In addition to the historically lowbrow but intriguing Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit on Labor Day weekend (look for my article about the show in the next issue of The Rail), here are a few exhibitions I'm looking forward to this fall.
Thomas Hart Benton "The Artists’ Show, Washington Square, New York," 1946 Oil and tempera on canvas. 40 1/8 x 48 1/8 in. (102 x 122 cm)
The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, organized by John Morehouse. University Place, from E. 12th to Bobkin Lane. New York, NY. September 5, 6, 7, 12, 13. Noon—6pm, rain or shine.
Vasily Kandinsky, "Blue Mountain," 1908–09 (detail). Oil on canvas, 106 x 96.6 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, Gift, Solomon R. Guggenheim 41.505. © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
"Kandinsky," organized by Tracey Bashkoff, Annegret Hoberg, and Christian Derouet. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. September 8—January 13, 2010. Kandinsky, who famously explored the relationship between music and painting, used pared down abstract language--color, shape, line, and brushstroke--to depict emotional terrain.
William Blake (1757–1827), "Behemoth and Leviathan" ca. 1805–10[Book of Job, no. 15] Pen and black and gray ink, gray wash, and watercolor, over faint indications in pencil, on paper 10 1/16 x 7 3/4 inches (272 x 197 mm) Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1903; 2001.77
"William Blake's World: A New Heaven Is Begun," organized by Charles Ryskamp, Anna Lou Ashby, and Cara Denison. Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY. September 11, 2009 – January 3, 2010. “Visionary and nonconformist William Blake (1757–1827) is a singular figure in the history of Western art and literature: a poet, painter, and printmaker. Ambitiously creative, Blake had an abiding interest in theology and philosophy, which, during the age of revolution, inspired thoroughly original and personal investigations into the state of man and his soul."
Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. September 10, 2009–March 21, 2010. “The art of the book in medieval India is closely associated with the Jain religious community, and illustrated palm-leaf manuscripts survive from around the tenth century, while those on paper appear after the twelfth, when paper was introduced from Iran. The use of paper permitted larger compositions and a greater variety of decorative devices and borders. Significantly, however, the format of the palm-leaf manuscript was retained. By the end of the fourteenth century, deluxe manuscripts were produced on paper, brilliantly adorned with gold, silver, crimson, and a rich ultramarine derived from imported lapis lazuli. The patrons of the works were mainly Svetambara Jains, who considered the commissioning of illustrated books and their donation to Jain temple libraries to be an important merit-making activity. A selection of these exquisite manuscripts will be on view, along with bronzes sculptures of Jinas and a ceremonial painted textile.
Momentum 15: R.H. Quaytman,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA. Nov.18, 2009 - Mar. 28, 2010. “Quaytman's dazzling paintings incorporate silkscreened photographs and abstract patterns, diamond dust layers, and hand-painted elements.” Reviewed here last year. Images from her last show at Miguel Abreu Gallery here.
Matta-Clark: Urban Fragments (working title),” Foundation For the Arts, St. Louis, MO. October 30, 2009 — June 5, 2010. “Trained as an architect, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978) used neglected structures slated for demolition as his raw material. He literally carved out sections of buildings with a chainsaw. In this way, he revealed their hidden construction, provided new ways of perceiving space, and created metaphors for the human condition. When wrecking balls knocked down his sculpted buildings, little remained, which is why the artist documented his work with photography, film, and video. He also kept a few building segments, known as ‘cuts’. They include a piece of a floor from an apartment house in the Bronx, three sections of a house near Love Canal, a window from an abandoned warehouse on a pier in New York City, and four corners from the roof of a house in New Jersey.” Read a good story about how Matta-Clark handled rejection here.
Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective,” curated by Michael Taylor. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA. October 21, 2009 - January 10, 2010. Traveling to Tate Modern (Spring 2010), London, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles(Summer 2010). The exhibit celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Arshile Gorky (about 1904–1948), a seminal figure in the movement toward abstraction that transformed American art. This exhibition, which includes about 178 works of art, surveys Gorky’s entire career from the early 1920s until his death by suicide in 1948. The retrospective includes paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings—some of which are being shown for the first time—and reveals Gorky’s development as an artist and the evolution of his singular visual vocabulary and mature painting style. The highlight of the exhibition is a series of ‘creation chambers,’ based on the artist’s description of his studio in Union Square, New York, in which some of Gorky’s most powerful and best-known paintings are being shown alongside their related studies and preparatory drawings.” This is the first Gorky retrospective in thirty years.