April 22, 2014

Message to the MFA class of 2014

This year I curated "Possible as a Pair of Shoes," the Brooklyn College MFA thesis exhibition, which opens this Friday at Show Room in Gowanus. On Saturday, May 3, 3-6 pm, I'll be hosting a Curator's Afternoon at the gallery, so please stop by and join the conversation. The exhibition title is borrowed from "Description," a 2012 poem by Christopher Stackhouse:

April 22: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / April 22, 2014  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

Annie Lapin in "Dee Ferris, Barnaby Furnas, Annie Lapin" @ Sargent's Daughters

Video: Julian Schnabel, painting en plein air

"View of Dawn in the Tropics," an exhibition of Julian Schnabel's paintings, made from 1989-90, never seen in NYC, is on view at Gagosian (Chelsea) through the end of May. The following video has great footage of Schnabel making mammoth paintings at his outdoor studio on Montauk. Definitely worth watching.

April 21, 2014

Art and Social Media Symposium @ CSU Long Beach, April 27

Please join us for an Art and Social Media Symposium organized by Marie Thibeault at California State University Long Beach, Sunday, April 27. I'll give a lecture at 2pm, followed by a panel discussion featuring Julia Schwartz, Doug Harvey, Kio Griffith, Grant Vetter, and moderated by Dane Klingaman. The event, which also includes MFA Open Studios and five gallery openings across campus, is sponsored by the Painting and Drawing Program. Should be fun.

For the panel discussion I contributed a couple questions:

1. I've often said that Twitter is the new smoking--instead of taking a cigarette break, I step back from a painting and check Twitter. How has social networking media changed the way we approach work in the studio and gallery? If we post an image of recent work and don't get any "thumbs up," are we more likely to alter the project or painting?

2. As longtime users of web 2.0 tools, do the other panelists ever feel as though the 24/7 nature of technology may be taking over their lives? Is the internet addictive? Do they put limits on the amount of time they spend online? Or is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) too great to put limits on usage? Can panelists foresee a time when they might step away from the computer?

Any thoughts?

If you are in LA, I hope to see you there.

[Image: The poster features one of my old paintings from 2009]


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

April 17, 2014

Responses to "Zombie Formalism"

 My last post precipitated several comments about Walter Robinson's term "Zombie Formalism" and about the type of work discussed, as well as some offline discussion about labeling art movements in general. In an age supposedly marked by an inclusive, anything-goes pluralism, the arguments sparked by recent approaches to painting reveal that our "pluralistic" era isn't without acrimony.

[Image above: Andy Boot, Untitled (blue), 2012, Rhythmic gymnastic ribbon, wax, frame, 100 x 70 cm.]

April 14, 2014

Speculating on Andy Boot

A few weeks ago, Cary Smith sent me an email with a link to Australian artist Andy Boot's work. A scroll through his page on the Croy Nielsen website reveals how the Casualist approach can serve a transitional purpose for individual artists. Boot made loosely stretched canvas pieces back in 2008, but by 2013 had begun making freestanding objects out of wood and metal. Now he seems to have returned to a more minimal painting approach -- albeit with more traditional supports -- applying small squiggly watercolor lines to mostly empty canvas. Perhaps this reversion to custom indicates an engagement with the art market's embrace of what Walter Robinson, writing at Artspace, recently dubbed "Zombie Formalism."

[Image above: Andy Boot, Reasons to Buy in Bulk, 2008, oil, acrylic, markers, and canvas on wood. Image courtesy of Croy Nielsen.]

April 10, 2014

IMAGES: John O'Donnell considers mimesis

It's hard to tell if John O'Donnell is serious, and he seems to want it that way. Although known for his outlandish performances and kitschy installations that riff on contemporary art making strategies, in a recent show at The Schumacher Gallery at Westover School, O'Donnell presented a series of small paintings that explored contemporary abstraction. His process involved making small studies comprising paint and found objects like pizza boxes and kids' toys, and using the collage-like objects as reference points for a series of paintings made on burlap panels that he purchased from a local arts and crafts store. In the exhibition, he hung the subjects and the paintings side by side.

April 8, 2014

April 8: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / April 8, 2014  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

 Rochelle Feinstein @ On Stellar Rays

Who is teenage Donna? Robert Yoder @ Frosch & Portmann

TEENAGE DONNA, Seattle artist Robert Yoder's latest solo at Frosch & Portmann, opens on Thursday. His new paintings, more dense than previous drawings and paper collages, are rendered on solitary, well-worn canvases, and the press release reads like a page torn from a teenager's long lost diary:

April 4, 2014

PRINTMAKING: Sylvan Lionni at Kansas

As a resident artist at Counterproof Press at the University of Connecticut this semester, I've begun to notice how many painters incorporate traditional printmaking processes and strategies into their work. Recently we saw Christopher Wool's retrospective at the Guggenheim, and now Sylvan Lionni's solo show at Kansas; both reflect the extensive use of screen printing.

[Image above: Sylvan Lionni, Rulers, 2014, acrylic and urethane on steel, 48 x 44 inches.]

April 3, 2014

Liam Everett’s unmooring machinations

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Liam Everett’s large paintings – on display in his show “Montolieu” at On Stellar Rays – are insidiously provocative. At first glance they just look unevenly worn and washed-out, perhaps casualist or aimed to simulate relics that might be found on the walls of an abandoned cathedral or museum. Then it becomes clear that Everett is after neither the agitation of the provisional nor the security of any clear historical referent.

[Image at top:  Liam Everett, Untitled (Larrun), 2013, acrylic, oil, salt and alcohol on primed linen
77 x 54-1/4 inches.]

March 31, 2014

New art jargon: Overculture

From the press release for William Powhida's second solo show at Postmasters (pictured above):
Overculture 1:
1.a small cultural group (artists) within the larger culture, often affirming the beliefs or interests of the ruling class (collectors).
"The two parties thus engage in an uneasy courtship around unspoken divisions and unacknowledged aspirations, where each seeks the perceived (and performed) freedoms of the other." -David Geers

1. a negative or ambivalent feeling about culture often in relation to socio-economic conditions.

"If art comes from everywhere and everyone thinks differently, why does so much of what we see these days look the same?"
--Jerry Saltz

"We have a great big art world with a lot of stupid people in it. It's just about sales. We don't do negative reviews. We love everything. It's all mainstream. Look at what's out there. I don't think that's good, but that's the way it is."
--Dave Hickey, semi-retired art critic

Recognition of overculture is necessary to avoid misidentifying it as subculture (marked by resistance to ruling class values). Overculture and its capital may be identified as the cultural knowledge and commodities traded between members of the overculture, raising their status and helping differentiate themselves from the majority culture or resistant subcultures.

The sphere of the visual arts has increasingly become associated with overculture in a market-oriented ontology where price functions as the sign of absolute cultural value (Art) that subordinates all other relative cultural values (creative labor). The principle form of judgment in overculture is an expression of capital through the market. Price functions as a single variable for the success (or failure) for the participants in the exchange (artist to collector, seller to buyer, reporter to public).

"The danger here is less that this art promotes an illusory autonomy or cynically concedes to the market than that it reveals the discourse of art as now consisting of nothing but the market."
-- David Geers

Overculture poses significant challenges to the visual arts. It proposes that art no longer has any role in theoretically resisting the 'superior' values of the ruling class and market-orientation has turned it into a closed system of exchange between members that ceases to be relevant to the larger culture.

"Want to see a very big show of very bad art? Sure you do, to be up on present trends in bigness and badness...Gigantic in scale and pipsqueak in imagination, the show must be seen to be properly disbelieved. You'll want to talk about it."
--Anonymous Critic, New Yorker
In-case-you-were-wondering Department:
Because Powhida is primarily known for his pencil drawings of notebook pages, artists speculated that he hired a Chinese paint mill to make the paintings rather than painting them himself, but he told me that all the paintings were made in his studio. "No one individual made any painting except me," he said. "Whitney Kimball and Eric Trosko assisted on the hard edged grid, lines, and color comp."

"William Powhida: Overculture," Postmasters, Tribecca, New York, NY. Through April 19, 2014.

Related article:
Jerry Saltz on Stefan Simchowitz, the Greatest Art-Flipper of Them All
"They bring their skill set, honed on IPOs and flips, to make some fast money, draw attention, and gain social currency. Simchowitz admits it: 'The art world has become the new movie business — it's the new cool ... the de facto definer of social hierarchy in Los Angeles.' There’s a saying in the poker world that, if you don’t know who the sucker is at the table, it’s you. Any gallerist or editor who thinks that Simchowitz puts art first — or is anything more than an opportunistic speculator — is handing him money."

Related posts:
Don't kill Bill: Powhida at Charlie James in LA (2013)
#class demonstrated the unequivocal power of social media...but now what? (2010)


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Update: Moving day

Readers may remember the old studio updates I used to post from an attic in southeastern Connecticut...? For the past two years, I rented the house to a British couple who have finally returned to England. Now I'm in the process of relocating two year's worth of paintings and projects, which I've had stashed in my NYC apartment and various other studio sublets, into the attic of this lovely old house. I'm looking forward to getting some closet space back in the apartment once I move everything up to Connecticut. Posting may continue to be slow until I get everything organized. Please bear with me. And let me know if you want to sublet your NYC (BK or Manhattan) studio this summer.

In the attic, circa 2008.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

March 24, 2014

Rebecca Morgan: Country girl

After earning an MFA at Pratt, unlike many new grads who set up studios in Brooklyn, Rebecca Morgan returned to central Pennsylvania to paint. Back in Appalachia, where drawing skill and porcelaine figurines are especially cherished, Morgan has incorporated these forms into resonant paintings that can hold their own both for a sophisticated New York art audience and for the less privileged patrons of, say, an Appalachian coffee shop.

[Image: Rebecca Morgan, Depression Blanket, 2014, oil and graphite on panel, 28 x 22 inches.]

March 20, 2014

Leslie Wayne: Absorbed and wiped out

In the last few years, much has been made of hybrid paintings that re-purpose canvas and stretcher bars to create sculptural objects. In her solo at Jack Shainman, Leslie Wayne takes a brilliant tangent, presenting small-scale objects made from oil-paint skins that she folds to look like cloths.