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The art critic and historian Arlene Raven died of cancer in Brooklyn on August 1, 2006, at age 62. I met her in 1984 when I was 49, a year after she moved to New York City, when she gave a series of four lectures on feminist art at the New York Feminist Art Institute.
With the hedonistic grandeur of the World Cup (that month-long international festival of soccer) upon us, as well as the Basel Art Fair attracting art world consumers, the month in London seems more about the ephemeral than the epic.
For A Life without a Dentist is handwritten across one of Martin Kippenbergers canvases from 1984, with the second a inscribed within the shape of a tooth. This nonsense sentence reveals the essence of Kippenbergers anarchic wit and radical artistic stance.
The site-specificity of Cabin Comforts serves as a conceptual framework for the communal art store created by Saviour Scraps, an artists collective made up of Katie Kiline, Jojo Li, Brieana Ruais, and Shabd Simon-Alexander. It is almost impossible to view the show out of context of the gallery space, Secret Project Robot, and the massive redevelopment of the waterfront along Kent Avenue.
As Wherever, the title of her first New York solo exhibition in nine years suggests, Eva Lundsager paints abstracted iconic landscapes whose imagery lingers somewhere between familiar and otherworldly.
When David Smith’s burnished steel surfaces absorbed the colors and light of their surroundings they proposed an entirely new way of engaging with sculptural space. The colors of the landscape or the interior locations where these works are sited became nuanced reflections linking the objects to their environments. Zurich-based artist Reto Boller, born one year after Smith’s fatal car accident in 1965, seems to extend Smith’s achievement by inverting it.
Now that the possibility of being avant-garde is either a pipe dream or one more example of our sad need for spectacle, models of progress are heavily contested, and the withering away of craft of any and all kinds has become a predictable component of much contemporary art, might not abstract artists for whom drawing is an essential part of their practice be defined as radical Luddites?
I remember going to a museum once with an undergraduate painting class and seeing an Alex Katz cut-out for the first time. It was a freestanding figure, painted on a crudely jig-sawed piece of wood, of a man in a suit. My classmates and I were into Georg Baselitz; we thought the Katz was the dumbest piece of art we’d ever seen.
One can be anywhere in the world, in Havana, in the American Southwest, and come up with the realization, the impossible realization, that “I’ve been here before.”
Contemporary Asian Arts week, held since 2002, is dedicated to showcasing the best of Asian Art through a consortium of 28 participants. Though the week is pan-Asian, Chinese artists in particular are gaining rapidly in the New York art world. Galleries like Jack Tilton, Art Projects International, Ethan Cohen, and Max Protetch are infiltrating China as well by developing programs and residencies based on cultural exchange.
Painterly painting flat-lined, time of death, the late fifties. Since then it has been resurrected from time to time, but these attempts at resuscitation have often seemed like picking over a carcass, trying to find organs that are still viable for transplant.
One thing that we have learned from Walter Benjamin is that any coherent and organically developing artistic movement will end up reentering the mainstream as a stylized version of the original impulse. For all their earnest optical scrutiny, the Impressionists seem forever associated with the reproductions of their work that decorate apartment walls and dentists’ offices around the world.
Two enormous black hands, blocky and clownish, greet you at the entrance to Jenny Holzers indispensable exhibition, Archive, at Cheim & Read. Palms out, fingers slightly splayed, they could be pleading for mercy or halting a vehicle at a checkpoint.
For four days, curators Alyssa Natches and Lou Auguste welcomed a slew of street artists to paste, paint and stencil to their heart’s desire on plywood walls constructed in the rented Stay Gold gallery space on Brooklyn’s Grand Street. Tiki Jay from LA was in town for his first New York showing, while New York diehards Michael De Feo, Dan Witz, the artistic pair Skewville, and FAILE—among others—packed the space to capacity.
There is a story Ronald Feldman likes to tell that serves to contextualize the exhibition recently on view at his Mercer Street gallery. While visiting the Soviet architectural team Brodsky and Utkin in their native Russia, Feldman and his associates dined at an upscale restaurant whose interior the two architects had designed. When the check came, Brodsky and Utkin insisted that they pay for the dinner.
Sideshow Gallery’s current exhibition of works on paper by Sasha Chermayeff and Chuck Bowdish is a case study in the challenges on the road to making art. In the front room, Chermayeff exhibits what one might call roller paintings. She uses brayers—soft rubber rollers usually used for inking lithographic stones, etching plates or woodblocks—roughly four inches wide to apply one color at a time in curving arcs and swirls on 18” x 24” mid-weight paper.