May 29, 2010

Mike Myers is a painter...?

In an LA Times interview last week, Mike Myers told Amy Kaufman that he's obsessed with Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Colonel Sanders, and that he has painted about 15 images of him. "There's no chicken in the paintings," he said. "It's just not a subject that usually has serious portraiture applied to it. Now, he's just a two-dimensional person, and it just tickled me to paint him." Apparently Kaufman asked to run an image with the article, but his  publicist said he would prefer to keep them private. Or, um,  perhaps he was just pulling Kaufman's leg.

May 28, 2010

Dethroning Prince

Richard Prince, "The Fountainhead," 2010, inkjet and acrylic on canvas, 86 x 92 1/2"

Richard Prince, "The Moon," 2007, inkjet and acrylic on canvas, 81 1/2 x 100"

Richard Prince installation view at Gagosian.

 Richard Prince installation at Gagosian.

In the NYTimes Ken Johnson contributes a crushing review of Richard Prince's new paintings at Gagosian. "Death and transcendence always have been the pole stars of Richard Prince’s art. His photographs of cowboys in gorgeous landscapes pirated from Marlboro ads are shadowed by lung cancer and heart disease. The pictures of biker molls swing between erotic love and soul-killing misogyny. The joke paintings? They career from human comedy to mind-numbing vulgarity. The muscle cars? From chariots of the gods to profane vehicles of male vanity and ecological destruction.

"The formula continues in 'Tiffany Paintings,' his new, utterly predictable and crushingly obvious series of canvases at Gagosian Gallery. Each medium-large painting has a copy of a Tiffany jewelry ad from The New York Times silk-screened in the upper right corner like a postage stamp. The rest is covered by a generic field of sensuously brushed, subtly modulated color evoking tension between cosmic space and the raw materialism of paint. Looking closely, you discover that the paint thins out in places to reveal underlying obituaries from The Times, mostly of famous artists: the Pop artist Tom Wesselmann, the young bohemian Dash Snow, the architect Charles Gwathmey, Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and others. Also there are articles about worldly problems like AIDS and war...

"A bottom-trolling mandarin and collector of low-brow memes, Mr. Prince reflects mockingly on the futility of rebellion in a society that turns every expression of the young and the restless into a fungible commodity. He delights in popular idiocy — O.K., who doesn’t? — but his mean, superficial skimming of demotic culture and his knee-jerk, though sometimes warranted, contempt for the pretensions of fine art make Jeff Koons seem like a paragon of spiritual generosity." 

"Richard Prince: Tiffany Paintings," Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 19, 2010.

May 26, 2010

Lisa Yuskavage on the long, slow read

Lisa Yuskavage, "Snowman," 2008, oil on linen, 72 x 57.5."

Andrew Forge, Untitled, oil on canvas, 24x20"

Andrew Forge, "Fallen Tree," 1980-84, oil on canvas, 54x48." Image courtesy Betty Cunningham Gallery

This week at Time Out New York in T.J. Carlin's Studio Visit column, she asks Lisa Yuskavage who or what has most inspired her. Yuskavage reponds that courses she took with art historian and painter Andrew Forge had a big impact on how she approaches painting. "I remember sitting in front of this Rothko at Yale in his class. We would just sit and look at the painting. For hours. That’s the amazing thing about great teachers. Forge would entertain all comers, he took everyone seriously and had a good sense of humor. We would let the painting talk to us and let the layers unfold. The particularities of the paint. The fact that it was dry and didn’t reflect light. Someone made a comment about how the painting looked from the side. At the time I thought that was sort of a bullshit comment, but I was also struggling with the belief that we weren’t just all pretending to see the rapture. Because of my admiration for Forge, and also the people I had chosen to surround myself with at that school, I allowed myself to be influenced in a way that I wanted to be. I was like a person trying to believe in God with no evidence of God. We would just sit and look at the paintings and let them come to us. I try to make paintings that you could sit for a long time and look at that way, kind of like in honor of that experience. I learned to make paintings a long, slow read."

Related posts:
Charlie Finch on Yusavage and Rothenberg: The not-so-innocent girl child vs. the older woman who has actually lived
Another Yuskavage show in NYC


May 25, 2010

Me and Picasso at the Met

Pablo Picasso, "The Old Jester," 1963, linoleum cut. 

 Pablo Picasso, "Danae," 1962, linoleum cut.

I'm heading to the Picasso show at the Metropolitan Museum today because, as Howard Halle suggests, even the bad Picassos are pretty damn good. Reputation and auction prices aside, Picasso was a phenomenally inventive painter whose brushwork and unfailing certainty always amaze me. Here's a quick roundup of some reviews.

Holland Cotter: Out of the blue in 1947 Gertrude Stein got the ball rolling when she gave the museum its first Picasso, the portrait he had painted of her in Paris between 1905 and 1906. What arrived thereafter, again largely as gifts, tended to be conservative. While the Museum of Modern Art was wolfing down audacious helpings of Cubism, the Met was content with a tasting menu of early Blue Period, Rose Period and neo-Classical fare. But at least it got good stuff in these areas. So the show, arranged chronologically, begins with some flair. It also introduces the basic metabolism of the career that would follow: tame high polish, followed by brain-rattling innovation, followed by a retreat to safety before the next revolution.

Howard Halle:  Even meh Picasso is better than a lot of the stuff out there. And oddly, the thinness of quality here—especially the paucity of key works from the crucial Cubist phase—provides a kind of Picasso for Dummies clarity to his career, revealing an artist whose true place in 20th-century art has been obscured by his protean achievement and outsize personality. The Met milks both, especially the latter, beginning with a series of blown-up photos of Picasso at the entrance, self-portraits taken in his studio around 1916. While the flower of Europe’s young men were being slaughtered in the trenches, we see Picasso trying out various self-mythologizing guises: as a shirtless sexy beast; in a street tough’s outfit; and in a suit, showing that he cleaned up good. In almost all of them, he gazes at us with eyes set in his head like black coals of predation. If this guy wanted to fuck you, he could.

 Pablo Picasso? "Erotic Scene, 1902 or 1903. Images are from the Met's online database of all the Picassos in their collection.

New Yorker Goings on About Town: This huge show suggests, at first blush, the second hour of a yard sale: the cool stuff is gone, leaving the jelly-jar glassware. The Met came late to the greatest modern artist and has collected him helter-skelter, mainly via bulk bequests. Some strong works from the blue and pink periods and the thirties bracket a lacuna of Cubism. There are acres of prints. But look again. All three hundred items are Picassos. Even at his least motivated, he could contrive something acute or amusing—or, anyway, peculiar. Here, curiosities abound. One point of controversy: did young Picasso paint the Met’s woozy “Erotic Scene” (from 1902 or 1903), starring himself and a downright-blue nude? It seems good enough that if he didn’t we would surely know who did.

"Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," curated by Gary Tinterow and Susan Alyson Stein. Metorpolitan Museum, New York, NY. Through August 1, 2010.

Related posts:
2009 Top Ten list for painters
Picasso: "Unless your picture goes wrong, it will be no good"

May 21, 2010

McAleer's jumpsquares in Philadelphia

Joe McAleer, "Jump Boogie Woogie," 2010, acrylic on Canvas, 51 x 51"

Joe McAleer, "The Nature of Resistance," 2009, acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 30 x 30"

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Victoria Donohoe reports that  Joe McAleer uses color to make geometric form more dynamic. "Beyond that, he contrasts the grid's vibrations with the narrow line that's in his paintings as a physical signifier between the varied shapes. So the 'hard' abstract style of this patternmaker from Moorestown is modified in various ways, both by paint and by his use of photographic montages as minor elements most recently interwoven in these works. Op art, you may recall, is a hard-edged, surgically precise painting style that emerged in the early 1960s as an alternative to abstract expressionism, much of its illusion being attained through line. But the impulse goes back further for McAleer, to Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, especially in his use of high-key color in one of these paintings. And McAleer's particular contribution as an op artist is what he calls 'jumpsquare,' a basic form he developed while working on his grid paintings in 2007. Its frequent use here gives his canvases additional depth and focus, while avoiding a manufactured look. McAleer's works are becoming increasingly successful as he reduces the number of variables and deals with a design pattern we all can more readily figure out and appreciate."

"Joe McAleer: Optic Diamonds," Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PA. Through May 29.

May 20, 2010

Gallery visit: Allison Gildersleeve and Eric Jeor at Allegra LaViola

Allison Gildersleeve, "The Gully Behind," 2010, oil and alkyd on canvas, 54" x 52" 

Allison Gildersleeve, "The Hill in Back," 2010, oil and alkyd on canvas, 18" x 18" 

Allison Gildersleeve, "Tipping Rock," 2010, oil and alkyd on canvas, 64" x 60"

This month, Allegra LaViola presents landscape paintings by Brooklynite Allison Gildersleeve and Swede Erik Jeor. Jeor’s large-scale watercolors present a meditative dialogue between resolutely drawn hard edges and elegantly pooled puddles of translucent color. By contrast, Gildersleeve’s paintings are all action and angst in their aggressively painted, angular depictions of the tangled woods she remembers from childhood. Gildersleeve, who studied painting with Amy Sillman at Bard, deposits the viewer in a winter forest, where we look through thick stands of skinny trees, rocks and knotty underbrush toward distant clearings and other signs of civilization. Her chaotic brushstrokes and inventively vivid color reflect not careful perceptual study but rather the emotional vitality and frenetic untidiness of everyday life.

"Allison Gildersleeve and Eric Jeor," Allegra LaViola, New York, NY. Through May 29.

Eric Jeor, "Sacharrin And Melanin," 2008, watercolor, 43" x 60"

Eric Jeor, "Kenyatta Mondatta," watercolor, 19.3" x 27.3"

Related post:  

May 19, 2010

Call for videos handmade by painters!

Recently I was preparing a video for a presentation at The Aldrich Museum and it struck me that there should be a video channel dedicated to I started one. Check out the new Two Coats of Paint Video Channel, which features videos made by painters about painting. Submissions are welcome, but in order to be featured on the Two Coats Channel, the videos must first be posted on Vimeo. Once posted, send me a link. Thanks for watching!

Norbert Pragenberg's question: What is my special idea?

 Norbert Prangenberg, "Bild"(No information available)

 Norbert Prangenberg, "ABSTRAKT" (17.12.09) (2009), oil on cardboard. 

In The Brooklyn Rail, John Yau talks to Norbert Prangenberg, who has a show at Betty Cunningham through the end of the week. He's well known in Europe, but this is his first exhibition in New York since a 1986 show at Hirschl & Adler Modern. Although primarily known as a sculptor, Prangenberg presents thirty small paintings featuring thickly impastoed surfaces and non-narrative geometric form. Eschewing theory,  Prangenberg embraces process, exploring the interaction of hand, eye, and material. Here's an excerpt from his conversation with Yau.

"For me, the thinking is, when I start, what can I paint? Actually, that is the big question. [Laughs.] When I was a child it was my problem, too. I asked my mom, what should I draw? She said, draw a flower, oh no, a flower is boring. She said, draw a lion, oh yeah, a lion is better. [Laughs.] So, it’s a little bit of the same thing. And then, I think for me, I paint what I would like to paint. I also imagine them. I start and things come. For me, I see two columns. One is memory—things I remember. And the other thing is what I see and what I’m interested in—maybe it is nature or a butterfly or a flower or a pattern in a carpet or on a cup, or whatever. And when I remember things, maybe it is Pinocchio, but it comes more from this Giacometti figure with the long nose. He’s a kind of Pinocchio, too. Or it comes from paintings. I did some paintings from Casper David Friedrich—the ship in the ice. Or, I did some paintings, one after Van Gogh, 'For Vincent.' Or, I did a painting after Albert Altdorfer, a painter in the Middle Ages who painted incredible pine trees.

"As I thought about those paintings, I thought what can I do in my painting? So, that’s the reason, but I think the first thing is the color, of course, in painting, in my paintings. And then I have to find the structure, and the color and structure as a couple, and then the scene and the title as another couple. Actually, maybe, for me it doesn’t matter if I paint a face or I paint a tree or I paint an abstract. Actually, the main thing is to make this painting and find a way. But the scenes have to do with me. They are important for me if they affect me personally, like environmental things or like political things, but I don’t have a message, actually. I think when I make a painting, if it’s really strong, then the painting has a power. And this power is the message. What can color do? What can structure do? I mean, that is the reason to look at paintings in a museum or a gallery, or to have it at home: the energy. And then, for me it can be figurative or it can be abstract, it doesn’t matter. Or, what you asked me, then I play a little bit with these abstract things. Abstract is a big issue in art, especially in America. And then, I think about, what is abstract? Okay, then, I paint, you know, I put paint on the brush. Actually that is the base of abstract painting, you know, movement. Then, I think, okay, for me it’s not enough, a hundred thousand other painters make the same thing. [Laughs.] What is my special idea? And then I put another abstract in. You know, an idea of an abstract, not a de Kooning or Schumacher. I’m not interested in quotation. I put the image from an abstract painting in. So, then, suddenly I have a completely new thing. I have an abstract painting actually with two paintings in it. You know what I mean? It’s a little bit of playfulness, but it’s serious. And I think, for me, the possibility of making an abstract without quoting anybody. It’s only to find the image. And then, of course, this image that I put in has to do with the color of the base.

"In the end, it has to fit together. Did I have quotations? I have to be free when I paint. So it has to speak with the voice of the painting. And I think for me this thing to be free is important. I’m not interested in style. I want to be free in my paintings. But it has to be serious. Of course, being free doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want. It has to be based on my experience, on my age. I mean, when I was 15, I started to look at paintings in museums and in books. I really saw a lot of paintings and collections. And, my whole life, I’ve been involved with paintings and color and stuff. I think I have experience. I mean, I teach, I speak with students about art, so this all gives me a lot of background, actually. But, I use this background to be a free painter, you know? It shouldn’t make me narrow. It should make me wider. Not to use the same style, or not to have to find a style like, I’m the guy who only makes the black paintings with the red corner and the other makes the black with the green corner, to use it, to take it and to work. This is what I try to do, or not what I try to do, I do it."

"Norbert Prangenberg," Betty Cunningham Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 22. Note: The BC web site has excellent images of the pieces in the show, but because they are wrapped in a Flash animation, I couldn't post them here.

May 17, 2010

Five Minutes @ The Aldrich

Thomas Doyle, "Acceptable losses," 2008, mixed media, 16 x 13.5 inches diameter

Mia Brownell, "Still Life with Sweet Dreams," 2010, oil on canvas, 48x60." Courtesy Sloan Fine Art

Colin Burke, Window Shopping installation featuring cyanotype images and the objects depicted.

Paula Billups, "Recognition," 2008, oil on panel, 13"x 12"

On Saturday night  I participated in "For Artists Only,"  a networking event for local artists organized by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The Aldrich, located in bucolic Ridgefield, Connecticut, tends toward thought provoking, New York-centric exhibitions, but through their Radius program, they try to help regional artists build careers.  I tweetcasted the event live as 17 regional artists each made excellent five-minute presentations about their work. Here are my Tweets, with links (when available) to each artist's work. 

16. Julie Dotoli: Curvy line unpainted plywood shapes flat and interlocking in rearrangable groupings. 
15. Paula Billups: Painterly realism, lonely enigmatic imagery, austere palette.
14. Lannie Hart: Steel, resin, pretty, grrl power. Doll-like figures explore. art history, myths, iconic imagery.
13. Sharon Butler: Images of work for upcoming exhibition @STOREFRONT, August 2010, with Cathy Nan Quinlan. Curated by Hrag.
12. CSU prof Mia Brownell paints fruit, food, and molecular structure.
11. James Sparks: Traditional painter, landscape hyperrealism. 6-12 months per painting.
10. Alan Taylor: Doodler. Black ink, colored pencil, enlarged and output digitally. 
9. Matt Kinney--Big saws and wooden signs. He had shack in Beacon at Habitat for Artists, too! Small world. 
8. Carla Rae Johnson: Well researched Seance Series features pieces like "Emily Dickenson meets Marcel Duchamp." 
7. Steve Hunter: Encaustics, intuitive markmaking channeling emotional states. Creation myths, superstition.
6. Leticia Galizzi: Acrylic collages about the impossibility of catching the whole.
5. Colin Burke: Cyanotypes of ordinary objects like shopping carts. 
4. Thomas Doyle: mini diaramas based on notions of house and family life, under glass, address notions of unreliable memory. 
3. Keith Ramcourt: Construction worker involved w color, surface, metaphor of industrial materials. Titles from naval sites.
2. Ladies Auxiliary: Domestic chores reframed as art projects. LOL.
 1. Black and white photography by Joan Fitzsimmons .

NOTE: If you are an artist who does not have a link in the list above, please send it to me and I'll add it to your listing. Thanks!


Brown team takes two at the Whitney Biennial

 The dark, dank Boiler space in Brooklyn

Dawn Clements, installation of ink drawings made on site at The Boiler.

This month I wrote a piece for the Brown Alumni Magazine about alumnae artists Dawn Clements and Kerry Tribe. Each studied visual art and semiotics at Brown and have work in the Whitney Biennial, which closes at the end of the month. Tribe, a filmmaker based in LA and Berlin, contributed a film installation about H.M., a man who lost his short term memory after undergoing experimental brain surgery in the 1950s. Clements, who makes large-scale drawings, often with a humble ballpoint pen,  recently had an amazing  installation at The Boiler in Brooklyn that included drawings she made on site (images above). Here's an excerpt from the BAM article about Clements's drawing at the Whitney:

"Clements poignantly addresses memory and loss. Mrs. Jessica Drummond's ("My Reputation," 1946) depicts a recently widowed woman lying in bed the morning after her husband's funeral. Combining several scenes shot on the same bedroom stage set, Clements captures in a single expansive drawing the effects of a camera panning, shifting focus, and changing scale.

"While Clements was composing the drawing, her father died in a bicycle accident. After his funeral, she found the meticulously iterative process of marking paper well suited to mourning. 'As I worked, I realized that the piece was about both my father's death and my mother's grieving,' she says. Drawing at a small table, she added sections as necessary to coax the piece to resolution, simulating the process of grieving. Skillfully using simple tools—a ballpoint pen and thick drawing paper—Clements deftly fuses the iconographic and the personal....

"Clements doesn't work in film, of course, and she's had to moderate her passion for movies. 'I used to watch up to three a day,' she says, 'but lately I've been drawing from life.'

May 15, 2010

Welcome to the Two Coats of Paint Channel on Vimeo

A page from my sketchbook.

Tonight The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is holding a special event for artists only, and some have been invited to give five-minute slide presentations about their work. For my presentation I decided to make a little video in iMovie. The video features images from sketchbooks, studio and the @ Bushwick & Main blog. To publish the video online, I joined Vimeo. Suddenly it struck me: We need a TV channel about painting--so I decided to create one for Two Coats of Paint. I posted my video, two from the James Kalm Report, a Leidy Churchman piece, and one created by Timothy Buckwalter. If you've created videos about painting and posted them on Vimeo, send me a link and I'll add them to the new Two Coats channel. Thanks for watching.

Note: I'll be live tweeting from The Aldrich tonight from  7—9 pm, #aldrich.

Rogue art dealer Kurt Lidke arrested again

In The Seattle Times, Mike Carter reports that a notorious Seattle art thief, barely out of prison for a series of brazen art heists from some of the city's most respected collectors, has been arrested in the sales of stolen artwork, including a Rembrandt etching taken in a Sammamish burglary. "Kurt Lidtke, a former Seattle gallery owner, wept in court in 2007 while apologizing for thefts that had stunned the Northwest's art community. He was ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution and sent to prison for 40 months for thefts first detailed in a series of stories in The Seattle Times. He was accused of selling consigned artwork without paying the owners, and pleaded guilty to nine felony theft charges in a plea bargain. He was released from prison Dec. 21.

"According to charges unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Lidtke was working with a convicted burglar to steal artworks and then sell them. Lidtke was arrested in Bozeman, Montana, on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and was to appear in federal court there. Some of the art in the most recent thefts is believed to have come from a November 2009 burglary from an unidentified Seattle homeowner and included Morris Graves and Mark Tobey paintings valued at more than $190,000. Agents also believe Lidtke and his associates were casing several Seattle homes for future thefts. The charges allege Lidtke was targeting houses for a burglar who was then breaking in and stealing art that Lidtke unknowingly was marketing to an undercover FBI employee.

"During phone conversations with the undercover employee, Lidtke is reported to have said the Department of Corrections had offered him a business opportunity by locking him up 'with a bunch of criminals.' Lidtke, once a trusted art dealer, knew who had valuable collections. 'I can say, 'Hey, go get that painting for me,' you know, and they do,'  Lidtke reportedly told the agent. 'Crazy. It's just crazy.'"

May 9, 2010

Camp Pocket U seeks funding

I recently received a note from Austin Thomas who is looking to fund Camp Pocket U, a project that grew out of Pocket Utopia Gallery, Thomas's social sculpture project in Bushwick that closed last July.  "Jason Andrew (of Norte Maar) and I hope to inspire a conversation among artists, creative thinkers and the community, empowering participants and observers to think for themselves while offering a free camp for kids.  Brainstorming with Jason, we figure our strength lives at the grass roots level.  If people in our community each donate $25 or even $10, the free kids program will happen. We need a total of $7,500. That's it." Immediately I transferred enough money from my Paypal account to fund an art project. 

Here's the break down:
$125 provides supplies for an art project for the camp.
$250 brings five kids to camp.
$500 brings an professional artist to Rouses Point to teach for three days.

To donate to the program, click here.

In addition, Thomas tells me that everyone is welcome to attend Camp Pocket U. A distinguished cohort of painters, sculptors, musicians, choreographers, scientists, historians (including me) have been invited to take up residence, give classes and work on projects. The Camp will convene at Rouses Point, NY, located along the western shores of Lake Champlain. It's a friendly lakefront village that features lovely classical architecture and a charming, well-preserved downtown. Camp runs from July 21 through July 28 and will cost $450 for a three-day stay, including train fare from NYC. If readers  are interested in attending, please contact Austin Thomas at

May 8, 2010

Tom McGrath's spooky wooded scenery

33137 (Blinds), 2010, oil on canvas over panel, 56 x 96"
Gun Club Song, 2010, oil on canvas over panel, 20x30"

Blue Ridge by Headlights, 2009, oil on canvas over panel, 22x30"
In Time Out New York Barbara Pollack reports that Tom McGrath is a voyeur of the landscape, turned on by his own surreptitious intrusion into settings both natural and man-made. "In his earlier work, McGrath cleverly depicted highways and accidents as if seen through a rain-streaked windshield. Now, he has turned his gaze to more pastoral settings—the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and tropical gardens in Miami Beach—while retaining the underlying tension that makes such innocent locales feel like murder scenes. The more haunting paintings in this exhibition are those of Appalachia, with images of the woods at night lit by headlights, whose reflections on black trees are conveyed with lush strokes of white paint on an indigo background...

"In other paintings, McGrath inserts window blinds between the landscape and the viewer, further drawing attention to the act of looking....The horizontal stripes become gimmicky, especially when coupled with merely decorative depictions of palm fronds. Such paintings would fit in nicely at a South Beach bar, but none carry the charge of his spooky wooded scenery."

"Tom McGrath: Blue Ridge By Headlights," Sue Scott Gallery, New York, NY. Through May 30, 2010.

May 7, 2010

Pullulating beneath the surface of modern kitsch

Mark Ryden, "The Grinder" (#95), 2010, oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 25 1/2"
Mark Ryden, "Olde Tyme Meats," 2010, graphite on paper with watercolor washes, 22 x 20 inches;

From Ken Johnson's review in the NYTimes: Fathered by figures like Big Daddy Roth and Robert Williams, a movement affectionately called Lowbrow by its adherents has been percolating out of the quasi-underground pop culture of Southern California since the 1970s. Lowbrow paintings typically feature illustrative technique and comically weird imagery. Mark Ryden is a master of the style. Painting and drawing with the skill of a Beaux-Arts academician, he creates funny pictures of big-eyed female waifs whose dreamy innocence is bizarrely incongruous with the grotesque situations they are in. The largest painting, at 6 by 4 feet, portrays one of Mr. Ryden’s baby dolls in a misty park wearing a pink party dress that turns out, on closer examination, to be made of slabs of meat and sausages. In a scene set in an old-time outdoor cafe, Lincoln, wearing a loud, green plaid suit, serves a young femme a plate of raw hamburger that he has processed through a meat grinder....Such zany pictures hint at what creepy psychic stuff might pullulate beneath the sentimental, nostalgic and na├»ve surface of modern kitsch. 

"Mark Ryden: the Gay 90s Olde Tyme Art Show," Paul Kasmin, New York, NY. Through June 5.

May 6, 2010

In support of positive thinking

Andy Warhol, detail, "Ethel Scull 36 Times," 1963, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 100"x144"

In January, Mira Schor received a grant from Creative Captol/Warhol Foundation to develop a blog,  and last week she launched A Year of Positive Thinking. In her first few posts, Schor cruises around town looking for art to love.  She stopped by Acquavella Gallery to see Robert & Ethel Scull: Portrait of a Collection. "I feel like I knew the Sculls personally because I show Emile de Antonio’s 1973 great documentary film Painters Painting whenever I teach about the New York School, which means often," Schor reports. "The Scull’s appearance is a highlight of a film full of highlights: I love the scene where Ethel, with a vivacious enthusiasm that seems at once genuinely innocent and rapaciously disingenuous, describes Andy Warhol, armed with bags of coins, creating her portrait by taking her to Times Square to have her picture taken in photo booths in a tacky arcade. So it is great to see the painting in the show." Welcome to the blogosphere.

May 4, 2010

Suicide, homicide, frenetic violence: 2010 Turner Prize finalists

Angela de la Cruz, :Larger Then Life," 2004,
oil and acrylic on canvas, 260 x 400 x 105cm

Angela de la Cruz, "Clutter VI with White Blanket," 2004,
acrylic and oil on canvas, 54 x 200 x 247 cm 

 Dexter Dalwood,"Gatsby," 2009, oil on canvas, 85 x 86 1/4"
  Dexter Dalwood, "Gorky's Studio," 2009, oil on canvas, 78 11/16 x 98 3/8"

Painters Dexter Dalwood and Angela de la Cruz are among the four finalists for the Turner Prize, Britain's well known and controversial art award sponsored by the Tate. Named after 19th-century landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, the prize was established in 1984 to honor young artists. Surprisingly, this year the finalists are all in their forties. Dalwood, 49, who recently had a solo show at Gagosian's Beverly Hills outpost and currently has a show at Tate St. Ives, gained attention for his depictions of famous suicides and homicides such as the Sharon Tate massacre. Angela de la Cruz, 45, who currently has a show at the Camden Arts Centre in London, is known for a distinctively traumatized minimalism. Her crumpled, crushed, and broken canvases are strewn lifelessly on the gallery floor or hung limply on the wall. "The moment I cut through the canvas," de La Cruz says," I get rid of the grandiosity of painting." She sees the work as violent, unapologetic and darkly humorous, exposing a visceral emotionalism and the sense that a scene of frenetic violent activity has just taken place--leaving in its wake the strangely paradoxical feeling of spent energy and a sense of calm; a visual catharsis.

The other finalists include Susan Philipsz, 44, who has played recordings of herself singing pop songs in stairwells, supermarkets and under bridges, and London-based filmmaking duo the Otolith Group — Anjalika Sagar, 42, and Kodwo Eshun, 44. (via)
An exhibition of work by the finalists opens at the Tate Britain gallery on Oct. 4. The winner will be announced Dec. 6.

Related posts:
Dexter Dalwood's disrupted images
Jonathan Jones calls the selection 'half-baked."

May 3, 2010

Disagreeing with Charlie Finch

Jules de Balincourt, "Holy Arab," 2007, oil on panel, 34x 34”
Louis Cameron, "African-American Unity Flag (after Vincent W Paramore)," 2009, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 60"

Wendy White, "Dotte,"2010, acrylic on canvas, 82 1/4 x 96"

Marlene Dumas, "Charity," 2010, oil on linen, 43-1/4 x 50-5/8"

Charlie Finch chewed out painters at artnet last week. His complaints?  Marlene Dumas is vague and lazy, Jules de Balincourt is a perfect storm of bad painting, Louis Cameron is utterly awful, and Wendy White is nothing but a crappy sign painter.  "I guess the rationale for aesthetic distortion to the point of entropy is that we live in a multi-valent, overstimulated technical world, so that it is simply amazing that any painter can make anything at all.... The background of this stuff is totally fascinating and the execution is utterly awful: washed-out colors badly painted to a brittle conclusion that undermines the strength and brilliance of the mimicked sources. But that description nicely summarizes Dumas, de Balincourt, White, and, dare I say it, Luc Tuymans as well. The soft, haphazard gesture beckons to the lazy collector and painting is reduced to nothing but shades of gray."

Naturally, at Two Coats of Paint, we disagree.

"Wendy White: Up w/Briquette," Leo Koenig, Inc., New York, NY. Through May 22, 2010.

"Louis Cameron: The African-American Flag Project," A-20, New York, NY. Through May 1, 2010.


ArtForum promotes Michelle Kuo to editor

Michelle Kuo and Brian Goldstein at Harvard's Carpenter Center in 2004 where they co-curated "VAC BOS," an exhibition celebrating Le Corbusier and the 40th aniversary of the Carpenter Center. Photo courtesy Harvard University Gazette.

Last week ArtForum announced that Tim Griffin is stepping down as editor to become a roving editor at large. “Editing Artforum has been a fantastic privilege and deeply fulfilling, but I’ve done what I can do in this capacity,” Griffin said. “I’m excited that the publishers share my interest in exploring new possibilities related to the magazine, and that I will also have the opportunity to devote more energy to writing and teaching.” After seven years editing the magazine, Griffin wants to organize symposia and book projects, and produce a special issue of the magazine in autumn 2011. He is also completing a volume of his own critical writing on contemporary art. Michelle Kuo, who has been a senior editor at Artforum since March 2008, has been appointed editor. Kuo, a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art and architecture at Harvard University, is the author of numerous articles for Artforum, including essays on the work of Urs Fischer in November 2009 and on the history of fabrication for a special issue on the “Art of Production” in October 2007.

Perhaps Kuo will steer ArtForum in a more reader-friendly direction.

May 1, 2010

Buckwalter, wishing, for once, you would just stop coping

"Well, I Wish For Once, You Would Just Stop Coping," a selection of recent drawings from San Francisco-based artist, blogger, and mixtape master, Timothy Buckwalter, opens at Factory Outlet Gallery, in Mokelumne Hill, California today. Chosen from Buckwalter's massive archive, the show features highlights from Buckwalter’s last five years of ink drawings, as well as a new specially commissioned large scale piece for the gallery. To produce his wry word-based drawings, Buckwalter sorts through old comic strips, hacking out bits of dialogue that offer insight, often in a humorous vein, into universal- or self-understanding. The phrases are abbreviated and edited on a computer, resized, and then hand-painted onto sheets of paper. The resulting expressions hover somewhere in the grey area between self-loathing, self-loving, anger, and despair. For his installation at Factory Outlet Gallery, Buckwalter has covered the walls top to bottom with ink-drawn statements and declarations, freezing what might be fragments of conversations and thought, heard or imagined, onto the permanence of the page.

"Timothy Buckwalter: Well, I Wish For Once, You Would Just Stop Coping," Factory Outlet Gallery, Mokelumne Hill, CA. May 1 - June 2, 2010

"Timothy Buckwalter: Imitation of Life," Green Life Cafe, Philadelphia, PA. Through May 2010.

Teaching, discussing, and summer camp

Today I'll be at Gateway Community College in Connecticut participating in a panel discussion with Austin Thomas, Todd Jokl, and Hrag Vartanian. The panel, organized by Debbie Hesse, is part of a daylong seminar for artists called "Taking Care of Business" that the Greater Hartford Council has organized. Here's what we'll be discussing: What if you made a website and nobody ever saw it? OK. You have a website. Now What? How do you tweet, blog, vlog and facebook to drive folks to your website? This panel will explore ways in which artists can use the Internet, specifically, websites and social media platforms, as tools for marketing and promoting their work. Website design sources will be discussed as well.

Save the Dates: In July I'll be attending Camp Pocket Utopia at Rouse Point, NY, and in January, I'll be offering an online course at Eastern Connecticut State University on art blogging and social media. Registration starts in the fall. More details to come.