Mar 242018
 

Gordon Parks, “Untitled”, Alabama (1956)

Gordon Parks was an incredible photographer whose influence continues to be felt in photography today. He had a long creative career that also expanded beyond photography to include writing several books, composing music, and directing films- the most famous being Shaft.

The Gordon Parks Foundation recently hosted the exhibition ELEMENT, which focused on several of the photographs that inspired Kendrick Lamar’s video from his album DAMN, seen below. The photo pictured above can be seen as part of the exhibition of Gordon Parks’ work I Am You Part 2 at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. It is from his series Segregation Story for Life magazine which focused on the daily lives of three black families in Alabama in 1956.

The photo below is a still from Kendrick Lamar’s Element. The video was directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies (Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free).

 

To see more of Parks’ work and the work he has influenced, The Gordon Parks Foundation’s website is a good resource for upcoming exhibitions around the world.

Jan 092018
 

Cloud Maintenance, 2017

The Ties That Bind, 2017

Currently at Metro Pictures, Jim Shaw’s current mixed media exhibition is full of works that are interesting, engaging and fun.

From the press release

Rendered in exquisite detail, Shaw’s virtuosic work combines his analysis of the political, social and spiritual histories of the United States with contemplative reflections of his own psyche. For more than three decades he has examined art history, comic books, subcultural undergrounds and consumer products—to name only a few of his wide-ranging fields of interest—to articulate a distinct visual language that charts the country’s ever-shifting sociopolitical landscape.

The paintings in this exhibition incorporate symbols and characters of the past to comment on our fraught present. Using imagery drawn from Old Testament stories, pagan myths and satirical cartoons, Shaw relies on his encyclopedic knowledge to visualize our common vernacular. His layered symbology reads like an exaggerated mirror of our hyper-mediated, “post-truth” reality.

This show closes 1/9/18.

At Pace Gallery’s 25th Street location is Elizabeth Murray: Painting in The ’80s, a collection of sixteen unique colorful canvases the artist created during this period.

From the press release-

Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the ‘80s presents formal and narrative content that continues to influence the techniques and subject matter of contemporary painting. Murray arrived in New York in 1967 during the heyday of Minimalism and the rise of Conceptualism, and amid prevailing assertions of painting’s demise. As she recollected, “The mood was that painting was out, that hip people, people who were avant, weren’t involved in painting. That was unnerving, but then I didn’t give a damn.” Fully committed to painting, Murray broke new ground depicting personal, poetic and at times feminist narratives on complex multidimensional shaped canvases. Murray’s compositions from the 1980s suggest large-scale breaking cups, tumbling wineglasses, tilting tables, windows, rooms, attenuated human forms, letters, symbols and abstract shapes constructed through positive and negative, real and imagined space. As Roberta Smith has written, “She has put the vocabulary of twentieth-century abstraction to new and different uses, tracing in irresistible formal terms a psychological narrative that is not explicitly feminine but that women, thanks to society’s relentless conditioning, know best and most completely.”

This show closes 1/13/18.

For Jorge Pardo’s first painting show at Petzel Gallery, he combines his painted self portraits with a sculptural element. Candid snapshots of the artist are “blown-up, engraved, laser-cut, hand-painted and back-lit with LEDs, to produce, in some cases, vast ornamental objects”. The beautiful large works have the added effect of changing slightly depending on where you stand in the gallery as the light shines through the wood.

This show closes 1/13/18.

 

 

May 062017
 

                                                                                             Drizzle (Wangechi Mutu) 2010

                                                                                                  Redhead, 2015

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty at Brooklyn Museum is absolutely stunning and a must see if you are in New York. The four decades of her work shown in the retrospective offer a chance to see the artist’s progression in style and technique, as well as content.

The exhibit starts with early black and white photos Minter took of her mother, smoking in bed, applying makeup or just staring into a mirror, with a hint of a former glamour that has now faded. It becomes immediately clear that Minter’s interest in exploring standards of beauty were present early on.  Moving through the exhibit you follow her evolution into her current work. From her early Photorealist paintings, to suggestive paintings of food, and then moving gradually to work that more explicitly uses sexual imagery, including a series of pubic hair paintings for Playboy that were mostly rejected. In that same section her slow motion videos of thick liquids being licked up and spit out on a glass pane by a red lipped mouth, walk the line between fascinating and repulsive.  Her large scale photo-realistic enamel on metal paintings that make up a large part of the retrospective are a particular standout with their lush colors.  The exhibition ends with the video, Smash, 2014, in which ominous music plays as a closeup of feet in high heeled silver sandals and red painted toenails breaks glass and splashes silvery liquid in slow motion. It is mesmerizing.

This interview with Minter is interesting and shows the work in the retrospective (from when it was shown at the Orange County Museum of Art)-

This exhibition closes 5/7/17.

 

Feb 182017
 

                                                                                        Rest During The Flight Into Egypt, 2016

                                                                                           The Alpine Retreat, 2016

Many of Adrian Ghenie’s oil paintings take up their own wall in Pace Gallery and it is hard not to be drawn in by the bold colors and the blend of figuration and abstraction. The exhibition also includes some of his smaller collage pieces, which help to show Ghenie’s process for creating this work, and three of his self portraits.

From the press release-

Born in 1977 in Baia Mare, Romania, Adrian Ghenie was formally trained as a representational painter. He adopted conceptual tendencies from Dada that he synthesizes with his rigorous technical abilities, displaying both a Baroque mastery of chiaroscuro and a gestural handling of paint indebted to Abstract Expressionism. In 2008, Ghenie’s paintings began to explore themes of history, memory, and the former Communist regime of his native Romania, not through biographical reflection but rather through a direct address of the legacies of historical figures. The imagery in his paintings is largely derived from historical sources incorporated into dreamlike or cinematic vignettes in which figures appear in haunting interiors.

This show closes 2/18.

Feb 182017
 

For Cory Arcangel and Olia Lialina’s exhibition at The Kitchen, Asymmetrical Response, the early days of the internet come to life in various artworks. The carpet is made of a diamond plate pattern that used to be a common background on 1990s websites and the wallpaper uses patterns from early Yahoo templates. One of the most interesting pieces is Lialina’s Give me time/This page is no more, a slide projection of former popular hosting site Geocities’ members home pages that promise a site they will create or come back to in the future. It’s hard not to look at these pages and wonder how soon what we are seeing now on the web will seem as antiquated as these images.

From the press release-

In military parlance, the terms asymmetrical and symmetrical are employed to refer to political provocations and diplomatic démarches, escalation and tension, and power dynamics of the highest order. Not specific to war, these terms also refer more generally to a set of relations that define our connections to power.

On the eve of Y2K, Russian­-born Olia Lialina—who is among the best-known participants in the 1990s net.art scene—first met American artist Cory Arcangel. Ever since, the artists have been deep in dialogue about the social and cultural impact of the Internet’s historical shift from a tool for military communication to an “information superhighway” promising open and equal exchange, and, finally, the increasingly asymmetric “content delivery system” we experience today.

This show closes 2/18/17.

Jan 282017
 

This is the last weekend to see Kerry James Marshall:Mastery at Met Breuer in New York, definitely one of the best exhibitions I saw in 2016.

Here is Met Breuer’s overview of the exhibition-

This major monographic exhibition is the largest museum retrospective to date of the work of American artist Kerry James Marshall (born 1955). Encompassing nearly 80 works—including 72 paintings—that span the artist’s remarkable 35-year career, it reveals Marshall’s practice to be one that synthesizes a wide range of pictorial traditions to counter stereotypical representations of black people in society and reassert the place of the black figure within the canon of Western painting.

Born before the passage of the Civil Rights Act in Birmingham, Alabama, and witness to the Watts rebellion in 1965, Marshall has long been an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the African American experience. He is known for his large-scale narrative history paintings featuring black figures—defiant assertions of blackness in a medium in which African Americans have long been invisible—and his exploration of art history covers a broad temporal swath stretching from the Renaissance to 20th-century American abstraction. Marshall critically examines and reworks the Western canon through its most archetypal forms: the historical tableau, landscape and genre painting, and portraiture. His work also touches upon vernacular forms such as the muralist tradition and the comic book in order to address and correct, in his words, the “vacuum in the image bank” and to make the invisible visible.

The exhibition runs concurrently with Kerry James Marshall Selects, a room curated by Marshall, of work from the Met collection “ranging from the Northern Renaissance to French post-Impressionism, and from African masks to American photography of the 1950s and ‘60s, underscoring the global and historical nature of the influences that are predominant in his practice”. This is a wonderful addition that adds another layer of perspective to the work.

Taking up two floors of the building, and with work that is often filled with detailed imagery, make sure to leave enough time to take it all in.

For more information on the artist, this New York Times article discusses the retrospective, the artist’s history, and includes quotes from an interview the author had with Marshall in his studio.

This exhibition closes on 1/29/17. If you are in Los Angeles, or visiting, it will open at MOCA Grand Avenue on March 12, 2017.

 

 

 

(Image courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Photo by Nathan Keay)

Dec 222016
 

To keep these posts a little shorter, I have split them up into two parts. The following continues the list of Chelsea exhibitions.

terrywintersatmatthewmarks

terrywintersyellowmatthewmarks

Terry Winters’ vibrant paintings at Matthew Marks Gallery are made up of layers of marks in oil, resin, and wax.

From the press release-

“These recent paintings are a series of accumulations,” Winters says. “There’s a range of paint application in terms of both material and technique. Each color is a marker, a stage of development. I’m moving across the surface, modulating the material in different ways. That inflection produces an amplification of colors, both physical and chemical. But color is basically wild and full of surprises.”

padraigtimoneyatandrewkrepsgallery

Pádraig Timoney’s work in The Deedle Eye, at Andrew Kreps Gallery, is a diverse combination of painting, photography, and installation.

From the press release-

Despite the visually distinct results, at the work’s core is a focused inquiry into the mechanics of images. Timoney conversely works in both directions – creating new images from abstractions (the captivating results of processes achieved in the studio), or rebuilding them part-by-part from photographs or observation. In each, he acknowledges the inherent flaws of these constructions, from the faultiness of recognition, the errors of translation, and further, the subjectivity of both viewers and the artist.

These in turn become generative openings in Timoney’s work as they are distanced from their original context. The images exist within thrilling, new visual constellations, allowing for the introduction of artifice and illusion, and the question of not only what they depict, but why? Each work records an index of decisions that determine its final state, materially and cognitively, displaying a history that is intentionally left open-ended. Figuration appears to hover only a hair away from abstraction, as if the movement of a line would cause one to collapse into the other. The narrowing of this gap suggests that the works’ initial disparate appearance may lead to an alternate understanding of their connections; a net that widens only to close anew, though what’s caught within it is left for the viewer to decide.

Also make sure to go to the space next door to see Klaus Weber’s sculpture Emergency Blanket.

klausweberatandrewkreps

Ai Weiwei has four shows up in NYC right now. Two of which are in Chelsea, at Mary Boone Gallery and Lisson Gallery, one is at the Mary Boone Gallery uptown, and one is at Deitch Projects in SoHo. Mary Boone Gallery and Lisson are both showing Weiwei’s Roots and Branches work, which includes large scale sections of dead trees, sometimes like the one seen below in cast iron at Lisson, and a 25 foot sculpture made up of tree parts bolted together. The uptown gallery includes a circle made up of 40,000 spouts broken off from Chinese teapots. Deitch Projects gallery has Laundromat, in which Weiwei has arranged items of clothing left behind by Syrian refugees (after they were forced to leave camps near the border of Greece) that he collected and laundered.

 

aiweiweilissongallery

Dec 222016
 

 

There are many excellent art shows closing this week in Chelsea. The following are a few of them:

 

paulinaolowskaatmetropictures

For Paulina Olowska’s Wisteria, Mysteria, Hysteria, her painting series at Metro Pictures, she conceived and executed the work in the Polish village Rabka-Zdrój, where she lives.

From the press release-

The paintings incorporate arcane references and nuanced details from sources that allude to the pastoral. Olowska combines portraits of women from gardening magazines with elements from Slavic mythology and folklore, as well as techniques from Les Nabis, artists who left Paris in the 1890s in favor of the countryside….

Olowska’s atmospheric paintings evoke the forgotten history of Rabka-Zdrój’s past grandeur as a 19th century spa town. In the triptych “Wisteria,” an elegant young woman in a red dress and hat leans, arms outstretched, against a wooden fence as flowers from the tree that gives the work its title fall from above. To her right in the painting stands Villa Kadenowka, a 1930s mansion that Olowska has transformed into a center for artist events. To the woman’s left is the abandoned Modernist addition to Kadenowka. In “Hysteria,” a mother, baby in arm, stands outside a dilapidated house with a spray-painted for-sale sign. In “Mysteria,” a woman wearing an elaborate cape proudly rides on horseback through the woods. Olowska establishes a narrative between these two works; in one scene a woman chooses to leave the trappings of conventional domesticity, while in the next another embodies ideas of mobility and freedom.

carlpalazzololennonwinebergpolaroid

carlpalazzoloatlennonwinebergflower

At Lennon Wineberg, Inc., are Carl Palazzolo’s The Hours, and Maine Notes, his small (8inches x 8 inches) canvas paintings that vary in subject and composition, but encompass his central themes of memory and the passage of time.

troybrauntuchatpetzelgalleryTroy Brauntuch’s large scale paintings at Petzel gallery become clearer the longer you look at them, and vary in content from images of sculptures, to ball gowns, to the gloves from the O.J. Simpson trial.