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Robert C. Morgan

Robert C. Morgan is a writer, international art critic, curator, poet, lecturer, and artist. His most recent book is Clement Greenberg: Late Writings (2003). He holds both an MFA in Sculpture and a Ph.D. in Art History. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute.

Ryszard Wasko: Bedtime Stories

Children remember bedtime stories. It doesn’t matter where they grow up geographically or to what culture they belong. They expect their parents to tell them stories before they fall asleep.

The Man Who Carried His Art in His Pocket

Having written about Minimal and Conceptual art over the years, I became aware, shortly after discovering the news of Fred Sandback’s recent passing, that I had never actually written about his work. There are certain artists who are highly respected and whose art has an original and persistent quality, yet who miss the critical attention they deserve.

A Tribute to Charles Seliger (1926-2009)

Nobody on Charles’s block in Pelham knew he was totally unlike the rest of them. Wearing a sport coat and a bow tie, he’d enter and leave his house like anyone else, but if his neighbors cared to look (or stayed up late enough), they’d notice his light was on deep into the night, either in his tiny studio at the top of the stairs or in his bedroom, as he kept easels in each place.

CRITICS’ PAGE
Art Criticism and the Marketing of Contemporary Art

When I began writing criticism in 1979, the market presence was known, but rarely appeared as a dominant issue. It was nothing compared to the booming multi-national enterprise that exists today.

Letter from Iran

Having recently traveled to Iran to jury an “international” sculpture symposium, it was difficult to match what I saw and felt with the kinds of reports being generated by the corporate “entertainment” media back home.

Two Biennials, Two Models:

Some will say that a biennial is a biennial, that no matter who you pick or what you choose, they are all the same.

Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night

The 2006 Whitney Biennial had the potential to harness a subversive undercurrent with only a slight (if radical) reinterpretation of its curatorial premise, Day for Night.

The Meaning of Silence

Some artists who are on the margin of mainstream movements tend to get overlooked because they are somewhere in the penumbra of the action.

In Conversation

Seo-Bo Park with Robert Morgan

Seo-Bo Park—now in his mid-seventies—is considered one of the leading figures in bringing the European Modernist concept of art to Korea in the late fifties after the Korean War.

In Conversation

ALAIN KIRILI with Robert C. Morgan

On the occasion of the current exhibit The Drawing Show: Lines in Charcoal, Ink, Watercolor, Galvanized Iron and Black Rubber (January 3 – June 30, 2012), the sculptor Alain Kirili and Contributing Editor Robert Morgan paid a visit to the Rail’s headquarters to talk about his life and work.

Allan Kaprow (1927–2006)

First Nam June Paik. Now Allan Kaprow. Two great innovators, gone.

Hwang Young Sung: Painter from GwangJu

GwangJu is a city in the southwest area of Korea, known by some Europeans and Americans as the location of the first biennial in Asia. Before Beijing, before Shanghai, before Singapore, before Taiwan, there was Gwangju. The first Biennale was in 1995–a mere decade ago–and now the sixth installation is expected to open in September 2006.

Portraits in Richmond

About a month and a half ago I was invited to attend the vernissage for an exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, entitled Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet! It was a gala affair to be sure.

In Memory of the Video Mentor: Nam June Paik (1932–2006)

Three years ago, I received a call from Dr. Matthew Lee, a world-renowned neurologist who specializes in the field of thermography at New York University. Dr. Lee had been working with Nam June Paik on rehabilitating the artist’s neurological functions after a severe stroke in 1996.

The Anti-Aesthetic of Dada

Originally organized by the Centre George Pompidou in Paris under the curatorial guidance of Laurent Le Bon, “Dada” was given two venues in the United States…

The Citadel of Art

In traveling around to various panels and symposia where contemporary issues in art— or in visual representation, as the case might be— are given a forum, I am struck by the manner in which citadels are verbally constructed over and over again in order to fend off the notion of ambiguity in art.

In Conversation

Pierre Soulages with Robert C. Morgan

The following interview was conducted with Pierre Soulages at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manhattan during his last two exhibits at Robert Miller and Haim Chanin.

Where’s the Matter?: On the Sculpture of Kenneth Snelson

Having written a text on Kenneth Snelson’s digital stone sculpture based on his theories of the atom, which he showed this past summer in Beijing, I was curious to view some of the recent steel and cable work for which he is best known.

Lee Ufan Resonance & Artempo: Where Time Becomes Art

This is the fifty-second edition of the Biennale di Venezia since its inception over a century ago. Clearly, the institutional notion of art—that is, art under the aegis of the nation-state—has given way to corporate sponsorship.

In Conversation

HARMANN NITSCH with Robert C. Morgan

Last October, Mike Weiss asked me if I would write an essay on the work of the seminal Austrian Actionist painter, Hermann Nitsch. Mike was in the process of planning an exhibition of Nitsch’s new work to be held at his gallery in February 2004.

Robert Barry: NOT THE ART OF WAR, BUT ART AND WAR

Robert Barry is one of the most convincing conceptualists from the era of the late sixties and seventies. His word lists, wall and window pieces, his sound recordings, and DVD and slide projections, are focused on one central idea: language.

A Triple Alliance: de Chirico, Picabia, Warhol

This exhibit of the later works of modernist pioneers, Giorgio de Chirico, Francis Picabia, and Andy Warhol, prompts a reevaluation of the artists’ comparative achievements.

Natvar Bhavsar

I first met Natvar Bhavsar in 1980 at his exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas. I was familiar with Bhavsar’s paintings in New York during my graduate student days at New York University, but to see a major exhibition in Wichita by this Indian painter whose work I had admired at Max Hutchinson Gallery in SoHo was an undeniable thrill.

Beside The Rose: Selected Works by Jay DeFeo

Can we compare it with Gertrude Stein and Marcel Duchamp? "A rose is a rose is a rose," expressed the former in her terse, illimitable prose. Her parallel was a case of androgyny who proclaimed himself "Rrose Sélavy" in 1921. Some decades later, Joseph Beuys would articulate his concept of social sculpture by saying, "Without the rose, we cannot do it." But the most personal of all comes from the artist Jay DeFeo, who tells us, "I see ‘The Rose’ as the central effort of my life." Indeed, the twentieth century has delivered many avant-garde roses, some more explicit than others, some more bereft.

Another Art Story From Venice

For the past six years, an exhibition has occurred on The Lido in Venice called OPEN. The purpose of this event is to create an outdoor exhibition of sculpture and installations in which artists from various countries participate. Since the inception of this exhibition concept in 1998, the director Paolo De Grandis and the curator Pierre Restany were two forces who made this exhibition a major event. It was conceived in relation to the Venice Film Festival, which always happens at the end of August.

David Geiser

It would seem that installation art, as it is understood today, is a misnomer. The museological use of the term refers to the way an exhibition is mounted, how it is presented, and how it determines (to a large extent) the relationships between the paintings within the gallery space. David Geiser’s paintings suggest the kind of urgency that used to occupy artists before the advent of “installation art.”

The Destiny of Larry Poons: Larry Poons Paintings 1971 - 1980

Larry Poons has been on the scene for many years. By the scene, I refer both to contemporary art history and to the regenerative impulse that has accompanied his work over the past four decades.

Tadaaki Kuwayama’s Aesthetics of Infinity

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Kuwayama came with his wife, the artist, Rakuko Naito, to the United States in 1958, roughly the same time as Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. By 1960-61, he had already developed a reputation as a reductivist painter through his association with such important gallerists as Richard Bellamy and Bruno Bischofberger.

Absence and the Continuum of Nature

For those who travel from the city to the country during the summer months, the landscape is a place not only for recreation but also for viewing, a place to nourish the body and mind through the act of perception, through the process of coming down, of slowing down, and thus removing oneself from the diurnal routines and omnipresent anxieties that many assume to be second nature—the simulated “nature” of the urban environment.

He Sen

It is not an understatement to say that recent Chinese figurative painting has had an exemplary impact on the way we look at painting today and on the growth of the contemporary Asian art market.

Lee Ufan

Korean-born painter and sculptor, Lee Ufan, now in his early seventies, spends much of his time living in either Japan or France. Known for his sparse, large-scale brush marks on empty canvas and his sculpture in which boulders are placed on glass or weathering steel, Lee—like his fellow countryman, the late Nam June Paik—has indeed spent most of his career outside of his native Korea.

Grace Rim: YES Love, YES Life

After six years of an escalating art market following the invasion of Iraq, where prices for mediocre spectacles rose beyond the fringes of obscenity, artists and their investors find themselves in a different state of mind.

The Last Breath of Piero Manzoni

There is as much to say about Piero Manzoni, the artist, as there is to say about his work. They are, more or less, inextricably bound to one another.

Unraveling Cultural Globalization

Human conscience must play a distinctive role in how we determine the ethical consequences of out actions in the future, and this, of course will affect the future of cultural globalization. The role of art as substantive and transformative force will only be realized if art liberates itself from the pressure of corporate constraints.

Jack Bush, Works on Paper

Of the group of Color Field painters associated with the Washington Color School and Post-Painterly Abstraction—the latter term endowed by the critic Clement Greenberg in 1964—the artist I know least about is Jack Bush.

Airing the Spirits: Song Dong and Zhao Xiang Yuan’s Material World

The current Projects series at the Museum of Modern Art features the work of Beijing-based artist Song Dong in collaboration with his recently deceased mother, Zhao Xiang Yuan. Titled “wu jin qi yong,” or “Waste Not” (2005), a popular adage during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the work is a sprawling, though densely compacted array of household objects placed on the second floor atrium.

ART AND POLITICS IN IRAN

Curating an index of Iran is a daunting task given that many of the artists included in the exhibition actually live and work in Tehran and continue to produce social and political comments. The Promise of Loss—an ironic title indeed—marks a different approach from most of the exhibitions of Iranian art that were shown in New York during the summer of 2009.

FREDERICK SOMMER’S PARADIGM OF ART AND REALITY

Although primarily known as an innovative photographer fraught with obsessions ranging from black-and-white images of lyrical cut-paper patterns and torn posters to gnarled coyote bones and splayed chicken parts, Frederick Sommer was much more than that.

READYMADES REMADE (AFTER CONSUMPTION): DETRITUS AS ART

Exhibitions like this happen rarely. A readymade collage of discarded trash sealed in plastic, as in Arman’s “poubelles” or in Cesar’s crushed cars, offers an alternative point of view relative to the highly polished, glittering multiplex items so frequently displayed in most galleries today.

REFLECTIONS ON THE WARRIOR ARTIST

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797 –1861) is a major printmaker who worked during the late Edo period in early 19th century Japan. He is associated with the movement known as Ukiyo-e or “floating world,” which produced woodcut prints for the common class.

Hard-Edgeness in American Abstract Painting

Invented by the critic Jules Langsner in 1959, the term “hard-edge painting” represented a kind of geometric or Classical painting in which the shapes within the painterly format were clearly defined by a hard edge—often, but not always, taped in the process of their delineation.

BEYOND “WHAT YOU SEE”: Rethinking Abstract Painting as a Signifying Process

The four artists who are included in an exhibition at the Po Kim / Sylvia Wald Foundation on Lafayette Street maintain a perpetual dialogue about painting and frequently show their work together in various parts of Germany. Of

Where Malevich Has Left Us Today

At the outset of Modernism, geometric shapes in painting and sculpture were being foregrounded by the Western avant-garde—in Russia with the Suprematists and Constructivists, in Holland with the De Stijl movement, and in Germany with the Bauhaus

LINDA CROSS: Excavation Painting

Once in a while I find works of art that defy my expectations of what art can be, even as the work follows a centuries-long trajectory. I am referring, of course, to painting. Even as the digital revolution has become increasingly relevant among painters, many of whom have chosen to work between the computer and the canvas, the historical presence of painting continues to persist.

FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY: The Origins of Pictorial Space

Throughout the history of Modernism, the reputations of many painters have become known through their association with groups of like-minded individuals.

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.

GABRIELE EVERTZ Rapture

The earliest paintings that I have seen by Gabriele Evertz deal primarily with gestural forms. But saying they are “gestural” does not automatically imply that they possess expressionist content. Rather, for Evertz, the gesture holds a different status, being less about the signifier of the interior than a clear consciousness as to how the preceding strokes contribute to the final result.

RICHARD POUSETTE-DART East River Studio

There was a peculiar and unexpected aura on Saturday afternoon upon entering the Luhring Augustine Gallery in West Chelsea. I encountered a wall sculpture made of coiled steel wire, mounted on a simple wooden frame, and hung on the front wall as one entered the premises.

JESUS RAFAEL SOTO Soto: Paris and Beyond 1950–1970

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.

AVANT-GARDE INK IN CHINA
Beyond Pop and Expressionism

The following comments on Vaulting Limits—a group show seen last month at the Tenri Cultural Institute in the West Village—may offer a slightly different perspective than what some of my colleagues have chosen to see as important in contemporary Chinese art today.

AHMED ALSOUDANI

In his current exhibition of abstractly figurative paintings, Iraqi-born artist Ahmed Alsoudani has shown that painting a narrative is more than a literal process.

MICHAL ROVNER Topography

Much of what I have to tell about the current exhibition by Michal Rovner at Pace Gallery relates to the ineluctable consistency present in her work that has advanced over the years.

ZHANG XIAOGANG

Zhang Xiaogang’s recent exhibition captures a singular moment within the four decade-long stretch of China’s Post-Maoist history.

BRUCE CONNER

My initial encounter with the work of Bruce Conner happened in the mid-’60s when I was invited to see the short film A MOVIE (1958), screened in a church basement somewhere off a highway near Wellesley, Massachusetts.

A Note on Botero’s Abu Ghraib

In his book, The Rebel, Albert Camus asked the question of how it is possible to live in a world in which we know that women and children are being tortured. His question was unrelated to taking sides. It was not about which military regime was better or more moral than the other. Instead Camus was asking how can we face the human condition in our everyday lives knowing that such atrocities exist.

John Newsom Allegory of Nations

In a conversation with the Chilean artist Catalina Parra in 1986 about the differences between “political art” in the United States and in most of Latin America, she stated that in her country, nothing could be said outright. “In Chile, we have learned how to use the metaphor and to weave everything between the lines.”

Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China
ICP

In the catalogue essay for Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, Wu Hung begins with the claim that over the past twenty-five years "Chinese artists have reinvented photography as an art form."

The 11th International Istanbul Biennial: What Keeps Mankind Alive?

On my sixth visit to the enchanting city of Istanbul—an urban fairytale comparable to Venice in its fascination and mystery—I still had little comprehension as to what I might encounter. Like Venice, Istanbul is a city that divides the East from the West, but in a more extreme manner.

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg is a British sculptor who has lived and worked in Wuppertal, Germany for thirty years. His honors include several major museum exhibitions, mostly in Europe, and representation of Great Britain during the 43rd Biennale di Venezia and the Turner Prize, both in 1988.

Letter From Venice Off-Season: Art between the Biennials

Despite the growing number of biennials on various continents throughout the world, (excluding Greenland), Venice appears to be the one that attracts the greatest attention on an international scale, and not merely because it was the first of the breed. Its occasional pitfalls, conflicts, and deficits notwithstanding, most serious art observers still regard Venice as the most pleasurable, even the most prestigious.

Kiki Smith: Allegories on Living and the Mystery of Existence

“Lodestar” by Kiki Smith—recently shown at The Pace Gallery—should be seen as a companion installation to “Sojourn,” currently on extended view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Both reveal a certain progression in the artist’s ideas, technical involvement, and use of materials.

Un Renard Dans L’Art: The Paintings of Farrell Brickhouse

I had never met Farrell Brickhouse, the painter—much less had I seen an extensive sampling of his work. I liked the sound of his name, even though it was not Italian. In fact, it had a literal English sound, which I nonetheless found intriguing.

From Abstract Expressionism to Minimal Art: The Legacy of Ad Reinhardt and Tony Smith

Art historians often speak of the phenomenon where one artist, or possibly two, moves the fragmentary residue of one formidable movement in the direction of another.

Jack Goldstein Paintings: 1980–1985

I first heard of Jack Goldstein through a mutual friend by the name of Paul McMahon. They knew each other at Cal Arts in the early seventies and were both students of John Baldessari. At that time, Baldessari was a guru to many young artists, many of whom became the core of the by-gone postmodern generation of the eighties.

An Artist in Our Time

In November 2002, I was invited to do a series of lectures in the Republic of Korea, one of which was at Gae Myoung University in Daegu, the third largest city in the southern half of the peninsula.

Take Me Back to Constantinople Land:

This September was the opening of the Tenth International Istanbul Biennial, and the twentieth anniversary of its inception. It was also my fifth invitation to Istanbul, which afforded the opportunity to compare and contrast with others I had seen.

Art Koans: Zen and the Tao in Conceptual Art

The Zen scholar and teacher, Daisetz Suzuki (1870 – 1966), once explained that the origin of the term koan was a kind of certifying document that, in ancient times, was used to test one’s understanding of Zen.

JENNIFER BARTLETT’S Recitative: Fractions Between Concept and Decorum

Jennifer Bartlett’s work has a conceptual underpinning, less in terms of the presence of an idea than in the method employed to visualize the idea. What may entice the viewer is not a resounding or systematic philosophy in her work, but the manner in which she paints, draws, selects, builds, and designs sequences of modular forms in relation to a given architecture.

Susan Bee and Miriam Laufer

Miriam Laufer and Susan Bee are both painters, the former being the mother of the latter. The concept behind the current exhibition at the A.I.R. Gallery, Seeing Double, is to offer a modest survey of Laufer’s work from the sixties and seventies alongside Bee’s most recent opus of collage/paintings.

Tumescent Follies, Inflated Money, and Kitschy Sex

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Jeff Koons’s Made in Heaven, Luxembourg & Dayan chose to present a redux edition of one the most scandalous exhibitions ever held in SoHo.

EARLY CONCEPTUAL ART: Documents, Installations, and Related Manifestations

The exhibition clarifies the fact that Conceptual Art was not only an American or New York phenomenon. It was happening in Europe and, to a certain extent, was present in Japan, South America, and later—in some case rather profoundly—in Eastern and Central Europe.

Kim Tschang-Yeul: New York to Paris

The Korean painter Kim Tschang-Yeul is part of a generation that traveled outside East Asia in the 1960s and ’70s in order to develop a more universal approach to painting. In those decades, South Korea existed under a military dictatorship that offered its citizens—and specifically its artists—very little exposure to what was happening culturally in the Western world.

John Giorno: DO THE UNDONE

Giorno’s taste was ecumenical. Whether dealing with the playwright Beckett, the performance artist Laurie Anderson, the “stargazing” filmmaker Andy Warhol, or the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, nothing could impede his interest and appreciation for their work. Giorno’s own practice was equally diverse.

Gary Hill

My initial acquaintance with Gary Hill’s work occurred in the early nineties, first with a large-scale, computer-generated video installation entitled Tall Ships (1992), shown at the Whitney Biennial in 1993, and later, with an exhibition of six works presented during the summer of 1994 at the MuÅ›ee d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, as well as several other encounters, including a traveling exhibition that came to the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1995.

KITSCH AND THE AVANT-GARDE How the Brotherhoods Set the Stage for Utopia

I find it encouraging to know that there are still exhibitions being mounted capable of altering one’s aesthetic or historical point of view. Such an experience happened this past summer at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice with Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus.

JONG OH

The work of Jong Oh is new to me, but Korean contemporary art is not. Having spent much time wandering through the galleries in Seoul over the past 15 years, I have acquired some grasp of how it works there. In general, the trends are rampant.

CHRISTOPHER KURTZ Longhand

Christopher Kurtz is a sculptor who works in wood. His work moves between natural winding branches and pointed stick-like forms. Either way, his approach to sculpture is a classical one. It contains a will to order, one that is less about power than balance.

Shaping the Structure of Painting
CHARLES HINMAN

I have followed the work of Charles Hinman over the past 30 years, well aware that he has been working much longer than that. Add another 25 years, and you’ll get the approximate length of his distinguished career and inexorable commitment to a single idea, comparable to Sir Isaac Newton’s reputed single-mindedness.

Mayumi Terada

The sense of space in Mayumi Terada’s photographs appears more romantic than literal. It is also, paradoxically, more private and distanced than other photographers with whom she is often compared, such as Thomas Demand and James Casebere. In contrast to Terada’s romanticism, Demand and Casebere work, respectively, with politically charged events and evocative social allegories.

Tala Madani: Smoke and Mirrors

Tala Madani is a young, Iranian-born artist who has lived in the United States for seven years. Her painterly style is delicate, adroit, and agile, persistently on the verge of an attenuated hedonism; yet, at the same time, her message is simple and to the point, straight from the pit of Poe’s pendulum.

Jin Soo Kim

A point of clarification is required at the outset—not about art, but about names. Korean names, like some American names—like my name, for instance—can be very common. The artist Jinsoo Kim at the Tenri Gallery—who is the subject of this review—should not be confused with the sculptor, Jin Soo Kim, who works out of Chicago. They are both Korean artists living in the United States.

Arthur Cohen

Arthur Cohen is a persistently dedicated painter, the proverbial painter’s painter. His first important works were of Italian Baroque cathedrals in Rome. Although painted during the early seventies during the height of New Realism and eventually selected for the Whitney Biennial in 1973, Cohen’s paintings were never quite fashionable.

Jay Milder

Jay Milder first came to recognition in the early sixties in relation to a group of figurative expressionist painters, including Peter Dean, Nick Sperakis, and Bill Barrell, called “Rhino Horn.” The name of the group relates to the powder ground from the horns of a rhinoceros.

INFLUENCE OR AFFINITY? Case in Paint: Soutine and Bacon

I honestly can’t say if the Soutine / Bacon exhibition is a great one, but it clearly reveals something about the enigma of painting. More specifically, it is the kind of enigma that slides between representation and abstraction, yet still manages to hold its painterly ground on all sides.

La Saison de Claude-Oskar Monet

Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies will understand what I am going to say. It begins with the accumulation of histamines within the body, usually in the springtime. As the body’s immune defenses become debilitated through pollens of various types, allergies tend to intervene.

Sanford Wurmfeld: Variations

It is curious that with all the critical verbiage given to color in the recent past—Color Field painting, for example—relatively little attention has been given to the function of hue, value, and saturation by painters working within the chromatic spectrum.

Medium Cool: The Case for Serrano's Hot Shit

Shit may be the closest we come to death in life, or for that matter, the meeting ground between Eros and Thanatos. It is most often the detritus we choose to ignore, the packaging we rip from the simulacrum and tear apart.

2009 Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale

Incheon is a port city facing the China Sea in the northwest section of the Republic of Korea. Situated adjacent to Seoul, the country’s capital—on the edge of the border with North Korea—Incheon is the fourth largest city in the Republic and, in some ways, retains one of the country’s most charming and unusual urban environments.

IN VENICE: Schnabel and the Persistence of Art

Before Julian Schnabel became a successful Hollywood filmmaker, he was a painter—and remarkably, he still is. I say “remarkably” because only an artist with the obduracy of a Zen ox could withstand the art world pressure against doing more than one thing.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Paintings 1947 – 1974

John McLaughlin was a highly influential hard-edge painter who worked in Southern California from the late 1940s through the early ’70s.

Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York

Like any exhibition curated on the basis of a common theme or cultural background, the intentions among or between the artists are rarely identical in spite of the concept governing their selection.

Rakuko Naito: Permutation-Variant-Structure

Both papermaking and the art of working with paper are highly regarded aesthetic practices in Japan. The quality of the material, as in the processing of the fibers within the paper pulp, carries a certain hierarchical significance accompanied by traditional methods of working, which are commonly understood by artists trained in one or more of the great classical traditions in Asia.

AUDREY FLACK and the Revolution of Still Life Painting

Where is Photo-Realist painting today? Has it gone the way of other trends in marketing? Or has it simply been bypassed in the art historical chain of events? I would suggest that it has gone the way of both.

GEORGE ORTMAN

Ortman’s recent exhibition at the Algus Greenspon Gallery in Greenwich Village was special for a couple of reasons: his work is significant, but rarely shown nowadays, and if seen, there is the problem of classifying it in a way that makes sense. To actually see the work, to read it and view it as a first-hand encounter, may leave a viewer without any clear art historical or stylistic category, thus suggesting that not all art needs a category to be experienced, even within the realm of abstraction.

Erik Parker: New Soul

New Soul is Erik Parker's second exhibition with Mary Boone. Once again we may experience the artist's penchant for bright flaming colors and zany surfaces.

Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski’s The Seventies opened at the Paul Kasmin Gallery last month with a flurry of activity. In attendance were some of the preeminent figures associated with American abstract painting of the past four decades.

Denise Green Metonymy in Contemporary Art: A New Paradigm

I first noticed the work of Denise Green, an Australian residing in New York since 1969, at the New Image Painting exhibition held by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978. Her paintings, along with those of Susan Rothenberg and Robert Moskowitz, marked a revival of the image or sign within the gestural field—a painterly concept generated by Jasper Johns more than two decades earlier.

THE BAUHAUS IDEA: How To Live with Art

In contrast to some of my academic colleagues, I never tired of teaching the Bauhaus in my art history classes, and I was especially delighted when I was able to introduce it to students studying the applied arts, such as industrial design, interior design, and graphics.

JOSEPH NECHVATAL nOise anusmOs

Besides the anti-Oedipalist pairing of Deleuze with Guattari, the fatal actor Antonin Artaud, and the undaunted ex-Minister of Excess, Georges Bataille, there are few others who could escape the scathingly promiscuous beauty inscribed in the paintings and sensuous auditory and multimedia works of Joseph Nechvatal.

Weltanschauung and Abstract Painting

While we may speak about the common factor between these two exhibitions as being abstraction or, more precisely, abstract painting, there are some interesting differences between the two. The exhibition at Metaphor Contemporary art, titled Spectrum, consists of four artists, each dealing preeminently with color in relation to variations of shape and form.

Graham Nickson: Italian Skies

Most of the work I have seen by Graham Nickson over the years—whether in oil or watercolor—has been figurative, often bathers interacting as if they were caught in the middle of a dance movement—strident poses moving from full body to classical gesture, where everything is connected in the realm of aesthetic intersubjectivity. The

SIGNS OF SEX WITHIN A SEXLESS (PHANTASMAGORICAL) VOID

The most gripping urban sci-fi center I have visited in recent years would have to be Shanghai. During a recent third jaunt to this hot-tempered, digitally propelled architectural Mecca, I understood that nothing stays the same.

Richard Artschwager: Primary Sources and Self-Portraits and the American Southwest

While critics have argued that Richard Artschwager was an artist whose works alternated between Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art, there was little doubt he possessed his own singularity removed from the fray.

Bien-U Bae

In Bien-U Bae’s exhibition at Gana Art New York, two of his most important motifs are represented. One is the Sonamu (“pine trees”) and the other is Or¬um (“small mountain”). Both sets of photographs are highlights of Bien-U Bae’s long career, and are representative of a truly meditative state of awareness that reveals the vast intricacy of our planet.

Zhang Xiaogang

I find it difficult to concede that some viewers in New York will not be moved by the recent “Green Wall” paintings of Zhang Xiaogang, but I know that not everybody sees the same way, just as not everyone listens or reads the same way. Fundamentally, I believe this is encouraging as long as it is not an excuse for ignorance.

Extending the Universe: Conceptual Art, Women, and the Structuralist Paradigm

In his book Structuralism (1970), the renowned Swiss philosopher Jean Piaget revealed the affinity between the structure of language and the function of systemic processes in developmental psychology. Piaget’s investigations closely though indirectly paralleled the work of conceptual artists of the same period who were more interested in clarifying their art through structural parameters than in terms of aesthetic form.

Meaning in Art

Is the concept of meaning in art long-gone, out-of-fashion, overspoiled? In theoretical jargon, it may appear too close to epistemology, as if epistemology—being the study of knowledge—has been inadvertently removed from the aesthetic, conceptual, and productive components of making art.

Does Nordic Art Exist? A Lesson In Transculture

The term “Nordic” includes the three Scandinavian countries in northern Europe— Denmark, Sweden, and Norway—as well as Iceland in the mid-Atlantic and Finland.

LEE UFAN: The Art of Present Reality

Lee Ufan is among the truly remarkable artists of our time, one who has gone deeply within his own tradition in order to become universal. Some may perceive this as going the opposite way of recent art—that art is supposed to reach outside of interior consciousness and to absorb the signs of branding that inundate our global environment.

Merrill Wagner: Works from the ’80s

One of the most intriguing aspects of Merrill Wagner's work from the 1980s is its emphasis on painting from the perspective of three-dimensional space.

Sa Suk-won

It has been said that among the three major countries in East Asia, Korean contemporary art is the least identifiable. This may imply that artists from the Republic of Korea are pretty much doing what they want to do.

LARRY POONS New Paintings

The recent exhibition of Larry Poons’s paintings carries a certain irrational logic that continues from where his former exhibition culminated three years ago. I would characterize the former show, also at Danese, as revealing a kind of regal, yet distant attitude toward painting, thereby suggesting a hesitant, but substantially transformative view of the painterly craft.

Sean Scully: PAN

I am not sure about the meaning of PAN, the title given to this exhibition by Sean Scully, but the Greek origin of the word would appear to suggest sexual prowess. On another level, it might serve as an indirect allusion to Hellenic architecture, which was influential on the formation of his signature style.

Yun Hyong-Keun: A Retrospective

Upon entering the ground floor of the fabulous Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, visitors encounter a series of sparsely hung “portals”—a term the artist used to identify paintings with spatial openings structured between various mixtures of burnt umber and ultramarine blue. For Yun, these colors symbolically represent the earth and sky.

Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell

In Sheer Presence, an extant selection of eight large-scale paintings (some borrowed from The Dedalus Foundation, established by the artist in 1981) Motherwell’s impassioned quest for beauty is revealed.

Warhol Women

Not since an exhibition of Warhol’s screenprints some years ago have I elected to write about the work of this monumental art world figure. Despite the controversy at that time, focusing on the history of Jews in the twentieth century, these prints seemed to hold resonances, both aesthetic and political, yet dissimilar to those embedded in Warhol Women.

Ming Fay: Beyond Nature

Generally speaking, artistic forms read differently in China than they do in most Western countries. This is primarily true of representational forms, which tend to have symbolic content. In the case of Ming Fay, this would include his precision, hand-made simulations of extra-large natural objects shown at Sapar Contemporary in TriBeCa.

JOSEPH MARIONI Eye to Eye

In 1986, Joseph Marioni proposed the term “radical painting” to describe what he does. Radical painting is the root source that “exists as a concrete object in the real world [and] presents the least information and the most sensation of all painting.”

Sue Yon Hwang: Material Manifestation

While strolling through the various works of Sue Yon Hwang’s relatively modest exhibition, I was taken by an awkward mystery in the installation, an intersection between science and art that was somewhat difficult to place in time and space.

WOLF VOSTELL Reclaiming the Present through Décollage

While many texts on contemporary art claim Allan Kaprow as the founder (better than “father”) of the Happenings movement in the United States, few acknowledge the parallel importance of the German-born artist Wolf Vostell.

Vedova / Tintoretto

Traditionally, questions related to the origin and nature of art—specifically in terms of defining art—were argued within the realm of aesthetics. The science of aesthetics began as a branch of philosophy in the mid-18th century and is attributed to the work of the philosopher and historian, Alexander Baumgarten.

IMMERSION, INFINITY, AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE

To avoid unnecessary complexity, the subtitle of this impressive and provocative tome, though relatively minimal in its length (94 pages), gives us a literal transcription of what is to follow, that is: Essays on the Work of Art in the Age of Computer Technology and Virtual Reality,1993-2006.

Nonfiction: Large and Largesse

Given the task at hand, this is a formidable book—a volume replete with information, interpretation, and insight on contemporary Chinese art—a phenomenon that has sustained itself within a myriad of contextual, social, political, economic, and cultural issues.

ART TRIPPIN’ THROUGH CHINATIME: CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A MARKET

One might refer to Barbara Pollack’s exegesis on the art world in China according to what some Americans understand as a straight-talkin’ book. Whether it’s understood that way in China is up for grabs, I suppose, depending on the reader.

Robert Pincus-Witten and Postmodernism

The engagement between subject and reader was the vision-at-large in the writings of Robert Pincus-Witten.

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The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 19-JAN 20

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