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Tracking Loren MacIver

In my first college painting course, which I took several years after completing an art history degree, my teacher Arnold Trachtman said that my painting of the bathroom sink reminded him of Loren MacIver’s work.

Web exclusive - Martin Wilner

Each day, Martin Wilner scavenges the papers for scraps of images and ideas to feed his art.

Klara Liden Elda för kråkorna

Passing fruit stands, fish markets, discount souvenir shops and several Chinatown bus depots, I identify Reena Spaulings Fine Art by an address on an awning and a buzzer labeled “gallery 2nd floor”—the only sign of its existence. I climb a dingy staircase, half-consciously noticing a rust-stained mosaic detail on the landing: a trace of the building’s previous life.

Howard Smith Stroke and Structure

At his opening, where nearly 200 paintings and drawings are installed, I asked Howard Smith how much time there was in the room. At first he looked rather quizzically at me, but before long we lit on the figure of 17 years.

John Zinsser Recent Work

John Zinsser has always found maximum expression in reductive abstract painting, simplifying his visual language to convey clarity of thought and sensory excitement. Despite their straightforwardness, Zinsser’s elegant compositions are never predictable and offer a strong sense of the transcendental.

Enriqué Chagoya Borderlandia

Art with an overt political message is a tough trick to pull off. Even if we agree with the artist, politics can seem too reductive a subject, too broad (“Peace!”) or too narrow (“No telecom immunity!”), and too likely to collapse the work into a declaration rather than a question, an argument rather than a seduction.

Thoth Herma: The Life and Land of Nular-In

William Blake’s aesthetic of idiosyncratic world-making, espoused in his declaration that “[he] must create a System or be enslaved by another Man’s” seems a fitting ethos for Thoth, who’s spent his life creating the world Festad, which boasts a mythic history, world geography, Festadian language, and the Herma, an epic in the form of a three-act solo opera.

Do-Ho Suh Reflection

Lucretius thought that pictures flew through the air on films, alighting on our eyes to grant us vision. When asked about the primacy of perception, materials, or space, Do-Ho Suh asserts “The image is always first.” Further, he maintains, “I have a desire to create my piece without any material.”

Brooklyn Dispatches

Little did I realize when I wrote “The Gangs of New York” (Brooklyn Rail July/August 2007), on the new phenomenon of the art blogosphere, that shortly we’d be witnessing a major power shift as some of these bloggers flex their newfound muscle.

Agnes Martin

I still remember the disappointment I felt when Agnes Martin died in 2004. Of all the artists whose lives overlapped with my adult life, she’s the one I would most liked to have met. There are two reasons why she is so singularly important to me.

Francis Alÿs Fabiola

The necessary back story is as follows: Fabiola was a wealthy 4th-century Roman woman who, after divorcing and remarrying against the Church’s ordinances, renounced her sins and, alongside her more art historically canonized peer-saint, Jerome, embarked upon a life of penitence and service.

Sterling Ruby Chron

For hundreds of years, artists did everything in their control to refine their studio practices to achieve a singularity of style and technique.

Monumental Squalor

On August 28, 2007, a press release issued by Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas, announced that the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation had selected Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP “to design the Presidential Library and Museum for America’s 43rd President,” which is to be built on the university’s campus.

WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution

WACK!: Art and the Feminist Revolution looks so at home at P.S.1 that it’s hard to imagine what it could have been like at its point of origin—the cavernous Geffen Contemporary outpost of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art—or its previous stopover at Washington’s National Museum of Women in the Arts.

David Geiser

It would seem that installation art, as it is understood today, is a misnomer. The museological use of the term refers to the way an exhibition is mounted, how it is presented, and how it determines (to a large extent) the relationships between the paintings within the gallery space. David Geiser’s paintings suggest the kind of urgency that used to occupy artists before the advent of “installation art.”

The Destiny of Larry Poons: Larry Poons Paintings 1971 - 1980

Larry Poons has been on the scene for many years. By the scene, I refer both to contemporary art history and to the regenerative impulse that has accompanied his work over the past four decades.

Close Encounters: Irving Penn Portraits of Artists and Writers

Recently, the Morgan Library & Museum, for the first time in its history, invested in art photography, acquiring sixty-seven black-and-white portraits by Irving Penn, of which thirty-five were direct gifts from the legendary 90-year-old photographer. This collection shines in the museum’s newly renovated space.

Freeze Frame

Like a homemade blade to the golden throat of the status quo, the eight paintings in Freeze Frame are convincing and sharp. For the most part, the eight women who make up this show have chosen not to stray too far from a plainclothes abstraction that can range from the personal and passionate to the hell-for-leather. In other words, there’s enough quality stuff here to light a fire in every train yard oil drum from Maine to the Mobile Bay—they mean what they’re doing and it shows. As a group-show thankfully lacking some contemptible curatorial theme, it allows for enough pushback among the paintings to keep things interesting, difficult, and open. It’s a reminder that art can happen on a local level, where people argue and have something to say, as opposed to some faceless, nameless, global mass of intellectual morality.

Agnes Martin's Homework

I went to Agnes Martin’s drawing show at Peter Blum Gallery not so much to see a comprehensive museum-quality retrospective of Martin on paper (which it most definitely is), but to satisfy my curiosity after receiving the show’s announcement card, which pictured a single, 3-inch doodle. Not only was the curvy drawing entirely uncharacteristic of Martin’s mature style, but, more sensationally, the announcement claimed it was the last drawing the artist ever made prior to her death in 2004.

Anika Wilson A Question of Beauty

For Anika Wilson’s solo painting show, A Question of Beauty, Gallery QB posted only one picture on its website—the artist’s acrylic on canvas, “Pink.” In this painting, nearly twenty nude female bodies, each with two heads, are clustered in the top right corner as if in motion, their white bodies falling onto the pink surface from an unseen sky. The pairs of heads, rather than looking inward towards one another, look outward in opposite directions, with their chins tilted slightly up. The painting intrigued me and drew me to the gallery.

Bill Jensen Notes from the Loggia

Drawing is one way to get out of a hole. Ever since Bill Jensen arrived in New York from Minneapolis in the early 1970s, bringing with him drawings of spirals and ellipses, drawing has been central to his practice.

Rodrigo Moynihan

A contemporary of Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Rodrigo Moynihan (1910-1990) was in his early sixties when he began painting still lifes and self-portraits in the studio, and these paintings occupied much of his attention until his death.

Harriet Korman Recent Paintings and Drawings

Since her first exhibition in Germany in 1970, when she was in her early twenties, Harriet Korman has been sectioning the canvas into distinct compartments. Initially, she did this by precisely spacing thin vertical bars across the surface, methodically divided by thinner horizontal ones.

Thomas Nozkowski Paintings

Might it not be time to begin rethinking what happened in painting in the 1980s? Typified by some as the moment when painting came back from the dead, and judged by others as further proof of painting’s retrograde position, the eighties was a decade full of hoopla, with lots of posturing both inside and outside the art world.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2008

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