Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The show is touted in today's NYTimes as being international, because they have included so many European artists, but it isn't really. No Asians, for example (except for Rirkrit). The two curators are both Europeans, so... SURPRISE!
Alas, poor Whitney Museum of American Art mission statement. Where are you? The NYTimes piece states that "the curators have scoured artists' studios in art capitals like Milan, London, Paris and Berlin". Of course they have, if you were a curator would you rather travel on the museum's dime to Paris and Milan or Richmond and Indianapolis?
Very happy that Philadelphian Zoe Strauss, an artist often championed on Roberta and Libby's blog, is included. The news came to Zoe as a complete surprise - did the two curators visit any studios in Philadelphia? I'm curious. Why not select Roberta and Libby too? Seriously, they are excellent artists making a huge impact.
No artblogs are included, although I think there are some that should be. This is art. Even this is might be considered art, whatever his intentions or motivations, he is most certainly creating Social Sculpture. No artblogs included (as far as I am aware) is NOT surprising, but it is a shortcoming. Come on, curators, catch up!
Zoe Strauss' very very happy, funny, and excited blog entry announcing her inclusion in the Whitney Biennial. Also includes the full list of participating artists.
OC Artblog on Zoe Strauss with funny comment by Zoe Strauss.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Some of Louise Bourgeois' Eyes, in front of the Williams College Museum of Art. They light up at night and remind me of a sculpture in Shibuya that I very much like (can't find an image of it on the web, but I've got a photo I'll scan in later). This is nice in front of the Christmas tree.
LATER: found it!
Above is a photo from one of the shows in the museum, Moving Pictures American: Art and Early Film, 1880-1910. The old movies are fascinating, and they have, for example, a George Bellows boxing painting next to a film of boxers from the same period. The photo I took isn't very good but it's a John Sloan painting beside an uncannily similar film, without the figure. I love the Ashcan School painters, those Apostles of Ugliness.
I was hoping to get into Williams College's Mission Park building to take some photos of the four paintings I have in there, but it was the day before Thanksgiving and all the doors were locked. I walked around to the back of the building though and was able to take a photo of this one hanging in the dining hall. Yay! Hello, my old painting!
Closer to the window. Maybe future curators are eating under this.
Then I drove by the Plum Gallery and saw another one of my old paintings looking good, glowing gold. They were closed too.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Revisiting the Richard Pettibone show at the Tang I was watched like a hawk by the security guards. My mission was to get a photo of one of the double-sided glass cases holding a bunch of his little paintings, to show how perfect the backs are. Pettibone makes tiny stretchers using tiny nails, with tiny braces. The backs are as captivating as the fronts.
But I couldn't get a photo because the security guards at the Tang are the most attentive you will ever see. Walking up to the mezzanine level where the Kathy Butterly sculptures are on exhibit a lady leapt up from her chair and smiled at me. I felt so bad continuing on to the Pettibone show - she seemed like she really wanted to watch someone.
The Tang's "no photography" rule is exasperating on this visit especially because so much of Richard Pettibone's own photo-realist work of the seventies was produced from polaroids taken in museums. He took photos of work by his contemporaries as well as that of artists like Eakins, Gerome, and Ingres. Those polaroids, often taken at odd angles, were then reproduced exactly - including the white borders of the polaroid.
From a wall text at the Tang beside the photo paintings -
"In 1974, Richard Pettibone moved away from mere emulation of Photorealist style by incorporating historical works of art into the pictures. Using photographs he had taken in New York museums, Pettibone depicts white-bordered snapshots of ..
Taken at lateral angles, the picture emphasizes the works in situ status. These tiny, exquisite paintings reiterate art history's reliance on photography to propagate our knowledge about painting."
It's ironic and sad that the Tang, which promotes itself as a teaching museum, forbids that further propagation.
UPDATE 12/05/07: Nobody ever commented on this post, but I did soon hear from both a Pettibone and co-curator Michael Duncan. The Pettibones sent me a CD of images, and Michael Duncan asked for my address and said he would send a copy of the catalogue... but HE NEVER DID!
"I have many lovely four color hand pulled offset prints from the Suburban Landscape series looking for loving, new homes. They're on nice, clean clay-coated cover stock, in an edition of twelve each, all signed and dated. I simply don't have the capacity to store them all, and seriously, what the hell am I going to do with them? So they're yours, at no cost! Yes, Free!"
Go to her website and get her e-mail address if you're interested.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Here is a picture of the Hoosick Falls protest house I blogged about last month. They've painted over the side that is most visible to the town, and the front porch area. Why? Sorry I never got a photo.
The side that faces the neighbor's house is still good.
Below is Don's Barber Shop, which I visited to get a photo of his clock - made by Dee Shaw. The bottom half is a picture of John Street, with Don's shop in the middle, on the left. Don was the mayor of Hoosick Falls for about thirty years. Dee burns local scenes onto pieces of wood, sometimes adding color. I have four or five.
Here is a picture of Don cutting Mr. Eberle's hair. He is holding a fake winning scratch-off lottery ticket, HAR HAR! Don was the Mayor of Hoosick Falls for (about) thirty years.
WARNING: Don't get your hair cut here.
Look at this wild car, the back seat is crammed full of stuff. Can you see the little sign in the back window? What's going on? Is the car for sale?
No. It is only Pampers for sale. Click here for a bigger picture, and to be able to read the list of other products available. I think my mom bought a sofa and chairs from this guy.
Across the street from Don's, Mrs. Loretan has opened a small gallery. Below is a photo of one of the two Thomas Moses paintings she has in her window. The next building up is the storefront that first displayed the paintings of Grandma Moses, Thomas Moses' great-grandmother.
Thomas Moses is good! I'm going to post some more photos later.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Some notes on what I (really) liked:
- the swirly blue green red pink yellow "floors" of Saint Catherine and Saint John the Baptist and Saint Zenobious and Saint Agnes, and the glowing pink reflection robes of that second picture.
- all the little details, some added later (by others?), of The Penitent St. Jerome in a Landscape. The scorpion, the red cardinal's hat, a crab, the weeds.
- pink rosy cheeks
- the CLEAN walls and rocky courtyard of Healing of Palladia by Saints Cosmas and Damian. And the purple robe. And the stool. And the silver pitcher on the silver tray.
- the scratched out eyes of all the figures in Saint Nicholas Saves..., I think, ... Three Innocent Men. Why? Is that Santa Claus?
- the fire painted over the leaves, flowers, and grass of St. Francis' Trial by Fire before the Sultan, leaving little raised dots.
- the pebbles, like white spray-paint drops almost, and reddish rocks of Saint Nicholas Calms a Tempest at Sea.
- all the black charm-points in the second panel of the five-panel The Naming of St. John the Baptist. Two black shoe tips of one guy; the black hem of a robe, tip of a sleeve, and hint of a collar of another. The woman is holding a black cup in one hand and a black cone-shaped vessel in her other. The two black windows, with their different shapes. The black edge along the grass on the bottom left, which follows the path and then becomes the side of the building.
Franklin is going to be posting something soon.
Monday, November 21, 2005
The Richard Pettibone show that debuted at the Philadelphia ICA and which Roberta Smith wrote so positively on for the NYTimes opened at the Tang Saturday night, and before the opening Pettibone and co-curator Ian Berry sat down for a public discussion.
Pettibone, best known for making perfectly crafted miniatures of other artist's work - Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp - says he has always been into model-making, especially trains, and Ian Berry noted that even today a model train encircles his studio; you need to lift up a section of track to enter.
Pettibone was born in California in 1938 and received an MFA from Otis in 1962(!), which he says "was a horrible school". His BIG artistic influences were seeing Duchamp's first U.S. retrospective at the Pasadena Art Museum (1963) and Warhol's thirty-two cans of soup at Ferus (1962). The Warhol show left a huge impression: "people were furious", "other artists were red in the face", it "made a big impression on me", "I'm still doing that thirty-two cans of soup".
Pettibone noted that with the Warhol's "it wasn't ever one painting, it was many paintings" - Ferus was a small gallery with walls that created three "rooms", every wall of which was soup cans - but today you usually see a selection of them "compacted for practicle reasons", like at MoMA. Pettibone considers Warhol's soup cans "the best piece of pop art that ever was made", adding "he never did anything better" and "It's a curious phenomenon. I've seen it many times. An artist's greatest work is the first work and the whole rest of the career is, what's the point?".
On the Duchamp show, curated by Walter Hopps (who also co-owned Ferus and gave Andy the soup can show), Pettibone recalled that the book came out before the show, and it (the book) was "all about the non-retinal and non-retinal art, etc" but we went to the show and "it was the most beautiful show". Pettibone said "I don't believe (in) that non-retinal. Art should be beautiful".
Pettibone said Walter Hopps was "the first artworld bigshot that ever bought a painting of mine", and he had his first solo at Ferus, but soon moved to NYC. When Ian asked "what brought you to NY?", Pettibone replied "fame and fortune". Ian also asked about other artist's responses to Pettibone's copying of their work - Andy Warhol said "oh, those are funny", Roy Lichtenstein loved them, "all the pop art people got it". Frank Stella "never liked 'em, he never got it", "Stella was offended". Pettibone shared a funny story of finding out that Frank Stella had bought ten of his paintings, all miniature Stellas, and soon after running into Stella at a party. When Pettibone introduced himself Stella turned and walked away. Pettibone has no idea what Stella did with the paintings, "maybe he took'em to burn'em".
There are some really beautiful little Stella black paintings in the Tang show, plus lots of his colored arc stuff. Pettibone said "I'm not opposed to repeating myself", then he said it again.
I have more I'll share later.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Ron also has a review in the current NYArts on the Paul Ryan show. Ron and Paul are both faculty in the VCU painting department and both are represented by Reynolds Gallery. Paul's wife Dinah wrote the Art Papers studio visit on Ron earlier this year (March/April 2005 issue), and Paul and Dinah together co-curated the Adaptation Syndrome show that Ron didn't belong in (even though his work was some of my favorite).
Paulette Roberts-Pullen on the Paul Ryan show for Style Weekly here.
Me on Paul Ryan here and here - with questions!
BONUS! - Here is an excellent collection of photographs of the Adaptation Syndrome show!
Friday, November 18, 2005
FYI: I'm out of town for a couple weeks but hope to get back before the current shows close. I especially recommend Kathryn Henry-Choisser at Main Art, Barbara Tisserat at Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Fiona Ross at both Rentz Gallery and University of Richmond, and of course Surface Charge at the Anderson Gallery.
More on Surface Charge coming soon.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
More on Saturday's Chelsea visit -
Kim Simonsson at Nancy Margolis - Loved these eerie ceramic beings. They were like sci-fi ghosts, isolated and withdrawn, trying to silently communicate. Figures stood alone or gathered in groups of two or three; it was easy to imagine relationships or messages passing between them and I was surprised when the gallerist told me that a grouping of three together in a small circle was a random arrangement. They had very much seemed to be in a dialogue of gestures - a glossy all-white boy was making a gang sign, a matte-black girl held her arms stiffly at her sides, one fist clenched.
Remember the holographic projection of Princess Leia in Star Wars?
Patricia Piccinini at Robert Miller- I can't help but compare this show, unfavorably, to the Simonsson show. These creatures were more life-like, but also more life-less; stuffed, glassy-eyed specimens. I didn't think of another world or another place, these inert obvious things came from the studio. The hammy cloying tableaux were also irksome - one cuddling in bed with a little boy, one nursing a human infant, one leaping to attack a woman. No mystery, no subtlety.
I didn't like her stuff at Mass Moca's Becoming Animal either, but Roberta and Libby are into it.
UPDATE: Piccinini's website names Richard Mueck as a production assistant. This interview states that "Richard Mueck has been working as a sculptor in the film industry for years, even working on the original Star Wars film in the late 1970s." Is this guy related to Ron Mueck?
Jim Shaw at Metro Pictures - He had a comic-book narrative running along the wall, a discussion between two guys, one of whom is doubting his belief in O. O is the name of the female God of O-ism, Jim Shaw's made-up religion in which time runs backward and ink is evidently the cosmic discombobulator.
Why the chronologically-linear narrative format? The guy shoots up ink and their whole world dissolves, but only after he has the discussion with his friend and after he injects the ink. Hello, concept paging form. Come in, form.
If this tired lazy piece interested you at all I recommend watching Gary Hill's brilliant Why Do Things Get in a Muddle?.
Ludwig Schwarz at Freight + Volume - Catchy video of a frustrated paranoid guy insisting "get the zombies outta here" and if we "put the bed on the other side of the room" we'll get the zombies out. Some kind of crazy man feng-shui. It becomes like a song.
Didn't like his gimmicky painting project though, in which he has Chinese workers produce editions of his old paintings. TIRED.
Tracey Emin at Lehmann Maupin - Wonderful, tender, sensitive, fragile show. Lots of small fabric pieces, white-ish squares on white-ish squares (some just unprimed canvas), most featuring a single, barely-delineated embroidered figure kneeling, crying, or lying down. All of them include quiet, pathetic confessions like "I keep dreaming of you", "always on my own", "want be with u".
Eva & Adele at Claire Oliver - This show was a surprise because it was all paintings. Lots of layers, but everything is visible. A skull becomes a sexy lady becomes a double-portrait of the couple. These paintings are just like them - fun, formal, glittery, sweet, odd puzzles.
John Wesley at Fredericks and Freiser - I liked this one too.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Polly Apfelbaum at D'Amelio Terras - Cartoon Garden (black and white), a 13 x 25 foot bed of individually cut, black and white cartoony flowers, looked GREAT in the slightly larger white rectangular room on the concrete floor. It reminded me of being at Ryoanji. It was PERFECT.
Nick Mauss at Daniel Reich - Some interesting-(ish) small paintings and drawings behind spindly music-stand-like tripods, but the most interesting thing was watching Daniel Reich walk in. What a weird floating walk! I couldn't take my eyes off him.
Tom Meacham at Oliver Kamm - Lots of very different small-ish paintings. No problem with the lack of consistency, but would like to feel that a little more exploration was happening. Felt a little like skimming.
Maybe they were consistent in a non-exploration of technique and content; an overall thinness - but ultimately not very satisfying.
Kerstin Bratsch at Derek Eller - Similar to the Meacham show but not quite as broad a range of techniques; a little more concentration. Each individual piece meant more.
There was a very 2D, washy, black-and-white warped canvas Russian folk-art lady painting below another black-and-white, smaller and more abstract. Good small one of a more thickly painted grey horse split down the middle by the ground, like it was impaled or perhaps a carousel horse. A good sailboat painting.
Ethan Greenbaum at Buia - Very much liked. My favorites were the most abstract, more sculptural ones like Person, Window, and Landscape. I think they are painted on sculpted and cobbled together pieces of foam or something. Person is a tall mustard-colored construction; part stop-sign, part hangman gallows.
The more standard-format, slightly Carrol Dunham-like one pictured below is called Employee.
Donald Moffett at Marianne Boesky - Heavily textured silver paintings in a very bright white room. They made me think of the Rudolf Stingel seen at the Tang last year (or two years ago), but not as interesting. Maybe it was the presentation - the low-key hallway hanging at the Tang was very good.
A few of these paintings had holes in the center, which I think went through the wall. Couldn't see inside, it was all blackness. Maybe I missed something? Was there more?
UPDATE 12/10/2005: Now I have seen this same paintings in Miami at Art Basel, where they looked very good. What a difference an installation makes. At Miami, there were just a few - one on the wall, one on the floor leaning against the wall - surrounded by work by other artists. Much better as individual objects, just as paintings, than that bright bright cold original installation.
Sergej Jensen at Anton Kern - Very interesting, I left this the same way I left the Matthew Monahan show here earlier this summer - not quite understanding but thinking I have seen something good. I need to go back.
This piece is called Palette Head -
The gallery also had a Matthew Monahan in the back with a bunch of David Shrigleys. EXCELLENT.
Mike Kelley, Day is Done, at Gagosian - Whoah!!! Overwhelming! This is another one that I need to go back to, so much to digest.
He has taken some old (maybe 1970's) high-school yearbook photos and re-shot the same poses with new models, and also made videos taking off from the photos. I don't know if all the yearbook photos are from the same yearbook or not but some of the characters in the videos overlap; for example, two characters from two different photos will interact in the same video.
The gallery is like a funhouse, full of music and costumes and flashing lights. I love the way he makes us move through the space. I really hope I have a chance to go back before it closes.
RELATED: Artnet's Ben Davis on Kelley's show.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Here is Goode's blog entry on the show. I still need to add Paul's blog to my blogroll - sorry Paul, that's next!
Elizabeth King - there is a photo and many very nice words on Elizabeth King's contribution to the San Jose Museum of Art's Brides of Frankenstein in the reviews section of the current issue of Modern Painters.
I think it was Modern Painters. I forget now. Someone tell me if I'm wrong.
Robert Rainey - Robert recently moved to Albuquerque, but not so long ago that it isn't worth sharing with Richmond readers that he is the subject of a studio visit feature in the current Art Papers!
I liked his radius250 photo.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Sunday, November 06, 2005
The stated ambition of Surface Charge, co-curated by Sabine Russ and Gregory Volk, and on view at the Anderson Gallery through December 4th, is to turn the "very surfaces into active forces as opposed to neutral supports". The exhibition brochure shares that much of the work was made on-site, specifically for this exhibition, and "will exist only for the duration of the exhibition".
The best works in the show are the ones that come closest to meeting these ambitions. The less fulfilling pieces - the Karin Sander, the Ragna Robertsdottir, the Maix Mayer, the Katrin Sigurdardottir, and, to an extent, the Lawrence Weiner - are the imported ones that have been shown before and will be shown again elsewhere. Pieces like the Sander and Robertsdottir may not exist, per se, when not being exhibited - but these trademark wall-pieces are most certainly imported works.
Lisa Sigal - Lisa Sigal's piece, pictured above, is called White House, and is one of the few pieces in the show that fully meets the curator's stated aims of transforming or charging the walls so that the space itself become the work of art. It is a beautiful and understated piece, very cool to stand there within the chalky crumbling classical ruin of a stage-set White House. The piece is full of subtle blue and yellow charm points extending all the way to the ceiling. The short statement about her work below is perfectly accurate -
"My paintings on canvas, walls, and recycled sheet rock explore artifice and the possibility of physical entry to the picture plane and offer a momentary bridge between the unequal worlds of the imaginary and the real."
Odili Donald Odita - He has designed two murals, one on either side of the room. They're nice, one consists of warm earthy colors and zig-zaggy patterns and looks good with the arched doorway at it's center. The other is two wall-wide bands of bars of powdery black paint on a white wall, all oppy if you get close.
The room definitely has an African feel, something that I would get without knowledge of the artist's name, and being in this room does somehow feel like being in an another place; like there might be palm trees outside. I think this might be the piece in the show that, with the centrality and associations of the arched doorway, makes best use of the building's existing architecture.
I'm pretty sure Odita also did Nonesuch. Ha ha! Just kidding.
Karin Sander - Sander is represented by a small example of one of her trademark wall-polishings, which was a letdown. If the idea of some of these pieces is their ephemerality, that the work will exist only here and never be seen again, isn't that defeated by the artist's willingness to schlep the same schtick whenever and wherever she's called to do so?
Excerpts from an interview with Karin Sander -
"My work is perhaps best characterised by the fact that when I start out, when I first confront an exhibition situation or a problem, I have no idea what kind of work will emerge at the end."
Sorry Karin, this wall-polishing is EXACTLY what I was expecting, if not less so.
"in each case the next step is not defined for me in advance, so that the works that emerge are always very different from each other. They may have a lot to do with the works that have gone before, but it’s quite different from, for example, going into a studio where I know I will find paints and a canvas – in other words where I will at least know where to start."
Painter says Please. Shut up.
I found the placement, on a very narrow wall between the entrance and the reception desk, to be distracting. The big thrill of a Sander wall-polishing is just staring at it and getting that disorienting op effect of it disappearing or the wall disappearing, or the piece becoming one with the wall - but it wasn't so easy to focus on it here. Too much peripheral vision stuff.
Did she actually come or was it done by someone else?
Ragna Robertsdottir - It's LAVA, get it? It is charged! She is from Iceland. It is a volcano. It is LAVA, do you hear me? Get it?? It is glued to the wall!
Actually, this was more interesting to look at than the Sander because it is so big. It's fun-ish to get close and look at it from an angle, it can look like throbbing magnetic fillings or hair, and to step back and try to see patterns and swirls. You start to see them, and wonder if they were intentional or not. Good place to sway back and forth and practice your transcendental meditation.
Opposite the wall of lava(!), called Lava Landscape, she glued a much smaller square of crushed glass, called Glacier. This has confused me because the one piece, Lava Landscape, is actually made from the stuff it represents and the other, Glacier, is not. What does that mean? Anything? I'm afraid not.
It bores me even more to know that this, like the Sander polishings, is something that just keeps getting reproduced in different places. I resent the ooh-aah promotion as one-time-only! site-specific! transformative! non-products when they are, in fact, no different from any other painting or sculpture that can be delivered and sold.
more later -
Friday, November 04, 2005
Yikes! Only one month left to see the Surface Charge show and I haven't said anything about it yet! I've visited three times but still need to go back and just spend some quality time there. The Lisa Sigal piece is still my favorite, and I'm enjoying some of the others more and more with each visit. Sally Smart especially. They have an excellent website and if you go to this page and click on any of the names on the floorplan you can see that artist's contribution.
If you go today or tomorrow, please take note: the photo of the piece above is NOT part of the show. It was so funny to turn the corner today from the Karin Sander piece and see that they had removed a bookshelf, leaving this strange ghostly shape. It really looks like it could be a piece in the show. So funny.
Sorry my photo is bad, I ran outside and convinced a total stranger to come back in and take a photo with her cell-phone camera. Thanks, Ophelia!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Most of them, there are thirteen new ones, are artist produced. I think five of those are NY-based. Now that I have figured out how to do it I'm sure I'll be adding more.
UPDATE: Now I've added Chris Ashley, Ed Winkleman, and John Perreault.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I went to Diversity Thrift today, rummaging through the old posters and kitsch, and found a very nice Tom Harte painting of a woman playing a guitar! It's a 34" x 22" work-on-paper and was backed by a slightly larger piece of cardboard, the whole thing all wrapped up in plastic-wrap. I'm not sure if Tom did that or someone else. It's from 1994. It was only $2.00!!!
I also got six shirts, including one Giorgio Armani and one Hugo Boss, everything together cost $17.06.
Very very delighted with the Tom Harte painting. He is a natural.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Any of the top four here, or any of these except for the green one. Can you see the little figure in the center of painting above? She's the same figure featured in the Sunflower pictures I've been posting; very very tiny here, on the beach here.
Are you a gallery? Why don't you pick five for $600 each and try to sell them for two grand apiece? Maybe not so hard to do in a better market and you would profit seven thousand dollars!! Come to my house.
FYI - the most I have ever sold a painting for was $3,500, from a show at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Second highest was $2,600 from a show at ADA Gallery. Biggest fell swoop was selling four large works-on-paper for $2,000 apiece; those works are currently hanging in the Mission Park building at Williams College.
* shipping and/or delivery is not included. This offer may not last long. Act now.
John Henry Blatter
Tom Chenoweth, here and here
Peter Corrie, here and here
James Davis, here and here
the Fartist, here and here
Jeannine Harkleroad, here and here
Ron Johnson, here and here
Sidney and Frances Lewis
Timothy Michael Martin
MEATBALLS AT STUFFY'S, here, with BONUS photos here and here
Monica Palma Narvaez, here and here
Josh Rickards, here and here
Paul Ryan, here and here
Radius250 - here and here
Relativity - here, here and here
Sculpture Invitational - here, here, here, and here
VCU MFA Thesis Shows: Round One - here and here, Round Two here
Daniel Buren lecture - here and here - plus BONUS!
Katharina Grosse lecture - here, here, here, and here
James Hyde lecture - here and here
Shirley Kaneda lecture - here, here, and here
Steve Mumford lecture - here
Ingrid Schaffner lecture - here and here