May 31, 2007

Anselm Keifer thinks énorme

Alan Riding looks at the artist chosen for the innaugural solo show at the Grand Palais in Paris. "Since moving to France in 1993, this German-born artist has turned his 50-acre property in Provence into a sprawling installation, with a former silk factory serving as his studio, and warehouses, greenhouses, towers and tunnels displaying his huge paintings and sculpturing the landscape. Now this same penchant for working on a monumental scale has made Mr. Kiefer the ideal artist to inaugurate an annual solo show — called, appropriately, Monumenta — that opened on Wednesday in the cavernous space of the Grand Palais in Paris. It continues through July 8." Read more. Don't miss the slide show.

May 29, 2007

Frida Kahlo centennial exhibition to premiere at Walker Art Center

Curated by Kahlo biographer and art historian Hayden Herrera and Walker associate curator Elizabeth Carpenter, the presentation will include approximately 50 paintings from the beginning of Kahlo’s career in 1926 to the year of her death in 1954. Following its showing at the Walker, Frida Kahlo will travel to Philadelphia and San Francisco. See images of her work.

Tour dates:
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 27, 2007–January 20, 2008

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 20–May 18, 2008

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
June 14–September 16, 2008

The "touchingly strange" paintings of Georges Rouault

Michael Kimmelman reviews the Rouault exhibition in today's NYTimes. "At one time Rouault’s reputation rivaled Matisse’s, and his clowns and prostitutes were as ubiquitously reproduced as Ben Shahn posters. He had retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in 1945 and 1953; when he died in 1958, at 87, the French government organized a state funeral. Then he slipped down the memory chute. The French expression 'jolie-laide,' applied to women whose beauty is of the unconventional sort, applies to Rouault too, which half explains his vanishing. He’s an acquired taste." Read more. Georges Rouault: Judges, Clowns and Whores continues through June 9 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, at 78th Street; (212) 744-7400 or

The superslick, super-flat, superexpensive paintings of Takashi Murakami

Jerry Saltz reviews the show in New York Magazine. "The main attractions of this exhibition are 50 little happy-faced flower paintings and six large portraits of a haggard-looking Zen patriarch. The flowers are insipid. So are the portraits, although at least with them Murakami is up to his old extreme stylization. But the real content of Murakami’s art is money and marketability. Hence, each of the 50 silly flowers reportedly goes for $90,000; the portraits, about $1.5 mil per unit. Four better larger flower paintings run about $450,000; two boring pictures of severed hands, about $400,000. Needless to say, the gallery reports everything is sold." Read more. Takashi Murakami "Tranquility of the Heart Torment of the Flesh - Open Wide the Eye of the Heart, and Nothing is Invisible" May 1 - June 9, 2007, Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue, New York

May 28, 2007

Jörg Immendorff dies of Lou Gehrig's disease

According to Spiegel Online International, German painter Jörg Immendorff passed away today from complications related to a neurodegenerative disorder. He was among Germany's most influential postwar artists. Read more.

New Kings of Scotland: Ugandan artists' pothole happening

In their first street festival, Ugandan Artists from Kampala filled in and painted some of the city's biggest potholes. Read more.

May 27, 2007

The inscrutable Sigmar Polke

In today's NYTimes, Carol Vogel visits Polke in his Cologne studio before he ships his paintings to the Venice Biennale. As is always the case with his work, Mr. Polke said, the paintings for the biennale sprang from specific ideas yet evolved in mystical ways as he experimented. "This is the meeting point of ideas and materials coming together," he said in his German-accented English. "You see what you want, but you have to work with the painting, and the results are always different." Read more.

May 22, 2007

NYT art reviews: Markus Lüpertz & Martin Kippenberger

Roberta Smith looks at German paintings made with a wink and a sneer. "Painting may go in and out of fashion, but its many lifesaving graces always keep it afloat. One is its capacity for what might be called beautiful sarcasm, a sly self-parody while still looking good that is cultivated by many young painters today."Read more.

May 21, 2007

Art Forum critics' picks for the month

May 17, 2007

David Kapp and Robert Berlind interview Wolf Kahn in The Brooklyn Rail

"D.H. Lawrence said what was good about Moby Dick was that Melville didn’t really know what Moby Dick symbolized. He knew it was a symbol, but he didn’t know what it was a symbol of. In the same way, when you’re thinking about your own motivations and the meanings of your work, the less you delve, probably the better off you are." Read more.

David Godbold's mirthless mirth

Ben Davis dissects David Godbold's snarky exhibition in artnet today. "Contemporary art is universally irreverent, but most often none too funny. This observation is particularly striking when one considers the fact that a lot of it, particularly that inspired by Big Daddy Marcel Duchamp, owes its very being to the tropes of comedy -- masquerade, mistaken identity, word play, sexual innuendo, bodily functions, and so on. Yet most often, these devices are presented with an air of chilly remove. The current show by Dublin-based David Godbold at Mitchell-Innes & Nash is not only a case in point -- it takes this mirthless mirth on as an existential condition to explore. " Read more.
David Godbold, "The Unreliable Narrator," Apr. 14-May 25, 2007, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash on 534 W. 26th St., New York, N.Y. 10011

May 15, 2007

Edward Hopper’s negative feng-shui

Peter Schjeldahl reviews the Edward Hopper retrospective at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
“The scale of the paintings is indifferent, in the way of graphic art. Their drawing is graceless, their colors acrid, and their brushstrokes numb. Anti-Baroque, they are the same thing when looked at up close and when seen from afar. I believe that Hopper painted with reproducibility on his mind, as a new function and fate of images in his time. This is part of what makes him modern—and persistently misunderstood, by detractors, as merely an illustrator. If “Nighthawks” is an illustration, a kick in the head is a lullaby…” The New Yorker, May 21 issue | Slide show

In the Boston Globe, Geoff Edgers writes about a recent visit to the Cape Ann community depicted in so many of Hopper's paintings. "For many in Cape Ann, the MFA show has led to a complicated mix of emotions. There's excitement at seeing their houses as museum pieces, in some cases for the first time. Still, the paintings offer a disappointing reminder of how their neighborhoods have fallen into disrepair since Hopper painted them. ...'It's painful to look at the before and after pictures, just heartbreaking,' said Prudence Fish, a retired real estate broker who recently quit the Gloucester Historic District Commission because she felt it wasn't working hard enough to preserve important properties. 'What's left of old Gloucester is now buried under layers of vinyl siding.'" Read more.

May 12, 2007

Prepotent mega-painter Schutz…and others

On artnet, Abraham Orden looks at the "Arcadian world of painting" in current New York gallery shows.

May 11, 2007

Michael Kimmelman NYT review of Myron Stout

Art Reveiw “The canvas,” Stout wrote, “came not from any remembered form of flowers or flower beds but from a tree outside the door, a tree that the thin foliage of the lower reaches allowed the rising branches to be seen, rising, yet moving sideways, toward each other.” His small, spare, intimate abstractions can be seen at the Washburn Gallery, 20 West 57th St., Manhattan through June 29.

Dana Schutz Fest

Schutz’s new paintings are at Zach Feuer through May 19.

Holland Cotter weighs in on Schutz's show at Feuer in The New York Times. "The art industry requires that at least one young artist be shot into the stratosphere every few years. The painter Dana Schutz was the choice in 2002, when she was in her mid-20s and barely out of school. She’s been producing and selling like mad ever since. Last year she had a museum career retrospective. It covered four years." Read more.

Jeremy Sigler says Dana's making painting work. Every single stinking time. "While the paintings do challenge themselves mightily, they can’t help but reveal how enamored they are with their own accomplishment. Cumulatively, the show comes across as excessively successful. Schutz’s gift is a technique that each time out exerts buoyancy and relevance over otherwise inchoate, dysfunctional concerns about the world: her depressed and dissonant visions get to swim upstream to the beat of a self-congratulatory paintbrush." Read more

Dana Schutz sat down with Mei Chin at the New York Academy of Art on a BombLive! evening to discuss her brand of merry macabre. This interview was co-sponsored by and recorded live by at the New York Academy of Art on November 2, 2005, as part of the BOMBLive! The Figure in Narrative series.

May 10, 2007

The accumulated weight of experience

Richard Rhodes on the new abstraction: "Painting has regained its relevance—socially and professionally. It has re-established a life for images beyond photography and the mass media. It stands as an alternative to conceptualist artmaking. Once buried by art theory, it has returned to reconnect with centuries of art and to anchor contemporary art to its accumulated weight of experience. From Tuymans’s Documenta pictures onward, it has carried an unspoken mandate: to confront both who we are and where we come from." From Canadian Art, Spring 2007

May 9, 2007

Ellsworth Kelly rocks at the Tate Modern

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones wonders why gallery goers aren't blown away. "If Kelly makes you see the sheer beauty of minimalism - as opposed to the ready-made conceptualism it is so often seen as a dumb vessel of - he also connects contemporary, living art with the heritage of Matisse. This makes him one of the most important artists alive, and Tate Modern should maintain this beautiful display of his work as a permanent exhibit. ...Standing in front of Kelly's Broadway, as colour moves towards me in a fiery surge, I feel like a newborn child, seeing the world for the first time. Because abstract can't be explained away, it can't be exhausted. It is always new."

Turner Prize shortlist: painters given the brush-off

After awarding Turner Prize to abstract painter Tomma Abts last year, not a single painter makes the 2007 shortlist .

In the isolation hut

High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975 On Artnet, Jerry Saltz reviews this "saber-waving, opinion-altering show, for the simple if thrilling reason that it posits an art-historical missing link. It’s composed entirely of abstract work made by painters who were born too late to be Pop artists or hard-core Minimalists, and who then tried to take the medium to less structured and splashy, more intuitive and experimental shores. On the sober side, "High Times" suggests that the best if only shot many people will ever have at recognition is if some diligent curator pieces together these missing links and presents the result. "High Times" does just that, focusing on a generation of artists, most born in the ‘30s and ‘40s, who altered art, however slightly, and who were then mostly forgotten. It offers a tantalizing glimpse at that up-for-grabs period beginning in 1967 when painting passed through what has been called "the eye of the post-minimal-conceptual needle" and 1975, when it was declared dead...." Read more.

Op Art is back...again.

David Rimanelli writes in the May issue of Art Forum that Op Art, the subject of two big museum shows, is back. After seeing the shows, he begins to "reconsider the Op-is-junk bias."