September 30, 2007

Amy Sillman's "Suitors & Strangers" in Houston

"Amy Sillman: Suitors & Strangers," organized by Claudia Schmuckli. Blaffer Gallery, The Art Museum of the University of Houston, Houston, TX. Through Nov. 10. Ulrich Museum Of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas, April 19- August 5.

In the Houston Press, Kelly Klaasmeyer reports: "Amy Sillman paints like she's reincarnated from some squirrelly, third-tier 1950s abstractionist. But I mean that in a good way. Sillman's colors — the turquoise blues, the deep oranges, the bright greens — all allude to fave color palettes from half a century ago and give the work a funky vintage feeling. (She's even named a painting with a big lime green blob Shecky Green, an allusion to the hokey mid-century comedian.) Speaking of squirrelly, third-tier artists, the linear brushiness of her strokes is reminiscent of David Adickes's paintings from around that time. But in spite of all that, Sillman's paintings are really good. Her abstraction is vaguely architectural and figural and dominated by a masterful sense of color. The forms of Sillman's paintings evolve on the canvas; they feel hard-won without looking overworked, and her colors emerge strong, separate and unmuddied."

Jerry Saltz reviewed Sillman's 2006 show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co in the Village Voice. "Rather than sex, these paintings are narratives of their own making. That hand reaching out of the bulbous mass holding onto the bird is attempting to identify, grasp, or experience the otherness of creativity. The arm holding onto what might be Malevich's Black Square is an image of the attempt to harness the alchemical power of painting. The hand holding a doorknob is, like Sillman, herself trying to open a seal between worlds." Read more.

In April 2006, Brooklyn Rail publisher Phong Bui had a conversation with Sillman. "I think that there is not any painter that I am not influenced by to some extent, but I would certainly say that the most important painter that I’ve looked at in my life who seems to always inform me is Philip Guston. His painting had a profound affect on my work as early as when I was in art school in the late seventies. Guston’s way of drawing has some strange connection to the kind of drawing that was popular in Chicago, where I’m from–though their work was totally stylized, artists like Barbara Rossi, Jim Nutt and Ray Yoshida, and the prevalence at that time of underground comics and Robert Crumb. If you take all that and you move to New York as a teenager the first thing you’re going to do is look for the thing that reminds you of what you already know. For me, Guston’s work is deeply anxiety driven in a comic, goofy, clunky way, and I could easily identify with it, while I couldn’t relate at that time to painters whose work was more abstract and reductive. I remember being very puzzled when I saw Brice Marden’s show at the Guggenheim in 1975. Some of the paintings were absolutely beautiful monochrome panels with very simple colors and deliberately shown splattered drips at the bottom. I remember them clearly and that was more than thirty years ago. But I didn’t understand them at all and found them frustrating. The next time I stood in the same museum having a crucial experience with reductive abstraction, I was looking at Ellsworth Kelly’s famous five color spectrum piece in the 1996 show called, “Abstraction in the Twentieth Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline,” and all of a sudden I was totally getting it, realizing for the first time how to internalize this kind of reductive painting as a sophisticated, witty statement. I just understood it all of a sudden in a bodily reaction of absorption. It was cool." Read more.

For more infomation about Sillman and to see images of her work, visit the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery website.

Morris Louis unveiled

"Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. Through Jan. 6. Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Feb. 17–May 6, 2007.

Back in the sixties, Morris Louis developed an innovative method of painting by “staining” his unprimed canvases with thinned washes of acrylic pigments, and was one of the founders of the DC-based Color Field movement. This exhibition is the first retrospective of his work since 1986. Blake Gopnik reports in the Washington Post that "Louis is catching up, after decades of neglect. The Hirshhorn retrospective makes a case for Louis as an even better artist than we knew. The paintings in the show are good enough, at first gawk, to get us looking. At second, third . . . 100th look, they continue to pan out. It's not only that they're better abstractions than we might have imagined. They actually make us realize that many of our notions about abstract art are wrong. The ideas that abstraction first came packaged with may be tired, but the works -- like all really good art -- are strong enough to make us think again." Read more.

Brad Spence: psychic relief via airbrush

"Brad Spence: Art Therapy ," Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA. Through Oct. 27

In LA Weekly, Doug Harvey reports: "Spence has created an installation where the viewer stands at the vanishing point of a dozen slightly indeterminate psychological perspectives, resulting in a simultaneously unnerving and amniotic sense of creative suspension and potential. Whatever Spence’s intentions regarding the therapeutic efficacy of art — and it’s unlikely anyone could make art this good for this long without feeling a little better — the work itself manages to maintain a precarious openness to the possibility that art can be an agent of psychological — even spiritual — evolution."Read more.

September 29, 2007

Hard edge in Grand Rapids

Minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly has redefined abstraction by examining the shapes and colors found in natural and man-made forms, producing a visually breathtaking and philosophically sophisticated body of work. Of course, not everyone sees it that way. At the soon-to-open Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan, “Blue White,” an Ellsworth Kelly sculpture, has become the catalyst for a local brouhaha about the nature of art. In the Grand Rapids Press, Tom Rademacher describes the artwork as “little more than a $1 million parallelogram wrapped in hoopla and artist babble,” and approvingly cites another viewer’s highly original remark that her five-year old could do just as well.

Troy Reimink, who also writes for the Press, summarizes the debate, and quotes Mr. Kelly’s characteristically gracious response. “The painting did not exist until I made it,” said the artist. “Now that it does exist, nothing would make me happier than to have it reproduced again and again, and vastly improved upon, by all the five-year-olds in town. I would love for your children to find pleasantly and playfully what it took me many angry years to find.”

Check out the slide show included with the article, which shows the installation of the 1,200-pound sculpture and includes audio of Kelly talking about his work.

Ellsworth Kelly’s work is also on view in New York at the Museum of Modern Art. As part of the “Focus” series, a gallery has been dedicated to thirteen of Kelly’s paintings and drawings, some of which are being shown publicly for the first time. Alix Finkelstein writes in the New York Sun that “due to their anti-volumetric plasticity and bright colors, Kelly’s paintings appear to float in space, more spirit than matter.” She does not indicate that her kindergartener could make them.

More TCOP posts on Ellsworth Kelly:
The subterfuge artists of WWII
"Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments" at FilmColumbia Festival
Ellsworth Kelly rocks at the Tate Modern

Marianne Coutts wins $18,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award

Marianne Coutts' work 'Melbourne' has been selected as the winner of the $18,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award. According to the judges, "Marianne Coutts' work 'Melbourne,' is distinguished by a sense of honesty and directness, as well as an integrity of form and content which is the mark of a gifted artist. Her work balances the particularities of observation demanded by representation, with a painterly touch which is both vigorous and sensitive. The centrally placed figure gives an initial impression of simplicity which belies the spatial complexity of the composition. The work presents a profoundly satisfying integration of interior and exterior space and light which links the subjective space of artist's studio to the world outside, and by implication, to the psychological space we occupy as viewers." Read the complete judges' report.

In the Daily Telegraph, reporter Elizabeth Fortescue presents a slide show and audio interview with Coutts, who is an artist in residence at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne. She also lectures in drawing and painting at the Art and Design at Monash University.
"I paint have painted a lot of self-portraits," Coutts said. " At first it was simply an exercise in observation, but over time it has become the more considered practice of painting regular, contemplative self-portraits. It is now almost a narrative project which enables me to both document and reflect on the events and feelings of my life as well as consolidate the concerns of my creative work."

This Portia Geach Memorial Award is awarded annually "for the best portraits painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters or the Sciences by any female artist resident in Australia." Read more about the award.

September 28, 2007

LATimes reviews: Miller, Pittman, MacConnel, Masullo

"Allison Miller," Acme,Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 20. David Pagel reports: "As Miller's lines accumulate, almost always by following alongside one another, they form concentric triangles, diamonds and other shapes. They recall cross sections of tree trunks, pebbles splashing in ponds and sound waves echoing toward infinity. The oddness of Miller's shapes increases as incidental details grow into substantial forms -- like hard-to-break habits." Read more.

"Lari Pittman,"Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 20. David Pagel: "The written messages that once spun Pittman's stories in many directions have become an unintelligible babble, a mixed-up mélange of letters and syllables, in Cyrillic and English and gibberish, that makes easy reading impossible. If a story co-written by the Brothers Grimm and Fyodor Dostoevsky were illustrated by Charles Demuth, it might resemble these melancholic paintings....In a sense, Pittman has turned his back on the age of instantaneous communication and gone underground, making haunted pictures of a netherworld. But he is no backwoods mystic. Simplicity is nowhere to be found in his ruminative paintings. Neither is the angry bitterness that often accompanies reactionary rejections of modern life." Read more.

"Kim MacConnel,"Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. Through Oct. 6. David Pagel: "MacConnel makes what historians call radical revisionism look easy. Each of his 4-foot-square panels seems to have been made by someone without a worry in the world -- and even less concern for established canons of taste. His colors are garish and wonderfully vulgar: Screaming yellow, blazing tangerine, mint green, electric lavender and luxurious turquoise slam against one another as they slip up against such standard tints as red, white and blue. Black is thrown in to mediate the chaos, and a few shards of white provide just a crack of open space. MacConnel's colors may not be subtle. But what he does with them is sophisticated. Transforming jarring messes into jazzy symphonies, he makes color sing." Read more.

"Andrew Masullo: Paintings 1992-2007," Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 13. David Pagel: "There's more to Masullo's paintings than cheerfulness. Their gleefulness is complicated by their equal and opposite familiarity with failure, regret, sadness. The overall impression they make is not of an avant-garde artist going out of his way to break rules, like many self-conscious careerists, but of a passionate tinkerer trying to hold it together long enough to get the job done. That combination of humility and ambition is profoundly human, and it gives Masullo's paintings their poignancy."Read more.

Friday NYTimes reviews: Schuyff, Henricksen, Rondinone

"PETER SCHUYFF," Nicole Klagsbrun, New York, NY. Through Oct. 13. Roberta Smith: "Mr. Schuyff’s efforts extend the appropriation-art strategies of the 1980s, and are nasty but memorable pieces of work. Even nastier are a large group of often quite respectable 18th- and 19th-century drawings by forgotten artists to which Mr. Schuyff has added black and white motifs reminiscent of those of Dutch De Stijl. The question of whether these drawings have been resurrected or vandalized is pertinent, and adds a final twist to this rich, confounding show." Read more.

"KENT HENRICKSEN: Divine Deviltries," John Connelly Presents, New York, NY. Through Oct. 6. Roberta Smith: "His no-fault explorations of colonialism and racism are also by now familiar.....And while his paintings come to the brink of the generic, they also dazzle on every front — skill, color, narrative suggestion, pictorial complexity. So it is hard not to come away impressed by the ambition of his work and to look forward to its development." Read more.

"UGO RONDINONE: Big Mind Sky," Matthew Marks, New York, NY. Through Oct. 27. Martha Schwendener: "Mr. Rondinone’s strategy involves varying the tone and scale of his work to balance pathos, vulnerability and humor. So he hedges his position as a maker of clownish sculpture (a past show included actual clown figures) by being an author of quietly profound gestures. But the obtrusive heads, nearly nine feet tall, feel like a cheap bid for attention. As for the poesy: it might not stand up in the poetry world, and it doesn’t stand up so well in the art world, either." Read more.

September 27, 2007

In the Boston galleries: Fallah, Rydz, Hwangbo, and Laylah Ali

"Amir H. Fallah + Evelyn Rydz," Rhys Gallery, Boston, MA. Through October 5.

"Imi Hwangbo: The Portal Series /
Laylah Ali: Note Drawings, 2006,"
Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA. Through Oct. 16.

In the Boston Globe gallery reviews, Cate McQuaid describes their artwork: "Both Amir Fallah's paintings and the fort built in the gallery window have an awkward, naïve quality that's hot today; it stems from street art. Fallah has said that he started as a graffiti artist, but he also went to art school at UCLA, and although his work looks rough, it's formally sophisticated; there's more to each painting than you might initially think.... Evelyn Rydz' work is almost filmic: There's a quickening pace, a sense of threat, a lush visual, all highly controlled by the artist yet feeling as if on the verge of chaos....Hwangbo cuts translucent Mylar into designs inspired by Korean textiles. Each design is cut individually into as many as 30 layers of Mylar, with patterns getting larger as the paper is piled on....Laylah Ali has delightful, pugnacious drawings up at Miller Block. She continues to explore befuddled, sometimes aggressive, cartoonish alien characters, often masked; their costumes have become more ornate. She now adds text, making stream-of-consciousness lists in the middle of each drawing that take the same anxious tone as her imagery." Read more.

Painters' painters: Thorpe Feidt, John Grillo and Richard B. Lethem

"Belief in Paint," curated by Timothy Harney. Artists include Thorpe Feidt, John Grillo and Richard B. Lethem. New Art Center, Newton, MA. Through Oct. 28.

Painter Timothy Harney believes the current craze for installation and digital media has enabled cleverness and whimsy to trump intensity and conceptual depth. As an antidote, he has curated "Belief in Paint," which features three old time painters who are still fully engaged in the process of painting. In the Boston Globe, Mr. Harney speaks with writer Denise Taylor. "It's just not that common to see people really moving paint around now. But this is an old group, and when you get guys who really have this history and have been at it this long, the work just has more depth. It's not like a 30-year-old who just wants to project an image, paint it, and get the idea out. These are guys who are still involved with the painting kind of arriving and going through great upheaval to arrive at some spot that they don't know....I hope this show is a wake-up call, or an alert to younger painters that we're seeing an awful lot of empty painting. I want them to know that people do paint with some intensity, although it may not be the work that's in fashion." Read more.

September 26, 2007

Spanking young painters at NYC galleries

In The Village Voice, Christian Viveros-Fauné reports that younger artists may be more popular with dealers and collectors, but their work brims with derivative process, lackluster imagery, and cloying self-importance. "In the art world, youth is a prize (price?) commodity. No surprise here. After all, why should the art world be different from the music and the film businesses? As things spiral upward in a bullish economy, collectors, curators, artists, and dealers think they've earned the right to create their own Britneys and Justin Timberlakes....A recent stroll through Chelsea revealed a tepid orthodoxy of youth: dealers of all stripes exhibiting the works (predictably, mostly paintings) of artists just a few years out of art school. A craze merely a year ago, the trend—complete with subcultural winks and slacker nods—is now so derivative it's positively viral. Yet more proof that deviancy, in the words of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is defined downward, and that—surprise—not all youth cultures are created equal." Viveros-Fauné picks fights with Dana Frankfort (b. 1971), Eric Hibit (b. 1976), Jules de Balincourt (b. 1972), Quentin Curry (b. 1972), and Natalie Frank's (b. 1980), but gives Eva Struble (b. 1981) and Michael Cline (b. 1973) a big fat kiss. Read more.

The subterfuge artists of WWII

"Artists of Battlefield Deception: Soldiers of the 23rd" On NPR's All Things Considered, the last in a series about World War II features the U.S. Army's 23rd Special Troops, whose area of expertise was the art of deception. "The art of deception has been part of warfare since its beginnings. There is no more famous example than the Trojan Horse. But few people know much about the deceptive role the U.S. Army's 23rd Special Troops played in World War II. That's because their work was kept secret until 1996. The mission of the 23rd — made up largely of artists, designers, architects and sound engineers — was to deceive the enemy by drawing their attention away from real combat troops....More than a thousand troops were recruited into this top-secret, phantom army, some of whom came right out of art school. Fashion designer Bill Blass was one of them, as was photographer Art Kane and a number of now well-known artists, including painter Ellsworth Kelly."

Kelly and his pals designed the fake vehicles, tanks, and artillery pieces that were set up in southern England to fool the Nazis into thinking that Patton would land the D-Day invasion force in Calais. The ruse worked, and was central to the success of the decisive campaign in the European theater. The activities of the 23rd Special Troops were officially secret until 1996; Kelly never talked to anyone about them while they were classified.

John Everett Millais at the Tate Britain

"Millais," curated by Alison Smith and Jason Rosenfeld, Tate Britain, London. Through Jan. 13. Schedule: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam February 15 to May 18 , 2008, and two venues in Japan: Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art from June 7 to August 17, 2008, and The Bunkamura Museum of Art, August 30 to October 26, 2008. Check out a slide show of the images.

In the Telegraph, Richard Dorment reports: "The early works of John Everett Millais encapsulated the brief moment in English art when Realism emerged out of late Romanticism to produce Pre-Raphaelitism, an artistic movement so emotionally intense it could not be sustained. His pictures are consummate expressions of themes that emerged in art in the late 18th century, realised in a hyper-realistic painting technique not seen since Jan van Eyck. He is the painter of doomed love, brave decisions, noble renunciations and reckless loyalties. High emotion and simmering sexual tension suffuse everything he touched in these years." Read more.

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones reports: "I've discovered that I like the pre-Raphaelites. Learning to despise the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood is almost a rite of passage for art critics. Founded in 1848 in Millais' studio in London, this self-consciously alternative art movement rejected what it saw as the false sophistication introduced into art in the 16th century by Raphael; the pre-Raphaelites wanted to return to the honesty of medieval art. Just to describe their ideas is to see their problem. They were dusty students of past art, just as 'academic' as the Royal Academicians whose slavish devotion to the classics they attacked. Meanwhile, over in Paris, modern art was making them look like, well, Victorians."Read more.

In The Observer, Laura Cumming admits that Millais could be overly sentimental, but believes he was a thoroughly modern innovator. "Visionary narrative anchored in extreme reality: that is Millais's particular gift. He was so obsessed with authenticity that he would have period costumes specially tailored and hire actual soldiers and carpenters to pose for their professions. He is a Method Painter; control and premeditation are central to his art. A leaf never rustles unexpectedly, a girl never tears open a love letter, but studies the envelope carefully....This is just as well in the Pre-Raphaelite period where the density of detail could so easily overwhelm the eye. But there is so much more to Millais, as this exhibition shows. His passion for the pivotal moment when things could go either way: he could leave, she could leave, that letter may be fateful. His genius for atmospheric pathos: a smoky chill in the air, a double rainbow against overcast skies, the inklings of twilight in November ponds. It is always autumn in Millais; even the hieratic face of Tennyson seems gathered out of fallen leaves." Read more.

In an earlier TCOP post,read about the Bancroft Collection, the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite art outside the UK. Recently returned from a five year world tour, it's on display at the Delaware Art Museum.

September 25, 2007

IMHO: Arts and Minds

In the October issue of The American Prospect, you can find my essay on the new State Department/ American Association of Museums collaboration. "The United States government wants to enlist members of the art community to help win 'hearts and minds.' This fall, the American Association of Museums will award almost $700,000 -- half of it from the State Department -- to American grant applicants for overseas artistic outreach projects. The idea isn't new, but the level of control the government may assert over the actual art is. At first blush, this program, Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA), appears to be an earnest extension of U.S. 'public diplomacy' efforts, intended to help our country regain the international admiration it has lost during the Bush presidency. Under closer scrutiny, however, it is less benign....The issue is not altogether unfamiliar. During the Cold War, the CIA subsidized the avant-garde through front organizations such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which supported abstract expressionist painters as well as intellectual magazines like Encounter, Monat, and Partisan Review. The idea was precisely not to attach political strings to specific artists or projects, but to show ambivalent foreign elites that Western capitalist democracy constituted the most fertile ground for artistic freedom." Read more. The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics. Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich, and Paul Starr launched the magazine initially as a quarterly. Since then, the Prospect has grown into a magazine with a paid circulation of 55,000, a special in-depth report in most issues, and a daily Web magazine with more than 300,000 monthly visitors.

For more on USG funding of international art projects, check out Jason Edward Kaufman's article in The Art Newspaper, the AAM website, and Lee Rosenbaum's take on the program at Culturegrrl. Edward Winkleman assessed the program and opened his blog for debate. Also check out Louis Menand's 2005 New Yorker article which examines how the CIA used Abstract Expressionism as a propaganda tool during the Cold War.

Whitfield Lovell receives a MacArthur genius grant

Whitfield Lovell’s critically acclaimed portraits have been in solo and group exhibitions at prestigious museums throughout the country, including the Seattle Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum. "Whitfield Lovell creates meticulously rendered, life-sized, charcoal portraits on such wooden objects as sections of walls, fences, or barrels, evoking a haunting sense of their presence," according to the artist's profile on the MacArthur Foundation website. "He places these portraits in the context of found, everyday objects – including frying pans, spinning wheels, bed frames, clocks, irons, and musical instruments – to reveal the individual through items related to his or her life. These compelling and seemingly simple installations are informed by contemporary art practice as well as folk art, vernacular art, and the physical conditions of marginalized communities. Creating remarkably elegant works, Lovell evokes memories of the past while transcending the specifics of time and space." Read more.

In August 2006, John Yau interviewed Mr. Lovell for The Brooklyn Rail. "I’m sort of dodging the history of painting in a lot of ways. I’m not particularly interested in making paintings. I’m not particularly interested in making drawings or that whole dialogue. But the fact that I’m doing this with my hand, and that it’s a hand-drawn image, is very important to me. I love the act of drawing. Of course I love drawings and paintings. But in my current work I’m mostly interested in the people and the imagery, so that my drawings are more in service to the imagery than being about ‘drawing.’ "Read more. Images and exhibition record can be found at artnet. He is represented by DC Gallery in New York.

Joan Snyder receives MacArthur genius award

The MacArthur Foundation profile of Joan Snyder declares that her paintings "mirror her personal experience, but, at the same time, the visual messages she provides through her images convey universal and readily understood emotions. Through a fiercely individual approach and persistent experimentation with technique and materials, Snyder has extended the expressive potential of abstract painting and inspired a generation of emerging artists."

In the NYSun, Erica Orden reports that Snyder, 68, has one request. She wants the museums that own her paintings to take them out of storage and put them on display. "Snyder has good reason to cherish the limelight that comes with a MacArthur grant, even at this advanced stage of her career. Not only might the award catapult Ms. Snyder out of the curious middle ground she has long occupied, but it may help shatter the glass ceiling she feels has capped her achievement. 'There's definitely a glass ceiling that women hit in the art world,' Ms. Snyder, whose cohorts include fellow female artists and MacArthur recipients Ida Applebroog and the late Elizabeth Murray, said. 'It's not like we haven't made a lot of progress, but I just know that if I were a man, things would be different....I don't want to sound like sour grapes,' she said, backtracking for a moment. 'I am who I am because I'm a woman, and I've done the work that I've done, and I can't complain about that.'"Read more.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney all own Snyder's paintings, yet rarely show them. Her last solo exhibition was "Joan Snyder: A Painting Survey, 1969–2005" at the Jewish Museum in 2005. In New York Magazine, Mark Stevens reported: "Snyder is sometimes diagrammatic and occasionally moralizing, but she’s not flabbily poetic. She brings a kind of quiet ferocity to her work, an intensity that pushes past the merely sentimental. More important, she does not use paint the way poetical message-mongers do, to make a sign or speech or illustrate a grandiose meaning. She’s not outside the picture in that way: She seems to live inside the paint. And her canvases are alive to the eye, whatever points are being made." Read more. Images of Ms. Snyder's work can be found at the Betty Cunningham Gallery website.

"My Name is Alan and I Paint Pictures" on the big screen in Manhattan

"My Name is Alan and I Paint Pictures," directed by Johnny Boston. Director of photography, Jarred Alterman; edited by Todd Drezner; music by Adam Balazs; released by Raw Media Network and Raw Films. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, 155 East Third Street, at Avenue A, East Village. Running time: 76 minutes. This film is not rated. In the NYTImes, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz reports that the film, which tells the story of schizophrenic painter Alan Russell Cowan, is about more than mental illness. "It’s ultimately a springboard for the movie’s lucid explanation of how creativity and mental illness interact within the brain. The film insists that there’s medical proof of art’s healing power — that with the right mix of medication, therapy and routines, schizophrenics with substance-abuse problems can make creativity their sole addiction." Read more. Alan's paintings will be on display in the theater.

In an earlier TCOP post, check out links to the movie's press kit and trailer.

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Emerging Artist of the Year: painter Adam Grossi

"Adam Grossi: Dimensions for Vanishing Points,", the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts 2007 Emerging Artist of the Year recipient. Pittsburgh Center for the Arts,. Pittsburgh, PA. Through Nov. 14.
Kurt Shaw reports in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: "Most of the works are arranged in groupings that are combined with various imagery, also derived from maps and advertising, which Grossi has painted directly on the walls." Read more. Although Kurt's review is fairly brief and non-committal, you can see Adam's paintings on his website.

September 24, 2007

Checking in on motel art

"Bridge Motel," Fremont, WA. One night only.
"50,000 Beds," throughout Connecticut. Through Sept. 23.

The projects in the "Bridge Motel" let's-have-a-show-before-the-developers-knock-down-the-building extravaganza were primarily oriented toward performance and installation, but painter Laura Corsiglia participated with a series called Slippage Drawings. "Slippage Drawing is both born and made. Looking to contain and see out, Slippage Drawing pulls in with lines made of pencil made of eyes made of chairs made of color or ink. Paper is a surface among surfaces. Small animals or large, crayfish of all sizes, nostrils, a bridge from the real world of drawing to the real world of clouds and you know bridges draw both ways. Slippage Drawing is an invitation to life." Check out pre-wrecking-ball installation snaps on flickr.

In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Regina Hackett chatted with event organizers Pan and Min, and profiled the artists. They had anticipated 300 guests, but the turnout was about 1200. In the post mortem, Hackett describes the scene. "People who came early could squeeze themselves into the motel rooms, which had been turned into temporary galleries and performance spaces. After 9, however, the clog of bodies was stunning. I'll bet that never in the history of that small land parcel have so many bodies shown up at once, somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 free spirits mingling with the occasional bad-mouth drunk. Aside from a few shoving matches in the parking lot and a minor injury after a fight, the mood was festive."

On the East Coast, Chris Doyle organized 50,000 Beds, an ambitious multi-venue project in which forty-five different artists made short videos, each set in a different hotel, motel, or inn across Connecticut. The videos were shown at Artspace, New Haven; The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield; and Real Art Ways, Hartford. Predictably, most of the participating artists weren't painters, but David Ellis' clever animated painting in the Aldrich installation stood out in sea of noisy, time-based mediocrity. The shows closed on Sept. 23, but Ellis's website is worth a visit.

Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite collection returns to Delaware

"The Return of the Pre-Raphaelites," Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE. On permanent display.

Christopher Yasiejko reports in the News Journal how the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art, America’s largest collection of Pre-Raphs outside the UK, returned to the museum after a lengthy international tour. "The unmarked tractor-trailer arrived in secrecy in early August behind the Delaware Art Museum. It had carried its cargo, a collection of artwork with a high international profile, for two days from San Diego. Now it was home....A team of museum employees unloaded scores of wooden crates and moved them into the building. The transfer marked the end of an absence of more than five years for the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art....Today, nearly two months after that clandestine arrival, the museum, which has been closed for a two-year expansion and renovation project, officially opens to the public."Read more

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Edward J. Sozanski puts the paintings in historical perspective. "It might be difficult to believe when confronted by dreamy portraits of idealized women, but the Pre-Raphaelites were considered rebels in their day. Seven artists and writers, led by the painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, founded their "brotherhood" in 1848 to protest the teaching of Renaissance principles in England's art schools. They championed what they perceived to be the simpler, more honest ideals of the Middle Ages - the time before the Italian master Raphael, then considered the Renaissance beau ideal. Besides Rossetti, major painters associated with the movement included William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, Ford Madox Brown, Charles Fairfax Murray, and Frederick Sandys." Read more

Related TCOP posts:
John Everett Millais at the Tate Britain

September 23, 2007

Squares in Chicago

Joanne Mattera's blog features a photographic roundup of the abstract painting she saw while on whirlwind tour of Chicago galleries. Don't miss Part II .Featured artists include Jackie Tileston, Kathleen Waterloo, Daniel Bodner, Gordon Powell, Tracey Adams, Tremain Smith, Miranda Lake, Rebecca Shore, Amanda Crandall, Howard Hersh, Dan Addington, Rose Olson, Diane Ayott, Reese Inman, Eileen Goldenberg, Penelope Jones, Naomee Guest, Julie Karabenick, Paola Merazzi and Lynda Ray.

The Bard's Self-Appointed Flack

"Marketing Shakespeare: The Boydell Gallery (1789-1805) and Beyond," curated by Ann Hawkins and Georgianna Ziegler. The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC. Through Jan. 5, 2008.

In the Washington Post, Philip Kennicott reports: "Boydell opened his gallery, a 4,000-square-foot space in a very good neighborhood, as part of concerted campaign to promote Shakespeare, commission art and generally elevate English taste. He persuaded prominent artists who are famous still -- Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West, George Romney and Henry Fuseli, among them -- to participate. He spent heavily on mediocrities, too. The gallery opened with 34 canvases. By the time it went belly up in 1805 -- after Boydell had invested a fortune, more than 100,000 pounds -- there were 167 paintings, and at least one for each play. The fascinating thing about the current show is how awful most of them are. Boydell was trying to instill the values of history painting, with its strong geometrical form, its condensation of energy and importance in towering figures set against epic backdrops. But often his artists produced small domestic dramas, willowy young men courting pale women in flouncy dresses, surrounded by the markers of domesticity one might expect in a Dutch scene of daily life." Read more.

Ab-Ex at the Met

"Abstract Expressionism and Other Modern Works: The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," selected and installed by Gary Tinterow. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Through Feb. 3.

In the NYTimes, Roberta Smith drools over Mrs. Newman's collection, but NYSun critic Lance Esplund suggests that Mrs. Newman's collection is too conventional, breaks no new ground, and merely restates the existing narrative surrounding Abstract Expressionism.

Roberta Smith: "Mrs. Newman, now 93, began collecting in 1951. Trained as an artist, she had an excellent eye and chose with an artist’s sense of urgency. In a few short years she accumulated major works by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Philip Guston, David Smith and Mark Rothko. She also acquired American artists who didn’t fit neatly inside the Abstract Expressionist hierarchy that was then in formation: Joseph Cornell, Mark Tobey, Karl Knaths, Robert De Niro Sr. and Anne Ryan, as well as outstanding examples by Europeans including Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró and Jean Arp. In the late 1950s, after her first husband died and she remarried, Mrs. Newman picked out great work by Alexander Calder, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Jules Olitski and Claes Oldenburg...The consistently high quality of Mrs. Newman’s selections is thrilling. Many communicate a forceful self-sufficiency, as if they were the only works by their particular makers that we ever need to see. It is not hard to imagine them being looked at and loved, providing daily sustenance." Read more.

Lance Esplund: "It is a good show. But if the exhibit had been more courageous and less conventional, it could have broken ground. Instead, it hails to the Ab-Ex chiefs and sweeps nearly everyone else under the rug. The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection has much that could strike viewers as wonderful and new, but the exhibition requires that viewers read between the lines, and that they, ignoring curatorial direction, do a little treasure hunting on their own." Read more.

Modeling for Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud's “Ria, Naked Portrait 2007,” Tate Modern,
London. From October 5.

Ria Kirby modeled for Lucian Freud, and Martin Gayford watched the work as it progressed over sixteen months, seven days a week. In Telegraph Magazine, he tells the story. “Often – especially with new sitters – he begins with the head even if the painting is to be one of the entire body. It's a way, as far as he's concerned, of getting to know the sitter (that's how he began to paint Leigh Bowery, the performance artist, whom he painted and etched at least half a dozen times). After the rest of the body has been depicted, he may return to the head and repaint it, now that he knows the person better. That is what happened with Kirby. The final version of her face is covered with a thick, buttery impasto of chunky brushstrokes that seem to echo her thick blonde curls. But that effect only materialised quite late in the painting process. 'I didn't worry about whether it looked like me, or how it looked,' Kirby says. 'I just thought of it as a whole picture.' As the painting neared completion, every aspect – the section of floor to the right, the surface of the cover on the bed, which over those innumerable hours of posing had taken on the shape of Kirby's body, the radiator, the screen behind – became clearer, stronger and more closely meshed into the total image.” Read more.

Ms. Kirby, who notes in Telegraph Magazine that she has a day job in addition to modeling for Freud, works on the collections team at the V & A Museum in South Kennsington. The museum's goal is to encourage the exploration of childhood themes, both past and present. According to a 2006 website post, Ms. Kirby's main priority in her assignment at the V & A Museum of Childhood was to find all of the toys and get them ready for the mount makers. "As you may imagine," she wrote, "the mounts for our objects can be very complicated, for example trying to make a poodle puppet stand up is no easy task!" Read more. A painter herself, her artwork can be viewed at Saatchi Online.

September 22, 2007

Earl Cunningham's imaginary landscapes

"Earl Cunningham's America," curated by Virginia Mecklenburg. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Through Nov. 4. In the Washington Post, Blake Gopnik reports: "Outsider art is truly peculiar stuff. In some ways, it breaks the rules: It looks coarse and eccentric and up to its own thing. On the other hand, it often knows that's precisely how it's supposed to look -- as though there are certain fixed conventions to outsiderdom, which it intends to follow to the letter....Cunningham's pictures have the same get-a-load-of-this bravado that his stories must have had, as though the artist dares you to object to anything he puts in front of you. But as you look at them, you realize Cunningham's pictures have something else in common with a storyteller's tales: Each one may be full of novel fancies, but they're all built around one single way of showing off. In their own way, on their own terms, they have a deeply conservative take on how surprise should work." Read more.

September 21, 2007

Larry Poons exuberance

"Larry Poons," Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London. Through Oct. 1o. Jonathan Jones in The Guardian reports: "There's life and exuberance here that younger painters, who are often ensnared by the murderous rules of an art world fundamentally hostile to what painting is, rarely achieve....There won't be any more legacy of abstract expressionism, the great avant garde of mid-20th century America, when painters such as Poons are gone. It is like seeing the last cowboy ride off proudly into the sunset with his head held high." Read more.

The Drawing Center's Fall Selections

"Non-Declarative Art: Selections Fall 2007," The Drawing Center, New York, NY. Through Oct. 18. Artists include Susan Goethel Campbell, Gianna Commito, Michael Diaz, Jeff Feld, Sabine Finkenauer, Prajakti Jayavant, Steven Lowery, Howard Rosenthal, Jay Sheldon, Jered Sprecher, John Tallman, Sally Tittmann, and Gregor Wright. "Non-Declarative Art" explores ambiguity and the rejection of overt meaning in the work of thirteen emerging artists selected from the Viewing Program. The exhibition presents drawing-based work that ranges from pointed to trivial in subject matter, from perfection in craft to studied clumsiness. Jenny Ratledge interviews Jered Sprecher, a professor at the University of Tennessee, in the campus daily paper. "'There are so many times we see the obvious and miss out on the background objects, and that is what my art focuses on,' Sprecher said. 'I want people to feel like these pieces are things you could find on the street and want to pick up because there is something special about it,' Sprecher said. To accomplish the lost-and-found motif, Sprecher used old stationary, poster board and graph paper as his media. The majority of the drawings in the exhibit were completed in his studio at UT." Read more. Sprecher's paintings can be seen at Jeff Bailey Gallery in New York and Wendy Cooper Gallery in Chicago.

Young stunt

"Aaron Young: Greeting Card," Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, NY. Through Sept. 23. In the NYTimes, Roberta Smith reports:"If there was any doubt that we live in a reasonable facsimile of the Gilded Age, it disappeared Monday night during 'Greeting Card,' Aaron Young’s enormous paint-by-motorcycle spectacle in the vast, emptied-out drill hall of the Seventh Regiment Armory. For nearly 10 minutes, a dozen bikers wheeled, skidded and fishtailed their heavy machines across a 72-by-128-foot surface of plywood, burning random lines through a layer of black paint to reveal shades of fluorescent orange beneath....As spectacle, 'Greeting Card' was a bit thin and not as much fun as the anticipation. Assault on the senses via noise and smoke seemed to be the main point....After 'Greeting Card' is dismantled on Sunday night, Mr. Young will divide its 288 panels into individual paintings ranging in size from a single panel to as many as 150. These will then begin a second life as saleable works meant to hang on walls. Perhaps they will buy Mr. Young enough time to figure out a more profound way to make paintings or other kinds of art."Read more. Check out the slide show.

In an earlier NYTimes article, Carol Vogel described the dress rehearsal as a loud and smoky pep rally. The well-prepared drivers were electrified. "Mr. Young said that given the challenges of the synchronization and the safety concerns, nothing had been left to chance. A month ago he did tests in an empty parking lot in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium....To inspire the riders involved in 'Greeting Card,' he gave each a photocopy of the Pollock painting. 'The spiral motion is the template,' he said. The 10 bikers — five stunt riders from Team G Unit along with five friends — will each have a designated 23- by 43-foot area on which to perform zigzags, power slides and circles. The neon lights on the bottom of each bike will allow the audience to follow the movements through the smoky haze. 'I want it lit like a boxing rink, very hard-edged,' Mr. Young said."Read more.

Read more.

September 20, 2007

Hopper show arrives in DC

"Edward Hopper," National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Through Jan. 21, 2008. Schedule: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, May 6–August 19, 2007; National Gallery of Art, Washington, September 16, 2007–January 21, 2008; The Art Institute of Chicago, February 16–May 11, 2008

Paul Richard reports in the Washington Post: "A Freudian might note that Hopper's pictures bristle with strong, upstanding verticals -- chimneys and masts, lighthouses and barber poles. Hopper won't paint limpness. He isn't into S-curves. Hopper, notes Franklin Kelly, the National Gallery's representative on the three-museum team that put the show together, paints 'anti-sissy' art. He rejects the genteel. No ladies twirling parasols, or maids arranging flowers, decorate his pictures....Unlike popular George Bellows, his virtuoso schoolmate, or Andy Warhol later, he never hymned the super-rich. Nor was he charmed by chic. Critics of the day used to slam the tastelessness of the complicated, tall, out-of-fashion Victorian houses that he painted in the '20s ('atrocious,' 'blatantly hideous'), but Hopper sensed the dignity of those scorned survivors, and he lets us see it, too. Read more.

Read an earlier TCOP post which includes excerpts from Geoff Edgers' essay about the Cape Ann community that Hopper painted, and Peter Schjeldahl's review of the retrospective when it was at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Xavier Tricot, Ensor scholar, cuts to the bone

"I Am As You Will Be: The Skeleton in Art,"curated in part by James Ensor scholar Xavier Tricot. Cheim & Read, New York, NY. Through November 3. Artists include Francis Alÿs, Donald Baechler, Matthew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lynda Benglis, Michaël Borremans, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Broodthaers, Salvador Dali, Paul Delvaux, Wim Delvoye, Marlene Dumas, James Ensor, Jan Fabre, Roland Flexner, Katharina Fritsch, Adam Fuss, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jannis Kounellis, Sherrie Levine, Tony Matelli, McDermott & McGough, Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Pablo Picasso, Jack Pierson, Lady Pink, Sigmar Polke, Félicien Rops, Luc Tuymans, Jan van Oost, and Andy Warhol.

In the NY Sun, John Goodrich reports: "Popular depictions of death have evolved in the centuries since, but death's grip on our imaginations has hardly lessened. In 'I Am as You Will Be: The Skeleton in Art,' more than 30 artists, from James Ensor to Andy Warhol and Donald Baechler, arrange bones in almost every possible configuration and medium as they grapple with mortality and with our perceptions of it. In this intriguing exhibition, the images of death range from the romantically morbid to the coolly cerebral."Read more.

September 19, 2007

A Peter Schjeldahl stop and chat

Christian Viveros-Fauné chats with The New Yorker's art critic Peter Schjeldahl. "The only national chronicler of the expanding circus of art, Schjeldahl has spent four decades writing for publications like ARTnews, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and The Village Voice. At The New Yorker since 1998, Schjeldahl transitioned from writing weekly to bimonthly copy, while zeroing in on his favorite subjects. There is painting, on which he has had a schoolboy crush since ogling Piero della Francesca's Madonna del Parto in Italy (he describes a second life-changing epiphany, seeing Warhol's flower paintings in Paris, as 'someone kicking open the doors of a blast furnace'), and beauty, a concept he describes as 'the A-bomb of art criticism.' 'Paintings are the longest, most important vacations from myself,' Schjeldahl volunteers with characteristic frankness. On aesthetics, he can be just as personal: 'Beauty is as important to the organism as digestion.'" Read more.

Doom, gloom, Hume

"Gary Hume: American Tan," White Cube Mason’s Yard, London. Through Oct. 7. In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones pummels Hume's latest exhibition at White Cube. "All good art thinks - it thinks visually - but Hume is no thinker. Here, he combines his familiar Picabia-lite figures with jokes about American abstraction so lame there must be a level I'm not spotting - is that really a pastiche of Pollock or a pastiche of someone pastiching Pollock? The Byzantine sophistication is itself faked, as if someone were playing with the idea of being washed up. Hume is so lost in self-reference, he can't even pull off a lucid failure."Read more.

In an earlier post, TCOP gives readers a little background info, Paul Vallely chats with Hume in his east-London studio, and Laura Cummings visits the show at White Cube.

Georg Baselitz retrospective at the Royal Academy

"Georg Baselitz," Royal Academy of Arts, London. Through Dec. 9. In The Guardian, Adrian Searle reviews the Georg Baselitz retrospective at the Royal Academy: "For all the physicality of his art, he often appears to be chasing an image that wants to disappear. On a series of wooden panels whose surfaces have been roughly gouged with chiselled grids and wonky cross-hatchings, loom red-lipped women's heads with splotchy eyes, their hair and physiognomies blotted, sloppy and awry. The splintered, battered carved heads that sit on plinths in the same room are drenched in a radioactive yellow that somehow disguises the physicality of the material, rendering these carved heads spectral and almost immaterial. The show is full of jolts like this, unexpected twists, pictorial and sculptural games. Somehow, a more recent painting of four disembodied feet, making a swastika sign, just seems a lame gag.

"In the last decade, Baselitz has taken a direction I find hard to follow. The Royal Academy's biggest gallery is filled with what the artist calls his "remix" paintings, in which he revisits his earlier works and repaints them, in a style that embraces the decorative and illustrative. This is the biggest jolt of all in the show. Baselitz has said that the original Big Night Down the Drain took two months to paint. His recent remix version took a couple of hours. The painting has lost its strangeness and its danger. Read more.

In The Guardian, Norman Rosenthal reports: "As I look back over the many years I have known Baselitz and his art, I think there is a striking comparison to be made with Picasso. In their early years, both artists painted works that came from an inner necessity, the intensity of which frightened each of them. Both borrow from others, ruthlessly adopting ideas for their own purposes. Picasso used, among others, Raphael, Ingres, Delacroix and Cézanne. As well as taking from Cranach, Pontormo, Goltzius, Munch, Kirchner and indeed Picasso himself, Baselitz, too, has found affinities in the rough, anti-traditional, anarchic painting of the young Cézanne....very great artist since the Renaissance who has lived a long time - from Titian to Poussin, from Goya and Turner to Cézanne and then on to Picasso and Munch - has had to find ways to deal with the need for constant reinvention. After a career of almost 50 years, Baselitz still has the capacity to shock and behave unexpectedly, as he succeeds in being both out of his time and profoundly of it. For me, he is the greatest painter of our day still working in the great European tradition." Read more.

In an earlier TCOP post, Baselitz talks to Martin Gayford about his evolution from painting's bad boy to eminence grise.

September 18, 2007

Rembrandt and pals stir unlikely controversy in Gotham

“The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” organized by Walter Liedtke, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Paintings. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Through Jan. 6, 2008.

In a wacky installation that reminds me of the time my ex-husband rearranged my books according to size, the Metropolitan Museum has rehung all their Dutch paintings in order of acquisition. Holland Cotter reports in the NY Times: "The work has been sorted not by artists or dates, but by the names and dates of the collectors who bought and gave the paintings to the museum. In this arrangement the history of Dutch 'Golden Age' art begins in the American Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when the Met first opened its doors. The exhibition’s stars are not Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals, but J. P. Morgan, Collis P. Huntington, William K. Vanderbilt and Louisine and H. O. Havemeyer....Rarely in these galleries did it occur to me to ask who once owned these pictures, or when the Met acquired them, or their dollar value. Instead I wanted information about what they depicted, about the paint they were made of and about the hands that brushed the paint on. I wanted to know what the artists — Rembrandt, say — might have been thinking. And I wanted to know what 17th-century viewers saw when they looked at these pictures, what these pictures said in their time. I wanted, in short, a different show, one with exactly the same art but with less institutional ego and more art-historical light." Read more. Check out Cotter's handy interactive guide to the show.

In the NY Sun Lance Esplund has a different take on the concept: "The absolute joy of this show is that everything, organized in the approximate order of acquisition, and can be viewed, relatively speaking, as a whole. More importantly, the pictures can also be compared to one another more readily and in quick succession. This is an essential aesthetic act that reminds us why Rembrandt — whose portraits are more solid, penetrating, and ethereal than any of the others on view — and Vermeer — whose light is more present and spiritually weighted than that, say, in the pictures of Hals or de Hooch — deserve to be at the head of the table." Read more.

At Culturegrrl, dedicated art blogger and journalist Lee Rosenbaum calls the show a grand hodgepodge. "'The Age of Rembrandt' includes the good, the bad and even the fake....A continuing theme running through the exhibition is the large number of works that were treasured as masterpieces when acquired and then downgraded, sometimes not long after their acquisition." Read more and check out Lee's snaps of "the bad and even the fake."

On Bloomberg, Linda Yablonsky reports that "the show may date from 1600 to 1800, yet it couldn't come at a better moment for our obsessively market-driven culture."Read more.

Friendly art blogger and NYC art dealer Edward Winkleman loves the installation concept. "What most impresses me about the concept here is how they've combined their obviously world-class collection with an interestingly educational installation idea (works are installed in the order in which the Met acquired them, providing insights into how such a collection is built)." Read more.

The New Yorker's Peter Schjeldahl gamely embraces the installation. "Sportively arbitrary hanging of great art should happen more often. How about a reinstallation at MOMA according to artists’ hat sizes?" Read more.

"Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments" at FilmColumbia Festival

"Ellsworth Kelly: Fragments" will be screened at the FilmColumbia Festival in October. The documentary takes a look at the artist, who is also a Columbia County resident. Since the beginning of his career, Kelly's emphasis on pure form and color, and his impulse to suppress gesture in favor of overall spatial unity have played a pivotal role in the development of abstract art in America. According to Peter Biskind, who serves as a Chatham Film Club board member and festival programmer, this is probably the "most exciting lineup of films we've ever had. We've been able to bring to Chatham the best of what's currently playing the film festival circuit -- Toronto, Sundance, New York and Venice. For a small festival like us, this year's lineup is quite a coup." Americans for the Arts, the national arts advocacy organization, has named Ellsworth Kelly as the winner of its 2007 lifetime achievement award.

Related post:
Ellsworth Kelly film arrives in Boston

NYTimes art reviews: Franks, Frankfort, de Balincourt, Calame

"NATALIE FRANK: Where She Stops," Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, NY. Through Oct. 13. Martha Schwendener reports: "The real friction here comes from seeing a painter in her 20s exhibiting works in Chelsea that look like work you would see in traditionalist strongholds on 57th Street. The implication is that there’s something radical in Ms. Frank’s approach to painting vaguely allegorical tableaus with dwarfs and foreshortened figures. But really there is not." Read more.

"DANA FRANKFORT: DF," Bellwether, New York, NY. Through Oct. 6. Roberta Smith reports: "The best works move decisively beyond the monochromatic, as in the slurred lavenders, oranges and reds of 'Possibly Permanent' and 'Stuff' and the lavender and chartreuse of 'A Lot of Stuff.' But the color combinations may have thrown off the paint handling, which is harried and splintery; it suggests a parody of Expressionism and genuine emotional turmoil. Ms. Frankfort has put down stakes where painting and language meet, but a greater effort is needed. By now, that intersection has seen a lot of very impressive traffic." Read more.

"JULES DE BALINCOURT: Unknowing Man's Nature,"
Zach Feuer, New York, NY. Through Oct. 13. Karen Rosenberg reports: "The back rooms retreat into a too-familiar faux-naïveté via misspelled text, oddly placed works and a distracting sculpture of an erupting volcano. Tiny figures (natives? eco-tourists?) frolic beneath a waterfall in one of a series of tropical landscapes, oblivious to the crudely rendered subject of 'Holy Arab' gazing down from the adjacent wall....With his move to Europe, Mr. de Balincourt seems to have distanced himself from the folksy Americana of his earlier work; his challenge is to retain some of that intimacy and urgency without resorting to awkwardness."Read more.

"INGRID CALAME," James Cohan, New York, NY. Through Oct. 13. Karen Rosenberg reports: "The second and less pretentious group, commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, pairs the river tracings with skid marks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The tire tracks, as in the diagonal swath of pale yellow that cuts through 'From No. 271 Drawing' (2007), add interest to Ms. Calame’s repertory of splats and spatters....Otherwise, there is little here to distinguish these paintings and drawings from her previous efforts, or her two new bodies of work from each other. A process — stain-collecting — that should convey a specific sense of place somehow winds up effacing it."Read more.

September 17, 2007

Kostabi World update

"Title This," a game show created by painter Mark Kostabi in which art critics and celebrities compete to title his paintings for cash awards. Check out episodes on BlipTV.

Ravi Somaiya profiles Mark Kostabi in the Telegraph: "Kostabi's paintings - often featuring faceless figues in surreal environments - can be found in museums and galleries from the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Galleria Nazionale D'Arte Moderna in Rome. He cites his influences as Caravaggio, Hopper, Picasso and Warhol. Yet there are those who question the validity of his art. 'The work is very simple,' one art-industry insider told me. 'The themes are easy to figure out, and he often drops in an obvious reference to another painting, which makes people feel clever.' Almost as clever as Kostabi, who is regarded as a talented self-publicist, networker, salesman and businessman. He's certainly charming. Speaking to him is, for the most part, pleasant, even fun - not something that can be said for many in the notoriously po-faced New York art world....'Title This,' says Kostabi, 'evolved out of my original public access TV show which documented meetings at Kostabi World. Some of them were titling sessions and it went from there.' That show achieved cult status, with the director Jim Jarmusch declaring it his favourite programme, and eventually moved from one camera in Mark Kostabi's office to the elaborate set in front of me." Read more.

J.M.W. Turner's poetic visualization of British history

"J.M.W. Turner,"National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Oct. 1-Jan. 6, 2008. See images of Turner paintings from the National Gallery's collection.

In the upcomng New Yorker, Simon Schama tells Turner's story. "When the Houses of Parliament caught fire, on the night of October 16, 1834, Turner, along with a throng of fellow-Londoners, rushed to see the spectacular inferno. Hiring a boat, he bobbed back and forth, riding the tide, at Westminster Bridge. There had been no foul play, but, since a Parliamentary-reform act had been passed just two years before, amid loudly voiced fears that, unless it was legislated, the kingdom might, like France in 1830, go down in bloody revolution, the relationship between rulers and ruled was in perilous play. A dominating feature of the two 'Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons' paintings that resulted—one now in Cleveland and one in Philadelphia—is the crowds jamming the embankment and Westminster Bridge, watching, fixedly, the cremation of 'Old Corruption.'" Read more.

In 1966 the Museum of Modern Art installed “Turner: Imagination and Reality." Curator Lawrence Gowing spoke with Calvin Tomkins and Geoffrey T. Hellman in The Talk of the Town. “'All but four of the oils were selected from the work Turner did in the last twenty years of his life, in order to show the revolutionary aspect of a period in which he developed a new consistency of painting that eliminated linear draftsmanship and classical composition and glorified light and shade. During this time, he demolished the separate categories of classic and romantic, and so on. The work is very structural, with lots of tension in it. It’s not just a prototype of American abstract painting, as has sometimes been said, though it certainly is that. The situation is much more complex. Although structural, the pictures are very informal and very free at the same time. They reach out into the borderland between representation and the abstract. A unique achievement.'"Read more.

September 16, 2007

Seattle graffiti gang 3A: artists or assholes?

Jesse Edwards, leader of the 3A graffiti gang, has been profiled in both Seattle Magazine and the Seattle Post-Intelligncer. Some see him as a lovable scamp who refuses to play by artworld rules, but Jonah Spangenthal-Lee reports in The Stranger that others see Edwards as a vicious gang leader and bully. "'3A is a bunch of meth heads. They have SOME talent but other than that they are just crazy motherfuckers who get fucked up on meth and go kill shit,' says one post on the Pacific Northwest Graffiti site. 3A stands for American Aerosol Artists or Against All Authority or 3 Assholes, depending on whom you ask. The latter is a disparaging nickname given by Seattle Public Utilities graffiti ranger Anthony Matlock. 3A has its share of detractors in the Seattle graffiti community, but members seem to feed off of the group's reputation. 'I think people should be scared,' says GORE, a 23-year-old 3A member. 'It's okay to feel that we're a gang and a bunch of thugs. We are.' Cofounder Travis sent me an e-mail touting 3A's tough-guy reputation, claiming they even have a constitution 'lightly based on the Mexican mafia code of conduct.'" Read more. Visit Jesse Edwards' website.

Jennifer Riley, Rachel Sumpter, and Robin Dash in Boston

"Jennifer Riley: Do You Remember . . .? New Paintings," OH+T Gallery, Boston, MA. Through Sept. 29. Cate McQuaid reports in the Boston Globe: "Riley's message is all about subtle tones and patterns, the collision of geometry's clarity with the more organic and mystical qualities of color and space. It's all about painting."

"Robin Dash: Don't Climb the Pyramids" and "Rachell Sumpter: New Work," Allston Skirt Gallery, Allston, MA. Through Sept. 29. Cate McQuaid reports in the Boston Globe: "Anything is material for Dash: She adds vivid layers to a Jackson Pollock-style painting, recycling and re-creating, then drapes it in old silk pajamas (another callback to the video). There's a sense of the hoarder to her work, but one with a strong aesthetic and hopeful sentiment: the conviction that it all has meaning, if you sift through it and rearrange it enough....Working in gouache and pastel on large sheets of brown paper, Sumpter first hints at vague, powdery landscapes with passages of color, then draws scads of tiny people in bright, hooded jackets migrating with the purposefulness of army ants from one section of the work to another. The dramatic shift in scale from the vast landscape to the wee figures pulls you right in, and up close you find more curiosities - those seeming Eskimos are moving past cacti, for instance." Read more.

September 15, 2007

Talking with Baselitz

"Georg Baselitz," Royal Academy of Arts, London. Through Dec. 9.

The exhibition includes works produced over the five decades of Baselitz's career, from his earliest paintings, dealing with his own existential problems within German society in the post-war period, to his 'Fracture' and 'Upside-Down' paintings. Also included are some recent works which revisit themes explored earlier in his career. In the Telegraph, Baselitz talks to Martin Gayford about his evolution from painting's bad boy to eminence grise. "'I am completely convinced that art doesn't depend on a group will, moral factors, or ideals,' Baselitz says. 'It depends on individuals.' So art doesn't progress in an orderly way; instead, it is a series of instinctive reactions against what came before. Its historical logic can only be seen, if at all, in retrospect. 'At the time that picture of mine created a scandal because it wasn't painted the way that Manet would have done it. So I was seen as a bad student, a bad man, an idiot. Now the audience have got used to it, and are happy with it. So young people come along and say, that's all crap, and do things that are controversial all over again.'" Read more.

FU figuration at Deitch Projects

"Mail Order Monsters," curated by Kathy Grayson. Deitch Projects, New York, NY. Through Sept. 29. Originally installed at Peres Projects, Berlin. See the installation video of the Berlin show. Artists include Fran Spiegel, Dennis Tyfus, Ben Jones, Tomoo Gokita, Eddie Marinez, Wes Lang, Ry Fyan, Taylor Mckimens, Joe Grillo.

In the NY Sun, John Goodrich reports: "The hallmark of this figuration — we'll call it F.U.F. for short — isn't subnormal drawing and painting skills, nor decrepit artists' materials, but a predilection for bizarre, random, and often sadistic imagery, presented with highly competent comicbook élan....Arranged in Deitch's two rooms without the formality of wall labels, the installation has the impressively high energy and spirits of a hyper-decorated dorm room. It also has a certain claustrophobia of intention; viewed together, the works reinforce the suspicion that sometimes nothing is more conventional than the need to look outlandish." Read more.

The radical philosophy of Camille Pissarro

"Camille Pissarro: Impressions of City and Country," Jewish Museum, New York, NY. Through Feb. 3, 2008.

Nearly 50 paintings and works on paper culled from New York area public and private collections are presented in "Camille Pissarro: Impressions of City and Country." Karen Rosenberg reports in the NYTimes that Pissarro was the true revolutionary among the Impressionists. " Pissarro, an anarchist and a Jew (albeit a secular one) in 19th-century France, Impressionism was about much more than the fleeting effects of light. It was about labor, the elimination of hierarchies and an idealized balance between urban and rural life....In this show the political symbolism sometimes feels forced (as when the curators single out the motif of winding paths); in the paintings themselves it never does. Rather than silhouetting his peasants against the sunset, as Millet did, or conveying the ugliness of backbreaking labor à la Courbet, Pissarro expressed solidarity with farmworkers through a heavy-handed application of paint. As one critic remarked, 'Monsieur Pissarro’s brush is like a spade painfully turning the earth'....Pissarro emerges from this exhibition as an artist who never quite resolved the conflict between labor and sensation, but one whose subtly anti-authoritarian stance propelled painting into the next century. His stylistic progeny may have produced more beautiful pictures, but 'père Pissarro' is the true revolutionary." Read more.

September 14, 2007

Latin American abstraction, 1930s-1970s

"The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art From the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection," organized by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, curator of Latin American art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, where it originated. Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, NY. Through Dec. 8. For an interactive exploration of the artwork on the Blanton Museum website, click here.

Roberta Smith writes in the NYTimes that "The Geometry of Hope" adds a new chapter to the historical narrative of geometric abstraction. "Works in the Buenos Aires section of the show reveal that even during World War II, Latin American artists were destabilizing Mondrian’s stable grid with the tilting planes and diagonal lines of Russian Suprematism. Reliefs made by Mr. Melé, as well as by Raúl Lozza and Juan Alberto Molenberg, helped ignite a spirit of physical experimentation that is evident throughout this exhibition. Meanwhile, a penchant for an almost weightless, prancing linearity that owed something to late Kandinsky appears in the paintings of Mr. Hlito, Virgilio Villalba and Gregorio Vardánega. Next to this skittering energy, the four-square boxes and grids of American Minimalism can look pretty flat-footed." Read more.

In the NY Sun, James Gardner reports that the artists in "The Geometry of Hope" may be unknown to the Chelsea-centric NYC crowd, but that doesn't mean they aren't accomplished. "As such, the show will appear as something of a surprise. For the abstract paintings and sculptures on view are hardly the second hand, thrice warmed-over derivatives you might expect from a region of the world that looked so longingly toward Europe and from so far away. The one fact that sears itself most emphatically and instantaneously upon the eyeball is how very accomplished and self-assured they are. This is an art that needs no apologies and no special pleading. It stands forth on its own two feet." Read more.

In Time Out New York, Joshua Mack reports that "while some of the paintings here can seem derivative, most of the work is remarkably original and visually stunning....What 'The Geometry of Hope' finally suggests, however, is that the differences in quality and character inherent in art are not and need not be equal. Rather, culture is born of the exchange and alteration of ideas and processes that, like evolution, are deeply affected by local conditions over time. What can seem provincial to American eyes might well be historically important elsewhere. And at a time when globalization makes work from other cultures increasingly accessible, such art can, in turn, influence our own. This show and the links it draws between context, artists and art itself should serve as a model for future surveys of its kind." Read more.

September 13, 2007

Hirst on Bacon

The Guardian's column, "Great Interviews of the 20th Century," features an edited extract from "Interviews with Francis Bacon" by David Sylvester. The interviews took place in 1963, 1966 and 1979 and were published by Thames & Hudson Ltd, London. In his foreword to the excerpts, Damien Hirst, simply described as an internationally renowned artist, reports that the Sylvester/Bacon interviews changed his life when he read them as a teenager: "When I first read David Sylvester's interviews with Francis Bacon at the bushy-tailed, bright-eyed age of 16, they changed my life; it was the way into art for me. I read and re-read the interviews and have carried on devouring them, like a bible to a believer. For a start, they were the first art writings I read that I didn't need a dictionary to decipher. They are massively inventive, not just in terms of the history of painting but in terms of the future of painting, too. They are also arguably the most revealing interviews ever conducted with a single artist, and were immediately recognised as one of the great contributions to the study of 20th-century art....Sylvester and Bacon leave no stone unturned in their joint search for language and meaning, debating painterly solutions to painters' problems and the changing role of subject matter. " Read more.

Excerpt from the interviews: "David Sylvester: The open mouths - are they always meant to be a scream? Francis Bacon: Most of them, but not all. You know how the mouth changes shape. I've always been very moved by the movements of the mouth and the shape of the mouth and the teeth. People say that these have all sorts of sexual implications, and I was always very obsessed by the actual appearance of the mouth and teeth, and perhaps I have lost that obsession now, but it was a very strong thing at one time. I like, you may say, the glitter and colour that comes from the mouth, and I've always hoped in a sense to be able to paint the mouth like Monet painted a sunset." Read more.

Sylvia Plimack Mangold: tree, view, season

"Sylvia Plimack Mangold," Alexander and Bonin, New York, NY. Through Oct. 13. Annemarie Verna Galerie, Zürich, November 9–January 12. Paintings by Plimack Mangold from the mid-1970s are included in "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution," a traveling exhibition curated by Connie Butler for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In February 2008, a selection of approximately twenty paintings ranging from 1969 to the present will be included in "Solitaire: Three Painters" organized by Helen Molesworth for the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus. Other artist include Lee Lozano and Joan Semmel.

David Cohen reports in the NY Sun: "It is more than the seasons that turn in these paintings, as differences of approach abound. And it is not simply that dense foliage brings out greater variety of brushstroke and mixing of color than bare branches against a steady sky; it is almost as if a different pictorial language, or at least a dialect, is spoken with the changes of medium and season....Ms. Plimack Mangold occupies an odd position vis à vis tradition. The fact that she depicts landscape in what seems like a straightforward, accessible style can make her seem old-fashioned, and certainly ensures some affection for her endeavors in the traditionalist camp. But there is an obstinate plainness about her treatment of trees, an anti-romanticism that resists all the symbolist baggage of trees. Instead she offers a literal interpretation of the visual facts as they present themselves to close but dispassionate observation." Read more.

Joseph Solman: last surviving member of "The Ten"

"Paintings from the WPA," Mercury Gallery, Boston, MA. Artists include Herman Rose, Louis Schanker and Joseph Solman. Sept. 15-Oct 9.

Albert Fayngold profiles Solman in The Jewish Daily Forward: "Joseph Solman, one of New York’s best and now nearly legendary painters, turns 98 this year. I don’t know if he still paints. The last thing I read about him was a 1999 New York Times article by Michael Kimmelman, which reported that the then-90-year-old artist was still working away in a 'cluttered studio above the Second Avenue Deli in the East Village of Manhattan.' Indeed, as I have been glad to ascertain, the artist’s name does appear in small print on the tenant register of the building’s facade. It’s a humble reference for a fabulously gifted yet woefully underappreciated American master.

"A veteran of the city’s art scene, Solman is known today as the last surviving member of the group called The Ten. He co-founded it in 1935 — along with other, mostly expressionist, and mostly Jewish, avant-garde artists such as Mark Rothko (still Marcus Rothkowitz at the time), Ben-Zion (previously Benzion Weinman) and Adolph Gottlieb. Some of them would eventually climb to stardom, but in those early days they were underdogs, dissenters from the mainstream academism and from 'regionalists,' like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. In five year’s time, 'The Ten' would part ways: Rothko and Gottlieb abandoned figuration for a new style, Abstract Expressionism. Solman, however, was more complex. Trying to fuse cubist-surrealist-abstract elements with representationism, he arrived at a profoundly innovative vision — but one that, precisely due to its complex originality, was eclipsed by Rothko’s subtle but more radical and thus easier-to-assimilate abstraction."Read more. See images of Solman's paintings.

September 12, 2007

Courting De Balincourt

"Jules de Balincourt: Unknowing Man's Nature," Zach Feuer Gallery (LFL), New York, NY. Through Oct. 13.

"Unknowing Man's Nature" is one of Artcal's top picks, and also recommended by Art Fag City. Paddy Johnson writes about de Balincourt's paintings in Flavorpill: "Named by New York magazine as one of ten artists most likely to succeed in 2005, Jules de Balincourt launches his third solo show at Zach Feuer Gallery. In 'Unknowing Man's Nature,' de Balincourt reprises his signature apocalyptic rainbows, suggesting both a powerful beauty and devastating force. This time however, his palette grows darker, revealing an even more somber optimism. Speaking to the works' meditative aspects, 'Untitled (Lake)' is a flat depiction of recreational activities in small-town America, narrating the formation of American values. His small painting 'Unkinking the Kinks' reveals de Balincourt's interest in deconstructing, contextualizing, and reflecting on his own iconography." His work has been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Royal Academy of Art, London; Shanghai Museum, China; Prague Biennial 3, Czech Republic and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, and will be featured in a group exhibition at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia, opening in October. See James Kalm's video of de Balincourt's opening at Zach Feuer Gallery. Reviews to come shortly.

Anne Wehr in Time Out New York: "For better and worse, De Balincourt is beating a retreat into territory that’s become increasingly abstract, arcadian and apocalyptic, all at the same time." Read more.

In the NYTimes Friday art reviews, Karen Rosenberg reports: "The back rooms retreat into a too-familiar faux-naïveté via misspelled text, oddly placed works and a distracting sculpture of an erupting volcano. Tiny figures (natives? eco-tourists?) frolic beneath a waterfall in one of a series of tropical landscapes, oblivious to the crudely rendered subject of 'Holy Arab' gazing down from the adjacent wall....With his move to Europe, Mr. de Balincourt seems to have distanced himself from the folksy Americana of his earlier work; his challenge is to retain some of that intimacy and urgency without resorting to awkwardness."Read more.

"Unknowing Man's Nature" has been chosen as an ArtForum Critics' Pick in the September issue. Christopher Bedford writes that "Many of the most challenging painters working today—Dana Schutz, Daniel Dove, Lisa Sanditz, and Tom McGrath, for example—are disparately engaged with one central (albeit multifaceted) question: What is at stake in negating intelligible mimetic imagery with passages of pure facture and, inversely, in undermining the autonomy of materials and process with overt images? And how can mining this dialectic through the act of painting help illuminate and analyze the human and material conditions of contemporary life? Where this ambition takes holds and directs Jules de Balincourt’s practice, his work is at its strongest."

Deborah Kass at Paul Kasmin

"Deborah Kass: feel good paintings for feel bad times," Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York. Through Oct. 13.

Artnet critic Charlie Finch wallows in the Deborah Kass opening: "A fetid, humid Friday evening didn’t stop hordes of middle-aged admirers from pouring into the non-air-conditioned Paul Kasmin Gallery to view Deborah Kass’ triumphant show of 'happy' pictures. We spied Marilyn Lerner, Matthew Abbott, Chrysanne Stachacos, Kathe Burckhardt, Laurie Thomas, Lisa Hoke and many other veterans marveling at Deborah steamrolling back into splendor. Slimmed-down lovers Kass and Pattie Cronin looked as if they had held up a beauty parlor, after mugging Oscar de la Renta. The middle years have never been so desirable."Read more. In an earlier artnet essay, Finch says the Kass exhibition demonstrates that galleries, anticipating a market crash, are showing more interest in seasoned, mid-career artists. "Deborah Kass, a.k.a. 'The Broadway Baby,' epitomizes the paradigm. She triumphantly opens with a show of pop painting chronicles this week at Paul Kasmin Gallery, with the powerful joint backing of Kasmin and Andymeister Vincent Fremont, after years without representation, and a creative struggle to get from under her self-created identity as Andy with a vagina." Read more.

September 11, 2007

The four Turner Prize-winning painters

In the Guardian, Charlotte Higgins checks in with the past Turner Prize winners. Since 1984, only four painters have won. Here are excerpts from Higgins' reports.

Tomma Abts, 2006
"Abts agonised before accepting the nomination, stretching the two-day deadline to two weeks - she was worried, in particular, about the press reaction. 'My work isn't suited to sound-bite journalism,' she says. 'It depends on minute decisions made in the studio.'"

Chris Ofili, 1998
"If there is one overwhelming emotion that Chris Ofili communicates in relation to having won the 1998 prize, it is pride. 'It was a real milestone for me, and lots of positive things came out of it. A painter hadn't won the prize for a long time, and I was very proud of that. I felt I'd achieved something that was considered to be important. And my family were very proud of me. After I won I went back to look at the show, and people came up to me and said they would feel able to encourage their children to become artists."

Howard Hodgkin, 1985
"Hodgkin, now 75 and one of Britain's best-known and most respected painters, believes the effect of the prize has been enormous. 'It's an extraordinary invention,' he says. 'I think it has opened up the experiencing of contemporary art to many more people than would otherwise have been possible.' And yet, perhaps surprisingly, he adds, 'I don't think that if I were a young painter today I would win it. The odds are against the kind of artist I am winning the Turner prize.'"

Malcolm Morley, 1984
"That show brought together Morley's early abstract canvases, his ground-breaking 60s 'super-realist' works, and his New Expressionism of the early 80s. There was still an almighty rumpus when he was named winner. The others on the shortlist - Richard Deacon, Richard Long, Howard Hodgkin, Gilbert and George - practised their art here, but Morley had left Britain in 1958 ('I met an American girl on the No 37 bus and it was a case of cherchez la femme'). His long absence stuck in the craw of many critics - arts minister Lord Gowrie criticised the choice of winner even as he announced it."

Baltimore painter Jo Smail wins Trawick Prize

Glenn McNatt reports in the Baltimore Sun that Jo Smail has won the five-year-old Trawick Prize, founded by Bethesda businesswoman Carol Trawick. The competition is open to artists from Maryland, Virginia and Washington: "Baltimore painter Jo Smail, whose abstract paintings of pink squares and dark splotches of pigment on a white ground played a crucial role in her recovery from a stroke in 2000, has been named winner of the prestigious Trawick Prize sponsored by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. Smail, 64, won the $10,000 first-place award for her paintings Small Birds Flying Low, Humming a Love Song and Code. This was the third time Smail entered the contest; she was a finalist on both previous occasions....The other finalists were Mary Coble, Mary Early, Inga Frick and Baby Martinez, all of Washington, Suzanna Fields of Richmond, Linda Hesh of Alexandria, Va., and Jeanine Harkleroad of Chesapeake, Va....The jurors were Anne Ellegood, associate curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Amy G. Moorefield, assistant director and curator of collections for Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery; and Rex Stevens, chair of the general fine arts department at MICA." Read more. Visit Smail's website.