ArtSeen

The Work of Stephen Mueller (1947 – 2011)

It is not quite a year ago that I wrote about the abstract paintings and watercolors of Stephen Mueller. That particular text discussed his recent solo exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg Gallery, a stunning show that presented the artist at the height of his talent and made clear that many of his late works can be counted among his most accomplished.

HOKUSAI Retrospective

Hokusai Katsushika (1760 – 1849) said that all he had done before the age of 70 was not worth bothering with. He hoped for longevity in life in order to achieve something in his paintings; evidently he believed in the long haul.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975

The Black Power Mixtape 1967 - 1975 is a curious collection of film stills and ephemera curated by Yona Backer and filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson, serving as a corollary to the documentary of the same title.

THE LIMITS OF LANGUAGE:
New Works by ANRI SALA

Sometimes—albeit rarely—formal propositions can be politically influential. When the two meet, it’s a beautiful intersection. And Albanian artist, Anri Sala, loves intersections: the intersections of language, syntax, history, and cultural memory, to be specific.

TAMARA ZAHAYKEVICH Hey Harmonica!

It is Tamara Zahaykevich’s admirable abandonment of order that controls Hey Harmonica!, the artist’s first solo show at the recently opened Kansas Gallery.

BRIAN JUNGEN

Jungen’s latest show at Casey Kaplan Gallery represents an evolution of his anti-consumerist message. The works themselves comprise two variations: sculptures and flat-ish wall art.

BARBARA TAKENAGA New Paintings

In 2009, Barbara Takenaga exhibited Langwidere (2009) at DC Moore, a series in which she challenged herself to paint the same painting 30 times. Each work was 12 by 10 inches, and started with a small circle, which became the origin of a widening spiral of variously-sized circles.

NICOLA LÓPEZ Landscape X: Under Construction

In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Italian artist and architect Matteo Pericoli explained his adoration for New York’s fluctuating skyline. The shape of Manhattan, said Pericoli, “is not a fixed thing.

JOANNE GREENBAUM 1612

Joanne Greenbaum’s exhibition consists entirely of wildly colored, cacophonous abstract paintings measuring 16 x 12 inches, which are installed salon-style, with some paintings paired and others lined up diagonally, with the bottom left corner of the upper painting nearly touching the top right of the one below.

JOSEPHINE HALVORSON What Looks Back

Josephine Halvorson is a contemporary observational painter whose work enters into a lively philosophical dialogue with an unaffiliated group of international artists that includes the German painter Peter Dreher, the Spaniards Antonio Lopez and Isabella Quintanilla, and the Americans Lois Dodd, Catherine Murphy, and Sylvia Plimack-Mangold.

KATHARINA GROSSE One Floor Up More Highly

The sense of the Sublime is a mixed emotion. It is composed of a sense of sorrow whose extreme expression is manifested as a shudder, and a feeling of joy that can mount to rapturous enthusiasm.

LARI PITTMAN

No contemporary painter produces overload with as much restraint as Lari Pittman. For more than 30 years the unstoppable force of his pictorial imagination has collided head-on with the immovable object of his impeccable production, over and over, to the point of what would be, in less capable hands, overkill.

G.T. PELLIZZI Transitional

There was a work permit by the entrance. Industrial light fixtures, bent and angled, shared wall space with boxy structures made out of the same blue-painted plywood that fences construction sites in New York City.

Cover Me with Turtles (after Amy Cutler*)

Fall into the cracks / Where elephant trunks are useful. / Where patterns open at the seams, / Revealing nakedness.

Can BOB DYLAN Paint?

I was inclined to write about Dylan’s paintings after seeing The Brazil Series, a surprisingly good exhibition at the Statens Museum for Kunst, which I discovered by accident, while working in Copenhagen last January. My first thought was to write about the work in a distant way—not academic, but distant.

LORI SIKORSKI

Brooklyn artist Lori Sikorski recently staged an interactive exhibition that looks at our current military involvement in the Middle East, initially begun as a response to the destruction of the World Trade Center, a local event, but which passed quickly into long-term, distant hostilities.

AD REINHARDT
Works from 1935–1945

At one point in this long overdue exhibition of early works by Ad Reinhardt, I was stopped dead in my tracks, arrested by an insignificantly sized gouache of 1939. What stunned me about this 5 1/8 x 12-inch painting was its uncanny relationship to the twin problems of color and form that would occupy Reinhardt most intensely throughout the 1950s until the untimely end of his life in 1967.

CIVIC ACTION: A Vision for Long Island City

While protestors on Wall Street fight to reclaim the economic system, the Noguchi Museum, too, is looking to re-occupy what has been usurped by corporate structures. Tired of the visual pollution from energy towers and fenced-off warehouses, the museum has teamed up with Socrates Sculpture Park to present Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City.

LISA YUSKAVAGE

Lisa Yuskavage’s large scale, enigmatic, and acerbic-colored paintings complicate how we view their female subjects. These women are mostly rendered either nude in a youthful, cartoonish manner with the curvaceous bodies and voluptuous breasts of soft porn, or as senescent—overly clothed in long dresses and turbans, suggesting babushkas or Mormons.

MARTHA WILSON and the Well-Examined Female Self

Although Martha Wilson, who is based in New York, is best known as an alternative-museum founder, cultural activist, freedom of expression advocate, educator, and mother, she has also worked as an artist in her own right. As her recent solo exhibition at P.P.O.W. showed, through the years, her art-making and the thinking that has informed it have come a long way.

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NOV 2011

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