"Diana Horowitz: Recent Paintings," Hirschl & Adler, New York, NY. Through March 15.
On painting outside: Cindy Tower paints in St. Louis's abandoned factories
On size: Tuymans the new Mr. Big
“Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings of Lancaster,” curated by Dr. Betsy Fahlman. Originally installed at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX. Traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Through April 27.
Precisionist Charles Demuth's chimney and tower paintings in Fort Worth
Precisionist Elsie Driggs retrospective at Michener Museum
"This girl figure might have come straight from Bruno Bettelheim and his Uses of Enchantment, a fictional embodiment of sexuality among our apparent innocence, a figural focus for us to follow throughout this bravura demonstration of painting for its own sake, an abstraction of attraction and its necessary opposite." Read more."Ellen Berkenblit," Anton Kern Gallery, New York, NY. Closed this week.
"'It's kind of like life is more interesting than art. Life already is art. This already is a perfect sculpture. You have little pointillist bits of broken glass, and beautiful little trees reclaiming it through the windows. It's gorgeous,' says Tower, moving nimbly through the Armour plant's wreckage. 'But I don't want to just run in and take a photo like a snuff film. I want to live it, experience it, breathe it, be part of it, so I can deserve to talk about it, because I'm sick of glibness. It's easy to be facile. It's harder to just be. That's kind of my thing.'
"Tower first made a name for herself as a promising young artist in late 1980s and 1990s New York. Her willfully anarchic work — hanging more than 500 pairs of rock-filled pantyhose from a gallery's walls, disassembling her old truck and turning it into a pirate ship, replete with an engine for anchor, sails made of painted canvases and a front end-cum-treasure chest — blurred the lines between painting, performance and installation....In 2000 Tower began her 'Workplace Series' in the Brooklyn's rotting shipyards, then relocated it to St. Louis, where she has been a visiting assistant professor of art at Washington University since 2005. It hasn't been easy, and she says her decision to simply paint has been questioned by many in the art world.
"'They say: Maybe you could project slides on your paintings, or maybe you could put some LEDs on your paintings. They were trying to make me hipper,' Tower explains. 'They were embarrassed that I was going out and just painting like an old fogy from the 1800s. They didn't think it was funny at all — but it's perversely funny in this age of technology with its special effects and trust-fund babies hiring fabricators to make their work.'" Read more.
"Cindy Tower: Workplace Series," Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Southeast Missouri Regional Museum, on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO. February 29-April 27.
"Everywhere and Nowhere," Denise Bibro Platform, New York, NY. Through March 1.
Participating artists: Kay Rosen, Warren Isensee, Thomas Nozkowski, Oona Ratcliffe, Louise Belcourt, Garth Weiser, Jessica Hess, Derek Buckner, Joyce Robins, Philip Knoll, Zohar Lazar, Alexander Gorlizki, Erik Schoonebeek, James Siena, Max Maslansky, Judith Linhares, Don Doe, Gary Petersen, Katia Santibanez, Fred Tomaselli, Cary Smith, Lucas Reiner, Scott Brodie, Sophie de Garam, Beth Shipley, Fred Valentine, Erick Johnson, Larissa Bates, Barbara Takenaga, Ann Wolf, Sutton Hayes, Sue Havens, Steve di Benedetto, Dike Blair, Quentin Curry, Dan Schmidt, Amy Sillman, Chie Fueki, Elena Sisto, Bruce Pearson, Zoe Pettijohn, Kathryn Myers, Jim Gaylord, Julie Gross, Robin Mitchell, Sue Muskat, Kirsten Deirup, Clint Jukkala, Andrew Small, Jason Stewart, Jackie Saccoccio, Morgan Bulkeley, Walton Ford, Heather Brammeier, Linda Stillman, Nichole Van Beek, Cynthia Atwood, David Ambrose, Chuck Webster, Will Yackulic, Ann Thornycroft, Jered Sprecher, Lisa Sanditz, Katherine Bradford, Michelle Segre, Benji Whalen, Deborah Kass, Liam Everett, Sarah Brenneman, Martin McMurray and Julie Evans."It's Gouache & Gouache Only," curated by Geoffrey Young. Jeff Bailey Gallery and Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, NY. Through March 15.
In the NYSun, Lance Esplund writes that Johns' gray is reflective or icy. "It is ghostly, smoky, or hairy. Gray is scumbled, worked up into a frenzy; or it is sluggish, a primeval sludge. Generally, though, Mr. Johns's gray, no matter what face it puts on, is as dense and unresponsive as cement; gray shuts down as soundly as the door of an iron tomb. In what almost can be described as Mr. Johns performing a feat of magical misdirection, his art closes down and deadens; pushes us away, rather than bringing us closer. We are made aware not of Mr. Johns's artworks' substance (if, in fact, they have any), but of their banal and meaningless gray surfaces — the brushstrokes and materials out of which they are made, as well as the objects that are attached to the artworks, or to which the artworks refer....In Mr. Johns's art we are made aware of the means by which it was constructed — where it began and how it ended; but we are allowed little, if anything, in between. An engagement with the artwork on any other grounds is a dead end, a rather useless endeavor. The poet and playwright Samuel Beckett correctly observed about Mr. Johns's work (although he was voicing approval), 'No matter which way you turn you always come up against a stone wall.' I guess this show's message, then, is 'Hail to the master of the stone wall.' I prefer art, however, that opens doors, rather than shuts them." Read more.
Dan Bischoff in The Star Ledger: " There are gray maps, flags (Johns' encaustic painting of an American flag was for a time the most expensive painting by a living American artist back in the 1980s), targets, numbers, alphabets, handprints and skulls in this show. They have an elegance of reference that is understated and notional, as if gray were the new black." Read more.
Roberta Smith in the NYTimes: "Moody, opulent and eloquent, it examines his many encounters with shades of gray and discovers a veritable shadow career. It also offers a supremely clear account of Mr. Johns’s maturation from brilliant, methodical young artist to a deeper, more lyrical, less predictable one....This is a marvelous show, a shadow retrospective of a career within a career. It amplifies gray into a color spectrum all its own. And it illuminates 50 years of a life saved by, and lived for, the incessant pursuit of art." Read more.
Jerry Saltz at artnet: "Although the show is ravishing and brings you into close contact with the numinous ways Johns combines process, materials, tangibility, language, thought and seeing, it’s too big. That in turn robs it of some of the radiance it had this fall at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the Met, the works are set too close together; a small alcove is crammed with ten pieces; shiny black floors, stark white walls, and a lack of natural light impede the resonant sensuality and obdurate otherness of Johns’ work. As alluring as "Gray" is, it reminds us that although the Met gets the first 50,000 years of art so right, it often gets the last 50 wrong." Read more.
Blogger (and encaustic virtuoso) Joanne Mattera: "To be honest, I find his painted grays leaden, the achromatic version of the Roach Motel—the light goes in but it doesn’t come out. On the other hand, the lead, as rendered in cast flags and numbers, fairly scintillates with light and shadow, warm and cool. That’s one of the surprises of this show. You think you know Johns’s work, and then you get hit with a realization like that." Read more.
"Jasper Johns: Gray," curated by James Rondeau and Douglas Druick at The Art Institute of Chicago. Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY. February 5 - May 4. Check out the NYTimes slide show of images.
Jasper Johns: Eminence gray
"To feed Two Coats of Paint, my daily blog about painting, I comb the Internet for art reviews and commentary from all over the world. It’s an enriching process but not very tactile: online, the artwork, galleries and museums remain distant and two-dimensional. Joanne Mattera, an artist and blogosphere pal who maintains several art blogs, urged me to go to the annual Miami art fairs–headlined by Art Basel Miami Beach, the original, biggest, and most highbrow, situated in Miami Beach’s huge convention center off Collins Avenue–which she argued was an efficient and potentially edifying way to make real contact with a good number of theretofore virtual entities. She was right on both counts. Yet the Miami fairs do not play merely like a compressed series of quaintly distinct gallery visits during a brisk walk through Chelsea. The experience is unlike any other....Purged of the customary organizing principles of art exhibition—artist, school, epoch, theme—the Miami art fairs deprive the viewer of the filters through which art is ordinarily apprehended. Because of the fairs’ inclusivity and the sheer volume of their offerings, they squelch depth, reflection, and deliberation, and compel speed, efficiency, and snap decisions. These are not generally seen as constructive modes of behavior in viewing, making, or buying art. Yet, the same features also focus an immense amount of popular as well as critical energy and attention on an impressive sampling of art and only art. So, if one key aim of the broader artistic endeavor is to develop and sustain art as a unifying social force, the growth of the annual Miami enterprise audaciously represents progress..." Read more.
"The above observations only spotlight that the digital age has not been kind to those generations of post-war American male artists that include the abstract expressionists and minimalists. Not saying they're in any sort of danger, mind you: Their stories, histories, and status where it counts in the art world--in museums' permanent collections and on their galleries' walls--is firmly entrenched, arguably to the detriment of other artists contemporary to the time period. But, they don't truck the same weight they once did. The grandiose ideas of abstract expressionism and the sleek formalism of minimalism don't always translate well into a world where computer-aided design and reproduction can make the physical demands of such works feel a bit overindulgent. Worse, if you've only seen a Jackson Pollock or Robert Motherwell in a 72 DPI image on a computer screen, well, you haven't really seen the painting at all." Read more.