"Christine Gray: Spring Thaw," Project 4, Washington, DC. Through May 24.
"McCarthy's disturbing psycho-sexual manipulations echo what Lassnig calls her 'Body-awareness paintings', and her more recent 'Drastic' paintings. These strands of her art are developed from the sensations one has of one's own body, mapped and felt from the inside, rather than from observation or through anatomy and what the mind already knows. In the past, she painted bodies as dumplings, bodies as sacks of potatoes. By contrast, her new paintings are all bulge and spike, thrust and recoil. These bodies are malleable plastic forms, rapidly executed, extruded and abbreviated against cursory or even bare backgrounds. At times, they remind me of Ren and Stimpy cartoons. Bodies are reduced to penile shafts. The mouths are in the wrong places. Limbs wither or bloat, noses become porcine snouts. Lassnig is in there, too, her own physiognomy morphing and struggling. These paintings have a weird filial relationship to Carroll Dunham, to Nicola Tyson, to the strange anthropomorphic plumbing in the early work of sculptor Eva Hesse." Read more.
"Da Costa, whose fear of persecution and death never left him, held onto his love of art as he was shuffled from school to school. In the 11th grade, Da Costa became more serious and confident about his art under the guidance of his teacher, Julio Cesar Banasco, who would later become a famous Cuban artist. 'Canvas and oils are very expensive in Cuba,' Da Costa notes, 'so I worked with pen and pencil on paper.' Many of his works today are drawings in pen or pencil on paper. One striking piece shows a mother and child locked in an embrace. The child's body winds around the mother, and his head rests on top of hers, signifying his importance to the mother. Da Costa painted wherever possible -- in libraries, shelters, churches, and the Boston Center for Adult Education." Read more.
"Yet that's exactly what a number of talented and sometimes ambitious painters in New York began to do at the start of that decade--artists of whom the senior figure, Fairfield Porter, who died in 1975, remains the best known but among whose ranks were several still active today. These include Jane Freilicher, who recently showed new paintings at New York City's Tibor de Nagy Gallery, where she first exhibited in 1952. Freilicher had been a student of Hans Hoffmann, who spread the gospel of abstraction in America and whose teachings inspired its foremost critical proponent, Clement Greenberg. No provincial, Freilicher was taking a calculated risk: to find a way to paint that could be, as Porter wrote of that first show in 1952, both traditional and radical." Sorry. If you want to read more you'll either have to subscribe to The Nation or swing by the library tomorrow.
"Earl Cunningham's America," curated by Virginia Mecklenburg. American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY. Through August 31.
Earl Cunningham's imaginary landscapes
"Why is it important to many of the artists that the drawings appear casual, even rushed? Is the loose draftsmanship part of its appeal, in that it seems more intimate and disarming? Is absurdity more appealing when it comes across as humble?
"What is the line between a doodle, a cartoon, a gag, a work of fine art, and will there ever be a time when someone doesn’t insist on writing a similar kind of silly and rhetorical sentence in an art catalog? In some cases does it seem that the artist is defacing his or her own work by adding the text? That’s partly why we included the Duchamp / Mona Lisa experiment and the Goya – in both cases the words are a lighthearted comment on a finished or abandoned image. Sorry, that’s not really a question. Moving on..." Read more."
"Lots of Things Like This" organized by Dave Eggers. Apexart, New York, NY. Through May 10.