August 16, 2008

Out on the Island: Knoebel, Rivers and Krasner

"Imi Knoebel: Knife Cuts," Dan Flavin Institute, Bridgehampton, NY. Through October 12. Ben Genocchio reports in the NYTimes that Dia is featuring two Imi Knoebel installations, although his review is primarily focused on the one at the Dan Flavin Institute in Bridgehampton. "You notice the colors first: boundless, joyful, and leaping off the wall at you. They brighten up a dull, dark room. When I first looked at these collages I was somewhat disappointed, seeing only strips of colored paper arranged in abstract patterns. But up close you begin to see that a lot of thought has gone into the arrangements. The paper strips have texture, suggesting they were hand-painted, and there is a mix of flat and reflective surfaces. Some strips are also elevated, casting curious shadows. But what really hooks you is the gradual appreciation that the collages have an explosive, yet paradoxically serene, quality to them. The appearance of breezy spontaneity is also probably a big part of their appeal, though I don’t believe for a minute that they are really chance arrangements."Read more.

Related posts:
Imi Knoebel's restoration at Dia: "24 Colors--For Blinky"

Two restoration tales: Ad Reinhardt and Imi Knoebel

"Lee Krasner: Little Image Paintings," organized by Helen Harrison. Pollock-Krasner House, The Springs, NY. Through Oct. 31. Culturegrrl reports that Lee Krasner finally gets her due in this show of small-scale paintings. "This intimate show of just nine works, one-third of the known surviving paintings in this series, gave me a greater appreciation of this overshadowed artist than the many displays giving pride of place and space to Krasner's large-scale, later works that too often come off as wan wannabe Pollocks. (The show also contains a Krasner-created round table from the same period, shown in the living room, above, and what is thought to be her earliest self-portrait, dated 1929.) The paintings now displayed in Springs are intense, dense gems, some painted in the very room in which they are now displayed---the couple's living room. Others were painted in a small upstairs bedroom. Apartment-sized rather than loft-sized, they vary from all-over paintings reminiscent of Pollock but with their own coloristic pizzazz, to others that have been called 'calligraphic' but are more pictographic. Krasner seems to be experimenting in these small formats, but all are highly finished, fully conceived works." Read more.

"Larry Rivers: Major Early Works - 1952-1966," Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY. Through October 19. Ken Johnson reports in the NY Times that Rivers's facile draftsmanship, loose brushwork and clever collage would look increasingly thin, formulaic and derivative, but the early work was daring and original. "At a time when Abstract Expressionism ruled, he took up a seemingly old-fashioned, academic sort of figure painting. There was a twist to his approach, though. His nude models were not anonymous professionals but friends and lovers, and his paintings of them have a striking erotic intimacy. At Guild Hall, the bigger-than-life full-length portrait of the poet Frank O’Hara wearing only heavy work boots is startlingly visceral. It’s not super-realistic — the focus is soft, the painting smudgy, the colors muted. But the way the young, muscular O’Hara stands with hands on his head and one foot up on a concrete block creates a casual sexual vitality that slyly subverts high-minded traditions of the academic nude. It’s no surprise to learn that the bisexual Rivers and the gay O’Hara were lovers at the time." Read more.

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