TOM MCGLYNN is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in the N.Y.C. area. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian. He is the director of Beautiful Fields, an organization dedicated to socially-engaged curatorial projects, and is also currently a visiting lecturer at Parsons/the New School.
FEB 2018 | ArtSeen
John Newman’s recent mini-retrospective of works presented at Safe Gallery is thickly populated with all sorts of biomorphic tropes but fortunately the assemble works escape the fate of the quick read of quirky stylizations offered in place of uncanny presence.
MAR 2018 | ArtSeen
Robert Ryman’s painting smolders with restrained, yet eccentric, color and gesture. His hand both withholds and idiosyncratically gestures with an open palm: the magic of an aesthetic disappearing act.
APR 2018 | ArtSeen
Coates’s paintings share a transhistorical affinity with Caspar David Friedrich’s scenes of ruined Gothic architecture set amidst scraggly oaks, yet are much less explicitly allegorical or connected to any specific theology.
JUNE 2018 | ArtSeen
Al Held moved to Paris in 1949 where he was part of a loose-knit expatriate community of American painters that included Joan Mitchell and Sam Francis.
JUL-AUG 2018 | ArtSeen
Walking off of Great Jones Street and into Eva Presenhuber’s beautifully proportioned New York space hosting Martha Diamond’s most recent show of paintings, one can figuratively reconstruct the quotidian grandeur of an urban promenade in luscious abstract oils.
OCT 2018 | Art
Since the early 1980s the influence of Peter Halley’s writings, paintings, and installations has been widespread.
FEB 2017 | ArtSeen
In discussing Dan Walsh’s work here, perhaps it’s best to get the term “post-minimalism” figured from the beginning. There is an undeniable link in Walsh’s work to what artists and critics ranging from Mel Bochner to Rosalind Krauss helped to define in Minimalism’s 1960s heyday.
APR 2017 | ArtSeen
The image I retain is one more of a workshop of a freewheeling tinkerer than an eccentric abstractionist. At the time, I really didn’t know what to make of his work, as this small sampling was my first encounter with his approach to sculpture that seemed more like a non-approach to art.
JUL-AUG 2017 | ArtSeen
The Times is a cleverly capacious title for this large group exhibition, referring simultaneously to a multiplicity of historical periodizations and to a colloquial condensation of the New York Times. The works, like the title, encompass the specificity of individual perspectives, as well as the generalized verbal semantics and visual syntax of the printed commons.
OCT 2017 | ArtSeen
Walking down the slot canyon of Vandam Street and into the mini-cavern of the Kate Werble Gallery and Michael Berryhill’s show of recent paintings can have the effect of discovering a fecund microclimate of crystalline flora and fauna nestled among the bleached, late summer-bones of lower Manhattan.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | ArtSeen
The modern book is the product of a mechanical operation, the printing press, but as Internal Machine suggests, it can be considered a mechanism in and of itself.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | ArtSeen
For painters of this generation the war allowed for a break from the gravitational influences of Picasso and the School of Paris, the same break that would lend lift to the Abstract Expressionist ascendancy in New York.
MAR 2016 | ArtSeen
Anri Sala’s sound, vision, and sculptural installations feel like they want to exist whether or not anyone is there to hear or see them. Like the entranced drummer in the work that lends the show its title, Answer Me (2008), Sala is not concerned with conventional conversation.
APR 2016 | ArtSeen
In the mid 1970s consumer culture in the U.S. took a rare pause in its relentless appetite for brand name products. High inflation, the winding down of the Vietnam War, and the onset of OPEC and gasoline shortages all put pressure on marketing mavens to come up with a strategy that would address the budget-conscious consumer.
MAY 2016 | ArtSeen
Irgin Sena’s work is substantial in its fragility: it explores the ephemerality of the representational structures and systems that constitute the foundations of our need to project significance, and perhaps narrative coherence, onto widely disparate signs.
JUNE 2016 | ArtSeen
The first time I saw a grouping of Sadie Benning’s more recent paintings was at the Greater New York show at PS1 in 2015 – 16.
NOV 2016 | ArtSeen
When exactly did postmodernism begin? For that matter, has the question of when modernism began ever been resolved?
MAR 2015 | ArtSeen
Olivier Mosset isnt really an abstract painter, because his paintings arent abstractly real. This might seem like a tautological game, but it is actually at the root of Mossets raison dêtre.
JUNE 2015 | ArtSeen
In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War and facing family financial hardship, Lucy Bakewell Audubon (John Jamess widow) sold her husbands portfolio of original paintings executed in preparation for his engraved and hand-colored masterwork The Birds Of America (1827 38) to the New York Historical Society.
SEPT 2015 | ArtSeen
Ferdinand Lassalle, the great early international-socialist light of 19th century Prussia, loved its capital Berlin so much that he snuck back into the city disguised as a wagon-driver after he was banished for social organizing during the 1848 49 uprisings in the still un-unified Germany.
DEC 15-JAN 16 | ArtSeen
Frank Stella’s famous aphorism, “What you see is what you see,” seems most likely to have been followed in his mind by an urgent, “Don’t just stand there looking, do something!”
FEB 2014 | ArtSeen
William Kentridges The Refusal of Time, which debuted in dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012, is a multi-channel video and sculpture installation that, at first, seems an evolution of the artists ability to craft complicated allegories of the struggle between the personal and the political.
JUNE 2014 | ArtSeen
Kim Joness most recent show at Pierogi opens with a small acrylic on Xerox piece Untitled, (Kim as Boy) (1955 99). It presents a Xeroxed childhood photograph of the artist in boxer shorts or swim trunks overdrawn with intestines that stretch out to form an angular superstructure surrounding the artists head and shoulders, like the truss work of a Byzantine halo.
SEPT 2014 | ArtSeen
Lucio Fontana is amongst those latter-day European modernists whose post-WWII reputation was made by a signature autographic gesture.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | ArtSeen
Neo Rauch has all but cornered the market on post-modern historical painting. While his histories dont overtly present as such, he does thread a specific temporal narrative (German, idealist) through what one might describe as the hangover dream of the repressed nation-state.
MAR 2013 | ArtSeen
The symbolic battle between word and image is a metaphoric representation of the contained malleability of human expression.
OCT 2013 | Critics Page
Tom McGlynn is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in the N.Y.C. area. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian. He is the director of Beautiful Fields, an organization dedicated to socially- engaged curatorial projects, and is also currently a visiting lecturer at Parsons/the New School.
MAR 2018 | Art
I’d like to open our discussion with a statement from your essay “Form and Pressure,” in which you preface the scene from Hamlet directing the actors he brought to Elsinore for a play
APR 2018 | ArtSeen
I first met Leon Golub when the samizdat literary magazine I was co-editing, Ferro-Botanica (1980 – 1986) solicited an interview. Both he and his wife, the artist Nancy Spero, were quite generous with access to their studios, accommodating myself and my friends who at the time were just beginning to inscribe our mark in the New York art world.
MAY 2018 | ArtSeen
Barbara Rose’s conception of Painting After Postmodernism (PAP) seems to want to address, in Owen’s terms, the “static, ritualistic and repetitive” aspect of the postmodernist turn.
JUNE 2018 | ArtSeen
The question of poise comes up in different ways when viewing Barry Flanagan’s survey at Paul Kasmin Gallery: Strictly sculptural poise (from the ground to the plinth) but also conceptual poise, the balancing act that an artist needs to sometime effect to get their point across.
SEPT 2018 | ArtSeen
The quotidian fortune of being bull’s-eyed by a bird letting loose from on high supposedly augurs good luck, a sign that the splat was a chance operation. The deeper magic, of course, is that both pedestrian and the bird exist within a universal plane of consistency that somehow purposefully unites the bird’s flight with the walker’s groundedness. This may seem an odd analogy with which to introduce the prodigious sequence of painterly operations brought into intentional coincidence by Alex Katz over his long professional lifetime, yet it does concur with his stated notion of getting at a sense of “figure-in-ground” in his work.
OCT 2018 | ArtSeen
Will Corwin has chosen to work within this premise of archeological projection, and further, to ventriloquize its forms for a contemporary audience. So, what happens when an archeologically derived artifact is remade in the likeness of the artist’s own ontological projection?
MAR 2017 | ArtSeen
The blatant poetry and phenomenological politics of the Arte Povera group in post-World War II Italy offered a corrective to what art historian Jaleh Mansoor has termed “Marshall Plan Modernism 1” or the encroachment of hyper-realized American financial and cultural capital into war-torn Europe.
JUNE 2017 | ArtSeen
If Alex Katz hadn’t so deftly invented himself, New York would have had to. Born in the city in 1927, he belongs to a remarkably self-creative generation, which has included such singular individuals as Frank O’Hara and Edwin Denby, whose urbane voices and visions became inextricably identified with the realigning echelons of post-war American upward mobility.
SEPT 2017 | Art
A work I always think about in these terms of a puncture is this piece I made in 2007, a huge, tangle on this spindly stand: in the studio, almost jokingly, it came to be called “Mr. Messy,” which is from a children’s book.
NOV 2017 | ArtSeen
Ben Wilson’s career as a painter parallels that of many others in his generation who began their creative investigations in the social realist idiom of 1930s America, ultimately evolving their own responses to Modernist abstraction in the post-war period.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | Critics Page
Alexis Rockman graciously welcomed me into his Tribeca studio on two occasions this fall to talk about his work, natural (and personal) histories, and the natural world of the 21st century. Hanging in the studio was a series of large-scale watercolors related to a recent project entitled “The Great Lakes Cycle,” which looks at the environmental history, degradation and resilience of that particular ecosystem.
FEB 2016 | ArtSeen
As a style of painting, lyrical abstraction can too easily get short shrift as a histrionic sigh to the deeper draughts of abstract painting’s historical breadth. In general, the form tends to move away from the symmetry of compositional plotting toward a more rambling mapping of the picture plane. In doing so it can actually risk quite a bit in terms of painting’s clarifying limits for a wager on the optical choreography of the brushstroke.
APR 2016 | ArtSeen
Marcel Broodthaers’s career has to be one of the most hermetically abstruse, at least to an American audience, of the 20th century, so it’s a signal event when a museum like MoMA, so vested in the pas de deux of Dada and Surrealism, celebrates one of that tradition’s most prodigious acolytes.
MAY 2016 | ArtSeen
Writing on Cézanne, D.H. Lawrence noted that, “After a fight tooth-and-nail for forty years, he did succeed in knowing an apple, fully; and, not quite as fully, a jug or two.
JUNE 2016 | ArtSeen
The title of this brief reflection is cobbled together from Philip Guston’s 1978 letter to Ross Feld, a younger poet and critic who had written appreciatively of Guston’s signal 1970 show, which marked his leap (or return) to figuration after years building a solid legacy of moodily lyrical abstractions.
JUL-AUG 2016 | ArtSeen
The logo-type signature that Stuart Davis affixed to all of his later compositions has the feel of an exuberantly but deliberately carved and cast-off orange peel. This shaped incorporation of the author with his works, which in many instances resemble a virtual junkyard of animate cast-offs, clearly signals Davis’s lifelong intention: to sublate an older genius of the exceptional subject into the oblivious, objective meander of the modern commons.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | ArtSeen
This current exhibition of his works not only represents the paintings actually made in New York, but its curator, Sabine Rewald, has used the city as a kind of compass with which to orient the viewer within the scope of the artist’s life and vision—one that changed throughout his life challenges and geographic dislocations.
MAY 2015 | ArtSeen
James Siena is an artist whose work has gained extraordinary critical acceptance over the past two decades for its ingenuity and grace, yet I still wonder what exactly it is that compels such a consensual reception, given that its intellectual rigor and complexity might just as well achieve the opposite effect.
JUNE 2015 | ArtSeen
Since the future was invented as a rational concept in time, relieved of its superstitious portents and omens during the Enlightenment, ruins have been relegated to picturesque monuments of the past in the present. Ruins came to represent a second-order past, not to be dwelt upon too long in a modernist lurch toward utopic ends.
OCT 2015 | ArtSeen
Stephen Maine’s new paintings at Hionas exude a crackling static charge that might jolt even the most jaded of zombie aesthetics into a gritty kind of materialist satori. One could argue the merits of this: if a powerful-enough transcendent hit can revive an exhausted faith in abstraction, does this imply an idealistic renewal or simply the stoic resolve of a conditional belief?
DEC 15-JAN 16 | ArtSeen
This most recent Greater New York is tightly curated (with some speculative room to move) around a trans-generational city of reality and dreams. It’s an amalgam of contemporary and historic art interpretations of the multi-layered, collective experience we call living for the city.
APR 2014 | ArtSeen
Mary McDonnells show of new paintings, Clear Pause, takes the viewer to this risky place with insistent gestures, held in suspension by a sensual, musical use of color.
JUL-AUG 2014 | ArtSeen
Claudia Hart is an artist for whom the ludic is essential to understanding the complicated concept of human individuation. Her tactical play with words, contexts, and mediums serves to poke fun at the logical machine we call self.
NOV 2014 | ArtSeen
In 1970, there was a pop hit that promised, Im your vehicle baby, Ill take you anywhere you want to go. These lyrics perfectly epitomize the transcendental nature of Americas relationship to the automobile, from the time the first Model T rolled off of Fords assembly line to today, when reissues of G.M. muscle cars like Camaros and Chargers conspicuously consume ever more costly fossil fuels.
FEB 2013 | ArtSeen
The posse of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, has ridden off into the now canonical (if sun-setting) territory of Post-War American Art triumphant.
MAY 2013 | ArtSeen
Kate Teales work, in her first one-person show in 10 years, looks and feels, at first glance, to be quietest in its tonal reduction and insular subjects. Her works on paper and rice paper affixed to canvas are modest in scale and play the middle range of contrast.
RITUALS OF RENTED ISLAND: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New PsychodramaManhattan, 19701980by Tom McGlynn
DEC 13-JAN 14 | ArtSeen
Imagine a place and time in New York where multiple city blocks were devoid of pedestrians and in which the passages from one neighborhood to the next occasioned drastic psychic shifts.