Thursday, October 12, 2006

High Times, Hard Times

Kenneth Showell
We went to see Katy Siegel and David Reed's High Times, Hard Times at the Weatherspoon on Friday... it was very much worth the trip from Richmond (about three hours), but if you want to see it soon you better hurry because it closes October 15th. The show travels, so you can see it when it opens back up again in DC November 21 or in NYC opening February 17th.

The first room has Kenneth Showell's Besped, 1967 (pictured above), Dan Christensen's Pavo, 1968, Ralph Humphrey's Untitled, 1969, and Jane Kaufman's 6 p.m., 1971. What a great mood to open the show with... you walk around the corner not knowing what to expect and get hit with all this color and vibrancy and experimentation and fun; it just feels good standing there with those paintings. Good vibes.

Taking photos was prohibited.. so we don't have many and of course the few that I got are with a camera phone and not looking that great.... if you have seen the catalogue and are liking it you will be much happier seeing them in real life, the colors in the catalogue are not very good. Jane Kaufman's 6 p.m. is orange at the center and pink along edges, something that even for real took some time for your eye to register.. in the catalogue you can't see any of that.

We all spent a while experiencing and studying each of these four paintings. The Kenneth Showell is a very big warping grid, and it was nice seeing so many of his pencil lines underneath... I thought of Michael Mewborn.

Hey! I just remembered that Michael Mewborn made those new paintings after a thirty year break from art making... that's another "long break" artist I have thought of since the Jerry Saltz lecture and his advice or whatever that if you don't work for a year, you are maybe a year better, but if you don't work for two maybe you are not an artist (that is not an EXACT quote). Agnes Martin stopped for seven years, Emily Carr stopped for fifteen years... there are many others, I'm sure. Ugh... I don't want to get into the Jerry lecture now, but I really get annoyed by advice on "how to be an artist" from people that aren't artists. Jerry lecture talk, with good comments, is HERE.

Dan Christensen's Pavo, 1968 - this is wonderful.. a little metallic. big unbroken loops of color.

Ralph Humphrey, Untitled, 1969 - that yellow part seems stronger in the photo than I remember. this is not a favorite, i'm not into the edge.. stopping it before the edge.

Matt (looking at the piece) couldn't get off work to come see this show, but he came anyway. Bye, job! Matt and Cindy are my new unpaid interns.

some favorites -

Lee Lozano, Punch, Peek, Feel, 1967-70 - very nice piece.. there is a line of grapefruit-size holes in the canvas that run down it, you can see the stretcher bars. It feels curved but it isn't curved at all, it's a perfect rectangle. The two cuts keep it from being too perfect, thankfully.

She is so fascinating... all of her whacked text pieces, her cartoony tools and guns. Lee Lozano would probably be blogging now, a killer blog.

Jo Baer , V. Speculum, 1970 - I liked the brown and cream palette, and the painted sides angling over.. it seems futuristic, an object, a totem... a futuristic totemic object. This was painted a few years after her infamous letter to Artforum.

Here's a big Jo Baer interview with Thumbs-Upper Judith Stein.

i have too much for one post, more tomorrow (or, i mean, probably later today)...


Anonymous said...

I think Jerry Saltz was an artist once upon a time. He wrote an article recently where he mentioned something about being a bad artist and thankfully giving up the pursuit to become a writer. Given that, he probably has some foundation on being an artist.

I can't remember where the article was... Village Voice? Modern Painters? I dont know.

Anonymous said...

yes, i know he was an artist. he did well.. he showed at i think gladstone or somewhere, got an nea grant, was reviewed in magazines. i don't know why he quit... but i hate those generalizations, i mean... whatever it was that bested him may not be what defeats someone else. there is nothing that you can do or not do that will guarantee you anything. and if maybe he had doubts and dry spells, well... so what.

Anonymous said...

it's hard to concentrate on that painting with that hot ass dude standing infront of it. so f'ing hot.

(PS. Martin, I spell my name with on "t")

Anonymous said...

Jerry Saltz failed as an artist and he takes his vengeance on working artists now.

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