A LETTER TO PHILIP GUSTON from David Rhodes

ArtSeen

So many years have passed since your new paintings at the Marlborough Gallery caught your friends and supporters off-guard. Among your embattled partisan crowd, Bill de Kooning was almost alone in supporting your change of direction; after all, like you, he did what he wanted to do, when he needed to do it.

A LETTER TO MARTIN MULLIN from Carter Ratcliff

ArtSeen

Thanks for having me over the other day to look at your new paintings. It’s a great place! Not very many painters have an oblique view of the river to the west and in other directions a sky filled with high-rise buildings.

A LETTER TO CINDY SHERMAN from Christopher Stackhouse

ArtSeen

I’ve yet to see your show in the Tisch Gallery at MoMA, but I just received an e-mail from a friend with a link to Jed Perl’s review in the New Republic, “The Irredeemably Boring Egotism of Cindy Sherman” (March 14, 2012).

A LETTER TO MOIRA DRYER from David Rhodes

ArtSeen

On a visit to New York last November, I visited Carol Szymanski and Barry Schwabsky. On the walls of their apartment are many beautiful works, though the one that had me immediately walking over to take a closer look was a small gouache on paper. It was one of yours.

SONIA ALMEIDA The Angle of the Sun’s Rays

ArtSeen

It’s been more than a few years since you last visited me in New York; you wouldn’t believe the changes that have taken place since you were here on the Bowery. Galleries are opening all over the neighborhood, even on the first floor of my building where Simone Subal, former director at Peter Blum, has just opened a space.

JESUS RAFAEL SOTO Soto: Paris and Beyond 1950–1970

ArtSeen

How is life in Santa Cruz? Are you back to swimming again? For some reason, I feel I owe you an overdue letter. This is probably because I said I would review your recent book on Martin Buber, as we discussed some time ago.

TAMARA GONZALES Untitled, An Exhibition of New Paintings

ArtSeen

The other day, when I came out of the C-Town at Wyckoff and Dekalb, I saw a woman wearing beige leggings made of polyester lace that featured a big repeating flower pattern, and I thought of your paintings.

A LETTER TO BRYAN OSBURN from Trevor Winkfield

ArtSeen

I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Gustave Moreau book I gave you. I thought it might appeal to the jeweler in you. Alas, you won’t see much of Moreau’s work here in the States—he’s far too complex and “over the top” for most American tastes, which is why his painting “Oedipus and the Sphinx” (1864) is always allocated to such an out-of-the-way gallery in the Metropolitan Museum.

DJUNA BARNES Newspaper Fiction: The New York Journalism of Djuna Barnes, 1913 – 1919

ArtSeen

I wonder if, during your early career, you sought to discover the city through personal experience, actively embodying your politics as the Brooklyn Museum claims in Newspaper Fiction, or if you were just mad—a runaway kid venting through the papers.

LIONEL MAUNZ Receipt of Malice

ArtSeen

I visited your exhibition at Bureau Gallery a few weeks ago knowing very little about you or your work. I feel like I know you much better now, which is perhaps unsurprising given the autobiographical character of your sculpture.

A LETTER TO ROBERT SMITHSON from Greg Lindquist

ArtSeen

If you were to examine how we regard nature in its current condition, would you consider our culture to be in an entropic, near-apocalyptic downturn or on the verge of environmental revolution and innovation?

A LETTER TO RAPHAEL RUBINSTEIN from Daniel Wiener

ArtSeen

I am addressing this letter to you in honor of the art criticism we wrote together in the 1980s, trading paper manuscripts back and forth with revisions long before the “convenience” of sending texts through the digital ether. I have been thinking about your recent writing on “provisional painting” and have seen the work of two sculptors whose current shows may present an alternative take on the provisional.

JOHN EVANS John Evans: 1984

ArtSeen

WOW! Just got back from your opening at Pavel Zoubok’s gallery, and once again your work took my breath away. 1984 invokes the ghost of George Orwell and the East Village of bygone times.

MICHIEL CEULERS Des Malentendus et le temps perdu

ArtSeen

First things first: You are still missed as one of the most interesting abstract painters working after the Second World War. Your work shows a prescient regard for painting issues that are still ongoing today, and there is a purity in your efforts that is memorable.

MISSIVE TO FRANK O’HARA from Vincent Katz

ArtSeen

Now that I am off the coast of Venezuela and can think—but I better be quick about it, I’m about to cross into Guiana, skirting Suriname, and also Raphael needs this quickly, well, not that he needs it exactly, but quickly, yes!—now I can write to you.

WILLIAM ANTHONY Ironic Icons II

ArtSeen

I saw an art exhibition today that made me think of you. The small paintings in William Anthony: Ironic Icons II were done in a primitive style that reminds me of the stuff you were working on in the early 1900s.

AN OPEN LETTER ON THE SUBJECT OF RITUAL

ArtSeen

When we speak of ritual, what exactly is it that we are speaking of? Is ritual something, an action or a thought, that we come to of our own volition? Or is it something forced upon us—a deep-seated template for engaging with the world, embedded within the psyche via a multitude of childhood experiences and repeated social conditionings—something that we as adults have internalized to the point of sublimation?

THEO A. ROSENBLUM & CHELSEA SELTZER Two Heads are Better than One

ArtSeen

I was not familiar with the specific term heta-uma before I spent an awkward hour at an art school alumni event held, fortuitously, at The Hole during Theo A. Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer’s giddy, gaudy exhibition, Two Heads are Better than One.

ALEX BAG AND PATTERSON BECKWITH Cash from Chaos / Unicorns & Rainbows

ArtSeen

I’m interested to know your thoughts on the recent exhibitions, screenings, and forums that have focused on artistic engagement with television content, formats, and viewership.

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APR 2012

All Issues