"Wendy White: Autokennel," Leo Koenig, Inc., New York, NY. Through August 1.
On Saturday, August 9, everyone is invited to Harlem for a tour of the art galleries. Home of Romare Bearden (master collagist), Norman Lewis (abstract expressionist) and Jacob Lawrence (expressive figurative), Harlem is also a good place to find some less well known contemporary artists, too. Building on the success of the first ArtCrawl Harlem tour, Taste of Harlem Tours and Canvas Paper and Stone Gallery have organized a 6-hour guided bus tour of the local art galleries, culminating in a catered reception. Galleries include Canvas Paper and Stone Gallery, Striver’s Garden Gallery, Straight Out Of Harlem, Essie Green Galleries, Heath Gallery, Simmons Gallery, Karibu Gallery, Rio II Gallery, Hamilton Landmark Galleries. Or, if the idea of signing up for a bus tour is unappealing, just check out the galleries on your own.
"David Ellis: Dozens," Roebling Hall, New York, NY. Through July 25. Roberta Smith: "The show's tour de force occupies a separate space: “FAMS 1 (Fine Art Moving and Storage)” is one of Mr. Ellis’s exhilarating stop-action painting performances which uses the floor as the canvas and is shot from above. During this 10-minute work, Mr. Ellis and the occasional assistant transform the floor with rapid-fire sequences of cartoons, speech balloons, graffiti lettering (words like okay, fly and see) and abstraction (geometric, monochrome and swirling deluges of color)....Two less ambitious videos and a mass of large drawings in which the flow motif swirls across collages of letters and manuals pertaining to the construction of the work in the show are handsome but understandably inert. His best efforts operate in terrain populated at various points by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Tim Hawkinson, Tom Friedman, Jon Kessler, Christian Marclay, Aaron Young and Ian Burns. His particular kind of Rube Golbergian, street-wise Guy Art veers closer to pure entertainment than any of his neighbors, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the running."
"Constraction," Deitch Projects, New York, NY. Through Aug. 9. Curated by Kathy Grayson. Artists include Tauba Auerbach, Joe Bradley, Peter Coffin, Xylor Jane, Mitzi Pederson, Ara Peterson. Ken Johnson: "The title of this diverting group show organized by Kathy Grayson, conjoins the terms conceptual and abstraction. The overall experience, however, is more visually fizzy than intellectually challenging."
"Philip Pearlstein: Then and Now," Betty Cuningham, New York, NY. Through Aug. 8. Karen Rosenberg: "Those who think Philip Pearlstein’s art has changed little (or not at all) over the last four decades may be surprised by this pairing of the figurative painter’s early and recent works. His nudes are as smooth-skinned and glassy-eyed as ever, but in the newer paintings they are surrounded by a garage sale’s worth of toys and lawn ornaments. Curiously, all this clutter only emphasizes Mr. Pearlstein’s clinical treatment of the body."
In the NY Sun David Cohen writes that the Cy Twombly retrospective at Tate Modern is a reminder that no matter how intellectually ambitious, above all else, painting is smearing and drawing is scribble. "In room after room, this survey offers spare yet dynamic canvases, or cruddy yet evocative sculpture. However nonchalant his painterly marks may seem, they are taut and expressive nonetheless. Scatological as they can be in their oozing and dribbling, his paintings are unfailingly elegant. There is a dichotomy in Mr. Twombly's work between the verbal and the nonverbal: Writing is key to his work — often there is text scribbled into his canvases, and titles manifest connections with poetry — but equally vital is a sense that splodges and gestures form an arcane system of pre-verbal expression. This juggling act, sustained over half a century, is essential to Mr. Twombly's achievement. But it also accounts for his rocky ride in terms of esteem. Because he taps reserves of brutalism and classicism in equal measure, he is apt to appear too effete to one camp, too grubby to the other. The combination of rough textures and smooth literary references may well account for his greater success in Europe than in America." Read more.
"It takes an extremely talented and mature artist to hold together a big theme, yet many of the young artists I encountered were desperately trying to make their paintings 'reflect their interest' in some enormous idea or other. Some of them wanted to address themes so big that they really should first earn a Ph.D. in anthropology or Chinese before putting brush to canvas. Yet to my way of thinking, it’s hard enough to paint a still life, let alone paint something that carries multiple cultural references." Read more.Related post:
Chuck Connelly, a rancorous Neo-Expressionist whose paintings were popular in the 80's, is the subject of a new HBO documentary, "The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not For Sale." In the NY Times, Daniel E. Slotnick visits Connelly in his Philadelphia studio to chat with the painter about the film. "The interior of the rambling Victorian house is dark. The sparse furnishings in the front rooms are covered by a patina of cigarette ash, gobs of dried paint and coffee cans filled with paintbrushes. Hundreds of paintings lean against walls and are piled against the porch windows. Lounging comfortably amid the detritus is their creator, Chuck Connelly, 53, a tall, graying man whose easy laugh belies his careworn face, occasional rants and long career slide. Mr. Connelly’s professional fortunes, chronicled in a documentary that will be shown on Monday on HBO, have gone from selling 'Ausburg,' a painting from his first New York show, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 to compensating his accountant with a painting in recent years. Yet the film does not entirely blame a fickle art world for his setbacks. As the documentary recounts, Mr. Connelly alienated many dealers, patrons and buyers with his hot temper, insulting remarks and wild ways. Mr. Connelly has mixed feelings about the film. 'They only had the worst shots of me, they only shot when I was drunk,' he said. He added that he was 'not a failure like the movie says.' Read more. Check out clips from the film on YouTube.
For the next few days, Laurie Fendrich and husband Peter Plagens are the visiting artists at Painting's Edge art colony in Idyllwild, California. They are among the 17 artists and critics scheduled to give lectures and critiques during the two week residency, which, unlike others, is exclusively for painters. Fendrich writes about the experience on Brainstorm, her blog at The Chronicle Review. Here are her entries from Day Two.
5:45 a.m. Wide awake for at least an hour. Desperately hungry. Cafeteria doesn’t open for breakfast until 7:15 a.m.
7:15 a.m. First in the cafeteria line. Sheepishly smile at server standing behind scrambled eggs. Experiencing Hans Castorp’s ravenous appetite — is it really the altitude? Greedily stuff in a breakfast twice the size I normally eat.
9:00 a.m. Hubby begins the first of his ten critiques for the day. His lecture will be in the evening. My critiques don’t start til Tuesday, but since I give my lecture (it’s supposed to be about my paintings) tomorrow night, I plan on writing it today. (Problem: I selected the paintings I want to show during the lecture a long time ago, and they’re ready to project on a screen; but the lecture itself is only roughly formed in my mind.) Say goodbye to hubby and set off in already hot morning sun, through scrubby pine trees, to write lecture in cool of campus library.
11:00 a.m. Stare at my notes for two hours while chomping my way through one complete pack of gum. Realize I’ve been transformed into a David Lodge character — the one who’s always breaking out in a sweat whenever he remembers the rapidly approaching lecture he’s supposed to give — the one he’s had months to write, but for which he hasn’t yet penned a word.
Noon. Gratefully leave off working on lecture (now up to three sentences) to rush to cafeteria to meet with Painting’s Edge residents and fellow visiting artists for lunch. Inhale lunch. Talk about painting and painters. Somehow still vaguely hungry. Swig down cup of coffee. Read more.