Im sure that sometimes youve asked: Who am I writing for? The answer may have been: for the artist, for the viewing public, for curious collectors, for posterity, for yourself (perhaps in order to understand something otherwise ungraspable about the work). But what happens if you ask: Who am I writing to?
In his review of Eliot Weinbergers Oranges and Peanuts For Sale (September 2009), Michael Sandlin describes Vicente Huidobro, George Oppen and Gu Cheng as obscure long-deceased poets.
It must have been around 1997 that I was having lunch with Jim Harithas and Norman Bluhm on Mercer Street in SoHo and I described to them an exhibition Id just seen at the Drawing Center.
Can the same painting give us difficulty and joie de vivre? If you have ever encountered a painting by Shirley Jaffe, you know the answer to this question.
it was an almost perfect place to be 15 years ago
Breaking expectations, Charline von Heyl demonstrates that you can be an enthusiastic scavenger of bygone eras in art while producing paintings that look, and are, completely contemporary.
A few days before Holly Zausners exhibition of recent collages and film opened at Postmasters (June 21 August 3), Raphael Rubinstein visited the artist in her New York studio to talk about her work across various media and why she decided to title the show A Small Criminal Enterprise.
During the “events” of May 1968, when students and workers brought the French nation to a standstill and almost toppled the government of Charles de Gaulle, the streets were filled with punchy, quickly produced posters and flyers.
His public is shocked when this abstract painter living on the Côte dAzur paints a series of canvases unlike anything he has ever done before. In contrast to the restrained, geometric compositions for which he is known, these canvases present crudely drawn figures against dark, roughly painted backgrounds.
Art that comments on its own medium and art that comments on political events are often assigned to separate categories, attracting different audiences, different kinds of critical responses, different ways of looking.
When Jon Gams, proprietor of Hard Press Editions, died on November 7th at the age of 57, the world of independent publishing lost one of its most notable figures. It may take some time, but one day the contribution that Jon made to contemporary art and literature will be more widely recognized.
For too long, perhaps, we art critics have chastised ourselves, honoring the great achievements of the past only to discount the present state of our beleaguered practice. There are many good reasons for this attitude, many high marks of understanding, prescience, influence, and revelation that we can compare to subsequent moments of diminished powers.
Until this exhibition I had never seen a work by Sven Lukin, an artist who began showing in New York in the early 1960s and was widely recognized at the time for his innovative painting-sculpture hybrids.
Once a year this poem / will be temporarily transformed / from a self-descriptive exercise / written in the plainest language / into something altogether different
Until this current show at Lisson, French painter Bernard Piffaretti hadnt had a solo exhibition in New York since 2002 (at Cheim and Read). Thats 17 years ago. Far, far too long a time to pass without seeing the work of an artist who is one of the great painters of his generation (born in 1955).
When asked how she starts one of her recent quadrant-based paintings, Harriet Korman replies that her first step is to “find the center.” She does so without the assistance of any measuring device, relying solely on her hand and eye to determine the point from which she will begin building out her right-angled bands of color.
First paradox: that real events produce unreal spaces, i.e., fluid dynamics of various substances, guided by the artist, result in images of sheer fantasy, views onto imaginary landscapes.
I’m writing these lines in late September just a few hours after learning that Shirley Jaffe died in Paris at the age of ninety-two. Last week, knowing that she had little time left, I flew to France to see her one last time.
When I started renting movies from Evergreen Video it occupied the second story of a dilapidated building on West Houston Street. On the ground floor was Martin’s Bar and Grill, a tenebrous and seedy drinking establishment that seemed like a relic of some earlier version of downtown Manhattan, even thought at the timethe early 1990sthere were still many such survivals: Italian bakeries, Irish bars, Portuguese groceries, Puerto Rican bodegas, second-hand bookstores run by ash-sprinkled Jewish men who often reminded me of my father, miniscule record stores dedicated to particular genres or eras, boutiques whose stocks of clothes hadn’t been updated since the early 1970s.
As Duncan Smith notes toward the end of On the Current Symbolic Status of Oil, the essay was written during the Iran Hostage Crisis, thats to say 1979–1980. Its always helpful to know when a text was composed but in this case the dating is crucial: Smiths virtuosic ode to oil in all its cultural, psychological and political ramifications was written in the midst of an energy crisis when, as a result of the U.S. halting oil imports from Iran, there was a panic that led to the doubling of oil prices and long lines at gas stations around the country.
Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.
Illusion is a gangstergirl the sensitive killers tattoo spelled out
(four short movements after Max Beckmanns The Argonauts)