August 10, 2007

NY Times Friday art reviews: Marlène Mocquet, Old School

"MARLèNE MOCQUET Recent Paintings," Freight & Volume, Chelsea, New York, NY. Through Aug. 17

Roberta Smith writes: "The work of the young French painter Marlène Mocquet may be something of a guilty pleasure, but what good is taste if it doesn’t betray you? Working very small, on raw canvas, Ms. Mocquet treads lightly on a twisting trail that winds from Redon to August Strindberg, then to Miró, Klee and Tanguy, and ends up near Sempé, Edward Koren and Saul Steinberg. Additionally, she exploits paint’s possibilities with flair, working thick, then thin, dripping, pouring and staining. She also has a wonderful feeling for jewel-like colors....Like Indian miniatures, these works reward close study."

"OLD SCHOOL," Zwirner & Wirth, New York, NY. Through Aug. 31

Martha Schwendener writes: "In a city of museums fully stocked with old master paintings, why should anyone care to see lesser ones in a contemporary-art gallery? Because viewing a Brueghel next to a Holbein is one thing; alongside a Karen Kilimnik and a John Currin, something else. This is hardly the first generation of figurative painters to “discover” the old masters. But where Picasso mined Velázquez, and de Kooning looked to Rembrandt and Rubens — mostly to resolve issues of space and composition — the contemporary painters in “Old School” are interested in what might be called the proto-Surrealist sensibility of art that explored fear, desire and fantasy centuries before Freud." Artists include: Louis-Léopold Boilly, Michaël Borremans, Paul Bril, Glenn Brown, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, John Currin, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Carlo Dolci, Battista Dossi, Hilary Harkness, Julie Heffernan, Karen Kilimnik, Master of Female Half-Lengths, Christopher Orr, Djordje Ozbolt, Elizabeth Peyton, Michael Raedecker, Wilhelm Sasnal, Anj Smith, Jacob Van Swanenburgh, Richard Wathen, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, and others.

Read all the reviews.