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vol8 | late summer 2010 through end of 2011

Evan Read Studio
January 2012
My most recent work can currently be seen in a set on my Flickr site. These are all giclée prints (fine art inkjet). Displayed are two series of work made over the two years. In the first, I have used concentric stripe patterns, which are then manipulated in various ways — using transparency, doubling, stretching and rotations in space. In the second series, I am working with a simple diamond pattern. The pattern is then altered using blurring, transparencies and overlays. You can also view these pieces along with a variety of my other work on my Flickr homepage.
I will be updating my main webpages soon (hopefully). At this point the most recent work there is from 2009 and earlier. One series from 2009 includes some of the diamond pattern series (fuzzy logic), as well as several stripe piece using simple transparencies. There is another set of 2009 pieces from the transform series as well as another series, echo stripes. Access my homepage to browse these and other older sets of work, as well as news from my studio, links and other general info about my work.

December 2011 / Sarah Braman, Lee Bontecou, Pousette-Dart + More

Sarah Braman artwork
Sarah Braman (two views)
Sarah Braman artwork
Sarah Braman artwork
Sarah Braman (two views)
Sarah Braman artwork
Sarah Braman artwork
Sarah Braman
Here are six shots from the awesome Sarah Braman installation at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (534 W25th). Braman chopped up an entire camper, and used the chunks in several of the pieces for the show, "Yours." The gallery makes note of the work's connection to minimalism and color field painting, but also its "joyful immersion in lived experience and emotional life."
Below, are two views of a small piece by Lee Bontecou in her exceptional show at Freedman Art (25 E73). When I first came to New York in 1986, I would often pass — in the lobby of one of the New School's buildings — one of her striking early vortex pieces with the pitch black central voids. Not having seen anything more recent since then, I was delighted in 2010 to see her retrospective at MOMA; but it was also surprising because her work had changed a lot since those early pieces. The artist, now 80, certainly has had a wonderful long career.
Lee Bontecou artwork
Lee Bontecou
Lee Bontecou artwork
Anh Duong artwork
Anh Doung
At left, a painting by Anh Duong at Sonnabend (536 W22). The show, the artist's first with the gallery, was composed completely of self-portraits.
The image below left is from the Robert Heinecken installation at Friedrich Petzel (535 W22). The show was a survey of Heinecken's work from the mid-sixties to the late nineties. The artist — who refered to himself as a "paraphotographer" — appropriated images to comment on media culture. In the Village Voice, Christian Viveros-Faune refers to Heinecken as "the Anti Ad Man" and comments that he "led a one-man campaign to frustrate the cowing effects of mechanical reproduction."
Below right is a piece from Daniel Gordon's show at Wallspace (619 W27).
Robert Heinecken artwork
Robert Heinecken
Daniel Gordon artwork
Daniel Gordon
Esther Klas artwork
Esther Klas
Richard Artschwager artwork
Richard Artschwager
I loved this Esther Klas piece, Hero, Heat, Halo (far left) from her show at Peter Blum, Nobody Home. The large stacked form (60" high) was molded around styrofoam, which was then covered with Aqua-Resin®. The artist was born in Germany, received her MFA from Hunter in 2010, and currently lives in Brooklyn.
David Nolan (527 W29) had a Richard Artschwager show focusing on smallish landscape drawings. There was also this one, large painting, which I especially liked. I haven't seen his work a lot in the last ten years, but in the late eighties and nineties, his work — particularly the sculpture — made a big impression on me. Artschwager, the gallery explains, "conceived his sculptures as hybrids of familiar every day objects, such as tables chairs and cabinets." The rub comes in that "Artschwager exploits the slippage between fine art and functional design: 'I'm making objects for non-use. By killing off the use part, nonuse aspects are allowed living, breathing space.'"
Not feeling the need to look at Abstract Expressionism much these days, I was surprised at the pleasure I took in this show of Richard Pousette-Dart at Luhring Augustine (531 W24). The show focused on work the artist made between 1946-51 while living and working in a former brewery on East 56th Street.
Richard Pousette-Dart artwork
Richard Pousette-Dart
Richard Pousette-Dart artwork
Richard Pousette-Dart artwork
Richard Pousette-Dart
Indian Painting show at Met Museum
"Masters of Indian Painting"
Byzantine Stonework
Byzantine Stonework
The above left image is from the outstanding Metropolitan Museum show, Master Painters of India, 1100–1900. An early arrival at the museum allowed me to soak up some of this great work with just a few other visitors sprinkling the galleries. I would love to have made and shared some more images from the show, but sadly, it was not allowed. I would have purchased a catalogue to study the work more, but having just seen the exquisite detail in so many of the paintings, I was underwhelmed by the so-so reproductions. I also made one of my regular visits to the museum's Byzantine collection (above right image).

October 2011 / Jim Lambie, Nicholas Krushenick, & More

I've been really interested in Jim Lambie's work for awhile, but this was the first solo show I've caught. The site specific vinyl tape stripe designs applied to floors are really a big kick. In this show, at Anton Kern (532 W20th), Lambie deployed a range of strategies. I loved several pieces in which cones of stripes have been set into the wall. In the first image (below at left) the cones are set into an image of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. There were also pieces composed of painted sheets of aluminum with corners bent back (lower left image, approximately 50 inches square) which were quite handsome. Not everything in the show registered fully with me (the gallery has a dozen images of the installation to peruse) — perhaps there's some particular irreverance or deadpan humor I'm missing. For instance, there were a couple of oversized belts — one in neon yellow-green — rolled up and fixed to the wall about which I felt indifferent.
Lambie was a rock musician before he was a visual artist, and the gallery relates that he is interested in synethesia (for instance, looking at colors and having it make one hear sounds, or visa-versa). This is a sexy concept, and I could imagine it a powerful spur in the creative act, but I don't take it as a possible expectation in what one might experience in looking at the work, unless ingesting hallucinogins while visiting the gallery is suggested.
Jim Lambie artwork
Jim Lambie
Jim Lambie artwork
Andrea Bowers installation detail
Andrea Bowers installation detail
Andrea Bowers installation detail
Andrea Bowers installation detail
Karl Fudge artwork
Karl Fudge
The above two images are from Andrea Bowers' show at Andrew Kreps (525 W22), The New Woman's Survival Guide. The installation consisted of drawings layered over wallpaper made up of handbills and protest signs collected by the artist. The gallery notes how the array of materials "contrasts the previous tropes of feminism with current ones." The shows title is taken from a 1973 feminist zine which "served as an encyclopedic collection of women's organizations and services that existed throughout the United States during the second wave of feminism in the early seventies."
At Gallerie Richard (514 W24), Carl Fudge showed a set of paintings and prints derived from woodcuts done by Edward Wadsworth. Wadsworth's subjects were some of the markers of the industrial revolution, slagheaps and industrial furnances. Fudge has digitally fragmented and recomposed those images to produce his new series.
Josephine Halvorson painting
Josephine Halvorson
very large Matta painting
Matta
Frederick Hammersley painting
Frederick Hammersley
Josephine Halvorson showed recent paintings at Sikkema Jenkins and Co (530 W22). Karen Rosenberg notes in the NY Times how "grim, sooty, neglected surfaces are given the oil painting treatment" and that each subject "is carefully observed and rendered on site, its flaws catalogued, its function (or sometimes, malfunction) acknowledged."
Marking the 100th anniversary of Matta's birth, Pace (534 W25) showed fourteen of the artist's paintings. The exhibition focused on the later years of the painter's life.
Ameringer McEnery Yohe (525 W22) presented a show of Frederick Hammersley paintings, Organic and Geometric. I was familiar with the hard-edged geometric work, but not the small, "organic" pieces he started doing in the 80s (while continuing to work in the earlier vein). Roberta Smith provides a nice summary of the show, and offers some important details, including that the artist created the frames for the organic series.
Somehow only in the last year has Nicholas Krushenick crossed my radar. In the Stephen Westfall currated summer show, Ghost in the Machine at Lennon Weinberg there was both a painting by him, and another, by Jennifer Riley, dedicated to him, which got me thinking and wanting to see more. With perfect timing, the Gary Snyder Gallery (529 W20) (its inaugural show) produced an excellent survey of Krushenick's work, covering the 60s to the 90s.
Nicholas Krushenick painting
Nicholas Krushenick
Nicholas Krushenick painting
Greg Bogin painting
Greg Bogin
Greg Bogin had his fourth solo show at Leo Koenig (545 W23). The gallery press release situates the work, stating, "Throughout his career, Bogin has subsumed the ubiquitous visual stimulae that exists in contemporary urban life into beautifully crafted talismans for a wounded contemporary psyche."
Freddy Chandra showed his painted, cast acrylic bar pieces at Margaret Thatcher Projects (539 W23). There is an extensive, beautifully illustrated interview with Chandra on Brent Hallard's research blog, Visual Discrepancies.
In Jim Isermann's first show at Mary Boone (541 W24), he installed a drop ceiling of 500 custom translucent vacuum-formed panels. The modular units were made in four variations. The gallery's large skylights allow natural light to produce ever changing effects in Isermann's ceiling.
Freddy
Chandra artwork
Freddy Chandra
Jim Isermann ceiling artwork
Jim Isermann

September 2011 / Gallery Season Begins / Yutika Sone, Lisa Yuskavage and More

Yutaka Sone artwork
Yutaka Sone
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Yutaka Sone artwork
Yutaka Sone
At David Zwirner (519 W19), the Los Angeles based artist Yutaka Sone showed marble sculptures juxataposed with trees made mostly from rattan. The show centered on a two and a half ton highly detailed carved model of Manhattan. My favorite pieces were three of the marble works titled Light in between Trees (see accompanying images). As the gallery explains it, the carved rays of light give "explosive, concrete shape to the immaterial qualities of the sun's reflections." I love the contrast between the symbol-like light rays and the more naturalistic trees. In an Artnet.com review, Ilka Scobie quotes the artist saying that the "purpose of his art is to reveal beautiful scenery that one never saw before."
McKenzie Fine Art (511 W25) grouped three artists — Gary Petersen, Douglas Melini, and Sarah Walker — all working with geometry and their own takes on use of space. I know Petersen from several years when we both had studios at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and have always had an affinity for his work. I was really taken by these two very fine paintings (each 8 x 10").
Gary Petersen painting
Gary Petersen
Gary Petersen painting
Assembly was a nine painter production from Edward Thorp Gallery (210 11th Avenue). The show, full of strong work and displaying a nice range of approaches, included Allison Evans, Brandon Koch, Mike Olin, Drew Beattie, Mark Schubert, David Scher, Patrick Berran, Andrew Masullo, Gary Petersen and Craig Taylor (two images below).
Andrew Masullo artwork
Andrew Masullo
Patrick Berran artwork
Patrick Berran
In his latest show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. — Pictures of Magazines 2Vik Muniz carefully recreates famous artworks using torn scraps of glossy magazine photos, and the resulting collage is then photographed and enlarged. The gallery press release notes that the component images are not "subservient" to the recreated image, and that "image and material have equal importance." It goes on to conclude: "This practice reflects modern life with its incessant influx of information, some of it seemingly worthy and some of it seemingly worthless. Western culture's continuous iteration of updating, overwriting and replacement leaves an endless stream of garbage in its wake."
At Lori Bookstein (138 Tenth Ave) showed two pieces by Hiroyuki Hamada. After seeing them, I was a little surprised to learn that the aircraft-like surfaces are actually constructed on a core of wood and foam, which is then built up with burlap and plaster, followed with the application of a combination of enamel, oil, resin, tar and wax.
Vik Muniz artwork
Vik Muniz
Hiroyuki Hamada artwork
Hiroyuki Hamada
Lisa Yuskavage painting
Lisa Yuskavage
Lisa Yuskavage painting
Lisa Yuskavage (small study)
Lisa Yuskavage painting
Lisa Yuskavage showed new paintings at David Zwirner (519 W19) including an ambitious approximately 18-foot triptych. As the gallery describes it, "Over the past two decades, Yuskavage has developed her own genre of the female nude: lavish, erotic, cartoonish, vulgar, angelic young women cast within fantastical landscapes or dramatically lit interiors." Ken Johnson, writing in the NY Times, describes the central image of Triptych:
a naked femme lolls on a wooden bench with her nether parts facing the viewer in an invitation to enter the archaic feminine, both literally and metaphorically. Romantic yearning for immersion in beneficent nature, however, collides with satiric hilarity as Ms. Yuskavage toys outrageously with conventions of soft pornography. She dares viewers to admit to elemental desires and fantasies that the ideologically enlightened would deny.
Bomb has a great interview with Yuskavage done by Monica De La Torre in which the artist talks about the development of her painting since graduate school, and comments extensively on the work in the current show. In regard to the far background figures — the stern babushka-wearing women — and the relationships within Triptych she says:
I was thinking of 19th-century Russian peasants. I’ve always been interested in the presence of peasants in paintings, in Bruegel’s and Bosch’s, for instance. They ended up being the superego in this painting. As I stepped back, I realized that if they’re the superego then, I guess, the splayed figure in the foreground is the id. She doesn’t even have a head; it’s all the bottom giblets. There’s also that mess of stuff under the bench on which she’s lying—I like to refer to that stuff as tools of reason, but it’s a mess, because your subconscious is a mess that reasons. Or a place of reason that is chaotic. I liked how it couldn’t be concealed. It’s like seeing under her bed and gleaning her true state of mind.
A little farther on, she addresses the figure in the left panel, initially contrasting it with the headless central figure:
People say “I lost my head” when their behavior lacks reason. That figure with the striped socks on the left, the one I reused from Walking the Dog, is the ego. She’s definitely responsible for the action. She is like the character in the Kurt Weill song “Pirate Jenny” — she’s just waiting for it all to come to a head.
This is quite a complex, yet very elegant structure. At the same time, Yuskavage paints it all in completely gorgeous fashion.

August 2011 / Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings at Mass MOCA

Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
Sol LeWitt
Sol LeWitt wall drawing
In late August I went to the Berkshires to spend a few days. Despite having lived in and around New York City for about 25 years I'd never ventured up that way. Besides seeing some great dance (Mark Morris company) and music (Brad Mehldau playing solo in the gorgeous Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood), we went to North Adams to visit Mass MOCA. The site is quite impressive. It consists twenty-five nineteenth century factory buildings on thirteen acres, and, so far, about half of this available square footage has been restored. The show that really thrilled me was a Sol LeWitt wall drawing retrospective (above six images). The installation of 105 large-scale pieces opened in late 2008 and will be up for 25 years.

Prior to this, I had seen mostly a variety of the middle period work, and I confess my interest in it was modest. In particular, I wasn't necessarily taken with the color. At Mass MOCA, while I did like the middle period drawings (fifth image using color and wave-like forms), I found the early and late work to be really amazing. The five pieces above, done in black, white or greys, are from the late period. The early work, much of it done with fine graphite lines, unfortunately does not photograph easily.

July 2011

Leo
Leo Villareal installation
I always look forward to seeing Leo Villareal's work and the latest show at Gering & Lopez Gallery (730 Fifth Avenue) is excellent as usual. There was one piece, Volume, and it utilizes over 20,000 white LED lights controlled by software Villareal writes himself. As the gallery describes it, the piece cycles through endless "patterns and movements, fast and slow, bright and dark."
Leo
Leo Villareal
Leo Villareal installation
Leo Villareal installation
Erin Kaczkowski artwork
Erin Kaczkowski
At left, artwork by Erin Kaczkowski, in the Derek Eller Gallery (615 W27) group installation Perfectly Damaged (june 24-aug 7).

B Wurtz at Metro Pictures

B Wurtz artwork
B Wurtz artwork
B Wurtz artwork
B Wurtz artwork
B Wurtz
I first encountered B Wurtz's work at a show at Feature in 2002. I was completely taken by work he did utilizing inexpensive aluminum foil baking trays. They were arrayed on the walls, and simple patterns in the tray bottoms were carefully painted to highlight the designs (see B Wurtz's own site with five images of those pieces).
Not having seen much of his work since then, I was excited to see the ambitious Wurtz survey, Works 1970 - 2011, at Metro Pictures in a show organized by the White Columns director Mathew Higgs. Throughout his career, Wurtz has focused on simple materials, such as the foil trays or cheap product packaging, combined with plainspoken presentation. In '73, he did a drawing which listed three concerns now seen as guiding principles: "sleeping, eating, keeping warm." Whitney Kimbell's Art Fag City's write up of the show explains this as "the reducing of artworks to bare necessity." My favorite pieces in the show were several from 1976 which consisted simply of food wrappers mounted simple on a wire frame with a plain wood base. The New Yorker (Aug 8, Talk of the Town) describes his assemblages as "so laconic they border on brazen." I would tend to agree; I probably could have used another visit to digest some of the unassuming constructions.
In her NYT review, Roberta Smith offers some striking context and artworld critique, commenting, "It is at least a refreshing palate cleanser after a season distinguished by ever more alarming varieties of conspicuous consumption: skyrocketing prices for newbie artists, look-alike blue-chip collections and artworks relying with increasing ostentation on large-scale, expensive materials and costly techniques." Continuing, she notes, "And Mr. Wurtz’s efforts constantly question the way expensive materials and bravura skills affect our experience of art objects by effortlessly demonstrating how to hold our interest while doing without both." Lots of food for thought from such humble looking presentations.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash (534 W26) had a summer group effort which included Katherine Bernhardt, Alfred Jensen, Chris Johannson, Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo and Judith Scott. The gallery delineates some common ground for the six: "with hand-wrought qualities and an agressively direct use of color, texture, and material, their work provokes cultural and psychological readings as well as aesthetic ones." Scott's work was new to me, and I enjoyed it's unruliness. I've admired Johansson's work before, and I somewhat favor the more purely abstract work. His color is working really beautifully in these.
Chris Johanson painting
Chris Johanson
Judith Scott artwork
Judith Scott
Chris Johanson painting
Chris Johanson
Judith Scott artwork
Judith Scott

"Ghost in the Machine" and Stephen Westfall

John McLaughlin painting
John McLaughlin
Don Christensen painting
Don Christensen
Jackie Meier painting
Jackie Meier
Stephen Westfall currated Ghost in the Machine, at Lennon Weinberg (514 W25 / june 23-aug 19). Included were John McLaughlin, Nicholas Krushenick, Don Christensen, Harriet Korman, Don Voisine, Stephen Westfall, Jennifer Riley, Rachel Beach, Jackie Meier and Thomas Raggio. In his statement for the show, Westfall explains the grouping:
I'm interested in artists who feel that geometric abstraction is a practiced gesture that can wither when notions of purity, or even a steady rationality gain the upper hand. The arists in this show are impure, infected with the world's surrogates and inauthenticities while making the wager that their work will be more durable for it.
He goes on, countering more limited notions of geometric art:
Some people think that artists deploy geometry as an austerity. It ain't necessarily so. All the work here stands for more than one thing: swoony craft, optical dazzle, compression and expansion; and an invocation of geometry's traditional role as giving form to spirituality, expressed here as spiritedness.
Previous to Ghost, Lennon Weinberg held a Westfall solo show (apr 26-june 11). There was lots of beautiful color and optical pop as the two images below show.
stephen westfall painting
Stephen Westfall
stephen westfall painting

June 2011: Donald Judd, Lorna Simpson and More

Donald Judd artwork
Donald Judd artwork
Donald Judd artwork
Donald Judd
Meredyth Sparks artwork
Meredyth Sparks
This Donald Judd show at David Zwirner (may 6-june 25) was drawn from the works in the artist's historic 1989 exhibition at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany. The show consisted of 12 identically scaled anodized alumiunum works, nine of which were brought together here. The pieces also utilize sheets of plexiglass in blue, black or amber. The combinations of materials, dividers and colors are varied from box to box.
The show provides a point of constrast to the ideas laid out by Stephen Westfall, in his Ghost in the Machine show (see above entry). Greg Lindquist, in the Brooklyn Rail, recalls Judd's statement from 1966 that, "I'd like work that didn't allude to other things and was a specific thing in itself." However, by 1989, Lindquist detects a "softening of Judd's rigid convictions." He notes the boxes' uncanny echos of the gallery interior, and offers that they could be seen as "idealized" spaces. (june 18)
At left, is an small piece (approximately record album sized) by Meredyth Sparks. It was in the Elizabeth Dee (545 W20) summer group show, Praxis. Sparks has taken the artwork from Cut, the 1979 album by the UK punk band The Slits and overlayed it with a stripe pattern to wonderful effect. The album artwork shows the three band members naked except for mud and loinclothes. (june 18)
Lastly, below are two images from a Lorna Simpson show at Salon 94 (243 Bowery). The gallery describes the show as a continuation of Simpson's "exploration of history and memory." The show was comprised of a video and a suite of large seriographs on felt. The video recreates a brief memory of a sequence from a ballet performance Simpson was involved with at Lincoln Center when she was eleven. The seriograph images are from 60's postcards of Lincoln Center she collected.
Lorna Simpson artwork
Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson artwork
Lorna Simpson

Psychedelic Wanderings and Related States / June 2011

Rick
Griffin drawing
Rick Griffin
Andrew Edlin Gallery presented Zap: Masters of Psychedelic Art, 1965-74, curated by Gary Panter and Chris Byrne. The show included work by the seven artists in the original Zap roster: Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez and Robert Williams. The gallery explains the show's focus as the "early days of Zap, when these artists begat their visionary deconstruction of the comic book with remarkable innovations in storytelling and drawing." Offering additional context, Zap is described as "the cartoon extension of all the other social experiments and art forms feeding off each other at the time, including rock concerts, light shows, psychedelic posters and acid tests."
At right and below are images from two of the show's artists. I suggest clicking through to the larger view, as there is a lot of detail that you will otherwise miss. I loved the paintings that Williams had in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and so I was really excited to happen upon his work in this show. At the time of the Biennial, Carlo McCormick in Artnet Magazine pungently commented on the artist's lack of critical acceptance, despite his great talent:
Thoroughly poisoned by the pop culture vulgarity of American youth’s pursuit of entertainment and leisure that began during the post-war period, suffused with a singularly dark vision that was at once satirically bent and deeply misanthropic, suffering from his own interminable carnal obsessions, and inherently contrary to the point of pathological aggression, it’s unlikely Williams ever would have fit in very well into the polite conversation of the marketplace even if he had been invited.
Check out the whole piece — is a good read, and well illustrated too. (june 18)
Robert Williams drawing
Robert Williams
Robert Williams drawing
Robert Williams
Below are a couple of pieces from the Dasha Shiskin show, Desaparecido, at Zach Feuer (548 W22). There were 17 drawings, all on mylar and utilizing acrylic, ink and conte on both the front and back.
Dasha Shiskin artwork
Dasha Shiskin
Dasha Shiskin artwork
Garth Weiser moire painting
Garth Weiser
Garth Weiser moire painting
Mark Grotjahn
painting
Mark Grotjahn
Above are two large paintings from a Garth Weiser show at Casey Kaplan (525 W21). Most of the work utilized moire patterns. These two pieces were especially strong, but not everything was to my liking. Writing in Art in America, Anne Dorand comments that the paintings, "are eye-catching, but they can be chilly." Pointing to what gives them greater resonance than just good design, she suggests the paintings are "poised at the intersection of transcendental abstraction and scientific imaging, analog and digital, form and formlessness."
Mark Grotjahn's show at Anton Kern (532 W20) surprised with the transformations from his long running Butterfly paintings to the related but very different Faces. The show garnered some rave reviews (see Jerry Saltz's Artnet piece or Andrea Scott in the June 6, New Yorker).
I've long been a big fan of his work, and while I quite enjoyed the show, I so love the Butterfly series that I ended up longing for more of those. In the earlier series, stripes radiate outward from a central point set on a line (which can be taken as a horizon, although the lines most frequently were verticals). In the fashion of butterfly wings, the pattern was mirrored with a somewhat contrasting arrangement of stripes along a second line.
Apparently, Grotjahn has long used the face as a starting point for the Butterfly work which is remarkable, given how radically abstracted they are from that. In the new works, the connection is made explicit, although depending on the particular painting, more or less obvious. I tend to like it more when it is less obvious. For me, faces often lock in once they are recognized in an abstract image. In the painting at left, the face being less overt, allows the mind to wander through various thoughts: trails of motion, ropes of hair, zooming in on some matted fibers, and so on. (june 18)

April 2011 LES Outing

David
David Adamo
David Adamo installation
David
David Adamo
David Adamo
This is my first exposure to Adamo's work; apparently I missed his pieces in the 2010 Whitney Biennial and at the PS1's 2010 Greater New York show. I loved this installation at Untitled (30 Orchard St), and greedily soaked up the beauty of the roughly cut cedar columns, fashioned with a chainsaw on site. The smell of the freshly cut wood suffused the air. Wood shavings were piled along the back wall.
I was so caught up in the rough hewn cedar forms that I didn't grapple with the other elements of the installation (such as a very small sized red double doorway in the wall). That was unfortunate, because now I'd like to dig a little deeper and understand more fully what he's doing. The gallery's page for the show has a nice large shot of the full installation.
I'm intrigued by a couple of past performances which involved standing for a full day in front of work in a museum. On one occasion this was a flap-board flight display in MOMA's design section, and on another in front of Sargent's Madame X at the Met Museum (IBID Gallery in London has a nice slide show which includes images from both of these performances). Working to digest all this I found this piece in the Times' T Magazine from January 2010 which offers some good context and useful comments from Adamo. In part he seems to be highlighting the obsessive qualities of artists' minds, but there also seems to be a straightforward interest to our emotional reactions to artworks. (may 27)
Hillary Harnischfeger artwork
Hillary Harnischfeger
At left, a piece from Hillary Harnischfeger's show at Rachel Uffner Gallery (47 Orchard St). These wall based works utilize paint, paper, plaster, clay, ink and chunks of rock and quartz. (may 27)

April 2011

Below are images of two paintings from Julia Jacquette's Water, Liquor, Hair at Anna Kustera (520 W21). The pictured pieces are oil on wood (13.25 x 13.25" on the left, and 14 x 11.25" on the right). The gallery describes her paintings from found images as "enticing yet tinged with a flavor of anxiety in the manufactured envy it evokes."
Julia Jacquette painting
Julia Jacquette
Julia Jacquette painting
Uwe Hennekien painting
Uwe Henneken
Lee Kit artwork
Lee Kit
Alyson Shotz artwork
Alyson Shotz
Alyson Shotz artwork
Alyson Shotz (detail)
Above, at middle-left, is a painting (18x32") from Uwe Henneken's show, Nihilbilly, at Andrew Kreps (525 W22). At middle-right, artwork (paint and inkjet on cardboard, 50x40") by Lee Kit at Lombard Fried Projects (518 W19). The show also included handpainted cloth with simple geometric patterns or song lyrics, and photographs.
At Carolina Nitsch, Alyson Shotz's Frames per second (bottom two images) is composed of strips of clear mirrored acrylic, and measures 84 x 195". Shotz deals with space and light, but in a ways often distinctively marked by her interest in science (she spent part of her undergraduate years studying geology). The gallery describes the fragmented image of the piece as "reminiscent of frames in a film or digital bits of information."
Shotz has done some other remarkable mirrored pieces. An ARTnews story from 2010 (Turning Piano Wire into Light, Hilarie Sheets) describes the pivotal early performance piece Reflective Mimicry (1996) in which a woman is:
walking in the woods wearing a suit covered in hundreds of small mirrors. The play of folliage reflected in those mirrors against the actual folliage of the background had the effect of dematerializing the person.
Yet another reflective piece, Mirror Fence, from 2003, demonstrates this effect stunningly (images from Derek Eller Gallery show it installed at Storm King in 2010 and at Socrates Sculpture Park in 2003).

March 2011 / Art Fairs + Tara Donovan + Cary Smith

Hansjoerg Dobliar installation
Hansjoerg Dobliar
Hansjoerg Dobliar installation
Hansjoerg Dobliar
Partly prompted by a positive write-up in the NY Times, I visited the Independent, an art fair in the former DIA Center building on West 22nd Street. As detailed in the story, the fair's pedigree includes the gallerist Elizabeth Dee and White Columns director Matthew Higgs.
These first two images are of an installation by Hansjoerg Dobliar at Ben Kaufmann Gallery (Berlin). Below that are two pieces by Sarah Pucci at Air de Paris. She made a long series of these pieces which she regularly sent to her daughter, the aritst Dorothy Ianonne, as "tokens of devotion." The taxidermied dog piece is by David Shirgley (at Anton Kern); the concave mirror piece is Anish Kappor (at Lisson Gallery/London); and finally garment piece is by Jurgen Drescher (at Klosterfelde/Berlin) (unfortunately I'm not certain of the materials — possibly an aluminum sandcasting). (March 4)
Sarah Pucci artwork
Sarah Pucci
Sarah Pucci artwork
Sarah Pucci
David Shirgley artwork
David Shirgley
Anish Kapoor concave mirror piece
Anish Kapoor
Jurgen Drescher artwork
Jurgen Drescher

Armory Show

Overall, the Armory show is just too big and lacking in personality compared to the Independent fair. It was worthwhile, however, to get to see this excellent Pae White installation of 85 works on paper at Greengrassi (London).
Pae White installation
Pae White
Pae White installation
Pae White
Pae
White installation
Pae White
Pae White installation
Pae White
Richard Prince artwork
Richard Prince
The Richard Prince piece at left, After Darker, was at the Two Palms Press (476 Broadway) booth and produced in collaboration with them. It is composed of 434 custom made After Dark books. In an interview with Russh Magazine (issue 29, sept 2010), Prince relates having discovered and collected about 17 books from a sex travelogue series of this title which was published in the late 60s and 70s. Here he has created his own series built around that idea, although Prince has used inside copy which has nothing to do with the covers. And, yes, that appears to be Kim Kardashian on the cover of the Armenia volume on the top shelf. (March 4)

Tara Donovan

Tara
Donovan installation
Tara Donovan
At Pace's large open space at 545 W22nd Street, Tara Donovan showed a large piece constructed from mylar. In a mostly fluff piece in the Times' Style Magazine (Feb 11), she discusses a key element of her "site responsive" sculptures:
‘‘It’s all about perceiving this material from a distance and close up and how the light interacts with it,’’ Donovan recently explained, citing how Scotch tape, stuck to itself in biomorphic swirls, takes on a ‘‘fugitive color’’ when hit by the sun. ‘‘I’m constantly looking for this kind of phenomenological experience.’’
Here, as usual her ability to take simple materials and fashion them into something monumental is impressive. (March 4)

Cary Smith

Splat was Cary Smith's second solo show at Feature (131 Allen). The gallery has an excellent interview with Smith about the new work. Given the highly specific shapes, I was very interested in his comments on the 'thing' like form. He opines that "what you decide to paint is often beyond your conscious understanding." He goes on to say that he tries to avoid thinking about references and that:
they get in the way for me. Often others see specific things in my paintings, and that's fine, but when I start to see something or think of something particular, I will veer away.
The surfaces are handled beautifully, and there is something quite wonderful and sensitive about the way the hybrid organic-rectilinear forms are drawn. (March)
Cary
Smith paintings
Cary Smith
Cary Smith paintings

February 2011

The thing that really grabbed me about the Kai Althoff show at Gladstone (515 W24) was the way the space was altered and the room anchored around a shag-like handmade multi-colored wool rug which hovers above the floor on a low platform. The ceiling has been lowered and the floor thinly painted a wonderful yellow color. Roberta Smith comments in the Times that overall, the installation has "an effect that is both vivid and tacky, redolent of a bygone era, even if you don't know which one."
Kai Althoff installation
Kai Althoff
kai althoff installation
Kai Althoff
Warhol Screen Tests at MOMA
Warhol Screen Tests at MOMA
At MOMA, Warhol's Screen Tests and other films were included in Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures. What I loved about it was the immersive quality of wondering through the space with multiple films running simultaneously, which really changed my experience of the work in a good way. Twelve of the Screen Tests were projected on the gallery walls at large scale while Kiss (alternated with more limited screenings of Empire and Sleep) was shown in a rear gallery.

January 2011

I went to the Met in mid-January right when it opened and had the relatively rare experience of feeling relatively alone in the Museum. I started at the small Byzantine galleries under the grand staircase, which are among my favorites. I was the only person there, and soon I was having the euphoric experience of contemplating the wonderful stonework in the quiet of the morning.
Later, after some wandering around the museum, I noticed the two mural-sized John Baldessari pieces in the large front entry hall. I liked this image of a brain on a vivid sky blue background. Twenty or so years ago, I was captivated by a lot of Baldessari's work and influenced by his ideas about artmaking, but since then I had fallen out of thinking about his endeavors. Seeing this piece made me wish I had made the effort to see his recent retrospective at the Met.
Byzantine carving
Byzantine Stonework
artwork by John Baldessari
John Baldessari
artwork by Antonio Caballero
Antonio Caballero
artwork by Keltie Ferris
Keltie Ferris
Above left is a piece from the Antonio Caballero show at Sikkema Jenkins and Co (530 W22). In the early 60s Caballero began working in the production of fotonovelas; these were small graphic novels similar in format to comic books with storyboard format and dialogue bubbles, and popular in Italy, Spain and throughout Latin America from the 40s though the 80s. He produced 500 or more of these during his career. The show features photos from his archive of the images he produced.
Above at right is a painting by Keltie Ferris at Horton Gallery (504 W22nd). Below are two images of the same piece by Brandon Lattu at Leo Koenig (545 W23).
artwork by Brandon Lattu
Two views of Brandon Lattu piece
painting by Sharon Ellis
Pair of paintings by Sharon Ellis
I first saw Sharon Ellis's work in 1998 at Deitch Projects' Painting from Another Planet. Curated by David Pagel, the show grouped ten Los Angeles based painters — some of the others included Ingrid Calame, Casey Cook, and Yek — who put "the art back in artifice." It was a great show and Ellis's paintings really wowed me. Unfortuntately, I have rarely seen her work since then. This month, I discovered she was having her second solo show at Greenberg Van Doren (730 5th Ave).
Ellis produces her luminous, hallucinatory work in a slow process of applying as many as sixty layers of alkyd paint — which limits her to three or four paintings a year. The gallery put out a small catalogue for the show with an essay by Catherine Morris connecting Ellis to one lineage of American landscape painting including Martin Johnson Heade, Marsden Hartley and Charles Burchfield. In a video interview produced at the time of the show, Ellis says it's not so much that her paintings are about nature in itself, but more about the effect that nature has on your imagination, and also the effect that your imagination has on how you see nature. Watch the full video below.

Untitled from Emily Devoe on Vimeo.

Keith Richards' Life

I'm about half-way through reading the Keith Richards memoir Life. It's highly entertaining, and does a beautful job of capturing his distinctive voice. As with the Patti Smith memoir I read last year, it also is a wonderful documentation of the networks of relationships among lots of exceptional creative people, and their dealers, producers, various lovers, and eccentric accomplices. Here is Richards in a section where he discusses his close relationship to the art dealer Robert Fraser:
Russel Young
photo of Keith Richards at
Russel Young photo of Keith Richards

There were some fascinating people. Captain Fraser, who'd had a commission in the King's African Rifles, the strong arm of colonial authority in East Africa, was posted in Uganda, where Idi Amin was his sargeant. He'd turned into Strawberry Bob, floating around in slippers and Rajasthani trousers by night, and gangster-sharp pinstripes and polka-dot suits by day. The Robert Fraser Gallery was pretty much the cutting edge. He was putting on Jim Dine shows, he represented Lichtenstein. He did Warhol's first thing in London, showing Chelsea Girls in his flat. He showed Larry Rivers, Rauschenberg. Robert saw all the changes coming; he was very into pop art. He was aggressively avant-garde. I liked the energy that was going into it rather than necessarily everything that was being done — that feeling in the air that anything was possible. Otherwise, the stunning overblown pretentiousness of the art world made my skin crawl cold turkey, and I wasn't even using the stuff. Allen Ginsberg was staying at Mick's place in London once, and I spent an evening listening to the old gasbag pontificating on everything. It was the period when Ginsberg sat around playing a concertina badly and making ommm sounds, pretending he was oblivious to his socialite surroundings.
(pp 199-200)


There is also plenty of the expected craziness:

Post-acid was the prevailing mood at Redlands on a cold February morning in 1967. Post-acid: everybody arrives back with their feet on the ground, so to speak, and you're been with them all day, doing all kinds of nuts things and laughing your head off; you've gone for walks on the beach and you're freezing cold and you're not wearing any shoes and you're wondering why you've got frostbite. The comedown hits everydoby in a different way. Some people are going, let's do it again, and others are going, enough already. And you can flash back into full acid drive at any moment.

There's a knock a the door, I look through the window and there's this whole lot of dwarves outside, but they're all wearing the same clothes! They were policemen, but I didn't know it. They just looked like very small people wearing dark blue with shiny bits and helmets. "Wonderful attire! Am I expecting you? Anyway, come on in, it's a bit chilly outside, come on in and read it to me over the fireplace." I'd never been busted before and I was still on acid. Oh, make friends. Love. Not from me would there be "You cannot come in until I speak to my lawyer." It was "Yeah, come on in!" And then roughly disabused.

(p 208)

Somehow in all my years of listening to the Stones, Richards has been somewhat of a two-dimensional character: great guitarist, lots of heroin and other drugs. Mick Jagger was always the big personality front and center. Not surprisingly, Richards' own story is fascinating, so it fills a big gap in the picture and makes a great read. (jan 5, 2011)

Crocker Art Museum

artwork by Bill Chambers at Crocker Museum in Sacramento
Bill Chambers
On a recent visit to Sacramento, CA, I visited the recently greatly expanded Crocker Art Museum. Here's a painting by Bill Chambers — I believe this was done in the 60's or 70's.

Lee Friedlander at Mary Boone

artwork by Liz Deschenes at Migeul Abreu Gallery
Lee Friedlander
Wow. The Lee Friedlander show at Mary Boone (745 5th Ave) was revelatory. The beautifully complex compositions of tangled brush and tree branches — often at the front of the picture plane — at times induce a feeling of being visually riveted, and can be slightly dizzying. There were 65 photos, all 16x20 inches, from locations such as Glen Canyon, Death Valley and the Mojave Desert. The photography blog DLK Collection presents a good discussion of the show, saying Friedlander, "even at his advanced age, is a bomb-throwing, rule-breaking subversive."

Mid-November Outing

raymond pettibon artwork
Raymond Pettibon
raymond pettibon artwork
Raymond Pettibon
I've been back and forth between New York and California three times since late August dealing with some family matters, so I've been operating under quite a bit of distraction. To catch up, I'm going to post a bunch of images but try to keep comments brief.

The Raymond Pettibon show (David Zwirner, 525 W19) was something of an eye opener for me. I've passed through more than one of his shows before without really looking much. This time something was different, either in me or his work. I completely love these two drawings.
The images below are Kristen Morgin, someone new to me. The wonderful show, at Zach Feuer (548 W22), is the gallery's first in a new larger space. Among other things, she has created these amazing aged and worn facsimiles of printed matter. The piece below (The Blue Dodo) is comprised of unfired clay, table and paint.
kristen morgan artwork
Kristen Morgan
kristen morgan artwork
Next are a couple of photographs by the Los Angeles based, Elad Lassry at Luhring Augustine (531 W24). The gallery press release lays out some PoMo context for the work including the liberation of "each image from its existing visual history." I do like the play between the analog and the digital. In the first image there is a photo of a presumably found drawing, and in the second, a photo of a collage with a bit of light in the foreground that reveals this set up.
elad lassry
artwork
Elad Lassry
elad lassry
artwork
andrew
masullo artwork
Andrew Masullo
faile artwork
Faile
The painting at left is by Andrew Masullo, at Feature (131 Allen St). I'd lost track of him for several years; the last time I saw his work, he was with Washburn Gallery on 57th St (probably in 2004). In the early 90's when I was in grad school, his work was a big influence on my own. In a short interview available from the gallery, Masullo explains that he "makes no preparation to start a painting" and has "no clue where I'll wind up." He goes on to say that several of the paintings in the show took over ten years to follow this open-ended process.

Last (below left), a piece by Faile, a Brooklyn based artist collaboration (Patrick McNeil & Patrick Miller), at Perry Rubenstein (527 W23). The piece, Nuthins Sacred Youth, is acrylic and silkscreen ink on wood with steel frame (48.5 x 42.5 x 2.75 inches). Each piece is assembled from sections of painted wooden blocks.

Re-Dressing at Bortolami

mirror tower piece
by gary webb
Gary Webb
This large show, Re-Dressing (Sept 15 - Dec 15), at the relocated Bortolami Gallery (520 W20) was really a stand-out show for me. Here are three favorite pieces.
wall mounted sculpture by Bojan Sarcevic
Bojan Sarcevic
painting by Sean Landers
Sean Landers
you're an idiot, but you know what you're doing

Body Politics

I've seen a bunch of interesting work recently which uses the body, often in the context of cultural commentary. The first two images are from Michael St. John's show at Andrea Rosen (525 W24), These Days; Norman Rockwell Part 2. Next, is a painting from the Casey Cook show at I-20 (557 W23). I've admired her work going back to a couple of great shows she had at Lehman Maupin in the early aughts. This painting is just really beautiful — love that orange. She also has a band, Americans in France, that from the bit I've heard traffics in a grungy guitar sound. Third is a small collage by Anton Henning at Zach Feuer (548 W22). Last, another one of Robert Gober's strange mash-ups of children's limbs with inanimate objects, here, one of his signature porcelin sinks.
artwork by Michael St-John
Michael St-Johh
artwork by Michael St-John
Michael St-John
painting by
Casey Cook
Casey Cook
painting by Sean Landers
Anton Henning
artwork by Robert Gober
Robert Gober

Arlene Shechet at Jack Shainman Gallery

sculpture by arlene shechet
Arlene Shechet
The Arlene Shechet show, The Sound of It (9/10 - 10/9) at Jack Shainman Gallery (513 W20) was a deep, rich set of work. There's a great interview with Shechet done by Jane Dickson recently for Bomb which gives lots of informative background. In relation to the current work Shechet observes:

The comic contradiction is the other thing I wish to have in the pieces I'm making now. I want them to be funny. People have referrred to the openings — which are now more holes than limbs or a spout — as a sexual language, and it is. But they're also dancing limbs and classic vessels and aortas and, you know, they're everything. There's a hybrid comic clumsiness, while at the same time they have airiness and elegance. That contradiction is really interesting to me because I don't want to make something that's just an idea. I want to make something that's visceral.

In terms of her process, she offers:

I never draw them. I have an idea, but I think if I drew it and tried to make it, I would not be paying attention to what is happening. Instead, I start and then I feel like the thing tells me what it wants to be. It's maybe the best part of making art — you start to create this inanimate object and then it starts talking to you and bossing you around, and then it rules.

The interview is wide ranging and additionally covers — among other things — Buddhism and her studio practice, and the challenges of working with glazes given that they change dramatically with firing.
sculpture by arlene shechet
Arlene Shechet
sculpture
by arlene shechet
Arlene Shechet
sculpture by arlene shechet
Arlene Shechet
sculpture
by arlene shechet
Arlene Shechet

Start of Fall Gallery Season

painting by Mark Barrow
Mark Barrow
To be honest, I haven't paid strict attention in these first few fall posts to the exact order I saw these shows. The Mark Barrow show at Elizabeth Dee (545 W20) is a collaboration with his wife, Sarah Parke. She hand looms the linen, which Barrow then paints on. The gallery press release explains that the paint is "applied dot by dot" following the weave of the fabric. The second image is my obligatory John McCracken has amazing work at David Zwirner (525 W19) photo. I've posted about his last couple of shows there, so I'll just leave this one without additional comment.
sculpture by John McCracken
John McCracken

End of Summer

artwork by Liz Deschenes at Migeul Abreu Gallery
Liz Deschenes
This Liz Deschenes piece was part of an interesting group show at Miguel Abreu (36 Orchard St). It's a silver toned photogram — the shapes in my image are reflections. I'm not too familiar with her work but after doing a little research, I'm really intrigued and look forward to seeing more. For additional information on the show — False / Divide: representations of abstraction in a few photographic works — check out the gallery's website (images and press release).

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