In 1921, only 10 years after Kandinsky made the first abstract paintings, Russian avant gardists at the Vkhutemas school in Moscow sounded the death-knell of all other painting genres in an exhibition called The Last Picture has been Painted. Given that kind of childhood, its no surprise that abstract painting has always gone hand-in-hand with polemics.
Currently on view at P.S.1, Stephen Shore: American Surfaces is an exhibition that re-presents the photographers 197273 collection of small-format travel pictures.
Matthew Brannons recent show at John Connelly Presents, Exhausted Blood and Imitation Salt, consisted of two canvas tapestries, (needlepoint and sprayed acrylic, showing imagery of bamboo and birds), two silkscreened posters advertising nonexistent films (House of Rot and Sick Decisions), four letterpress-printed wine labels, and two ink drawings of place settings.
As Im writing about Curious Crystal of Unusual Purity, Bob Nickass latest group show manifesto at P.S.1, WLNY is broadcasting Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), in which the crew of the Enterprise, now middle-aged in Stardate 2286, must time-travel back to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve a pair of humpback whales, repopulate the species on Earth of the future, and save mankind from an alien whale-seeking probe.
1985 was a bad time for painters of a certain sensibility. One had, on one side, the rhetorical bombast and dubious values of neo-expressionism, and on the other, something much smarter but distressingly cold called Neo-Geo. To top it off, some lunatic took a knife and a liter of sulfuric acid to Rembrandts Danae in The Hermitage.
It’s helpful to look at the work in Rita Ackermann’s mini-retrospective of collages with the evolution of her paintings in mind.
It’s evidence of some unwritten rule governing the division of artistic labor that Andrew Forge’s work as a teacher and critic would color our understanding of his paintings, and not the other way around.
Magnus von Plessen, a German artist exhibiting for the first time in a New York gallery, paints representational paintings about representation. It’s an occupation fraught with philosophical difficulties, like trying to think about yourself thinking.
Milton Avery was closer in age to Marsden Hartley and Charles Burchfield than he was to Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, but art history has retrospectively placed him in the company of those younger New York school artists rather than in his own peer group.
For years Dike Blair has been exploring the consequences for subjectivity of living in a thoroughly designed world. His role as both artist and writer has been to examine the spaces and situations that reveal the hand of architects, designers, advertisers, and engineers in manipulating our aesthetic experience of things.
"Everyday life" is a weird term. We know exactly what we mean by it because we live itits so simpleevery day. But defining it in a meaningful way is surprisingly tricky.
After an early career as a Pop artist, including a key role in the seminal Cage / Cunningham / Rauschenberg performances of the mid60s, and a long hiatus from public artmaking in Brisbee, Arizona, Alex Hay has recently started painting again.
The traditional categories of painting, drawing, and sculpture have for a long time been useless in understanding the art object. Where they can still be of service is in providing artists like Diana Cooper with a set of rules to ignore.
In light of so many group shows with clunky, overdetermined themes, it’s refreshing to find one as resolutely vague as Possibly Being.
The initial effect of Halsey Rodmans show at Triple Candie is an agreeable kind of confusion. Theres a lot of different stuff involved, from big sprawling assemblages to videos to figurative sculpture.
Plywood Fountain, an artwork with a perfectly descriptive title, occupies one room of Almost Vegetarian, Noah Sheldons first solo show at Southfirst Gallery in Williamsburg. Plywood Fountain is an unadorned four-by-four-foot polyurethaned birch box fitted with an electric pump emitting a jet of water, which takes on an iridescent sheen from three colored lights submerged in its basin.
I remember going to a museum once with an undergraduate painting class and seeing an Alex Katz cut-out for the first time. It was a freestanding figure, painted on a crudely jig-sawed piece of wood, of a man in a suit. My classmates and I were into Georg Baselitz; we thought the Katz was the dumbest piece of art we’d ever seen.
Charlene von Heyl has been making smart but elusive abstract paintings for some time now. Her current show at the Friedrich Petzel gallery offers a clear view of her sometimes hermetic approach without giving the game away.
Keith Mayerson got noticed quickly for an early drawing suite, winningly titled Pinocchio the Big Fag, as well as for his collaboration with author Dennis Cooper on the graphic novel Horror Hospital Unplugged.
After a thirty-something-year career of relentless production, any exhibition of Matt Mullican’s work is going to have to severely abridge his story. Though compact, this well-chosen selection of work from the seventies and eighties is a handy primer in Classical Mullican that offers the viewer a chance to focus on discreet parts of a sometimes-overwhelming oeuvre.
WHITE: Karsten, what are you doing? KREJKAREK: Im taking my lobster for a walk.
Holger Czukay ended his recent concert at the Knitting Factory with a very unexpected cover: the Chinese Cultural Revolution anthem "The East Is Red."