt at the ongoing Frieze Masters 2018. Curated by Adam Pendleton, Pace’s booth at Frieze Masters 2018 brings together a selection of works that are process or conceptually oriented.
For lovers of Western culture in all of its contemporary complexity, no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a stop in Griffith Park to visit the Autry Museum of the American West. Its wide-ranging collection has continued to grow and evolve since the museum’s founding in 1988.
As the Art Institute’s summer exhibit of Sargent’s Gilded Age masterpieces comes to a close, their new fall exhibit, Hairy Who? 1966–1969, pounds impatiently at the door. Hairy Who is the name of a collective of six artists whose bizarre and endlessly entertaining artworks have taken over much of the museum’s temporary exhibition space.
If you plan on doing both Frieze fairs, I recommend seeing Masters second. Frieze London’s intensity can be exhausting; its relentless heralding of the new can rise to a cacophony. Which makes a visit to Frieze Masters soothing. Yes, it’s an art fair, but it’s the closest these events get to the pleasure of seeing art in a museum.
Since the 1960s artist Howardena Pindell has been inspiring the next generation of black women in the art world to continue breaking down barriers and creating spaces for women of color to be heard. Two black women working as curators organized an exhibit featuring her work at VMFA. Gabrielle Jones has more for Virginia Currents.
Can abstract art be about politics? In the early 1970s, that question was hotly debated as artists, critics and the public grappled with the relationship between art, politics, race and feminism. For some, the decision by women artists and artists of color to make abstract art represented a retreat from politics and protest.
Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts is an exploratory case study in institutional racism as it has manifested in the New York City art world over the past half century. Centering public protest as the platform of the oppressed—and, in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, “riot as the language of the unheard”—author Aruna D’Souza offers an uncensored look at the role black artists, activists, and their allies have played in forging more equitable practices within the field of contemporary art. In each instance—Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket (2016) in the 2017 Whitney Biennial; Artists Space’s 1979 exhibition The Nigger Drawings; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1969 exhibition Harlem on My Mind— “artistic freedom” emerges as the linchpin in arguments defending these lessons in cultural appropriation, exclusion, and fetishization. In response, D’Souza interrogates the ethical limitations of freedom,and brilliantly presents all sides of these moral arguments without slipping into an #AllSidesMatter perspective. Rather, she puts her own privilege at risk by applying her intimate knowledge and power of observation to rewrite art history through a broader lens. She adopts a clear stance as ally, defender of truth, and witness who—by her own confession—“strays from journalist to partisan to historian to protester,” as the book unfolds.
Throughout his career, Al Loving maintained that he was an Abstract Expressionist. Whether working with paint, fabric, paper collage, or mixed media, he saw his work as an ever-evolving project creating new dimensions and possibilities for personal expression. At first glance, Loving’s hard-edged abstract paintings of interlocking cubes from the 1960s might appear as anything but personal. The cube, however, held special significance for the artist, and finding new iterations of the form and, through it, new possibilities for abstraction became his chosen path for personal and artistic growth and exploration—not unlike Kazimir Malevich with his square-based Suprematism.
Are you kidding? You think I want to run a store?” That was the response, Phyllis Kind recalled in an interview more than 50 years later, that she gave her husband, Joshua, when he suggested that they open a gallery in Chicago in 1967. The space he was eyeing was located above the prominent dealer Bud Holland, and it was only $85 dollars a month. Eventually Phyllis agreed. “I said alright, primarily because I was so bored with whatever was happening to my life,” she said.
This year’s Spotlight section at Frieze Masters – a platform for presenting the work of 20th-century artists who deserve greater attention – includes a record 26 galleries. One of these, Garth Greenan Gallery, will present work by the American Pop artist Rosalyn Drexler, whose multimedia assemblages made from bright pigment combined with cut-out magazine reproductions offered a candid comment on the problems inherent in the society she lived in. From racism and alienation to abusive relationships, Drexler was never afraid to shine a light on injustice.
Since the 1960s, multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell has been pushing the limits. She was one of the first women of color to curate at a major museum, an abstract painter when black artists were expected to represent their ideas figuratively, and overt about social and political issues when abstract artists where expected to produce work free of such “impurities”. She broke the boundaries of painting itself, using unconventional materials and techniques in her work from the beginning of her career. And she continues to challenge art world dogma as her career moves into its 6th decade.
Here are three things to know about Hairy Who, the subject of a major exhibition opening this week at the Art Institute of Chicago:
It was a branding exercise, rude, cheeky, and astoundingly successful.
It catapulted the half-dozen young Chicago artists who created it in the late 1960s to national and international art world attention.
And there's been a lot of confusion about it ever since.
The AIC show, "Hairy Who? 1966-1969," aims to clear up that confusion and, if its impressive catalog is any indication, will give us an encyclopedic look at the raucous, ribald, comic book-and-urban culture-inspired original work.
Decades before the invention of the emoji, artist Suellen Rocca began communicating via endearing, cartoonish signs. In her drawings and paintings from the 1960s, simple pictographs of rings, palm trees, hats, dancing couples, bananas, and ice cream cones help to obliquely reference her life as a young woman in Chicago.
In 1966, six students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago approached Don Baum, artistic director of the Hyde Park Art Center, with a proposal to present a group show. Adopting a name derived from an inside joke, the Hairy Who inspired other intrepid young Chicago artists to organize their own group exhibitions. A few year later, art historian Franz Schulze would dub these self-sufficient young creators “the Chicago Imagists.
“The only way to do it was to do it yourself,” says Mark Pascale, the co-curator of an exhibition celebrating the Hairy Who, a loose collective of six artists, formed out of a desire to show their work, as there were so few galleries at the time in Chicago. The Hairy Who artists—Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca and Karl Wirsum—were all former students of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and shared an affinity for the same source material, such as comics, ethnographic art and flea market finds. They created colourful, graphic work dominated by distorted, often ribald figures.
This knee-weakening revelation presents seven monochrome paintings dating from 1957 to 1960 by Ralph Humphrey (1932-1990), then in his late 20s. They are nearly mythic to painting fans of a certain age but known mostly from photographs, or seen one or two at a time. Neither experience prepares you for the visual power and fugue-like complexity of these works, last exhibited as a group at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1960.
Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen (Aug. 25-Nov. 25, 2018) opened recently at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond. Howard Pindell is a trailblazer. She was the first black woman to earn an MFA from Yale University (1967). Shortly thereafter, she was hired at MoMA where she was the first black female curator.
Gladys Nilsson’s career has followed her husband Jim Nutt’s and her distinct recognition is long overdue. Both had the same coming up as BFA graduates from SAIC, were exhibitors in the original Hairy Who exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center, began teaching future generations in 1968, and received honorary doctorate degrees from SAIC in 2016. Nilsson’s figures that are often hybridized with plants and other animals bring non-human colors and patterns onto humanoid figures and take on particular resonance with the art world’s present fixation on the Anthropocene. Two exhibitions in Chicago open this September, featuring work by Nilsson in context with her beginnings: The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960-1980 at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, and Hairy Who? 1966-1969 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
A.I.R. Gallery’s current exhibition, Dialectics of Entanglement: Do We Exist Together?, is a new take on a similar show from 1980: Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States. The original Dialectics was based on a proposal, radical for its time, by three artists — Ana Mendieta, Kazuko, and Zarina — to curate a show exclusively of “Third World” women artists at A.I.R., a women’s cooperative gallery whose membership was predominantly white. In the 1970s, the designation “Third World” was often used synonymously with “people of color,” but also linked to the radical activist work of groups like the Third World Liberation Front (a student-led group from Berkeley, California) and the Third World Women’s Alliance (founded in New York by Black women activists) that sought to organize across multiple ethnic groups for common causes. In the brief, powerful catalogue essay authored by Mendieta in 1980, she condemns “American Feminism” for its whiteness and class privilege, showing us that claiming the category of a Third World woman was a way of inhabiting a powerful “will to remain ‘other.’”
On display: Howardena Pindell’s 1980 video Free, White and 21, through Dec. 23, in which the artist appears in whiteface to convey the often-invisible racism confronting black women; The Touch of the Butterfly: Whistler and His Influence, through Dec. 16; The Character of Characters, through Dec. 23, A.D. White Professor-at-Large Xu Bing’s playful and poetic five-channel animation, included in the Cornell Council for the Arts 2018 Biennial; and Leo Villareal’s Cosmos, ongoing.
My name is Jeffrey Gibson, and I’m here to speak about Free, White, and 21, the artwork from 1980 by Howardena Pindell. I think Howardena’s video is incredibly generous, and speaking to people who would have had, and have, a shared experience with her. The idea of just speaking from your very honest, earnest, transparent biographical narrative to expose injustices and a kind of emotional restraint and intellect is something that comes through really clear with this video.
Valerie Cassel Oliver grew up in a family of 10 children in Houston’s Third Ward at the close of the segregation era. As a child, she saw art museums as places with marble floors that kids were bused to, not places where she could imagine herself employed.
They are carefully melded to the earth, absorbed into woodlands and sewn into the fabric of existing structures. Meandering the 1,200-acre UC San Diego campus, you will likely stumble upon a treasure—a giant, vibrantly colored bird embellished with a gilded crown, an oversized red shoe frolicking through the theatre district, or a secret lookout with coded messages.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries, will host his first “Interview Marathon” in the United States this fall. The event will be part of the Chicago Humanities Festival—an initiative developed in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art, Expo Chicago, and Navy Pier—and will take place on Saturday, September 29.
I remember seeing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the big screen in 1986, back when I was nine. I was amused at what I was watching — and yet, I felt even then, at that young age, that the protagonist was an arrogant, bratty little shit. Kids playing hooky is nothing new, but writer-director John Hughes presents Bueller (Matthew Broderick) as more than just a typical teen playing sick so he can spend the day seeing the Chicago sights. He makes him a folk hero. He’s the most popular kid in school (“They all think he’s a righteous dude,” Edie McClurg’s secretary memorably says). When word gets around about his supposed “illness,” his home is overrun by get-well bouquets and sexually suggestive singing telegrams. “Save Ferris” soon becomes a mantra that spreads like wildfire. (A skacore band later adopted the name.) He even has the respect of both cops and criminals.
John Baldessari, co-curator of Norm Laich: This Brush for Hire at ICA LA, remarked recently of his chosen exhibition title, I think I probably said that because I watch a lot of Westerns. Anyone can chart their way through history by the big names, but for a more rewarding degree of rigour, try following the sidemen. Artist Norm Laich is the dexterous Slim Pickins to the flashier Jack Nicholsons and Clint Eastwoods of the Los Angeles art scene. Since the early 1990s, he has been the go-to guy to realize artworks requiring the precision of a classically-trained sign painter. Hence this show of nearly 20 pieces executed by Laich, including works from Amanda Ross-Ho, Karen Carson, Mike Kelley, Alexis Smith, Lawrence Weiner, and the show’s curators, Baldessari and Meg Cranston. Laich has worked with more than 50 others, among them Kathryn Andrews, Brian Bress, Barbara Kruger, Liz Larner and Lari Pittman.
In the late 1990s, when art dealers Pat Hearn and Matthew Marks decided to collaborate on a group show called Painting: Now and Forever, Hearn suggested they append Part I to the title. “That way,” she told Marks, “if any artist that’s not in it complains, we’ll just say you’re going to be in Part II. ”
The contemporary art market is an intensely and increasingly competitive space, especially for resource-constrained public not-for-profits looking to build relevant collections of exemplary quality to be preserved for their publics; this is a heady charge. When one adds to this equation the increasingly apparent truth that those public collections have been assembled with both conscious and unconscious gender and race-based biases as powerful determining factors, then directors and curators are faced with a doubly exhilarating challenge: to build towards a just and equitable future by looking at what’s next, while concurrently and with equal vigour looking back and correcting the sundry oversights and omissions of the past. Museums are entering slowly into a new era of heightened consciousness wherein histories and futures must be examined and presented fulsomely without the taint of prejudice.
Critics, audiences and art world gatekeepers have often reviled or marginalized folk, outsider or self-taught art. But the aim of the traveling exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art at the High Museum of Art is to not only give outsiders their due, but even link them in style, in method and in spirit to trained artists, with whom they often have much in common.
IN 1966, TWO BROTHERS, Alonzo and Dale Davis, set out from Los Angeles on a road trip across the United States, seeking out other artists of color like them. They meant for the trip “to broaden our limited art history experience,” Alonzo says, since African-American artists had been conspicuously absent from his curriculum at Pepperdine University, or Dale’s at the University of Southern California. “We drove from L.A. to Mississippi, up through New York and Chicago, and somewhere between all those cornfields, we thought: it’d be interesting to own a gallery.”
Pop art, op art, minimalism, fluxus, and conceptual art movements were introduced in the 1960s. Delving into their permanent collection, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA) assembled art representing these historical movements into Far Out — Art from the 1960s. The exhibit features a 1960s living room and is on display in their main galleries, at 227 State St., until Sept. 2.
If there’s any medium that’s proven surprisingly controversial in the past ten years, it’s painting. Some have claimed painting is dead, and some have claimed the medium is particularly vital right now; some have bemoaned the proliferation of contemporary abstraction that hits the auction block, and some have energetically promoted a new crop of figurative painters; and some, like ARTnews contributor Greg Allen, have jokingly turned it into a hashtag (#painting) on Twitter.
If there’s any medium that’s proven surprisingly controversial in the past ten years, it’s painting. Some have claimed painting is dead, and some have claimed the medium is particularly vital right now; some have bemoaned the proliferation of contemporary abstraction that hits the auction block, and some have energetically promoted a new crop of figurative painters; and some, like ARTnews contributor Greg Allen, have jokingly turned it into a hashtag (#painting) on Twitter.
With its striking design courtesy of Steven Holl Architects, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art is not your average collegiate gallery. Its debut this spring has given art and architecture buffs new cause to visit the institute’s hometown.
This show, titled Hello Hollywood, focuses on mixed-media collages created by Alexis Smith during the 1970s and 1980s. As the exhibition’s title suggests, the works often deal with the mythology surrounding Los Angeles, which is both the place of the artist’s birth and current residence. In the show’s titular installation, two rows of palm trees are set in the gallery alongside roadside advertisements for the now-defunct company Burma Shave, creating an ad-hoc version of a classically Southern Californian landscape.
The rag-tag group of artists known as the Imagists gained a certain notoriety in 1960s Chicago for creating art populated by monstrous cartoons, illogical landscapes, and puerile (often downright disgusting) scenes. The bright colors and garish figures take cues from comic books, folk art, and Surrealism, not so much blurring the boundaries between high and low culture but forsaking them altogether. Artists of Chicago subgroups like the Hairy Who and Monster Roster made the concurrent Pop art movement sweeping New York look like a scene from Norman Rockwell‘s Saturday Evening Post. While Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist were elevating graphic arts—and making a case for white-cube gallery acceptance—the Imagist’s work was never more polished than the comics that served as inspiration.
Howardena Pindell’s retrospective, What Remains To Be Seen, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) spans more than five decades. Pindell, who began as a figurative painter, turned to a process-oriented practice around 1967, the year she graduated from Yale, favoring abstraction and mixed-media materials, of which her hole punches are the best known. Her dot paintings, as they are often referred to, use the dots from a hole-puncher on large abstract canvases, adding texture and depth to the surface. However, as the exhibition makes evident, she has explored many materials and is a meticulous maker who also takes pleasure in repetition. She methodically repeats actions such as drawing vectors or punching holes, which in turn meditatively investigates order, calling into question the stability of systems that govern daily life and conceptions of reality. In repeating lines, numbers, etc., she calls attention to the relative trivialness of certain logics that are accepted as truth.
Multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell has reached an apex in her career. With the recent presentation of her work in major survey exhibitions, her art has become a phenomenon of its own. Pindell tenderly and painstakingly braids her formal artistic skills, political positioning, and personal reflections into sculptural canvases that at their most impactful seem to bloom in psychedelic colors that reach beyond the work’s surface. Pindell’s exacting rigor transforms her art into playful, eye-arresting fractals and procedural poetry. A retrospective of her work is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago until May 20.
Two new exhibitions, both opening May 5 at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts, couldn’t be more different. While one consists of abstract art in a colorful myriad of media, the other offers up a tight focus on stark black and white photography.
Perhaps you’ve been hearing about a certain Saudi prince lately. Since being named the successor to the throne last summer, the son of King Salman from his third marriage, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has ushered in a wave of economic and cultural reforms that include the lifting of a 35-year cinema ban, curbing the power of the religious police and granting women the right to drive. Then there was the purge of his political opponents that saw them luxuriously incarcerated – with some allegedly tortured – for several months in a Riyadh Ritz Carlton. The concerted isolation of Qatar and the ongoing catastrophe in Yemen have been all but eclipsed by MBS’s recent flashy US tour in which he hobnobbed with Oprah and Dwayne Johnson (the Rock). The millennial prince wants to modernize Saudi Arabia and the media can’t get enough.
Chelsea may be the New York art neighborhood that many people love to disdain. It also may be approaching a tipping point, where new apartment towers outnumber galleries. But the place is not monolithic. Its scores of galleries come in all shapes, sizes and annual budgets, and as usual they offer a ton of art to be seen. Here is but a small sample.
Some art exhibitions are also lessons in the history of art. Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen, a long-overdue survey of the indomitable African-American woman’s oeuvre, on view through the end of May at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, provides so many it’s hard to believe they stem from just one show and person.
There are certain shows that change one’s sense of art. Surface Work is one of them. Spread across two sites, it is nothing less than an anthology of abstract painting spanning an entire century, from early constructivism to post-digital sampling, in which every work holds its own and every work is by a woman. This is a rare and historic event.
Best known for her abstract canvases encrusted with paper chads, Howardena Pindell has addressed a broad range of aesthetic and conceptual concerns in her art, a diversity further reflected in her work as a curator, educator, activist and writer. With What Remains to Be Seen, co-curated by Naomi Beckwith of the MCA Chicago and Valerie Cassel Oliver of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the artist receives her first major travelling retrospective and a comprehensive look at a practice that spans over 50 years.
9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a member of the Salish and Kootenai nation, will have eight recent works on view in this exhibition, her first with Garth Greenan Gallery. Drawing inspiration from her travels around the Pacific Northwest and California with her father, a horse trader, Smith illuminates the relationship between indigenous culture and contemporary American life in her work. Four mixed-media paintings come from a series Smith began in the early ’90s that recalls her father’s stories of older Native Americans who survived colonial violence, while sculptural work framed by a canoe refers to the ongoing debates about climate change that persist today.
With New York’s art scene being so prominent yet ever changing, you’ll want to be sure to catch significant shows. Time Out New York rounds up the top five art exhibitions of the week, from offerings at the best photography and art galleries in NYC to shows at renowned institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim.
The poster image for Howardena Pindell’s first major museum retrospective, Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, shows a blurred figure diving into a pool overlaid with markerdrawn numbers and arrows that seem to describe a hidden kinetic order. The photograph was made in 1975 and is one of the first iterations from her series of Video Drawings (1974 – ongoing) in which Pindell photographed drawings on acetate in front of her television screen. Many of the early Video Drawings depict athletes in motion and have a vaguely conspiratorial quality to them, as if they’re revealing urgent truths encoded in quotidian events. Without any indication of what the numbers and arrows refer to, the works resonate with implied significance that’s undampened by political specificity. More than any other works in the show, the early Video Drawings feel like questions.
This weekend, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago officially launches MADE YOU LOOK, the first major advertising campaign for the museum in 20 years. The launch is in conjunction with the MCA's first-ever pop-up experience dedicated to the work of groundbreaking artist Howardena Pindell, whose retrospective is currently on view at the museum. This free, two-day pop-up experience takes as its theme the year 1979, which was a pivotal time in Pindell's life and work. Attendees can interact with and experience the music, art and pop culture of 1979, created by advertising agency FCB Chicago. The pop-up event takes place on Saturday, April 7 (10 am to 5 pm), and Sunday, April 8 (noon to 5 pm), at 1330 N Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.
Collectors like Beth Rudin DeWoody face an enviable problem: They own so much art, they have no place to hang it. That’s why DeWoody opened the Bunker, a new art facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, which was unveiled to select VIPs during Miami Art Week this past December.
There’s something to be said for an art fair that takes care of its own. This came to mind while scrolling through my Instagram feed to find an image of red roses a friend posted that she received as a woman exhibitor on International Women’s Day. The photo wasn’t staged by Independent: To my knowledge there was no official announcement by the fair. Independent had exercised its best judgment in treating its exhibitors with care and compassion.
Why, you might ask, does a city with one of the world’s highest concentrations of contemporary art galleries also need to host seasonal extravaganzas where hundreds more galleries pour into the city to share their wares? Good question, but there’s no time to ponder it now, because it’s Armory Week! There are a few changes to the lineup this time around: the typically concurrent ADAA Art Show happened last week; the video-centric Moving Image fair has jumped ship for Frieze Week in May; the Collective Design fair has done the opposite, joining Armory Week; and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair happened to land this week. Here’s a look at what’s in store.
The art school in south London that nurtured many a YBA in the late 1980s opens the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in September thanks to help from some of its most successful alumni. Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, and Antony Gormley among others donated work that raised almost $2 million at an auction held by Christie’s, covering nearly half the cost of the $5.5 million project.
The Museum of Contemporary Art’s immense new exhibition, Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen, is hard to describe in several paragraphs. The exhibition, which opened last Saturday, is the first major survey of Howardena Pindell’s career and spans over 50 years of work by the black artist who is too frequently overlooked in the annals of art history.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (443) 573-1700, artbma.org. Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Counterparts, A suite of new paintings by 2017 MacArthur fellow Njideka Akunyili Crosby drawing from her experience as a Nigerian immigrant. Through March 18. Phaan Howng: The Succession of Nature, in collaboration with Blue Water Baltimore, local artist Phaan Howng highlights local environmental issues through a toxic-toned immersive installation. Through Aug. 31. Spiral Play: Loving in the ’80s, Three dimensional collages in intense colors and spiral shapes by the late African-American abstract expressionist Al Loving. Through April 15. Tomás Saraceno: Entangled Orbits, Web-like clusters of iridescent-paneled modules are suspended in the museum’s East Lobby. Through June 10. Black Box: Kara Walker & Hank Willis Thomas, Salvation by Kara Walker and And I Can’t Run by Hank Willis Thomas are paired as explorations of the legacy of slavery. Through March 18. Crossing Borders: Mexican Modernist Prints, 30 prints and drawings by artists including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Elizabeth Catlett. Through March 11. Beyond Flight: Birds in African Art, Approximately 20 works demonstrate the symbolic roles birds serve within African cultures. Through June 10. Head Back & High: Senga Nengudi, Performance Objects, 1976–2015, Performance photography and a video documenting more than 40 years of work from American artist Senga Negudi. Through May 27. Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning, Baltimore-based painter and quilting artist Stephen Towns’ large Birth of a Nation quilt is surrounded by his ongoing Story Quilts series narrating the life of Nat Turner. On view March 7-Sept. 2, conversation with Stephen Towns and Mark Bradford on March 7, 7 p.m.
For Al Loving, the 80’s were a time for a redefinition of his artwork. After years of art revolving around geometric shapes, the 80’s proved to be a sort of coming-out party for Loving, as he redefined his style and reputation as an artist. As a result, this period of work went down as Loving’s spiral era. Many of those pieces are now on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
On the second floor of West Pattee, nestled in the Music and Media Center, is a haven of art, culture, and history. An exhibit entitled “Home: Contemporary Indigenous Artists Responding” displays twelve indigenous artists’ pieces all based on the theme of “home.”
At the The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, we’re eagerly waiting for the opening of the first major survey of the work by the groundbreaking, multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell. The show will focus on constant themes and visual experiments with textures, colors and structures that marked her career.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents the first major survey of the work of groundbreaking, multidisciplinary artist Howardena Pindell. The exhibition spans the New York-based artist's five-decades-long career, featuring early figurative paintings, pure abstraction and conceptual works, and personal and political art that emerged in the aftermath of a life-threatening car accident in 1979. Tracing the themes and visual experiments that run throughout Pindell's work, the exhibition shows how she challenged the traditional art world and asserted her place in its history as an African-American woman artist. Pindell revolutionized painting from her early, radical explorations of color and shape to her later work that expanded to address human rights injustices such as war, famine, homelessness, racism, and the AIDs crisis. Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen is co-curated by MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith and Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and is on view from February 24 to May 20, 2018.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago aims to canonise the Color Field painter Howardena Pindell as an activist artist dedicated to her era’s social and political causes while equally committed to the serious art of abstract painting. Pindell, who emerged in the late 1960s, protested against homelessness, HIV/AIDS, racism and apartheid in the streets as well as in the studio. She was a leading voice against the exhibition in 1979 at Artists Space in New York of Donald Newman’s The Nigger Drawings, and also advocated for women’s equal representation in galleries.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago aims to canonise the Color Field painter Howardena Pindell as an activist artist dedicated to her era’s social and political causes while equally committed to the serious art of abstract painting. Pindell, who emerged in the late 1960s, protested against homelessness, HIV/Aids, racism and apartheid in the streets as well as in the studio. She was a leading voice against the exhibition in 1979 at Artists Space in New York of Donald Newman’s The Nigger Drawings, and also advocated for women’s equal representation in galleries.
Howardena Pindell, the artist whose work will comprise What Remains To Be Seen, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s next big show, “provides another history of American art,” says curator Naomi Beckwith. Born in pre-civil rights Philadelphia to an African-American family obsessed with Jackie Robinson-era baseball, Pindell has frequently found inspiration in the movements of sports, translating them into abstract works. The new exhibition, the artist’s first major survey, invites audiences to dive into a true experimenter’s half-century journey of tackling societal ills such as sexism and racism in part through examining the deep societal bonds of sports. “Her experiments are radical art practices,” says Beckwith. “But in another way, they allow her to speak to a broader audience.” Feb. 24-May 20, 5220 E. Chicago Ave.
There is a chance one might trip on chairs at the Weisman. No, this is not some millennial slang nor some vague metaphor for a political maneuver in our fraught nation, but a frank observation of California artist Alexis Smith’s exhibit, Private Lives and Public Affairs.
It’s been quite a while since “outsider art” — the not wholly satisfactory term coined by the British art historian Roger Cardinal in 1972 — has occupied the art world’s peripheries, far from the insiders’ world of top-tier galleries, museums, and the market. Outsider art’s abiding allure is evident in the extensive infrastructure now supporting its display and dissemination, encompassing museum collections, art fairs, and foundations devoted to important figures. It’s inconceivable the significance of outsider art will ever recede from view. We can even speak of “canonical” outsider artists (Henry Darger, James Castle, Martín Ramírez) whose prominence within this art-historical rubric seems as secure as Pollock’s and De Kooning’s within Abstract Expressionism. The rise and entrenchment of outsider art and its tributaries (most notably, though most uneasily, folk art) signal that this kind of work stirs up (without necessarily satisfying) some of the fundamental desires that inform our experience of art more broadly. Clearly we want something from outsider art. But what is it?
Past Lives is the aptly named collaboration between artist Alexis Smith and poet Amy Gerstler. The 1989 installation based on an elementary school classroom features a large blackboard with cursive sentences scrolled in chalk. Each phrase, composed by Gerstler, is a possible summary of a child’s future life and each could seem credible or dubious: “Came to literature late.” Or “His journey towards anarchy was a long one.”
On November 16, 2017, an underground section of the Keystone Pipeline in northeastern South Dakota spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil. As part of the same pipeline network, the Dakota Access Pipeline had been deemed too hazardous to locate near the local water supply of Bismarck, North Dakota, and so was rerouted beneath the Missouri River upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Assurances had been given that the Dakota Access Pipeline would not leak into the Missouri River and contaminate the primary source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation (or damage the multi-state Ogallala Aquifer—one of the largest in the world). Continued pipeline building led to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests that temporarily halted this construction and made visible, partly through the power of social media (#NoDAPL), both the plight and the resistance of various Native populations gathered at the site. The Dakota Access Pipeline also crossed territory preserved in perpetuity solely for its indigenous population by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. In other words, no non-Natives would be allowed to live in at least half of what is now South Dakota without the permission of the tribes occupying the land. This treaty was violated and ignored within a couple years of its signing, although in 1980, the United States Supreme Court upheld certain aspects of its legality, offering as compensation a cash settlement that the current Sioux tribes continue to reject, insisting on the return of the Black Hills in particular according to the articles of the 1868 treaty.
Upon walking into Garth Greenan Gallery in Chelsea, your first instinct may be to walk up to one of Victoria Gitman’s canvases and place your hand onto it, rubbing your palm back forth, just like you would to a fluffy dog, or an especially furry blanket. These canvases are not covered in fur, however, but oil paints, and palming one will only get you kicked to the curb.
The most compelling part of Victoria Gitman’s fantastic exhibition at the Garth Greenan Gallery is the way her paintings glow. Her eight new pictures — all highly naturalistic, close-up depictions of purses and handbags — radiate with bright colors and jarring juxtapositions. In one work, alongside a fuzzy pattern of alternating black and white fur, there is an explosive field of lush, neon green that overwhelms the picture. In another, eighteen strips of fur — one in fuschia, another in rich, golden brown, all anchored by a central strip of luminous, radioactive yellow — burst off the wood panel they’re painted on. The finest painting in the show has two patches of white fur surrounding one of deep blue, which is set back in space as if it’s emerging from behind two curtains.
DOTS, DOTS, and more dots: Punched-out paper circles accumulate in dense, nearly geologic thickets, or scatter into coruscating, anti-optical arrays on the surfaces of Howardena Pindell’s paintings. With these signature dots, the New York–based artist flouts the stringent orthodoxies of vanguard painting that dominated art schools when she was a student at Yale University in the late 1960s, opting instead for an unapologetically unconventional mode that also includes glam sprays of glitter, exuberant color, and labyrinthine passages of stitching. Abstraction, for Pindell, is a mode of contemplation, but it is also a cri de coeur, a heartfelt yearning for cohesion or resolution that is constantly thwarted or denied.
When she took up painting in the late 1930s, Janet Sobel was a housewife in Brooklyn.
Her early efforts recalled the folk art of her native Ukraine, but she soon revealed a flair for the experimental. Using enamel paints and glass pipettes, Sobel began dripping color onto her paintings in abstract patterns.
The exhibition Outliers and American Vanguard Art, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, aims to reconsider the ubiquitous but limited “Outsider” designation as an umbrella term for autodidact artists. Investigating the intersection between the mainstream US art world and artists who worked on its periphery, it includes around 250 works—taking in drawing, painting, ceramics, assemblage, sculpture and textiles—by more than 80 eclectic creators. They “reveal practices that are nuanced, complex and subtly evolving in response to experience and milieus”, says the museum’s senior curator, Lynne Cooke. For these types of artist “there is no all-embracing neutral descriptor”, she adds.
The exhibition brings together paintings and drawings from the late sixties to early eighties, all shown in London for the first time. The selection of works focuses on the artist’s landscape painting which, utilising the monuments of the road, is rooted in a collective American experience… Using carefully chosen iconography and repeated signs, the works ask questions about the American psyche in a modern, changing America.
Today’s show: Allan D’Arcangelo: Pi in the Sky is on view at Waddington Custot in London through Saturday, February 24. The exhibition, which includes paintings and drawings made during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s by the American artist, is D’Arcangelo’s first solo show in the United Kingdom.
Waddington Custot announced that the gallery now represents the Estate of Allan D’Arcangelo (1930–1998) and is presenting the artist’s first UK solo exhibition, Pi in the Sky. The exhibition brings together paintings and drawings from the late sixties to early eighties, all shown in London for the first time. The selection of works focuses on the artist’s landscape painting which, utilising the monuments of the road, is rooted in a collective American experience.
The most decisive day of 2017 came fast.
On Jan. 21, 5 million people flooded into streets around the world to demonstrate. The events came one day after the inauguration of a U.S. president who brazenly exploited racial animus, misogyny and xenophobia, all while stashing corporatist ambitions under the rug, in a discordant election campaign that saw him lose the popular vote by a substantial margin.
A Jenny Holzer “Truism”—Abuse of power comes as no surprise—was perhaps the most cited artwork of 2017. But not being surprised didn’t mean not taking action. In January, a day after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, more than three million people in the United States staged a Women’s March to protest his Presidency. Their whimsical badge of honor, the pink “pussy hat,” has since found its way into the collections of some major museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, and the New-York Historical Society, in Manhattan. (I wish I’d seen one in MoMA’s superb exhibition of wearables, Items: Is Fashion Modern?) At year’s end, women are still speaking truth to power, as the #MeToo movement rages on. Below, a short list of women who made a strong showing in 2017.
Picasso knew what he was up against – literally. He pasted it into his art, more or less inventing collage in the process. He (along with a few of his other Cubist colleagues) also played with trompe l’oeil, but he understood this wasn’t the same thing – a device rather than an actuality or contending force. This was not about gesture; this was a defining act, a new claim on reality; but also the flip side of that notion: the deconstruction of illusionism – willful, yet felicitous, witty, sardonic. Collage was on one level (but only one of many) an attempt to reconcile, to synthesize these domains (though the ‘synthetic’ description has always been spurious overreach); but above all Picasso always confronted and challenged. There’s the chair caning, the odd paper fragments, sheet music; also, teasingly, insertions of conventionally representational objects; but perhaps most significantly, newspaper fragments.
It’s amazing what a complete game-change results when the stretcher bars for painting go missing. Reflecting on her early optical abstract paintings, Howardena Pindell once remarked that she gave up the rectangle in favor of unstretched canvases with idiosyncratic, non-symmetrical shapes that conjured, as she once put it, “some internal intuition of nature.” In effect, she literally “othered” her paintings, which in their new form epitomized difference. That move alone probably diminished her status forever as an abstract painter of note. Add to that the social contents that overtook her field paintings of the ’70s, contaminating what could have passed for reference-free minimalist-styled grids and monochromatic fields, with collage and text references to cultural politics. That’s all before we get to the part that she is African-American, and female, and quite outspoken on issues of discrimination and social injustice. She became a de facto member of a very small group of African American artists who broke the color barrier, and the gender barrier, and who laid claim to abstraction on their own terms long before the current trend in African American abstraction (For instance, see Amber Jamilla Musser’s essay in the October 2017 Brooklyn Rail). Can we name another black woman abstract painter from mid-century who has enjoyed any semblance of recognition? Besides Alma Thomas? Not likely.
Jarrett Earnest (Rail): When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Lucy Lippard: When I was around twelve. Before that I wanted to be a professional rider—because I was horse-crazy and worked at a stable. I didn’t have a horse, but I imagined I had a horse. Then I thought, No, maybe I want to be a writer, not a rider. [Laughter.] My mother was a great reader and there were always books around. I read voraciously and unselectively. I read Moby Dick much too early and never really got it, but in eighth grade I got the high school prize for a story. I bought a tennis racket with the twenty-five bucks. It may have occurred to me then that I could make a living at writing. Reading just leads to writing. Isn’t that more or less how you came to writing?—Reading?
Last year, Andrea Bowers was in conversation with Martha Rosler at the Dia Art Foundation. The two artists discussed “If You Lived Here…,” a project about homelessness and real estate in New York City Rosler presented at the Dia in 1989. Invited to explore the Dia’s archives and select a show to discuss, Bowers said she chose Rosler’s because it “educates, activates, and organizes—everything I hope my work can do.”
A few months back, when the city of Miami signed a deal with Art Basel Miami Beach to ensure that the fair would be held in Miami, in the Miami Beach Convention Center, for five years beginning in 2019, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine summed it up as “comparable to locking in the Super Bowl for five years.” For an entity that has brought a sizeable lift to the city’s economy, catapulting it to another league altogether, that’s not an overstatement. At the helm of this very important fair that rounds off the calendar year with great pizzazz is Noah Horowitz, whose appointment as its director two years ago was itself breaking news. As he heads into his third edition of the fair as director, he paused to speak to BLOUIN ARTINFO about the special ecosystem of art in the city of Miami, some highlights of this year’s fair, and his plans to nurture art in the region beyond December.
In 1979 Howardena Pindell had yet to turn 37, but she was already accomplished. She was a cofounder of pioneering feminist gallery A.I.R., and was one of the first black curators at the Museum of Modern Art. And all of this while cultivating her signature painting style—abstract canvases with colorful paper circles affixed to neutral backgrounds, or occasionally covering 3-D structures, like confetti sprinkled over a city sidewalk.
Contemporary political theorist Chantal Mouffe argues that all art is inherently political in that all aesthetic forms can be politicized and all political forms can, in turn, be aestheticized. In looking through this lens, art has the potential to intervene in our social and political realities, disturbing and transgressing established hierarchies of power that govern our daily lives.
Howardena Pindell describes, in her video Free, White and 21 (1980), an afternoon during her mother’s childhood when a white babysitter was hired to care for her mother and her siblings. Her mother was the darkest among them; the sitter, who was unfamiliar with the family, thought she looked dirty and scrubbed her arms with lye. The chemical left lifelong scars.
One way to combine postmodern deconstruction of the painted surface with a feminist reclamation of craft is to sew together scraps of canvas, as Pindell does here for her knockout first show of new paintings since 2001. Using a sailmaker’s needle, she assembles her elements into irregular shapes and paints them in bright solid colors before adding her trademark hole-punched paper disks; the unstretched paintings are then further embellished with ovals and circles cut out of foam. Nautilus #1, a yellow spiral whose drifts of multicolored dots evoke ocean currents, may be the sunniest, but all the pieces radiate joy, even as their visible sutures evoke dislocation and trauma. Songlines: Labyrinth (Versailles), which is loosely rectangular and pale turquoise, is waiting patiently for a museum wall.
One of Montana's most respected artists has a homecoming in the biggest gallery at the Missoula Art Museum. A new traveling exhibition, In the Footsteps of My Ancestors, marks Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's first solo show in the Garden City since 1998.
There’s no question that Linda Nochlin, who died this past weekend at age 86, shaped the way art history looks today. Her 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” has proven essential, and her writings and teachings about Realism, in particular her essays on representations of women and class in Gustave Courbet’s paintings, are taught in universities around the world. This week, ARTnews reached out to critics, artists, and curators, and asked them to share remembrances of Nochlin, as well as remarks on her work. Their responses are printed below.
A new exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts confronts two false assumptions embedded in the art world. First, that women should make feminine art, and second, that African American artists should make figurative and “activist” art, works that confront issues of race, inequality, injustice and the long history of violence against black people.
Following a decade-long hiatus from the commercial gallery world, Howardena Pindell will debut a new body of abstract paintings and collages made in the past three years. Utilizing a variety of materials, including sequins, glitter, vinyl text, powder, and the occasional bit of hair, Pindell has created seven large-scale works as well as a number of smaller, more intricate collages for the exhibition. It opens several months ahead of a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, so it could be a preview for those unfamiliar with Pindell’s work.
The feminist art movement that emerged in the 1960s grew out of the lack of possibilities for women artists who had been excluded from the male-dominated, institutional art world. Despite their progressive goals, this movement lacked voices of color, featuring predominantly white female artists. Opening this Wednesday at the California African American Museum, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 focuses on pioneering black female artists, whose work brought to the fore their own experiences and narratives, long neglected by both the mainstream and avant-garde. Featuring a diverse selection of media from conceptual, performance, and video art, to photography, painting, and sculpture, it includes work by Emma Amos, Elizabeth Catlett, Julie Dash, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and many others.
While the cultural histories of Chicago and Milan are world apart, from October 20 through January 15 the Italian super curator Germano Celant will devote every gallery of the Fondazione Prada to Chicago’s Post-war art scene. Broadly separated into three sections, Famous Artists from Chicago 1965–1975 will take place in the podium on the ground floor of the building, beyond which exhibitions focusing on the work of Leon Golub and H. C. Westermann will be presented in the North and South galleries, respectively
A woman falls from heights unknown. We see her from below. She wears a blue bikini, marked by red hands on her breasts and red hearts on her pubis. Behind her in the distance, neon rays the color of sunset hours burst forth at dynamic angles into the black nothingness that surrounds them. Within these rays, which seem to emanate from the falling figure, black squares in repetitive patterns, shaped by subtle forms, morph into the shape of buildings and mountains. The woman's arms are stretched out, bracing for impact. She is alone, isolated, in this eternal descent. This is a death fall in the golden hour of earthly beauty.
I grew up in the Bronx, not far from Van Cortlandt Park, which is so big it felt like its own country then. I didn’t go into Manhattan often until I attended the High School of Music and Art, years later, though I remember visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my father and seeing a Jean-Simon Chardin painting of a peach, which impressed me because it looked so juicy, so perfect. That was something to aspire to – a representation of a peach so real it made you feel like you were part of the painting. Most of the artworks I saw in those days were reproductions, though; a local paper had a special offer on posters for its subscribers, at 25 cents each, so I bought a J.M.W. Turner seascape for my bedroom wall. The same newspaper offered book deals, so I built up a library – Charles Dickens, Mark Twain. We also had some strange books, like The Cardinal’s Mistress (1908) by Benito Mussolini. I would paint and draw when I was sick in bed, because my mother would bring me all sorts of colouring books and crayons to pass the time. I loved the bold outlines and bright colours of those books. The Crayolas smelled like spring to me.
“The most important and pressing questions were for myself,” Darby English said. English, professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, visited the School of Art on Monday, Sept. 25th, to discuss his book “1971: A Year in the Life of Color.” “Why hadn’t I just figured it out?”
“I cannot just do nothing,” said Rosalyn Drexler. At 90 years old, the acclaimed artist, novelist, and playwright is as busy as ever, having just opened a show at Garth Greenan in New York, her second since joining the Chelsea gallery in 2015.
New York City will soon be home to Paint School, a new fellowship initiated by the founders of The Shandaken Project, a six-year-old residency program in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Come together to celebrate the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 with artists, activists, and scholars. This daylong event honors the trailblazing artists in the exhibition, and highlights the intergenerational connections between art and activism.
Big thematic exhibitions are almost always by definition flawed propositions. A curator comes up with a concept — often a single word — and selects work by different artists that lend it substance. Untethered by style, medium or geography, such ventures can seem both arbitrary and amorphous.
I was looking forward to “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason” at the Met Breuer, which promised to be one of the big adventures of the fall art season. In addition to having a catchy title, the sprawling group show comes with a theme that seems tailor-made for these politically warped times. The idea was to present art from 1950 to 1980 in a daring new context, and show how World War II and the post-war years inspired a generation of artists here and abroad to push their work into the realm of irrationality and even madness.
Join EXPO CHICAGO and Independent Curators International (ICI) for this exclusive public panel as part of the Curatorial Forum. Curators Valerie Cassel Oliver and Naomi Beckwith will discuss how abstraction deals with representations of blackness without or outside of figuration, using abstraction to challenge didactic ways of portraying the black body in art. Centered around the work of Howardena Pindell, a multidisciplinary African-American artist, whose work follows a historical trajectory of black representation in abstract painting, the conversation, moderated by Romi Crawford, will also trace the influence of female and queer artists, and the discourse bbetween artistic intention and critical response in shaping public response. Presented in partnership with ICI.
Rosalyn Drexler, who is about to turn 91, is an unlikely grande dame of painting, but that is what she is. Her rediscovery began a little over 10 years ago when a mini-survey, Rosalyn Drexler: I Am the Beautiful Stranger, Paintings of the ’60s, Pace/Wildenstein, New York, March 16–April 21, 2007, thoughtfully curated by Arne Glimcher, opened at Pace/Wildenstein to wide acclaim. Here was an artist that the histories of Pop Art, with their focus on male painters, had left out. And yet it was immediately clear that such charged paintings as “Marilyn Pursued by Death” (1963), “Chubby Checker” (1964), and “Is It True What they Say About Dixie” (1966) more than held their own with works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and, frankly, outshone works by Tom Wesselmann, Mel Ramos, and other better known figures. In 2016-17, a traveling retrospective, Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?, which originated at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, co-organized by Katy Siegel and Caitlin Julia Rubin, helped elevate her to the pantheon of important artists associated with Pop Art.
As an abstract painter, Ms. Pindell destroyed and reconstructed surfaces of canvas and mixed media both formally and literally. Pushing back against the traumatic amnesia that followed a 1979 car accident, her work became more autobiographical. This is the Philadelphia-born artist’s first major retrospective. Feb. 24–May 20, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, mcachicago.org.
Rosalyn Drexler, known for her politically charged Pop art, has been exhibiting her artwork since the 1950s. In her new show, Garth Greenan is focusing on the more surreal paintings she’s been making since 1986. Many of the compositions feature menacing, often masked figures, an interchangeable cast of criminals, businessmen, and politicians.
A one-woman American Century, Rosalyn Drexler contains multitudes: paintings, novels, plays, essays. She was born Rosalyn Bronznick, in the Bronx, in 1926, three years before the Roaring Twenties crashed into the Great Depression. It is staggering to consider even a minimal list of all that she has witnessed: Hopper, Pollock, Warhol; World War II, the Cold War, the War on Terror; jazz, rock, rap; FDR, JFK, Trump; fascism, feminism, and fascism again.
Howardena Pindell, born in 1943, has been a painter from the start but one of exceptional stylistic variety. Her early abstract pictures, their surfaces sprinkled with glitter and caked with punched-out, confetti-like paper dots, were some of the most beautiful paintings of the 1970s. After a traumatizing auto accident in 1979, the work turned figurative, intensely focused on autobiography and African-American politics. For followers of her career, the changes have been fascinating, as should be evident in her first major retrospective, “Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. (Feb. 24-May 20)
Art history rarely gets it right the first time, but the established accounts of American abstraction that canonized particular artists before the paint on their work was dry, is proving particularly vulnerable to criticism. Whether due to a rejection of the staggering certitude of Greenberg’s formalism, the deep veins of racism/classism/sexism running through twentieth-century criticism and curation, or the closely guarded access to institutions of art, these historical narratives are undergoing an intensive curatorial corrective.
The female African-American experience is center stage in the Brooklyn Museum’s art exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85.” The exhibit, which the art website Hyperallergic described as “perhaps the most important exhibition New York has seen in recent years,” highlights the work of Black women during a period of tremendous cultural and sociopolitical upheaval.
On the heels of the Civil Rights movement, in a 1971 New York Times article, Toni Morrison made a terse assessment of the downstream effects of second-wave feminism, as observed by black women:
What do black women feel about Women’s Lib? Distrust. It is white, therefore suspect. In spite of the fact that liberating movements in the black world have been catalysts for white feminism, too many movements and organizations have made deliberate overtures to enroll blacks and have ended up by rolling them. They don’t want to be used again to help somebody gain power- a power that is carefully kept out of their hands. They look at white women and see them as the enemy- for they know that racism is not confined to white men, and that there are more white women than men in this country, and that 53 percent of the population sustained an eloquent silence during times of greatest stress.
Way before viral videos, since the invention of the medium in the 1960s, artists have made video to critique the culture around them. Howardena Pindell delivers a direct-to-camera account of the racism she experienced coming of age as a black woman in America; Martine Syms tells her characters’ stories across several screens -- from flatscreens to smartphones. Abbi and the comedian Hannibal Buress ponder the sweeping shots in Steve McQueen’s video of the Statue of Liberty. Plus, hear one of Abbi’s own video experiments from her art school days!
The snappy title of this summer group exhibition—“Elaine, Let’s Get the Hell Out of Here”—comes from an anecdote relayed by Elaine de Kooning in response to Linda Nochlin’s feminist essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (both Nochlin’s essay and de Kooning’s tale were published in the January 1971 issue of Artnews). The painter recalled an incident when a boorish man at a party began to ask her and Joan Mitchell, “What do you women artists think . . . ?” Not waiting around for him to finish his query, Mitchell—as famous for her uncompromising attitude as for her take on Abstract Expressionism—grabbed de Kooning’s arm and split.
An exhibition created through an unusual collaboration between Carnegie Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem will open this weekend with music, a family-friendly participatory artwork, food trucks, an artists’ discussion and a workshop.
Color and composition are on the menu in this multi-generational survey of geometric abstractionists—among them Minimalism pioneer Leon Polk Smith. Marina Adams, Paul Feeley and Joanna Pousette-Dart round out the exhibition, which includes artist-related ephemera (e.g, Feeley’s handmade studio calendar), as well as paintings.
For years the art world has worn blinders. In the 1960s, it seemed that only poet-critics bothered with artists who were not allied with Pop Art, Minimalism, or Color Field painting. Since then, each decade and its theorists have focused on a narrow band of “significant artists” almost to the exclusion of all else. There were those who were considered central, and everyone else was assigned a lower rank. But for various reasons, that kind of hierarchical thinking no longer holds as much sway as it once did. Artists who were ignored have gotten fresh consideration. With the recent shows of Flora Crockett, Carmen Herrera, Jack Whitten, Ed Clark, Peter Saul, Merrill Wagner, and others, the art world shows signs of cracking open even further. Everyone knows that major revisions are needed, but no one knows what to do about it except to kick the can down the road and act like everything is hunky-dory.
Lubec’s Crow Town Gallery’s first show of the 2017 season features three artists with distinctly unique visions of The Bay of Fundy and its surrounds; Shanna Wheelock, Kathrin Hilten, and Richard Van Buren. The show runs from June 29th to July 16th, with the opening reception at 7:00 pm on July 6th.
This exhibition, an early candidate for the summer’s most peculiarly titled group show, takes its name from an article that ran in the January 1971 issue of ARTnews: Elaine de Kooning’s response to Linda Nochlin’s famed essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” De Kooning recalled being at a party with Joan Mitchell, where both were asked about their thoughts on “women artists.” That’s when Mitchell said, “Elaine, let’s get the hell out of here.” Curated by Ashton Cooper, this exhibition surveys, per a description, artists who have “an attitude of refusal.” Abstraction, from both young and old artists, will play an important role. Mitchell, de Kooning, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Al Loving, and Sable Elyse Smith are among the artists in this show.
So voracious is the presence of the twelve works in this focused retrospective of Al Loving's work, set as they are against the inert framing of the white cube, that they might be better described by the activities that resulted in their making: stack, weave, layer, tear, cut, drip. The five works in the first gallery are essentially collages of interwoven spirals and grids, often brightly painted, glittered, and glossed to a gaudy, reflective shine. At once galactic and crafty, they push against orthodoxies of the medium, as they are without ground or matrix onto which the various elements are placed. In other words, they are all collage, with a happy excess of sinuous exposed edges. The largest of these works, Barbara in Spiral Heaven, 1989, carries traces of the artist’s hard-edge paintings of the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as his groundbreaking quilted canvas constructions of the mid- to late 1970s. When one realizes that each work in this gallery was made in 1989, they perform the visual equivalent of placing exclamation points at the end of a sentence. 1989!!! Al Loving!!!
THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS (VMFA) named Valerie Cassel Oliver its new Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Recognized for her ability to connect with artists and identify promising emerging figures, Cassel Oliver is expected to invigorate the department, introducing an innovative exhibition program and a broad range of new artistic voices.
When I was a child and confined to bed with some illness, my mother used to read to me, often from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I particularly liked “The Land of Counterpane,” in which a child creates a world of his own. His counterpane (quilt) was the terrain on which he sent his soldiers out to do battle. I, too, created wars—between buttons from the button box: every color, every size, those no longer needed or that were never to be returned to the article of clothing from which they had fallen. I’d race them down my knees, push them from one end of a cardboard shoe-box cover to the other, my young imagination totally engaged. So now I want to return to A Child’s Garden of Verses, to recall the pleasures of being alone: perhaps digging a hole in the sand, looking out a train window, entering a bakery and keeping all the muffins for myself. Speaking of being alone, I’m also looking forward to Jonathan Lethem’s new book of essays, More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers (Melville House). His use of language and swift changes of subject still delight; his intelligence and knowledge of so many topics bowls me over. I need his humorous and informed take on life.
The Yellowstone Art Museum presents Jack Gladstone, one of Native America’s premier lyric story smiths, in a concert on Saturday, June 17, titled "Blackfeet Animal Persons: Native Perspectives of Nature."
This performance marks a highlight of Gladstone’s summer tour, and is offered in conjunction with the YAM’s exhibition "Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors," which is the first major exhibition of this established artist’s work in her home state in over a generation.
It’s hard to describe the surreal feeling of going to see The Future Is Female at 21C Museum and Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, at this particular moment. While it was planned before the 2016 election, the exhibition opened in its immediate wake, at a time when the idea of a “female future” seemed very far from the sure thing many had dreamed of before November 8. Yet even within the current social and political climate, the exhibition is a far cry from an elegy to feminism past. In many ways, the show is an illustration of the intersectional and interdependent issues that comprise women’s lived experiences, through which it offers hope for a feminist future that is still to come. The female future it proposes is not reserved for the coastal enclaves of New York and California, but has taken root in other parts of the United States — including the South and the Midwest — and within the global system on the whole.
Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971) is generally considered the first major work of feminist art history. Maura Reilly, a curator, writer, and collaborator of Nochlin’s, described the work as “a dramatic feminist rallying cry.” “This canonical essay precipitated a paradigm shift within the discipline of art history,” Reilly states in her preface to Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (2015), “and as such her name became inseparable from the phrase, ‘feminist art,’ on a global scale.” A dryly humored analysis of the values by which artists are historicized and discussed, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” posited the first methodological approach for the discipline: that instead of bolstering the reputations of critically neglected or forgotten women artists, the feminist art historian should pick apart, analyze, and question the social and institutional structures that underpin artistic production, the art world, and art history.
There’s something uncanny about walking into a corner of the past and finding it almost indistinguishable from the present. We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985, at the Brooklyn Museum, is ostensibly a historical exhibition about a period when outrage crystallised into fresh artistic expressions. The fluent survey focuses on a forgotten generation of committed women who joined alliances yet also lifted their separate voices above the collective shout. They formed a constellation of groups such as Spiral, the Black Arts Movement, Where We At, and Women, Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation. Now, decades later, the causes they represent remain shockingly current, and their distinct sensibilities come together in a show that is at once motley and unified.
This spring, the Met announced that it would begin including Native American art in the American Art collection. Back in February, the Feminist Art Project presented its annual conference CROSSROADS: Art + Native Feminisms, a day of panels, performances, and dialogue. The event took place at the Museum for Arts and Design, a venue that embraces both craft and art — a categorical division that has historically been used to exclude artists of native ancestry from the mainstream art market. It was a day filled with ceremonies, deeply considered conversations, and moving performances, centering female, queer, and Indigenous experiences of the art world. Videos of the event have just been released and can be found here.
We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 is a new show at the Brooklyn Museum featuring more than 40 artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Howardena Pindell and Faith Ringgold, to highlight the work of black women who were at the crossroads of the Civil Rights, Black Power and Women's Movements during that 20-year period.
This daylong symposium features four panels on black revolutionary art practices, including talks by artists in the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 and related scholars. Participants include Catherine Morris and Rujeko Hockley, co-curators of the exhibition; Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum; Aruna D’Souza, art historian and critic; Kellie Jones, Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology at the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University; and Uri McMillan, Associate Professor of English at UCLA.
Allan D’Arcangelo played lightly with Pop’s emotional hardness and irony. His imagery was always imbued with a gentle affection for the modern American landscape and imagination. “Without Sound: 1974–1982,” the first exhibition of D’Arcangelo’s works in nearly a decade, features nine paintings—some never before seen—that appear to be a deft amalgamation of the Hudson River School, Kazimir Malevich, and Hanna-Barbera.
One reason for the hullabaloo around Dana Schutz’s painting of the murdered Emmett Till in the current Whitney Biennial is the weakness of the work. It looks half-baked, unresolved. Like a lot of recent “political” art, it doesn’t try for a weight suitable to, and therefore respectful of, its racially charged, morally shattering subject. The result, to use one writer’s words, is “a tasty abstraction designed purposefully or inadvertently” to evoke an image of “common oppression.”
The N.C.A.A. brackets have come and gone, but “March Madness” prevails in the meatpacking district, where a terrific group show by that name is installed at Fort Gansevoort, an idiosyncratic gallery (and occasional barbecue joint) in a three-story town house at 5 Ninth Ave. As its title implies, the show’s theme is sports, which, on its own, is nothing novel. A quick spin through the Met will turn up figures of wrestlers painted on an Ancient Greek amphora in 500 B.C., a Mesoamerican stone carving of a ballplayer made roughly a thousand years later, and mid-nineteenth-century portraits of matadors by Édouard Manet. But Fort Gansevoort flips the script on millennia of male-dominated athletics with art works by thirty-one women made between the mid-twentieth century and now, from Elizabeth Catlett’s jubilant 1958 print of a barefoot girl jumping rope to a just-finished collage of a pigtailed boxer by Deborah Roberts, a young artist who borrows the Dadaist strategies of Hannah Höch for the era of Black Lives Matter.
In what one art expert described as a “deep dive,” Chicago and its own slice of art history will get the royal treatment in 2018 as part of a new wide-ranging initiative titled Art Design Chicago, fueled largely by the Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art.
In a standout painting here titled The Dicky (1986), five pantless female figures assist a beleaguered man in slipping a pumpkin-orange false shirt-front over his head. As is typical of Nilsson’s style, wiggling limbs weave between each other pell-mell as swathes of color trifurcate the picture plane into three intertwined scenes. The effect is something like a classical frieze viewed through a kaleidoscope, not least because Nilsson’s aqueous pools of richly hued watercolor seem to hum and swish-swash around on the page. (Her virtuosity with watercolor is a subject worth writing about on its own.)
Figures big and small inhabit the stunning watercolors Gladys Nilsson made in the late 1980s. It’s unusual to see the medium deployed with the forceful colors and monumental scale of these works, ten of which, all about forty by sixty inches, were on view in this recent show. Each depicts a few central characters framed by planes of color and surrounded by dozens of smaller humanoids who perform routine activities of everyday life, albeit with absurd twists.
Select artworks from The John And Mary Lou Paxton Collection are currently on view at the Nevada Museum of Art. The exhibit is meant to honor the late actor Bill Paxton (Aliens, Weird Science), as well as to pay tribute to his family’s fine art collecting legacy.
Members of the Museum’s Collectors’ Collaborative met at the Independent Art Fair in New York City on March 3rd. Now in its tenth year, this group of Bowdoin alumni gathers twice annually to attend exhibitions and other art-related events. Through their contributions, they also support the purchase of a contemporary artwork for the Museum. Acquisitions in recent years include works by artists such as Alyson Schotz, Leslie Hewitt, Malick Sidibe, and Mel Bochner. Last year the Collaborative helped to purchase the Museum’s first hologram, the Dutch artist Folkert de Jong’s When H2 Leaves O (2015).
Black artists in America during the Civil Rights movement are to be explored in a new exhibition at Tate Modern. This summer the museum will present Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, a landmark exhibition exploring how these issues played out among and beyond African American artists from 1963 to 1983. At a time when race and identity became major issues in music, sport and literature brought to public attention by iconic figures like Aretha Franklin, Muhammad Ali and Toni Morrison, ‘Black Art’ was being defined and debated across the country in vibrant paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures. Featuring more than 150 works by over 60 artists, many on display in the UK for the first time, Soul of a Nation will be a timely opportunity to see how American cultural identity was re-shaped at a time of social unrest and political struggle.
Pop Art is perhaps best remembered for the works of Andy Warhol (whose paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans caused quite a stir) and Roy Lichtenstein. But another artist who contributed to that art movement is receiving long-overdue recognition.
Also in that category are Barbara Bloom’s mock travel posters from 1981—bearing slogans all too relevant to the current political climate—at David Lewis gallery, sold as a set of ten for $75,000 or individually for $10,000. In the next booth, Garth Greenan Gallery made the particularly inspired move of showing Howerdena Pindell’s video drawings from 1976, in which she photographed images on TV, covered them in tiny annotations and marks, and re-photographed them. These were on offer for $25,000 each, and around half had already sold within hours.
Garth Greenan Gallery is showing 12 prints by Howardena Pindell from her Video Drawings series (1974–76). They show stills from televised sports, which Pindell has superimposed with transparencies that she’s annotated with minuscule numbers and flying arrows. There is apparently no mathematical logic to her additions, though they vaguely correspond to the action depicted: boxing, a football game, lifting weights. Her cryptic marks are like an invented language that attempts to compute these athletes’ herculean movements.
The Independent art fair may be devoted mainly to young and emerging artists, but this year, it also has some wonderful art by a giant of postwar abstraction. At Garth Greenan’s booth, works from Howardena Pindell’s “Video Drawings” series from the mid-1970s are on view for the first time publicly in New York since 1976.
Chicago and pinball go together like peanut butter and jelly. The city was once home to a huge collection of pinball machine manufacturers and, according to one estimate, more than 460 machines are still embedded throughout the city. At the height of the game’s popularity, Chicago's pinball scene even helped inspire a new kind of art. Now you can check it out—while playing vintage pinball machines—in the Chicago suburbs at a new exhibition.
At 90 years old, Rosalyn Drexler is a go-getter whose prolific career as an artist, novelist, playwright, and briefly as a wrestler is featured in a new exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis, on view from February 10-April 17, 2017.
This full-career survey of playwright, novelist and visual artist Rosalyn Drexler offers a rare opportunity to see the breadth of the self-taught artist’s work. Her paintings feature bright colors and figures appropriated from films and print media, which she cropped, enlarged and printed on her canvases and then painted over them. The effect is somewhere between photo-realism, pop art and the visual language of a dream. Chubby Checker depicts a large Chubby mid-twist against squared fields of scarlet and blue and yellow, with couples dancing in 45-sized circles to the left; a smaller Checker echoes the larger one to the right. Love And Violence is far more sharp, a suited man looming over a crumpled blonde woman, grabbing her chin. A triptych of blue windows beneath the tableau show the same man helping to assault a fellow in a trench coat.
Ronald Sukenik, author of Up (1968) and Out: A Novel (1973), told me that you became a writer when you reach that moment in your writing when you faced embarrassment and kept on going. This was more than thirty years ago and I am probably misremembering our only conversation, but the impression I was left with that day was that in order to be a writer you had to go past all the things that might cause you to stop, with embarrassment being one of them. Gladys Nilsson cycled past that and many other barriers long ago, but it seems the art world has not been ready to deal with it for the past twenty-five years. Maybe now it is.
The chief interest of Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-65, an important exhibition at the Grey Art Gallery in New York, is anthropological. The 200 or so paintings, sculptures, photographs and documents by around 120 New York artists are largely unremarkable, even though some are handsome. For most exhibitions, this would be fatal, and for most of the works of art in this one it is. But this show is concerned with another kind of quality: the quality of a serious discussion, which, like a picture, can be experienced aesthetically, even if one is only learning about it after the fact. These conversations in New York art circles once took place and barely do any longer because the space—literally, affordable real estate—is no longer available.
The main attraction at the Met Breuer these days is “Mastry,” the big Kerry James Marshall retrospective that has recently moved there from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and which will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, this spring. But for those who went to see it up to the day after New Year’s, I was giving this advice: First, go upstairs to the fifth floor, where you’ll find an exhibition of some 70 works by Paul Klee, all culled from a group of 90 donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 by the German art dealer and collector Heinz Berggruen.
Today’s show: “Gladys Nilsson: The 1980s” is on view at Garth Greenan Gallery in New York through Saturday, February 18. The solo exhibition presents a selection of large-scale watercolors produced by the artist between 1984 and 1987, many of which have never been exhibited.
A kiss. A punch. A body braced for impact. The paintings of Rosalyn Drexler exude uncanny stillness, anticipation and, frequently, the dread of imminent violence. Moments of intimacy and conflict are frozen, sliced and readied for examination — excerpts from narratives whose conclusions can only be guessed.
Garth Greenan Gallery has dedicated its program to championing important yet under-appreciated artists from decades past, providing an important service to collectors and art enthusiasts who understand that new discoveries are not the sole provenance of emerging youngsters. This month, they’re exhibiting a group of (largely) never-before-shown watercolors by the painter Gladys Nilsson.
Galerie Karsten Greve is presenting the exhibition Norbert Prangenberg – Sculpture, which – after a 2012 monographic show in its Cologne gallery space – places its focus on the artists’ sculptural oeuvre, prominently featuring Prangenberg’s large-scale ceramic works known as Figuren.
Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is? — This historic monographic exhibition celebrates Rosalyn Drexler’s multidisciplinary artistic practice and acknowledges her important contribution to pop art, on display through Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; $. 882-8700, www.albrightknox.org
After overcoming two hours of infernal traffic, and then parking and entering Art Basel Miami Beach, the local trek felt like a personal triumph. This is the time of year when the city collapses. It shows its fragility. Its inhabitants escape or crouch down, hiding in their homes, as if facing yet another hurricane. In a way, that is what Art Basel is—even though this year one saw fewer people than in previous years, something that would be confirmed shortly after the fair wrapped up.
Nine paintings by Nicholas Krushenick are on display at Garth Greenan Gallery through January 7, 2017. Krushenick, who died in 1999, favored a bright, bold style, commingling Pop Art with abstract expressionism, minimalism, and any other number of -isms. He relished the chance to defy categorization: “They don’t know where to place me. Like I’m out in left field all by myself. And that’s just where I want to stay.” In 1965, he contributed to The Paris Review’s print series.
“Despite Fear and Uncertainty, Parts of Art Market May Benefit From a Trump Presidency, Insiders Say.” This bit of speculative reassurance, delivered by ARTnews magazine on Nov. 9, gave a good sense of where the soul of the mainstream art world — and there are many other art worlds — lies: in business as usual. Sell. Buy. Art Basel Miami Beach.
Después de remontar dos horas de embotellamiento, lograr estacionar y entrar al refrigerado Convention Center de Miami Beach para la edición 2016 de Art Basel, la odisea doméstica se siente como un triunfo personal, anónimo y compartido. Y conste que es temprano, y que es el primer día regido por estrictas disposiciones de admisión en implacables estratos que dejarían pálidos a las castas hindúes.
Even the small talk was more solemn at this year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. On opening day of what is America’s largest fair of contemporary art and Champagne-steeped hedonism, the air kisses were shadowed by the challenges the presidency of Donald J. Trump might pose to an art world that likes to imagine itself as a force for progress.
From its inception in the early 1960s, Pop Art was a boys’ club. Huge names like Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann perpetuated the myth of the (male) artist-as-genius. The movement emerged amid the post-World War II explosions of capitalist consumerism and mass media, as artists explored new modes of mechanical production, often by taking commonplace consumer goods and pop-cultural icons as their subject matter. Associated with an unemotional, distanced attitude toward artmaking, Pop Art’s codified characteristics are, in turn, stereotypically male.
The dozen or so objects—call them sculpture, furniture, or something poised indeterminately in between—included in Roy McMakin’s recent exhibition at Garth Greenan Gallery for the most part proceeded from a superficially simple line of inquiry: What happens to a conventionally functional artifact when that artifact has its conventional function tampered with? It’s a question with which McMakin—a Wyoming-born artist and craftsman who studied at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1970s and early ‘80s with teachers such as Allan Kaprow and Manny Farber and who today also works both as an architect and a commercial furniture designer—has spent years engaging.
Rosalyn Drexler has painted some of the best Pop art you've never seen. She's also written three Obie award–winning plays and won an Emmy (with co-writers including Lorne Michaels and Richard Pryor) for a Lily Tomlin television special, in 1974. Then there are her ten or so novels, with such playfully provocative titles as To Smithereens, Unwed Widow, and Submissions of a Lady Wrestler (she indeed spent a few months as "Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire" on the female wrestler circuit, in 1950), as well as her novelizations of other writers' successful screenplays, such as Rocky and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway.
I spent most of Tuesday, November 29, 2016, roaming the crowded aisles of Art Basel Miami Beach after it opened its doors for press and invited guests. As always, a variety of languages could be heard. Apparent long-time friends greeted each other effusively, as others were preoccupied with intense cell phone conversations. Many snapped digital photos. Others busily tapped on their iPads.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla.—The big auction houses capped the fall art season with $1.1 billion in sales in New York two weeks ago, but collectors must still have a few blank walls left. How to tell? At least 77,000 people are expected this week at Art Basel in Miami Beach, a contemporary fair that is the year’s last art-buying hurrah.
To enhance this essential one-on-one relationship between a McLaughlin painting and its viewer, LACMA commissioned artist Roy McMakin to design a dozen sturdy, slat-back chairs. Built according to McLaughlin’s pictorial principles, they are dispersed throughout the galleries. Each is slightly different, fusing American Shaker and Dutch De Stijl elements and painted in solid neutrals of ivory, cream or black.
Some of the objects are conjoined, like Siamese twins, or nested inside each other, like memories. Others are grouped together — four identical green tables, each twenty-seven inches high, or two white chairs, one proportionately smaller than the other. At one point, while looking at the green tables, I had the sudden urge to wipe the dust off one of them, except there wasn’t any dust.
WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel was on hand for the London. He acquired a 1969 acrylic on canvas entitled “Blue Rational Irrationalism” from New York’s Garth Greenan Gallery by the late abstract artist Al Loving. Emanuel and Mark Shapiro, WME-IMG’s chief content officer who works closely with the Frieze team, both attended a breakfast at Tate Modern on Oct. 6. In an email that day, Shapiro told THR, “It has been an amazing week in London. Frieze puts on an incredible event.”
By the time Howardena Pindell made her seminal video Free, White and 21 in 1980, she had been developing her Formalist abstract paintings for ten years. In 1979, she helped stageprotests against an exhibition of Donald Newman’s exhibition at Artists Space entitled “Nigger Drawings.” That same year, she quit her position as associate curator in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and took a post teaching at Stony Brook University. Only months later, she was injured in a car accident that resulted in physical injury and temporary memory loss.
Organized by the Rose Art Museum, “Rosalyn Drexler: Who Does She Think She Is?” was the first full-career retrospective of the painter, playwright, novelist, and—briefly, in the 1950s—wrestler, who is now in her eighties. For the past 50-plus years, Drexler has been enlarging, collaging onto canvas, and overpainting film posters, pinups, and tabloid photos. Her earliest such pieces resonated with the Pop art of their time while anticipating, in their canny deconstruction of media imagery, the work of such Pictures Generation artists as Sarah Charlesworth.
OF THE MANY surprises that awaited visitors to this summer’s Rosalyn Drexler survey at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts, was a selection of three-dimensional work. Unlikely as it seems, this artist, known for many decades as a Pop painter whose canvases throng with violent, sensual imagery amid bright field of color, began her career working exclusively as a sculptor. Dating from 1958 to 1961, the sculptures on view were not the result of some ancillary detour branching off from painting but in fact represent an entire, autonomous body of work. Not only that, they offer insight into the beginning of Drexler’s artistic life.
There are many wonderful summer shows up right now in Chelsea, from group shows to solo exhibitions, sculpture to painting to mixed media; you certainly get a little taste of everything. While I enjoyed many exhibitions, there are three that left a strong impression on me: Annie Pearlman/Adrianne Rubenstein/Alyson Vega at White Columns, Skins: Body as Matter and Process at Garth Greenan Gallery and Intimisms at James Cohan Gallery.
If you're looking for a summer group show you can really sink your teeth into, Garth Greenan gallery's “Skins: Body as Matter and Process” is a good place to start. Curated by Alison Dillulio and featuring works by 10 heavy-hitting artists including Wilke, Lynda Benglis, Harmony Hammond, and more, the show reads the artists' material experimentation of the 1970s in light of the concurrent developments in second-wave feminism. The results on view in this exhibition (the last before the gallery makes its move to a much larger Chelsea location this fall) find the artists suggesting, dissecting, and otherwise flirting with the human form in their largely abstract works, creating a compelling and tightly curated snapshot of this influential period.
Garth Greenan Gallery is pleased to announce its expansion and relocation to the ground floor of 545 West 20th Street—a 5,000 square-foot space with 13-foot-high ceilings. Opening in Fall 2016 and designed by Stuart Basseches, the new location will more than double the gallery's current exhibition space, allowing it to mount more ambitious exhibitions and projects. In its inaugural season, the new gallery will feature solo-presentations by Roy McMakin, Nicholas Krushenick, Gladys Nilsson, Norbert Prangenberg, Art Green, and Howardena Pindell.
Richard Van Buren studied ceramics at Mexico City College. Later, he moved to San Francisco, where he studied at San Francisco State (1961-64). One of his teachers was the idiosyncratic artist Roy De Forest, who populated his canvases with dogs, and he was friends with Ron Nagle, who had an exhibition of his exquisite ceramics at Matthew Marks in the fall of 2015. While I have no idea if Van Buren and Nagle are still friends or not, something that Dave Hickey wrote about Nagle came to mind while walking around the exhibition, Richard Van Buren: Monet's Swamp, at Garth Greenan (May 19 - June 18, 2006).
Before she showed Pop paintings at the Whitney and the Guggenheim; before her madcap plays were performed at the Judson Poets' Theater and La MaMa; before she traveled the female wrestling circuit as Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire—before all that, Rosalyn Drexler was Rosalind Bronznick, a Jewish girl from the Bronx with a wimple of sprayed hair. In her teens, she studied piano and voice because her family wanted her to be a star like her uncle Chico Marx, but she never made it to Hollywood. Instead, she had walk-on parts in “Midtown hotels where distant relatives and businessmen dangled college money and felt her up.”
Nothing is older than our longing for the new. It's a paradox that modernism has wrestled with ever since Ezra Pound famously declared: ‘Make it new'—signalling the dawn of an era guided by ideals of infinite intellectual progress, constant artistic innovation and limitless technological expansion. Yet, we have also learned that history is made by those who oppose its trajectory. Ruptures are necessary to reorient ourselves in a world guided less by truth than by speculation, anxiety or the unknown. Now, in the age of the Anthropocene, we might need to rethink our relationship with the new and the next. The Marrakech Biennial 6, entitled ‘Not New Now', proposes just this kind of re-evaluation of our faith in perpetual progress.
Who Does She Think She Is? is a remarkable monographic exhibition of Rosalyn Drexler’s varied work. Organized by Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel and Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Julia Rubin at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, the exhibition showcases Drexler’s better-known paintings in context with her collages, drawings, and sculpture, in addition to her scripts, screenplays, novels, and photographic ephemera. Drexler began producing this wide range of works in the 1950s, and together, they demonstrate her fascination with the duality of gender, the fluidity of identity, and the precise moment of action.
Often lost in descriptions of the early days of New York's Women's Movement in art is how dynamic and euphoric the atmosphere was, how charismatic and compelling the personalities. Feminism exploded in the art world there around 1970, with a whirlwind of activism, protests, women-run galleries, journals, and fledgling styles.
It seemed inhospitable at first for a contemporary exhibition: Marrakech, after all, is a hot-blooded territory belonging to—at points politically, culturally, colonially—the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean. Sheltered within red walls, the city's sixth biennial—“Quoi De Neuf Là,” casual French for “What's up?” and here interpreted as “Not New Now”—took place inside oases of olive groves (the Menara Pavilion); exquisite quarters (El Bahia Palace); elegant ruins (El Badii Palace); archaeological gems housed inside the historical Dar Si Saïd Museum, tucked away deep inside the byzantine medina; and the vaults of the Koutoubia Mosque.
Patrick Strzelec's recent exhibition featured a mature body of work evoking a variety of profound emotions - joy, sadness, fear, recognition, and foreboding. Composed of diverse materials, including plaster, aluminum, epoxy, steel, bronze, ceramic, wood, and detritus, the sculptures collapse recognizable and illogical forms. Strzelec uses postmodern strategies - appropriation, assemblage, and simulacra - but unlike many of his contemporaries, he crafts his work with his own hands. For over two decades, he has worked in numerous studios and foundries and taught sculpture at prestigious universities. These experiences have fostered his mastery of artistic processes like woodworking, welding, and casting, as demonstrated in this show.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection offers new perspectives on one of art's oldest genres. Drawn entirely from the Museum's holdings, the more than one hundred works on view here reveal how artists have reinvented portraiture during the last sixty years. Bringing iconic works together with lesser-known examples and recent acquisitions in a range of mediums, the exhibition unfolds in five thematic sections on this floor, with additional sections opening on the seventh floor later this month.
Coming on the heels of a traveling retrospective of Paul Feeley's celebrated abstractions that recently closed at the Columbus Museum of Art, this solo exhibition presents seven of the artist's most vibrant paintings, along with several related works on paper. Mr. Feeley, who died at the age of 56 in 1966, based the motives for his paintings and drawings in the show on the small, six-pointed objects used in the ancient game of jacks.
The Studio Museum in Harlem has long played a critical role in fostering the careers of contemporary artists of African descent. Since 1968 the museum has been the leading place to explore the diverse set of concerns that informs art by African-American artists. The five 2016 spring exhibitions that opened last week—Rodney McMillian's Views of Main Street, Rashaad Newsome's This Is What I Want To See, Ebony G. Patterson's …when they grow up... and two collection shows, Palatable: Food and Contemporary Art and Surface Area: Selections from the Permanent Collection—continue the museum's mission to offer both a look at the legacy and future of black contemporary art.
Reasons to be cheerful if you're the artist Rosalyn Drexler:
1) You've been re-discovered — for what seems the umpteenth time — with a retrospective exhibition of your paintings, sculptures, and books currently at Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum, in Waltham, MA.
2) A Brooklyn publisher has brought one ofyour classic novels back into print, for a new generation of guys and girls in flannel shirts, scruffy beards, and retro glasses.
3) Though approaching your ninth decade, you still have all of your marbles, and then some.
When Rosalyn Drexler, 89, appeared at the opening of her retrospective at Brandeis University's Rose Gallery last month, it was easy to see how her person was reflected in her art. She was beautiful, edgy, full of humor. At the heart of Drexler's work is her life as a Jewish, Bronx-born wife and mother in the 1960s.
Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper by 37 contemporary artists will be exhibited in the galleries of the American Academy of Arts and Letters on historic Audubon Terrace (Broadway between 155 and 156 Streets) from Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, April 10, 2016. Exhibiting artists were chosen from a pool of nearly 200 nominees submitted by the members of the Academy, America's most prestigious honorary society of architects, artists, writers, and composers.
Patrick Strzelec's interests stretch beyond the limits imposed by a preferred medium. His practice highlights that he is an inquisitive maker. He demonstrates a unique vision where form is playfully considered. Both his drawings and sculptures give the impression of a spontaneous captured moment. In this feature we observe the progression of lines drawn on a flat surface to work in open space.
The sixth edition of Marrakech biennale has the bar set high. Curated by the Guggenheim's Reem Fadda, the biennale is a harmonious cross-pollination of contemporary and street art in a city renowned for it's rich history of arts and craftsmanship. You can't turn a corner in Marrakech without finding a carpenter hand-carving a table or a silversmith intricately working a patterned detail onto a sheet of metal. Art is intrinsically part of everyday culture in Morocco.
On Thursday, Independent inaugurates its seventh edition, this time in a new TriBeCa home, Spring Studios. Forty-four galleries from nine countries participate in the fair this year. And despite the fact that the fair's new space required a slimming down of its exhibitor list, they still managed to bring six new dealers into the fold for 2016. “Every year we try to have a certain amount of new galleries, to rotate in fresh perspectives,” said director Laura Mitterrand.
The curatorial concept of this year's biennial starts the premise of the designated title for the Biennale: Not New Now. It aims to provide for an intellectual framework that unites multiple arenas of art and cultures by looking at it from the particular location and history of the city of Marrakech. It builds on a longstanding history of Pan Afro-Arab unity, through critically investigating socio political projects, cultural partnerships, and art movements that have led to many shared artistic tendencies.
An historic, monographic exhibition, Who Does She Think She Is? is a long-overdue retrospective of Rosalyn Drexler's multidisciplinary practice. Showcasing Drexler's major paintings and collages as well as her captivating early sculptures, award winning plays and novels, and photographic and video documentation of the artist's wild and varied theatrical career, the exhibition is co-curated by Rose Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel and Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Julia Rubin.
Rosalyn Drexler's life and work appear allergic to the word dull. Over more than five decades, she has made paintings (politically electric Pop compositions incorporating collaged figures from movie poster and newspaper images isolated in bold, graphic space) and penned multiple plays, novels, and articles. She also has several Obies and a book adaptation of the film Rocky under her belt—not to mention a stint wrestling as Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire.
The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University will present the historic, monographic exhibition Who Does She Think She Is?, a long-overdue retrospective of Rosalyn Drexler's multidisciplinary practice, February 12 - June 5, 2016. Showcasing Drexler's major paintings and collages as well as her captivating early sculptures, award-winning plays and novels, and photographic and video documentation of the flamboyant performance aspects of her life and work, the exhibition is co-curated by Rose Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel and Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Julia Rubin.
Getting recognition in the art world is difficult, but remaining relevant over the course of a lifetime is nearly impossible. Raphael Rubinstein is fascinated by old art magazines from the 1960s and 1970s, where he finds images of work by artists who were once widely admired but have fallen off the art world's radar. "I can't quite explain the strange allure of vintage art magazines, though I think it may have something to do with the satisfaction of knowing what people back then didn't: which artists were destined for fame, which critics would be proved embarrassingly wrong, etc.” he wrote in a recent essay.
Poet and critic (and A.i.A. contributing editor) Raphael Rubinstein's blog The Silo, conceived as a "personal, revisionist 'dictionary' of contemporary art," comes to life in this exhibition of works by 29 artists at Garth Greenan. (Rubinstein's blog currently includes 52 entries total.) There's a cabinet-of-curiosities feeling to this closely hung show, though the writer's engagement with conceptualism and formal experimentation emerge upon viewing.
The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University will present the historic, monographic exhibition Who Does She Think She Is?, a long-overdue retrospective of Rosalyn Drexler's multidisciplinary practice, February 12 - June 5, 2016. Showcasing Drexler's major paintings and collages as well as her captivating early sculptures, award-winning plays and novels, and photographic and video documentation of the flamboyant performance aspects of her life and work, the exhibition is co-curated by Rose Curator-at-Large Katy Siegel and Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Julia Rubin. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2016 from 5-9pm.
For nearly five decades, the Studio Museum in Harlem has served as a cultural repository, reflecting the ruptures, shifts and spectrum of experiences for artists of African descent. Its current grouping of shows, culled mostly from the museum's permanent collection, echoes this landscape, looking backward and forward.
This year's most talked-about and game-changing institutional shows have revisited overlooked artists, cemented the positions of two of 20th-century art's profoundest painters, and brought overdue attention to one of Latin America's most important artists. They have also catapulted two emerging artists to the mainstream, harnessed the power of technology, and asked: What is American art today?
In “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell claimed that cliché and “stale imagery” not only marred writing, but the very capacity for clear thought. Yet the same things Orwell hated about clichés—their lack of specific meaning and wealth of unruly, associative ones—make them a rich subject for Alexis Smith. In the twelve mixed-media collages on view in this show—her first in New York in over a decade—Smith revamps midcentury American clichés about desire, patriotism, sex, and leisure, twisting them with satire to scrutinize their noxious undertones.
It has been another fabulous year for Art Basel Miami Beach with strong sales and a record number of visitors to the Miami Convention Centre event, as well as Untitled, Art Miami, NADA and Pulse. The fairs which opened early in the week saw the opening party held outside the Bass Museum despite some rather unusual turns of events including a stabbing at the main fair, which resulted in a visitor being hospitalised.
MIAMI BEACH — Artist Rosalyn Drexler was once immortalized in silkscreen by Andy Warhol as her wrestling persona “Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire,” yet Drexler's own powerful Pop Art has never received as much acclaim as Warhol's work and others of her generation. This week's edition of Art Basel Miami Beach features a punchy five-painting show that argues for her place in the cannon of 1960s Pop art.
Howardena Pindell, whose “Free, White and 21” (1980) will be shown on the first night of the program, said that her video piece, a response to race relations within the predominantly white feminist movements of the 1970s, remains important.
To legibly capture a television screen, a photographer must have both patience and a variety of technical tricks at her disposal, including a carefully calibrated shutter speed and an exposure time determined through trial and error. In addition to the motion of the video image, the analog photographer must also be sensitive to the friction betweenthe camera's straightforward light-capture process and the CRT monitor's beams of magnetized electrons, which light up pixels within the screen to present a steady image to the human eye, but whose glow registers quite differently to the camera.
Howardena Pindell made the collages in her first West Coast solo show at Honor Fraser using the simple medium of hole-punched painted paper. Colourful chads are affixed to thin wire or string armatures that form delicate grids on the surface of museum board backings.
Acclaimed novelist, Obie-winning playwright, former professional wrestler and pioneering Pop artist Rosalyn Drexler clearly doesn't need our accolades, but she's going to get them anyway. Her noirish mass media representations have always charmed by tapping into Italian neorealist film styles, crime dramas and a host of other 20th century representations from theatre and film.
Located in the Survey section of the fair, the Garth Greenan Gallery will showcase five canvases from the mid-1960s by Pop artist Rosalyn Drexler. Drexler's paintings are made by enlarging images from films, TV, newspapers and magazines and painting over them with acrylics. She is known for creating pieces that were more dreamlike and darker than her male counterparts.
Drive by the Columbus Museum of Art on E. Broad Street in the central city, and you can catch a glimpse of Frank Stella's colorful La vecchia dell'orto through the large windows of the new wing. Those windows — called “ cinematic facades” by the architect — will also soon provide views of activities inside.
The Columbus Museum of Art has recreated a monumental work of art by Paul Feeley, decades after the original was destroyed. The museum collaborated with the artist's estate to refabricate the nine-part, 21ft-tall sculpture, which filled the atrium of New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1968. It has been installed permanently on the Ohio museum's lawn to coincide with the completion of a $37.6m renovation on 25 October.
Curated by Phong Bui, both shows are proposed experiments to explore the various conditions that lead to the production of small paintings: how paintings' sizes are determined by artists' conscious and unconscious intentions, and how those sizes, in turn, affect their relation to viewers in the various spaces the artworks quietly occupy in contemporary visual culture.
This exhibition celebrates the pivotal role that women have played in contemporary American printmaking. In addition to pioneering artists like Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Anni Albers who often worked in the print medium, women also founded some of the most important print studios in the United States. The printmaking process is an intensely collaborative one, between artist and printer.
The MFA has built an impressive collection of prints by American women and premieres the largest grouping to date in this stunning exhibition of more than 90 works. The vast majority of the prints are gifts of discerning art collectors Martha and Jim Sweeny of St. Petersburg or museum acquisitions made possible by funds from the couple.
“Humble” was one of the words that surfaced during a curator discussion on Friday October 9th at a press conference to launch the fourth edition of MoMA PS1's “Greater New York,” a quinquennial survey of artwork made in New York that has generated more than its fair share of controversy during past editions. It's a fitting word for a show that is often sober, understated, and uneven in a way typical for surveys of its scope.
MoMA PS1 presents the fourth iteration of its landmark exhibition series, begun as a collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in 2000. Recurring every five years, the exhibition has traditionally showcased the work of emerging artists living and working in the New York metropolitan area. Greater New York arrives in a city and art community that has changed significantly since the first version of the survey.
International Pop, organized by the Walker Art Center, chronicles the global emergence of Pop in the 1960s and early 1970s. While previous exhibitions and prevailing scholarship have primarily focused on the dominance of Pop activity in New York and London during this time, this exhibition examines work from artists across the globe who were confronting many of the same radical developments, laying the foundation of the emergence of an art form that embraced figuration, media strategies, and mechanical processes with a new spirit of urgency and/or exuberance.
MoMA PS1 has assembled a sprawling exhibition featuring 157 New York artists and collectives that span generations and mediums, and includes more than 400 works, as well as performances and films. Before visitors enter the main museum building, they get an Afrocentric welcome. Flying out front is David Hammons‘s “African American Flag,” the New York artist's red, black and green interpretation of Old Glory.
Though she rose to prominence alongside her fellow Los Angeles ironists Chris Burden and Jack Goldstein, this is the first New York show in eleven years of Smith's mordant assemblages. Chief among her themes is the gap between the promise of the American Dream and its reality, which she dramatizes through juxtaposition. An album cover in which Elvis sports a ballpoint mustache is collaged onto a photograph of riflemen in balaclavas.
It has been two years since Patrick Strzelec had his first exhibition of sculptures in New York in more than a decade. In my review of that show, I called attention to the fact that “no two sculptures look alike.” Full of insouciance and confidence, and further buoyed by his mastery of different processes and materials, Strzelec shares his aesthetic attitude with the great American ceramic artist, George Ohr, the self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi.”
Four years into its latest iteration under the management of Tony Karman, what is there to say about Chicago Expo? Let's start with the art, which was wide ranging and of consistent high quality. Naturally, Chicago galleries were present in force and brought along some of the more pleasant surprises.
Garth Greenan's booth may rate as the gutsiest move by a gallery at this year's EXPO. While most spaces are packed to the gills with stuff that's gonna look hella-good over that couch in your Gold Coast condo, Garth Greenan's oversized booth features only three paintings, and they're tiny at that. The works “On Display” and two untitled works by painter Victoria Gitman are delicate images of purses immaculately painted and surprisingly hold the space.
In its fourth edition, EXPO Chicago has shown considerable institutional growth, adding new programs and publications, and expanding from 125 galleries in 2012 to 140 from 16 countries in 2015. A surprise was the almost empty booth of New York Gallery Garth Greenan. What seemed to be a space to critique the art market was in fact the calm space needed for three wonderful and delicate works by Argentine artist Victoria Gitman who recently had a show at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).
In November 1971, Spelman College hosted the first public exhibition of the paintings and drawings of Howardena Pindell. Since then, Pindell has become a pioneering artist, writer, curator and teacher. Some 44 years later, the artist returns with Howardena Pindell, a solo exhibition of her intricately layered mixed-media paintings and works on paper.
Nearly four and a half decades after Spelman College hosted the first public exhibition of the paintings and drawings of Howardena Pindell, the New York artist returns to the school for a deep look back at her accomplished career.
It isn't touch that best helps us know the characteristics of space and its intervening forms, as some might suppose. A look at the immensely surprising paintings in Art Green: Certain Subjects gives us occasion to explore in surprising ways. With Green's book, we do this layer by layer, as if seeing a play in fast forward, through a part in the curtains, or paused mid-action through aperture.
Smith will cover the gallery walls with quotations from novelist and Hollywood screenwriter Raymond Chandler collaged with her own imagery. It will not be the first time she has used the words of authors in combination with her imagery. She has produced work related to Thomas Mann, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos. Smith has been working on her minimal mixed media she refers to as “Chandlerisms” since 1978 and has collected nearly 300 phrases.
Despite superficial appearances, the best artists working in painting today are not approaching it as a reflexive, medium-specific extension of modernism. Instead, they are using painting as a frame, tool, or focal point by which to get at a number of pressing contemporary issues. This is a direct result of the new roles that painting has taken in a digital age.
Rosalyn Drexler, 88, has worn many hats. Born in 1926 and raised in East Harlem and the Bronx, she traveled around the country in the late 1950s as a wrestler: Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire, an odd incarnation documented by Warhol in a series of silkscreens, ‘‘Album of a Mat Queen,'' in 1962. Since then, Drexler has happily digressed. In the 1960s, she became a novelist and an Obie Award-winning playwright.
In opening his essay for the catalogue to “Rosalyn Drexler: Vulgar Lives,” critic and curator Robert Cozzolino aptly writes that the artist “has been discovered and rediscovered so many times that the art world should be checked for amnesia.” The show, mounted by Garth Greenan Gallery, which newly represents the 89-year-old Drexler, was the first solo of her paintings in New York since 2007, when PaceWildenstein staged a survey of her work from the 1960s.
“Women in Pop art” is a thing these days. And I'm not just talking about a few big show, such as the 2010-11 American touring exhibition “Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968” or the concurrent “Power Up: Female Pop Art” in Vienna. Individual artists including Evelyne Axell, Pauline Boty, Dorothy Iannone, and even Niki de Saint Phalle have lately been accorded critical attention as never before while also exerting influence on younger artists.
Sometimes being a transitional figure who exists between two important art movements can be a guarantee you will be neglected by history. That seems to have been the fate of Nicholas Krushenick whose major works during the 1960s, bridged the Abstract Impressionists and the Pop Art Movement. He labeled his work “Pop Abstraction.”
For art lovers, and certainly for the collectors now paying tens of millions of dollars per painting at auction, Pop art and its trademark images — Marilyns, Ben-Day dots, Coca-Cola bottles, lipsticked lips — have become 20th century classicism, as canonical as Cubism and as appealing as candy. But for many artists working outside the United States during Pop's birth in the early 1960s, the movement presented itself with all the charm of a steamroller.
Sometimes being a transitional figure who exists between two important art movements can be a guarantee that you will be neglected by history. That seems to have been the fate of Nicholas Krushenick whose major works during the 1960s bridged the Abstract Impressionists and the Pop Art Movement. He labeled his work “Pop Abstraction.”
Everybody loves an underdog. Especially if the underdog is the woman who wrote the novelization of Rocky (under the pseudonym Julia Sorel), is the author of five novels and is an Obie award winning playwright, and, wait for it, was once a championship female wrestler (under the name of Rosa Carlo “The Mexican Spitfire”).
Rosalyn Drexler, now in her eighties, has been a novelist, playwright, Emmy-winning comedy writer and, for a few months when she was in her twenties, a lady wrestler. Drexler has also been an artist. This show of paintings made between 1959 and 1991 focuses on themes that have preoccupied her in all of her endeavors: gender roles, relations between the sexes, crime, politics and power.
At Garth Greenan Gallery, Rosalyn Drexler presents the absurd and ominous in a comic-like manner in her most recent exhibition, Vulgar Lives, bringing together work that spans several decades. Her works border on violent and vulgar, highlighting central themes such as violence against women, racism, and social alienation. Her use of bright colors and whimsy juxtaposes these serious topics in an amusing way-a practice common among Pop artists. Drexler brings together reality and invention, which, according to her, is the human experience; she claims that “Vulgar Life is life itself.” It is uncouth and unrefined.
I wonder if the reason Rosalyn Drexler isn't better known is because she is so good at so many different things. We recognize such mastery in men, but rarely in women. Drexler is a novelist, whose books include I Am the Beautiful Stranger (1965) and the critically acclaimed To Smithereens (1972), based on her experience as a professional wrestler, Rosa Carlo, aka “The Mexican Spitfire” — a book that I reprinted in 2011. She has also received an Emmy Award for her screenwriting and several Obie Awards for her plays. Finally, Drexler is a painter whose work of the 1960s is central to Pop art.
There are well-known Pop artists — Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein come to mind — and well-known abstract expressionists — Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko to name a couple. But how many Pop abstraction artists can you name? Nicholas Krushenick combined elements of Pop and abstraction to create his own singular style, but wasn't fully recognized for his influence during his lifetime. With "Nicholas Krushenick: Electric Soup," the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery give the artist his due with a major survey of his work from the 1950s through the 1990s.
Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper by 40 contemporary artists will be exhibited at the galleries of the American Academy of Arts and Letters on historic Audubon Terrace. Exhibiting artists were chosen from a pool of over 200 nominees submitted by the members of the Academy, America's most prestigious honorary society of architects, artists, writers, and composers.
Pérez Art Museum Miami presents a survey of the work of Victoria Gitman (b. 1972, Buenos Aires; lives in Hallandale, FL). Gitman creates astonishingly naturalistic oil paintings abounding with sensuality and conceptual sophistication. The exhibition features 19 works drawn from four phases in the artist's career, spanning 14 years of highly disciplined production. Set against shallow backgrounds of neutral color, Gitman's depictions of necklaces, beaded purses, and fur purses make a powerful impact that belies their small scale and banal subject matter.
Is there a way it can go faster?” Victoria Gitman peers at the monitor and impatiently taps the laptop's down arrow. On the screen, photos of purses scroll past in a rapid, jerky rhythm.
She's using a borrowed computer; at home, she says, she flies through these listings twice
as fast, watching the colors and shapes in the pictures blend together as they fly by.
A program of video-based works that used television technology to bring public attention to Black American identity, through intervention, documentation, and parody, as in Anthony Ramos's About Media, in which the artist uses his Portapak camera to turn a news crew's visit to his home into media critique. Co-programmed by Rebecca Cleman and presented by Rebecca Cleman and Chris Hill.
Pretty Raw takes the artist Helen Frankenthaler as a lens through which to refocus our vision of modernist art over the past 50 years. In this version, decoration, humor, femininity and masculinity, the everyday, pleasure, and authorial control take center stage. Artists from the 1950s through the present work in a range of mediums, finding personal, social and political meaning in sheer, gorgeous materiality.
New Acquisitions gathers together objects that have entered the Rose's collection in the last 18 months. Major historical works by artists including Howardena Pindell, Sam Gilliam and Melvin Edwards demonstrate the Rose's commitment to diversifying its holdings in 20th century painting and sculpture by acquiring important works by figures who until recently have been excluded from canonical accounts of art history due to race and gender-based discrimination. Curated by Rose Director Chris Bedford, this exhibition focuses on abstract painting and sculpture by African Americans with an emphasis on work made in the 1970s.
Robert Motherwell recounts that in 1951, Edna Wells Luetz, the newly appointed Chair of Hunter's Department of Art, reached out to the Museum of Modern Art's founding curator, Alfred Barr, in search of “a modern artist, and one who is articulate.” This marked the beginning of Hunter College's commitment to artists as teachers, and to hiring artists fully engaged in the questions of the art of their time. Barr recommended Motherwell, and at Motherwell's urging, Luetz would bring to Hunter a number of artists associated with the New York School.
Although he largely withdrew from the New York gallery exhibition scene by the late-1970s, Krushenick continued to paint, print, and draw prolifically until his death in 1999, creating a rich yet underappreciated body of work that has influenced a generation of younger painters. The first museum survey of Krushenick's work in several decades, this exhibition features work from the 1960s to the 1990s.
“The pure products of America go crazy,” wrote William Carlos Williams. And if such lost souls don't crash and burn, which they often do, their craziness is sometimes channeled into original artistic expression. Even then, those “pure products” might have a hard time getting along or fitting in. Nicholas Krushenick (1929-1999) made paintings that are simultaneously idiosyncratic and inevitable, melding Pop and abstraction seemingly before anyone else thought to do it—a fusion that has survived its original moment to seem more vital than ever.
Represent: 200 Years of African American Art highlights selections from the Museum's exceptional holdings of African American art and celebrates the publication of a catalogue examining the breadth of these noteworthy collections. With work by renowned artists such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, and Carrie Mae Weems, the exhibition showcases a range of subjects, styles, mediums, and traditions. Since the Museum's acquisition of Tanner's painting The Annunciation in 1899, its collections of African American art have grown significantly, especially during the last three decades.
"I'm an everyday person," she told the Paris Review. "I think in terms of just surviving the day on a personal level, rather than the solving of world problems. I just can't do that. Other people can do that on a grand scale. For me, because I know how hard people work, celebrating little victories is as important as a peace treaty being signed."
How happy I was to walk into Garth Greenan Gallery this past Saturday and find that the exhibition of large works on paper by Gladys Nilsson, which was supposed to have closed on December 6th, was still up. As Garth explained, “Roberta told me I should leave the show up until we closed for the holidays”. I had wanted to see the show all along, but family obligations limited my time for getting out and about over the fall season, and I had already missed a number of shows including, so I thought, this one.
It is always exhilarating when a respected artist saves the best for later in life. Such is the case with Gladys Nilsson, the deft and sardonic watercolorist of human entanglement and founding member of Chicago's rambunctious Hairy Who. Ms. Nilsson is now in her mid-70s, and her first New York gallery show in six years reveals that she is doing her strongest work yet.
For some reason, the medium of watercolor - you know, when pigments are suspended in a water-soluble vehicle - has, over time, attracted associations with art that is idyllic, naturalistic, traditional and - let's be real - a little bit boring. We'd suspect you'd rarely associate the slushy, translucent medium with the most radical crop of contemporary art.
Gladys Nilsson was born in Chicago in 1940 and grew up visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, which she then attended from 1958 to 1962. In the mid- to late sixties, she was a member of the Hyde Park-based art group the Hairy Who and created exuberant figurative paintings using both acrylic on Plexiglas and vibrant watercolors on paper. While at SAIC, Nilsson studied with the art historian Whitney Halstead, who taught his students to look beyond Western art and also beyond traditional realms of art to more vernacular sources.
There is something wonderfully incongruous and deeply disquieting about Gladys Nilsson's art, which is primarily done in the medium of watercolor. As she says in her conversation with Dan Nadel, which is included in the catalogue accompanying her most recent exhibition in New York (and her first) at Garth Greenan (October 23 - December 6, 2014):
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is known around the world for its collection of abstract expressionist masterpieces, which serve as a peerless chronicle of an American movement concerned with acting out dark and messy inner dramas through the act of painting. After that dizzying period of unbridled catharsis, the art world gradually migrated toward more sober-minded forms of expression, like op art and minimalism. But the transition was neither neat nor immediate, nor did everyone suddenly give up abstract expressionism and jump straight into slimmed-down forms and conceptual coolness of later decades.
By the time of his death, Paul Feeley (American, 1910-1966) had achieved a level of recognition that far exceeded the twelve-year trajectory of his mature work. Honored during his lifetime by multiple solo exhibitions at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery and the Betty Parsons Gallery, and two years after his death by a full-bodied retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Feeley produced idiosyncratic abstractions that are the timely subject of a major retrospective organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
At times it seems that everything ever written about the 1970s is concerned with demonstrating just how different that decade was from the one that preceded it. At the risk of prolonging this historical cliché, I'd like to note that a lot of 1960s art in the United States, from Color Field painting to Pop art to Minimalism, favored smooth, clean surfaces, while the art of the 1970s fell in love with rough textures, especially in the medium of painting.
It is important to look long and hard at the early paintings of Nicholas Krushenick as they appear on the walls of Garth Greenan Gallery 50-plus years after they were made. When they were painted, they helped deconstruct the notion that the great European traditions and their American successor in the New York School dictated how painting should look. This was no small feat.
Computer “graphical interfaces” have a cultural significance that is impossible to overstate. The window, the toolbar, the drop-down menu, the scroll bar: These ubiquitous mechanisms mediate our interactions with the digital—which is to say, an outsize portion of our work and play. (As others have noted, what Leo Steinberg called the flatbed picture plane—artwork as matrix of information, receptacle of data, vector in transmission—anticipated the computer desktop's mode of address.)
In 1962 the film critic Manny Farber published the provocative essay “White Elephant Art and Termite Art,” in which he distinguished two types of artists: the White Elephant artist, who tries to create masterpieces equal to the greatest artworks of the past, and the Termite, who engages in “a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor” that “goes always forward, eating its own boundaries and, likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity.”
Matthew Palladino's gallerist calls his new works paintings, but one wonders whether that label is given partly for simplicity's sake: They are paintings but also sculptural reliefs. They are illusionistic but also real. They are representational but are also shaped from actual objects. What's more, Palladino thinks of them in photographic terms and says that they are “like paintings that render themselves.”
Howardena Pindell has been making work steadily since the late 1960s, when she arrived in New York after receiving her M.F.A. at Yale. A founding member of the landmark feminist artists collective A.I.R. Gallery in 1972, she has taught at SUNY Stony Brook since 1979, all the while consistently producing bodies of work both complex and multifarious. Though she is well known and highly regarded in certain niches, Pindell has largely flown just beneath the radar of the greater art world's consciousness for the past 45 years.
Pindell, who just had an exhibition at Garth Greenan in New York, says her conscious intention was to explore the esthetic possibilities of the circle when she started on those works. Then she was startled by a childhood memory that came back to her. On a car ride through Kentucky in the 1950s, she and her father, who lived in Philadelphia, stopped at a root-beer stand and were served mugs with red circles on the bottom.
With more than 30 exhibitions to his credit, including four museum retrospectives, Norbert Prangenberg, who died at age 62 in June 2012, was seldom exhibited outside of his native Germany and Europe. Over a three-decade-long career, he engaged with diverse mediums and materials (oil paint, watercolor, clay, woodcut, linocut) and earned himself the reputation of being an artist's artist.
As much as Howardena Pindell's unstretched paintings and drawings — which were made between 1974 and 1980 — share something with the Pattern and Decoration movement, or with monochromatic abstraction, color field painting, all-over painting, fiber art, the counting work of Roman Opalka, and the spot paintings of Larry Poons, what elevates them above all of these aesthetic and stylistic connections is her subtle infusion of a deep and palpable rage.
It's been far too long since New York has seen these paintings from the seventies, on unstretched, irregularly sliced canvas. Pindell made them by overlaying multicolored paper chad on thickly coated backgrounds—one coral work is so copiously painted that it resembles stucco—and repeating the process to generate rich, topographical abstractions.
Norbert Prangenberg: The Last Works is on display at Garth Greenan Gallery in Chelsea. There are a lot of firsts in this exhibition of last works. It's the first series of sculptures Prangenberg made in America: at a residency at Rutgers's Mason Gross School of the Arts. It's Garth Greenan's first exhibition of Prangenberg's work.
Norbert Prangenberg, who died in 2012 at the age of 63, trained in metalworking, and in his 20s worked for a silversmith and then a glass designer. But when it came to making art, he was largely self-taught, as demonstrated by this winsome group of small, disheveled ceramic sculptures that he made the year he died of liver cancer. Nearly two dozen examples form the first New York show of his sculpture since 1986.
You never know when a work of art might become part of your DNA, the visceral memory of which you carry around with you, even if you seldom have occasion to think about it. The exhibition, Richard Van Buren: The 1970s, at Garth Greenan (November 26-January 4, 2013) reminded me of the first time I saw his sculptures in the mid-1970s. It was at a dance concert at Paula Cooper Gallery that I went to one evening with a friend. Little did I know that I would have to wait more than thirty years before I would see his work from this period again.
Big, bold, and vibrant, Paul Feeley's paintings are hard to miss. Rarely shown in the decades following his death in 1967, the artist's sculptures and abstract canvases were given a major exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery in 2002. Now we have this smaller show, featuring nine large paintings made between 1957 and 1962.
For those who think they know the work of Paul Feeley (1910-1966), especially if they are basing it on the two exhibitions he has had in New York in the last decade, at Matthew Marks in 2002 and 2009, the current exhibition, Paul Feeley: 1957-1962, at Garth Greenan Gallery (September 5-October 12, 2013), will likely come as a surprise.
In drawing, a line need not become a contour or an image. In sculpture, this resistance to becoming is harder to pull off. For all their insistence on pure abstraction, Donald Judd makes boxes and Richard Serra makes steel fortresses. The problem is that this kind of sculpture smacks of signature shapes and branding, an efficient form of production.
Inside the Gary Snyder Gallery, a woman struck up a friendly conversation with another viewer about the current exhibition. They were strangers to each other by the connection seemed natural. Amid the sculptures on display in George Sugarman: Painted Wood, on view through June 15, one is inspired to chat precisely because the works themselves are also conversational.
Making a painting is like packing a suitcase; you want to include only what you need for your trip. For the excellent Mara Held that is a lot. Her easel-size abstractions are jammed with multilayered patterns — floral, watery, geological and gridded — and irradiated within by spacey colored lights. Visual punch is both complemented by and in tension with sensuous material qualities.
Despite the painter's subtlety, the reference to Far Eastern painting in Mara Held's latest work is evident. She particularly invokes Hiroshige's “36 Views of Mount Fuji” and the so-called Pure Land Buddhist painting with her use of fluctuating water and cloud imagery.
As one walks in the main space of the gallery, “Navigator” (2011) introduces the show's leitmotif: contrasted vertical/horizontal bands in palimpsest.
Because Ralph Humphrey is saddled anew with the unfortunate appellation “'70s painter” each time his work is rediscovered—as happens seemingly once a decade—the results of these excavations have typically been equivocal. Artists such as Elizabeth Murray, by contrast, have broken free of the faint praise built into that suspect moniker.
Humphrey entered the lists as the elusive obsession of Klaus Kertess (as he tells us in a Candide-like catalogue memoir) when the latter turned away from art history at Yale University to found the Bykert Gallery
If you've never stood in front of a painting by Ralph Humphrey (1932-1990), you can have very little idea of what his work is really about. Photographs, even the best of them, fail to convey the work's dense materiality, which derives from amplified surface textures, a quasipointillist method of layering color, and thick, sculptural supports. All of these were compellingly on display in a recent show at Gary Snyder, the first Humphrey exhibition in New York for 14 years.
In the early 1970s the African-American artist Al Loving (1935-2005) dismayed some of his admirers (and his dealer) when he abandoned his crisp geometric style of painting in an attempt, as he later told an interviewer, to find out “whether there is black art and what it looks like.” He turned to more relaxed, loquacious works made from torn strips of canvas stained with paint, pieced together using a sewing machine and hung on the wall like raggedy, rich-hued banners. Five examples, dating from 1973 to 1975, form the heart of this beautiful show.
The 1970s was a time when many artists were trying to deconstruct painting, both literally and conceptually. This show of vintage sewn and stained paintings demonstrated that Al Loving, who died in 2005, was not only one of the most radical painter-deconstructionists but also the one who most fully embraced the sensual potential of off-the-stretcher abstraction.
Ralph Humphrey's exhibition at Gary Snyder Gallery illustrated his unique contribution to American abstract painting. In contrast to the metaphysical aspirations of the Abstract Expressionist painters whom he admired when he arrived in New York in the late 1950s, Humphrey's territory was secular and nonspiritual. His own work was characterized by emotionality and raw materiality, qualities that he himself regarded as quintessentially American—if not the same kind of American as his famously tragic predecessors.
What Happens When Painting Is No Longer A Gateway?
If anyone wants an indication of the ever-widening chasm between the art world and the museums, look no further than the career of Ralph Humphrey (1932-1990), a painter whose works calls into question every marker of progress brought to bear on art. The current exhibition at Gary Snyder — his first New York show in fourteen years — brought to mind the refrain that has been repeated since the artist died, not yet sixty, more than twenty years ago: a museum really ought to do his retrospective.
It's too bad that New York museums don't devote more space to artists not sanctioned by the market or the academy; the art of the New York painter Ralph Humphrey (1932-90) could yield an excellent retrospective.
In the meantime, the first solo show of his work in New York in 14 years is a welcome sight. It reintroduces a painter who grew out of Abstract Expressionism (especially the hovering color clouds of Mark Rothko), pointed toward Minimalism and resolutely went his own way.
Until this exhibition I had never seen a work by Sven Lukin, an artist who began showing in New York in the early 1960s and was widely recognized at the time for his innovative painting-sculpture hybrids. He was one of five painters in The Shaped Canvas, the 1964 Guggenheim Museum exhibition curated by Lawrence Alloway, that helped define a key feature of 1960s abstraction.
For his first one-person exhibition in New York, Ron Johnson offers up a collection of paintings that project a keen and sometimes-referential theory of color, a very curious technique, and a place between non-representation and our collective subconscious of catalogued experiences that flow through the exhibition in unexpected ways.
I have been a Sven Lukin fan since 1970, when I first saw “Untitled” (1969) in one of the concourses running under the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Made for, and located in, a long recessed area — and playfully hovering between flatness and volume, the pictorial and the sculptural — Lukin's “Untitled,” a three-dimensional, green, orange and blue squiggle, is over 11 feet high and nearly 120 feet long.
It was at once fun and awe-inspiring to see how Audrey Flack deploys nearly every trick in the sculpture book to claim (mainly) bronze figurative tradition for women. This clean, well-installed exhibition included her wildly patinated bronzes, from small figures to giant heads, with references ranging from painted classical sculpture to Donatello (especially his Mary Magdalen), from the Art Deco designer Erté to Jean-Léon Gérôme.
This was New Zealand-born, New York-based Max Gimblett's first solo show in several years, and his first at this gallery. It included thirty-three paintings produced in the past nine years, canvases dense with associations that spanned the globe. They revealed, among other interests, the artist's familiarity with Japanese calligraphy, Jungian psychology, and the practice of Buddhism.
Sven Lukin's significant role in postwar American abstraction is becoming more and more widely recognized—or re-recognized. When he emerged in the early 1960s with his masterfully conceived and intricately constructed shaped canvases, Lukin, along with peers such as Charles Hinman and Richard Smith, was hailed for crucially expanding “hard-edge” abstraction, proposing a painted presence that metastasized into sculpture.
If you are going to chat with New York based artist Audrey Flack, she might ask you about the color of your lipstick, particularly if it is a shade of classic red as worn by iconic women, say Marilyn Monroe. In her early photorealist phase, this very girly prop shows up in likely and unlikely places, atop a dresser, near a mirror, revealing something of an obsession with the ill-fated movie star; but in the 1978 oil, "World War II (Vanitas)”, that very red is the color of a candle as well as a rose.
Max Gimblett was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1935. From 1962 to 1964, while living in Canada, he worked as a potter, an experience that has influenced his relationship to materials and process. In 1965, he moved to San Francisco, and began studying painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, and became friends with Phil Sims. It took Gimblett a decade to hit his stride.
Tadaaki Kuwayama's exhibition of chromatically rich and machine-finished works used a variety of strategies for presentation. Some objects were hung on the walls, while others were set on their edges along the floor.
The main display consisted of two partitioned installations: Untitled (1992/2012), featuring 22 red aluminum squares in shallow relief that extended across two adjacent walls, and Untitled (2012), eight rectangular titanium panels positioned vertically on the floor at alternating angles, which had the effect of disrupting their relationship with the long room in which they were installed.
Art movements rarely, if ever, emerge out of the void. If one looks closely enough, there are certain to be antecedents and influences that extend beyond the categorical packaging to which Modernism has been subjected over the decades of the previous century. One of the important early antecedents to Minimal art is Tadaaki Kuwayama, an artist who was not only close to Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, but was working in advance of them with reductive Minimal forms.
Who knew seashells and thermoplastic could combine to such effect? Van Buren is a peer and a friend of Lynda Benglis's, and both artists share an affection for molten forms. A cursory glance at this work can be confusing—the gaudy colors, the seemingly decorative shapes, those shells—and it's certainly an acquired taste.
At 79, an age when most artists are preparing career retrospectives, Tadaaki Kuwayama is still experimenting with media. On Thursday, a new exhibition of four site-specific pieces in titanium, aluminum, Mylar and Bakelite will open at Gary Snyder Gallery in Chelsea. This is Mr. Kuwayama's first time working in titanium, a metal that the minimalist artist, whose work is driven by color, form and material, said he has long been interested in.
Richard Van Buren began his career as a Minimalist back in the mid-1960s when this approach to art-making was becoming dominant in the lofts of SoHo and Tribeca, years before the galleries moved to West Chelsea. In the meantime, Van Buren left New York to live in Maine—the cold country—and in the process his manner of working radically shifted gears.
I would be surprised if there was a more exciting painting exhibition in a New York gallery this season than the concentrated four-decade survey of the paintings and works on paper of Nicholas Krushenick (1929-1999) at Gary Snyder. The artist was known for black-outlined abstract forms on flat grounds of hot color, sort of like Lichtenstein if the puckish Pop genius had gone abstract and rather nasty. So, not like Lichtenstein at all, really—though Krushenick endured the comparisons, admired him and they were friends.
How to explain the fact that Nicholas Krushenick's art has flown below the radar for so long, despite recurrent attempts to revive interest his work, and despite the fact that it not only is in itself excellent but self-evidently fills a niche that needs to be filled—namely that of the missing link between hard-edge abstraction and Pop art? Alas, he is that cursed thing, an artist's artist.
After Hurricane Irene prevented them from meeting at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine, where a selection of his sculptures was on exhibition, Richard Van Buren and John Yau met in New York to discuss his work and his upcoming show at Gary Snyder Gallery (November 10 - December 17, 2011).
The Bronx-born Nicholas Krushenick (1929-99) triangulated an eccentric sweet spot of his own in the field of painting in the 1960s: an exuberant fusion of Pop, Surrealism and abstraction. This compact retrospective presents paintings and drawings from 1961 to 1998. Krushenick avoided explicit representation, but there is an often weird sense of narrative animation in his tautly frontal compositions of flat, primary-colored shapes defined by black cartoon lines.
Founder Gary Snyder and Co-founder and Director Garth Greenan are pleased to announce the opening of their new space, Gary Snyder Gallery, at 529 West 20th Street in New York's Chelsea Arts District. Opening on September 22, 2011, the gallery focuses on mid-twentieth century American art, with a particular emphasis on artists who emerged during the 1960s.
Featuring eleven radiantly colored, eccentrically shaped three-dimensional canvases mostly from the 1960s, this exhibition offered something of a retrospective for the Latvian-born, New York-based artist Sven Lukin. The works—hybrids—of canvas painting and relief sculpture—with their brash primary hues, reduced forms, and caricature-like, almost anthropomorphic curves, assume a position somewhere between Pop and Minimalism.
Peter Saul and Sven Lukin are lone wolves in extremis. Both were born in 1934, Saul in San Francisco, CA, and Lukin in Riga, Latvia. They belong to the generation of Pop and Minimalist artists that began gaining attention in the turbulent '60s. By any standard they have done everything wrong throughout their careers.