May 302020
 

Nina Chanel Abney’s In the Land Without Feelings (2017) from her 2017 exhibition Safe House at Mary Boone Gallery in collaboration with Jack Shainman Gallery.

From the press release-

Safe House is so termed for being a place of refuge. It is also a phrase used more colloquially as a space where one escapes the dangers affiliated with the law. With these eight single-panel paintings, Abney invites us into a place of reprieve, showing us people partaking in everyday activities. Abney’s scenarios offer sincere portrayals that counter how black life is represented in the mainstream media. The decision intentionally explores black joy as a means of resistance.

A deeply accomplished artist associated with innovating history painting, Abney took a multipart strategy to reclaim a space for creativity for this exhibition. To begin, she sourced graphics from posters dating from the 1960s that addressed aspects of safety for occupation, home, and leisure, abstracted these, and made them grounds for large-scale compositions. Then, against this backdrop Abney painted figures, objects, and letters to articulate the complex dynamics of contemporary urban life. She unequivocally is in pursuit of a depiction of commonplace activities and things. With each intuitively developed composition, each element such as the figures is often obfuscated by another element such as text, which in turn is challenged by a direction, such as an arrow. The imagery is reminiscent of sign painting, and each move made by Abney necessitates another. This chain of forms turns each element over to a type of writing, which opens a narrative and its reception to many readings. The abstracted source material (safety posters), combined with the abounding narratives from the detailed scenes, returns us to the title of the exhibition. The phrase prompts us to ask directly or obliquely: What caution and care are these narratives invoking and advocating? What danger might not be readily apparent to the viewer here?

May 292020
 

Pictured above is David Hockney’s Rubber Ring Floating in a Swimming Pool (1971), from his excellent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018.

From the show’s wall caption-

Hockney was impressed with how a photograph he had taken of a red pool toy floating in the water in Cadaqués, Spain looked nearly abstract, “like a Max Ernst,” he said. “I thought, it’s marvelous, I could just paint it.” He pointed out later that while the picture may look completely abstract at first glance, once the viewer reads its title, the work changes completely.

The Met has a lot of great online programming due to the closures for COVID-19, including virtual tours of iconic spaces in the museum and their current exhibitions; talks, performances, and concerts; over 500 free books; art instructions; six seasons of The Artist Project- short videos from contemporary artists discussing art that inspires them; coloring pages; a full length feature documentary film on Gerhard Richter (he has an exhibition currently at The Met Breuer) and more.

 

 

May 252020
 

Ryan Brown’s Praia do Sancho (2015), from the 2015 group exhibition Extraction at Steve Turner in Los Angeles. For this work he used the structural components of stretched canvas to create this large work that resembles a beach chair.

May 212020
 

A section of Yayoi Kusama’s installation at the now permanently closed Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles.

May 182020
 

 

Two works from Museum of Latin American Art’s outdoor sculpture garden, just one of the great things about this Long Beach museum.

Currently they are showing Arte, Mujer, y Memoria: Arpilleras from Chile; Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective En Vision: Picturing the Self -selected pieces from MOLAA’s Permanent Collection in conversation with self-portraits by students of Las Fotos Project, a community-based nonprofit organization that inspires teenage girls through photography, mentorship and self-expression; and the work of Afro Cuban artists José Bedia and Belkis Ayón; in addition to work from the museum’s permanent collection, as part of their Museum en Casa online programming.

May 172020
 

Jamie Isenstein’s Onions (Mario to Clown Mouse), 2015, from her exhibition Para Drama at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York in 2015.

From the press release

… And on the wall are a series of photographs of masks wearing masks. By putting on masks the support masks become anthropomorphized into faces so that these inanimate objects come alive. At the same time, the layering of these masks emphasizes their emptiness. Behind the illusions there is nothing. Absurdly, the more masks the masks wear, the deeper the layering of nothingness becomes. Onions, 2015, is a sculpture of many masks layered over the hollow head of a mascot costume. The title of the work refers to a monologue in the Henrik Ibsen play Peer Gynt in which Peer peels away the layers of an onion as he examines the various roles he has played in his life. Eventually he comes to realize there is nothing substantial at the core.

 

May 052020
 

Alex Kanevsky’s Nurses With Wine, 2019 from his painting exhibition Liberation and Disorientation at Hollis Taggart gallery in NYC.

Apr 182020
 

One of artist Sean Duffy’s Road Signs, part of a group exhibition in 2013 at Vielmetter Los Angeles.

Apr 142020
 

Wayne Thiebaud’s Make Up Girl (1982), seen at the San Diego Museum of Art. The museum is currently closed due to COVID-19 but they have a lot of excellent online programming including virtual performances, lectures, virtual tours and more.