July 30, 2008

Everybody hearts painting, 4eva

"Painting: Now and Forever, Part II," billed as "a highly subjective, celebratory survey of contemporary painting," is a wonderfully seductive, understated show, at least the installation at Matthew Marks. The highlight for me was seeing one of Blinky Palermo's sewn fabric pieces for the first time. In The Village Voice, on the other hand, RC Baker calls the show an "enervated and cynical melange." I agree on one of Baker's points: Josh Smith's small, muddy abstractions in the MM side gallery were indeed disappointing. What Smith calls a "casual anti-art aesthetic that intentionally defies the rules of artistic convention in an ironic and informed manner" I call bad painting. Roberta Smith reports that "the arrangements at Greene Naftali, especially, convey the impression that the only way to take painting seriously is to treat it as some kind of joke." She gives the Matthew Marks section a higher rating. "Things are considerably more hushed at Marks. The large gallery mixes usual and unusual suspects. Abstraction dominates, as do canvas and other stretched fabrics, along with an air of studied nonchalance, especially in works by Michael Majerus, Michael Krebber, Blinky Palermo and Reena Spaulings (spots of red wine on a tablecloth — how daring)." The show marks the tenth anniversary of "Painting: Now and Forever, Part I," which was held at the Pat Hearn Gallery and Matthew Marks Gallery in 1998.

"Painting: Now and Forever Part II," Matthew Marks Gallery and Green Naftali, New York, NY. Through August 26. Artists include Kai Althoff, Cosima von Bonin, Merlin Carpenter, Mathew Cerletty, Wojciech Fangor, Katharina Fritsch, Gelitin, Isa Genzken, Poul Gernes, Daan van Golden, Jack Goldstein, Rodney Graham, Wade Guyton, Richard Hawkins, Mary Heilmann, Sophie von Hellermann, Charline von Heyl, Ull Hohn, Sergej Jensen, Mike Kelley, Ellsworth Kelly, Karen Kilimnik, Martin Kippenberger, Michael Krebber, William Leavitt, Michel Majerus, Bjarne Melgaard, Laura Owens, Blinky Palermo, Stephen Prina, R.H. Quaytman, Ugo Rondinone, Paul Sharits, Josh Smith, Reena Spaulings, Lily van der Stokker, Atsuko Tanaka, Paul Thek, Anne Truitt, Kelley Walker, Christopher Wool, and Katharina Wulff.

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