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Johns and Warhol (Again)

In recapitulating the death of painting, as well as further buttressing their assumptions as to what constitutes vanguard art, critics often construct a narrative bracketed by the dates 1958 and 1962, from the year that Jasper Johns first showed his hand-painted encaustic “flags” and “targets” at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, to the year that Andy Warhol stopped painting and began using silkscreens for the majority of his output.

Alabama Picasso

Recently, I saw Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a woman more beautiful than the paintings, which were very beautiful. We walked from one to the next and I could see her seeing the paintings, which was so much better than looking at them myself.

Twilight of The Gods

On the fourth floor of the Museum of Modern Art, at the foot of the escalator, hangs Alice Neel’s “Benny and Mary Ellen Andrews” (1972). It depicts a New York art couple, a painter and photographer respectively.

BRENDA GOODMAN Work 1990 – 2010

“Flesh,” Willem de Kooning famously said, “was the reason oil paint was invented.” A down-to-earth artist if there ever was one, he recognized the corruptibility of flesh, and to represent it one needed a susceptible material.

HEAT WAVES IN MY CORTEX Charles Burchfield, British Petroleum, and The Invisible Fire

There is a rumbling from the void. Light withdraws and there is movement in the darkness. Another great heaving, something roars through the depths toward the surface. It is formless.

SUZAN FRECON Recent Painting

Suzan Frecon’s exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery is composed of two-panel paintings nine feet high generously spaced around a large room and a second room of smaller scaled works.

KITSCH AND THE AVANT-GARDE How the Brotherhoods Set the Stage for Utopia

I find it encouraging to know that there are still exhibitions being mounted capable of altering one’s aesthetic or historical point of view. Such an experience happened this past summer at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice with Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus.


Summer exhibitions in the New York gallery scene tend to fall into one of two categories: they are either relentlessly saccharine or inexplicably chaotic—a mishmash of greatest hits waged in kaleidoscopic color and shortwave critical theory often heralded by artstar cameos and/or crowd favorites.

The Summer Ramp Down

It was so hot last week that my phone sent me a message that it was overheating. I had no idea it was capable of either overheating or alerting me of its feelings, but, whatever its degree of sentience, it was only confirming what most of New York had already arrived at.

SARAH RAPSON Transcendental Materialism

It all comes down to faith. “There has always been a devotional cast to Ms. Rapson’s art” (Holland Cotter).

The Game

Get recognition. Get the gallery. Get in museums. You'll need some help.

WORK OF ART TALK Critics on Bad TV

My father is a painter. When I called him, in a craze after obsessively watching nearly the whole season of Bravo’s Work of Art in one sitting, he told me that being a chef is about keeping a kitchen clean and consistently putting out a solid product day in and day out.


Why were so many artists, art bloggers, and critics glued to the television Wednesdays at 10 p.m. this summer watching Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, an often embarrassingly lame television show whose producers clearly had no idea what it means to make art, let alone recognize a great artist?

BROOKLYN DISPATCHES: "Even the Truth Needs Propaganda"

Rightly or wrongly, the above quote has been credited to Sidney Hook, a scrappy political operative who, appropriately enough, was born and bred in early 20th-century Williamsburg.


The object of Key to the City is to collect experiences. Populist in spirit, this universal key, the brainchild of Paul Ramírez Jonas, provides the holder with access to obscure spaces in public institutions, private establishments, and municipal sites like docks and bridges.

The Ghost in the Dreamachine

Brion Gysin (1916 – 1986), Ab-Ex painter, surreal novelist, experimental sound-poet, performance innovator, and Shaman of Magic Art had many tricks up his sleeve, sur-techniques ranging from cut-ups and frottage to scrachitty-slide projections heightened by richly textured soundtracks.

BABETTE MANGOLTE Presence, Movement and Stills

Babette Mangolte, filmmaker and photographer, fled to New York from Paris in 1970 to be in a place where film authorship was not a gendered noun, and has been making experimental films and cinematographic collaborations ever since.

JILL MAGID A Reasonable Man in a Box

If you needed any extra evidence that the Bush Administration lost all sense of decency in its pursuit of information believed to be hidden in the minds of terrorist suspects, then go see Jill Magid’s chilling installation, A Reasonable Man in a Box, curated by Chrissie Iles in the Whitney Museum’s first-floor gallery space.

YVES KLEIN With the Void, Full Powers

In his Hirshorn retrospective, French artist Yves Klein (1928 – 1962) is presented with theatrical and retinal abandon. Klein’s brief (less than 10 year) career arc encompasses a number of approaches, from performative and conceptual modes to materially-bound painting.


Before I entered the first gallery, Hiraki Sawa’s hypnotic “Airliner” (2003)—a video structured as a flipbook with digitized images of airplanes gliding across the page, threatening to congest the friendly sky—gave a strong initial impression: that of the magic touch of the hand.

LIUBO BORISSOV crowdsource

Crowdsourcing, “crowd” and “outsourcing,” is the act of tasking an often random multitude with solving a problem typically handled by one person or group, entrusting the entire hive to efficiently complete what a single member might find daunting.


An epiphany came to Jennie C. Jones via a black and white photograph of John Coltrane taken in the Guggenheim Museum in 1960.  The iconic white ramps are vertiginous behind him, dotted with the nascent masterworks of white Americans.

THE DAWN OF MODERNISM: Early Twentieth-Century Mexican Photography

Given today’s death-dealing, drug war headlines about life south of the border, it’s strange to recall that there was a similarly lethal revolution going on in Mexico one hundred years ago (1910 – 1917, and well beyond).


Hauntology, on view at the Berkeley Art Museum until early December, takes its cue from a concept coined by Derrida in his 1993 work Spectres of Marx.

FRANCIS ALŸS A Story of Deception

“Sometimes doing something poetic can become political, and sometimes doing something political can become poetic,” reads the wall alongside Francis Alÿs’s video, “The Green Line” (2004).


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2010

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