An overwhelming desire for the past looms in the air; indeed, one reminder of this sentimentand its a stunning oneis 99¢ Dreams, Jane Dicksons current exhibition of new paintings at James Fuentes Gallery.
You either start in darkness, or you start in the light. One is not better than the other, but the choice is the first one that affects your experience of the Whitney Biennial. The show spreads out across multiple floors, but it mainly takes place on two: one is designed like a labyrinth, the other as an open field. Its a dramatic shift. In the labyrinth your eyes cant travel far; in the open field there is almost nothing to stop them.
I hadn’t thought of Larry Day or his work very much in the previous fifteen years. This innocuous streetscape in the reproduction was airily peaceful, classicized; Arcadian, even. The workaday Philadelphia I had known might look that way to someone who had served in Iwo Jima (I knew he did, getting through the pauses in battle reading The Magic Mountain). It was evidence of what Day wrote in one of his notebooks: “How we dreamed of the ordinary as ideal when we were in the army.”
Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet is a succinct yet expansive exhibition composed of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a mobile home trailer woven into a uniquely personal cosmology. Walking into the large open space of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art reminds me of Kahlhamer’s account of his first visit to the Heard Museum in Phoenix in the late 1970s.
Precision meets the edge of nonsense in govern me harder, Nora Turato’s solo presentation at 52 Walker. Vibrant murals painted from floor to ceiling are punctuated by seven enamel panels each emblazoned with graphic lettering, the font bolded and stretched and still just legible.
In his act of filming, Mekas meticulously captured the poetry of the everyday as he experienced it—springtime flowering bulbs, intimate weddings, dinner with friends, or a sunset on the beach. Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running at The Jewish Museum situates the artist’s displacement as the impulse for his lifelong search for joy through the camera’s lens in a moving, nuanced, and topical presentation of Mekas’s work.
If exhibitions of incarcerated artists can range from the voyeuristic to the merely evidentiary (look, here’s art made under duress; aren’t the artists resourceful and isn’t it shocking that they, too, are human?), Remaking the Exceptional is neither.
The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE preserved the world of Pompeii and Herculaneum like a bee in amber. Serious excavations, beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, began to pull the curtain back on these intimate lives that were terminated in an instant.
Willie Birch has exhibited his work in New York for the first time since 2000 at the Fort Gansevoort Gallery located in the Meatpacking District. Originally from New Orleans, Birch is no stranger to New York City. Aside from Broken Dreams (Tattered White Picket Fence) (2020–21), the exhibition centers on Birch’s New York period (1983–1997).
Hemlock is presently on display in the Baltimore Museum of Arts blockbuster exhibit, Joan Mitchell. Katy Siegel, from the BMA, along with Sarah Roberts, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, co-curated this dazzling retrospective. They also co-edited its beautifully illustrated catalogue (a tome, really) and contributed insightful essays to the text that range from scholarly to anecdotal.
Jamel Shabazz likes to say that his photographs capture people “at their best.” His language is deliberate, and his words sit in their own shadow, leaving implicit and unsaid the dark question of the converse. His lively portraits are stalked by their own context, so many artifacts of a period in which, he admits, “people were witnessing a lot of suffering.’ It’s in spite of this, or perhaps because of this, that Shabazz’s images are incandescent with joy.
Resnick’s portraits of iconic figures such as Sontag, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kathy Acker, and Gary Indiana, among others, have become well-known documents of a much-romanticized period in the history of New York. Yet few are familiar with the photographer’s multifaceted and wide-ranging practice beyond these portraits, something the curators of this retrospective, Resnick’s first ever, hope to change.
Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art is an ambitious exhibition that occupies two floors of the Museum of Art and Design. Curated by independent scholar Alexandra Schwartz, this show is long overdue for several reasons.
Raised in Lancaster farming territory, in a Pennsylvania community near Philadelphia, Warren Rohrer (1927–95) was descended from many generations of Mennonite farmers. For a long time, he lived on a farm amongst the Mennonites. And so, becoming an artist involved some real personal struggle. And although he left that community, this tradition gave him close, lasting ties to nature and agriculture. This show of abstract paintings and drawings from the 1990s reflects this, his lived experience.
Maltzs project is to make something but still deny the fruit of his efforts a description; his process is also calibrated to reject bourgeois definitions of arthe stacks, piles, and arranges objects but refuses to force them into a state of permanent association.
For the new series, he developed an eccentrically exaggerated hyper-illusionistic space, while rejecting the conventions of Natural History painting as well as paleoart. He aimed to imbue his dinosaurs with human aspirations and emotions.
While Martins landscapes and fragments of nature from the aughts implied socio-political and ecological issues, and were even framed by a robust discourse in a 2009 monograph around the history of the Hudson River School, the sublime, and what is now decried as settler colonialism, Martin frustratingly would not explain why he was using landscape.
Here I am reminded of the writer Vladimir Nabokovs modestly controversial definition of art as precision in contrast to science, which he described as intuition. In the case of Irwin, however, the perceptual aspect found in recent works holds a certain balance between the two: here precision and intuition come together.
In fifteen mixed-media collages on view now at DC Moore, Carrie Moyer shifts the boisterous abstract compositions for which shes renowned to a smaller, more personal scale.
Absent any punctuation, How to Get Free of the Rectangle reads as a directive. Decades ago, it might have been a longing question, but now paintings rectangle has been bent, torn, re-sewn, and looped in on itself, so it might be easy to scoff at the premise and how far removed it is from the radical. But this modest survey accomplishes a small miracle: it justifies paintings bullish intrusions into other mediums.
Woodruff saw this as an opportunity to resurrect the past, to connect it to the present. Over six canvases, completed in two cycles, there was the opportunity to illustrate the struggle for freedom, education, and the climb from slavery toward equality.
The human body, according to Godine, exists in a communal space that transcends time and place, rooted in a continual energy exchange with the environment.
Complementing Synecdoche (December 2013 January 2014), Locks Gallery presents Synecdoche II, a collection of Nancy Gravess mid-1970s paintings and drawings that evolved from her Lunar Orbiter series, which extrapolates NASA lunar surface maps into fragmentary, mysterious, abstract spaces.