June 28, 2010

Howard Hodgkin: Getting older is a sort of shorthand. There are a lot of things you know already.

Howard Hodgkin, "Listening-2003-2005," oil on wood, 53-7/8 x 61-1/2"

Howard Hodgkin, "Home, Home on the Range," 2001-2007, oil on wood, 80 1/4 x 105 1/8." Images courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

At The Observer, Howard Hodgkin, who has a show at Modern Art Oxford through September 5, discusses painting, memory and fear with staff writer Tim Adams. Here's an excerpt.

Time and Place takes in paintings from the last 10 years. Do you think of your work in terms of decades?
No not at all, I'm not an artist who is a historian of their own work – unlike a few I could name.

You are well known for painting and overpainting over a long period before something is completed, but there seems a greater simplicity in the new work. Do you have a sense of moving toward clarity?
I hope so. I got tired repainting things over and over, so now I tend to sit, sometimes for months, in this chair, and think it out, and then it all comes together quickly. Getting older is to me a sort of shorthand. There are a lot of things you know already.

Does that feel like a liberation?
It does. The problem is there is nothing to look at while you are waiting.

When did you change the way you work?
Around the time I was ill early last year. I had a loss of memory. I have an illness called hydrocephalus, which is like having water on the brain. I had a period in which I was not with it at all. People tell me I was unrecognisable, which is shocking because I was not aware of how far I had fallen.

Are you fully recovered?
Yes, but I did have a strong sense of mortality, which concentrates the mind. I had an operation and I produced some work even from the hospital bed. I'm left with a loss of balance, which comes and goes, and incontinence, which is an awful bore. Increasingly I feel I will have to get others to help me with the work.

Artists have triumphed over infirmity in different ways. I guess the model is Matisse and his extraordinary cut-outs?
Absolutely. My friend, who I live with, Anthony, said to me in a moment of impatience "Well I'm all ready with the scissors…" But of course I do lose heart. I always have. I am in one of those periods now. I hoped I might not be as anxious for this show as in the past, but I am.

What is the source of the fear?
It's a fear of people not really looking. I want to know what people think. But it gets harder and harder; there is a sort of ready made reaction – once people have seen your work they feel they know it. Surprising oneself is easier than surprising other people.

You've often spoken of how you paint to capture the shape and colour of your memories. How far back do they go?
Early childhood. I can remember the moment I decided I should be an artist. I had drawn a woman with very red hair, with a crayon, and everyone loved the colour. And I thought, well, if people are going to say nice things, I'll do that. I loved being praised, still do. There's a quotation from Evelyn Waugh, in response to someone who asked for his assistance in setting up a fund for young writers. He said: "It's not young writers who need help, it's old ones you should be looking out for." The young can take care of themselves.

Would you recognise your younger self as the same person you are now?
Oh very much so, horrifyingly so. I think back on myself as a tortoise who only had got this far out into the world. I'm an orphan now, in that my sister died recently, and she was the last connection with that old life. My three children, who I see often, are so critical and judgmental of me that I can't always pay too much attention to what they say. It's positive and negative, and I suppose that is a child's role, but it is another hurdle.

Do you think one learns more from failure than success?
There is an English way of grasping at failure to comfort yourself. My father was a brilliant alpine gardener of all things, and he was given a gold medal by the Royal Horticultural Society only when he was dying. He lived a life of quiet desperation with my mother, who lived a life of noisier desperation with him. She said failure was good for the soul, but I don't think it's true.

What were the best of times?
Oh, now. I wouldn't be an awkward adolescent again for anything. To say nothing of the deserts that come afterwards…

"Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place," Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK. Through Sept. 5, 2010.The show travels to San Diego in February 2011.

Recommended books:
Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place Essay by Sam Smiles, Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Plymouth and Tate Research Fellow 2009-12. The catalogue also contains selected critical responses to Howard Hodgkin’s work from 1962-2009. (Exhibition catalogue)
Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings: Catalogue Raisonne
Writers on Howard Hodgkin

Related posts: 
Some old gold: 2006 interview with Howard Hodgkin 
The nakedly emotional bravura of Howard Hodgkin 
The four Turner Prize-winning painters 
Criticism and geographic context




June 26, 2010

Part II: Some artist suggestions for Paul Kasmin's Process/Abstraction

In an earlier post, I objected to the absence of women in “Process/Abstraction,” a group show at Paul Kasmin that mixes younger artists with old-timers like Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Kenneth Noland. Why does it matter?  First of all, group exhibitions that lack gender diversity are so rare these days that when one comes along, unless related to the theme of the exhibition, gender exclusivity seems reactionary and out of touch. More importantly, when galleries attempt to influence contemporary art history on their artists’ behalf by presenting shows like this, they need to tell a more complete story. Instead of just complaining, I decided put together a list of women whose work the gallery might have thought to include. Of course there are plenty of other candidates, so feel free to add suggestions in the Comments section.

Tauba Auerbach,"Untitled Fold Painting, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30."

Linda Besemer, "Double Wave #1," 2008, acrylic paint, 60 x 44." Image courtesy of Angles Gallery in LA.

Karin Davie, "Symptomania no 2," 2007, oil on canvas, 60 x 70." Image courtesy Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm.

EJ Hauser, "please jump around here," 2010, oil and enamel on panel, 56" wide x 72" high x 1.75" deep.

Jacqueline Humphries, "Beat the Devil, 2009, oil on linen, 80 x 87." Image courtesy Green Naftali, New York.

Xylor Jane, "Selfsame," 2009, oil on panel 41 x 43" Image courtesy of Canada in New York. 

Carrie Moyer, "Red Widow," 2008, acrylic on canvas, 68 X 72." Image courtesy of Canada, New York.

Nathlie Provosty, "Beekeeper," 2010, oil on canvas, 44 x 36."

RH Quaytman,"Distracting Distance, Chapter 16," 2010, silkscreen, diamond dust, gesso on wood, 20 x 20." Image courtesy Miguel Abreu, New York.

"Process / Abstraction," Paul Kasmin, New York, NY. Through July 2, 2010. Artists include Walead Beshty, Daniel Buren, Ian Davenport, Simon Hantaï, Nathan Hylden, Morris Louis, James Nares, Kenneth Noland, Zak Prekop, David Ratcliff, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol and Christopher Wool.

June 24, 2010

The guys at Paul Kasmin

Frank Stella, "K.51," 2008, protogen RPT with stainless steel tubing, 75 x 63 x 57"

Simon Hantaï, "Meun," 1968, oil on canvas, 96 7/8 x 87" 

Ian Davenport, "Puddle Painting: Anthracite Black," 2009, acrylic paint on stainless steel, mounted on aluminum panel, 98 1/2 x 98 1/2"

 Nathan Hylden, "Untitled," 2009, acrylic on aluminum, 77 1/2 x 57"

Zak Prekop, "Untitled," 2010, oil on canvas, 22 x 20"

Christopher Wool, "Untitled, 2005, enamel on linen, 90 x 60"

In "Process/Abstraction" at Paul Kasmin,the gallery aims to connect the ideas and practices of Simon Hantaï, who died in Paris in 2008, and Frank Stella with a younger generation of abstractionists like Nathan Hylden and Zak Prekop. According to the press release, the artists "begin with deliberate and well-defined parameters and then introduce an element of chance. In their final forms, these works present a record of the processes employed while outlining new directions in pictorial abstraction."

Walking through the exhibition, I was struck by the absence of women in the show. Does it suggest bias, or is the selection merely incomplete? I like the idea of recontextualizing work by the old guys and giving some weight to the work of younger artists, but maybe the mix should be more contemporary, sloppier, and sexier--especially with all the excellent female painters exploring abstraction today. Beyond that, much of the work in the show seems overdetermined and sterile. An exhibition about process should be a little less severe, a little more fun. Stay tuned for Part II, in which I suggest some women whom Kasmin might have been included in the show.

Other artists include Walead Beshty, Daniel Buren, Ian Davenport, Morris Louis, James Nares, Kenneth Noland, David Ratcliff, Andy Warhol and Christopher Wool.

"Process / Abstraction," Paul Kasmin, New York, NY. Through July 2, 2010. Artists include Walead Beshty, Daniel Buren, Ian Davenport, Simon Hantaï, Nathan Hylden, Morris Louis, James Nares, Kenneth Noland, Zak Prekop, David Ratcliff, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol and Christopher Wool.

Related Post:
Part II: Some artist suggestions for Paul Kasmin's Process/Abstraction

June 19, 2010

NYC Gallery Visit: Sarah Walker and Ken Weathersby

After a meeting at Hyperallergic HQ in Williamsburg the other day, I stopped by Pierogi 2000, one of the pioneer galleries in this once humble, now rather chic neighborhood. Pierogi, begun in 1994 by artist Joe Amrhein, is especially well-known for its huge flatfile, containing affordable work on paper by over 500 artists. It also has generous gallery spaces, which currently feature impressive painting exhibitions by Sarah Walker and Ken Weathersby.

Sarah Walker, "Supraportas," 2010, acrylic on panel, 20 x 22"

Sarah Walker, "Extrapolator," 2010, acrylic on panel, 26 x 28"

Sarah Walker, "Compound, Blue Stripe," 2010, acrylic on panel, 10 x 11"

In the front gallery, Walker's sensationally kinetic abstract paintings (the color is more lurid and acidic than it appears in these images) seem to depict the exhausting onslaught of information, where the real and virtual are no longer easily distinguishable. Paradoxically, Walker's process is not frenetic and slapdash like that of earlier action painters, but slow and deliberate. After applying very liquid acrylic paint, she either partially wipes it away or allows to it to dry crusted and cracked, leaving traces of underlying layers. She paints into each layer, bringing forward some of the earlier details, while pushing back others. Walker sees the process as a kind of archaeology. "Every layer is both obliterated and preserved multiple times merging foregound, middle ground, and background and with it past, present, and the forecast of a future." The bright, wildly energetic paintings got my blood pumping. I emerged from the show energized but a little unsettled, thinking to myself, I've got to run! There's so much to do! And it was true. It's a real accomplishment for a painter to spur a viewer to action--and at the same time make her despair that she's in such a hurry.

Ken Weahtersby, "153 (c & a)," 2007, acrylic on canvas with relocated inset panels, 30 x 50." Two-sided painting. It can hang with either side visible. Images courtesy Pierogi 2000.

In the back gallery, Ken Weathersby's smart, quirky constructions employ a diptych format and checkerboard patterning so as to explore the nature of symbiotic relationships. He cuts out sections of canvas and reconstitutes the shapes on the other panel, or sometimes on the back of the initial one. Several of the pieces are double-sided, and will be flipped and re-hung over the course of the show. "Paintings are visual objects," Weathersby says. "Usually we think of the 'object' part as supporting the 'visual,' of the wooden stretcher and canvas as just being there to hold up the image that we are meant to see. But those two different aspects can play with or against each...." If Walker's work is a screaming declaration that there is just too much information, Weathersby's work makes a compelling case that we can simply choose to ignore it and opt instead to quietly observe the reciprocal nature of the relationships that surround us.

Sarah Walker: Edge of Everywhere,” Pierogi 2000, Brooklyn, NY. Through June 27, 2010.
Ken Weathersby: Perfect Mismatch,” Pierogi 2000, Brooklyn, NY. Through June 27, 2010.

This article originally appeared in the new arts section of The Huffington Post.

June 18, 2010

NY Times Art in Review: Kelli Williams

Kelli Williams, "Wet Bar," 2007, oil on panel, 12 x 16"

Kelli Williams, "Oviparous," 2009, oil on panel, 16 x 20"

According to Ken Johnson in the NY Times, Kelli Williams, who paints images of naked women in pornographic poses, has big philosophical ambitions, but when she juxtaposes drawings of sexy women in see-through burqas with oil derricks and military machinery, the images are just too obvious. "Ms. Williams is more compelling as an erotic fantasist than as an ideologue. A painting called 'Oviparous,' in which we look down on a voluptuous nude in purple fishnet stockings who has vividly patterned snakes crawling all over and around her, has the mythic resonance of D. H. Lawrence. More economical is a painting of a combination lounge and swimming pool with mermaids lolling underwater and a priapic demigod with a trident tending bar. Extending the fascination are finely rendered elements of architecture, furniture, decorative patterning and objects like the inflated ring floating on the pool’s surface.

"In a written statement, Ms. Williams describes her enterprise as a subversion of universalist monotheism, 'a malicious, antitheistic attack on social and natural order and prostration to higher powers and collective identities as well as an examination of the clash of belief systems and the anxiety underlying teleology and classification.' That is a heavy load for her delicate paintings to bear, but it may be an indicator of what many frustrated, liberal-minded Western artists are thinking in a world vexed by multiple forms of militant fundamentalism."

"Kelli Williams: Scala Naturae," Leo Koenig, New York, NY. Through July 3, 2010.

June 17, 2010

Recto or Verso: What kind of artist are you?

Barnett Newman, "Two Edges," 1948, oil on canvas, 48 x 36," Museum of Modern Art, gift of Annalee Newman (by exchange). © 2010 Barnett Newman Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Mark Rothko, "No. 1 (Untitled)," 1948, oil on canvas, 8' 10 3/8" x 9' 9 1/4," Museum of Modern Art, gift of the artist. © 2010 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Last year I was in the downstairs gallery at the legendary Salmagundi Art Club on Fifth Avenue, and was not surprised to see that all the paintings, each a figurative image and made within the previous year, had been artfully signed by the artists. The painters had developed distinctive signatures and placed them unobtrusively in corners, using colors that blended in with without getting lost. A small detail perhaps, but whether or not artists include their signatures on the front (recto) of their paintings indicates where they situate themselves on the continuum of art history. If it’s in the range from later Abstract Expressionism to Pop to Conceptualism and Minimalism to Post-modernism, the painting won’t have a signature--unless it’s an ironic gesture. If, on the other hand, the artist is aligned with the more conservative European figurative tradition rooted in perceptual study, the painting will be signed.

Ironic: Josh Smith's signature paintings

 Not ironic: A detail from G. Shephard's painting at a Salmagundi Club exhibition.

The Impressionists all signed their work, as did the Cubists and the early Abstract Expressionists. A casual study of MoMA’s online collection reveals that even “Two Edges,” a 1948 Barnett Newman minimalist painting, was signed and dated on the front, while “No.1 (Untitled),” painted the same year by Mark Rothko, was not. Rothko, whose work came back into the spotlight this year when RED hit Broadway (and won a Tony award), was interested in expressing emotion through color and saw looking at art as a spiritual experience. Presumably he stopped signing the front of the painting because he realized that the signature would hinder the viewer’s ability to become immersed in the art.

In the Sixties and Seventies, as Minimalists like Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, and Agnes Martin pared art down to its essential elements, the signature was tossed aside for obvious reasons. More broadly, artists came to believe that adding a signature was an aesthetic choice rather than a requirement for exhibition; artists assumed that viewers would know who made each piece based on the use of materials and subject matter, which rendered a signature redundant. Willem de Kooning and others pointedly continued to sign their work to indicate that they were hopelessly – and proudly – old-school. Others, like Robert Motherwell, treated the signature as a compositional element and signed paintings on a case-by-case basis throughout their careers.

Recently I’ve begun to question the preciously perpetuated disdain among contemporary artists for signing artwork. Like Twittering, blogging and Facebooking a signature enables artists, most of whom will never achieve international recognition in their lifetime, to say Hey, I’m here. Wouldn’t contemporary artists, unlikely to stick with a single medium for one exhibition (let alone an entire career) benefit from signing artwork where viewers can see it? And what if, when they're dead, the use of wall labels and didactic panels is no longer standard practice? Artists who work in disembodied, ephemeral media like social sculpture, performance and video may not care, but I imagine object-makers do.

June 16, 2010

The square line: Jukkala and Rosenthal in Philadelphia

Clint Jukkala, "Loop," 2008, oil on linen, 60 x 52"

 Clint Jukkala, "Mismatch," 2009, oil on linen, 20x16"

Mia Rosenthal, "Cannes," two-sided postcard drawing, 4² x 5-3/4²

 Mia Rosenthal, "Antoinette¹s Stamp Collection: 100 Queen Stamps," ink  and gouache on paper, 9-3/4" x 9-3/4"

Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Philadelphia is a generous, artist-run/artist-curated exhibition space that connects the Philadelphia art scene to the the rest of the art world by showing the work of Philadelphia artists alongside work by artists from other towns--i.e. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. This month, TSA presents paintings by out-of-towner  Clint Jukkala and drawings by local artist Mia Rosenthal. Here's an excerpt from the essay TSA co-founder Timothy Gierschick wrote for the show.

"For Mia Rosenthal, her straightforwardly sweet simulacrums of sent and received postcards impart a secondary, more spiritually acute layer to an already powerful metaphor for those places we cannot go, cannot be, or are not – as well as those people who inhabit them, or are passing through before us. On the uncomfortable cusp of welcoming a new life - her child - Rosenthal found comfort in celebrating one recently-departed life, that of her uncle's, by painstakingly reinterpreting the talisman of shared postcards – those small purchased icons of travel and exoticism; the skimmed-off leftovers of a life’s memory. The drawings' mostly hatched and linear interpretation extend the sense of improbability and distance - while preserving the warmth....

"Clint Jukkala previously worked more with the positive – shakily digital renderings of top-heavy bouquet forms; or slowly branching, slow-motion fireworks. Recently though, Jukkala’s bouquets have dissipated and migrated to the edges, and suggest portals, or doorways; the promising rainbows building, enveloping and bordering, rather than blossoming or branching into bouquet or fountain forms. His bright lines quiver and undulate ever so slightly, but always manage to click into appropriate positions in time to allow us egress.

"Rosenthal’s approach is talisman, but clear; Jukkala’s more at-hand icons conversely are, ironically, more ambiguous: are we entering or exiting these doorways; these portals? But not unlike many of the color and square studies by Josef Albers, the spaces and ways through are infinitely commutable; universal; eternal. The essence really is the movement through – the process – rather than the direction. No matter what space or place our life is finding form within, a human yearns for a little of another – and we will continue to find talismans for that yearning..."

Mia Rosenthal lives in South Philadelphia, PA, and teaches at the  University of the Arts. Clint Jukkala lives in New Haven, CT, and is an assistant professor of painting/printmaking and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art at Yale University.

"Clint Jukkala & Mia Rosenthal," Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PA. Through June 26, 2010.

Related post:
Places to go

June 14, 2010

Twitter Notes

Here are some recent items cut and pasted from the Two Coats Twitter Feed. For readers unfamiliar with Twitter, "RT" indicates the item has been repeated, or "retweeted," from someone else's Twitter feed.

Regina Hackett on how to paint: http://bit.ly/9LPs1O (Image above illustrates Hackett's Imperative #9: Like a thermos, contain heat without radiating it.  Joy GarnettExplosion, Black & Yellow 2009 Oil on canvas 26" x 32")

Looks great, lots of painting//RT @artfagcity: ArtCritical relaunches. http://bit.ly/93kNuO

 Boccioni's "Dynamism of a Soccer Player"

Remember the Art Handling Olympics? //MT @MuseumModernArt: installing Boccioni's Dynamism of a Soccer Player: http://bit.ly/b28L97

We highly recommend prescription sunglasses for reading outside during lunch.
RT @Tate: JOB POST: We're looking for two Web Designers: one permanent, one for a year. http://bit.ly/cHDRoi

Jonathan is presenting! RT @ArtCatNY: 1 IMAGE 1 MINUTE - significant people present significant images 6/22 http://bit.ly/9j0mvx

Film Pick: If you've ever wondered where the vintage 60s furniture came from and /or love Catherine Keener, Please Give http://bit.ly/ccglHw

Sodium Fox," 2005, sequence from DVD with sound, 14 minute continuous loop

Bret Easton Ellis developing a film w Gus Van Sant about Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake http://bit.ly/cFvSGk

Mary Addison Hackett "Icebreaker" 2010, watercolor, gouache, acrylic on wall

Artist Mary Addison Hackett makes four wall paintings in eight hours, finishing in time for the opening reception http://bit.ly/cCGxAr

 Eva Lake, Target 12 (Natalie)," 2000, mixed media, 11 7/8 x 11" 

Check out blogger Eva Lake's Targets at Augen in Portland, OR, through June 26 http://bit.ly/d9ig5e

Internships available @Wadsworth Atheneum // Apply by July 9. http://bit.ly/bpaUk4

Naturally, I don't buy the argument that iPhone users are bad parents. http://nyti.ms/a1TrYk

Win 15 bucks for lunch //MT @artnetdotcom: Whitney Museum teams with Keds in contest for MFAs. Apply here http://ow.ly/1WVlu

Kimberly Trowbridge, "Black Window," oil on Canvas, 48 x 60"

Sharon Arnold's friend from the NW//RT @ArtCatNY: Kimberly Trowbridge: Open-In at The Painting Center: http://bit.ly/bsqCIC

I like this show. #workofart

June 12, 2010

Work of Art Contest: Two Coats of Paint Edition

UPDATE: (July 18): Farrell Brickhouse is the winner of the Two Coats contest.

UPDATE (July 10): Finalists include Farrell Brickhouse, Kim Neudorf, Mira Gerard, and Timm Mettler. The winner to be announced soon.

Inspired by the new Bravo reality show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Two Coats of Paint is starting a contest of our own to promote the new Two Coats Facebook Page, provide an opportunity for readers to share their work and, well, meet one another. To participate in the contest, readers must simply comment on Two Coats Facebook Page posts. Be insightful, funny, articulate, stupid--whatever. As Sarah Jessica Parker implored in the first WANGA episode, "Be courageous...be yourselves!" The winner(s) will receive a solo post about his/her paintings on Two Coats of Paint. (I wish I could offer 100,000 bucks and a solo show at The Brooklyn Museum like the TV show, but this is the best I can do.) All comments posted before June 30 will be considered. Prizes are decided solely on the basis of Facebook commenting, not portfolios or exhibition history. Good luck!

Related posts:
Real Artists Paint Portraits...? 
TV Guide Listings for upcoming episodes. Artists Jon Kessler, Andres Serrano and Jonathan Santlofer will be guest judges.

Sigmar Polke is dead

 Polke's studio in 2007.  Photo credit: Albrecht Fuchs for NY Times

From the obituary written by Roberta Smith:

Sigmar Polke, an artist of infinite, often ravishing pictorial jest, whose sarcastic and vibrant layering of found images and maverick, chaos-provoking painting processes left an indelible mark on the last four decades of contemporary painting, died yesterday in Cologne, Germany. He was 69; the cause was complications of cancer, according to Gordon Veneklasen, a partner at the Michael Werner Gallery New York, the artist’s chief American representative....

Polke's main achievement was to be an early and astute adopter of American Pop Art, belying its crisp, consumerist optimism with tawdry materials that added social bite, and with random splashes of paint that implied disorder and the unconscious. His paintings were essentially Conceptual in their skepticism about the very act of painting. His images rampaged through history, ranging from demure 18th-century prints of an aristocratic astronomer that slyly signaled his interest in optics to images of the watchtowers and barbed-wire fences of Hitler’s concentration camps, stenciled onto banal printed fabric. The images questioned accepted taste, challenging the viewer to think through how they had been made; their random juxtapositions often seemed to mimic thought itself. In all these ways he opened the door to a freewheeling combination of representation and abstraction that is still playing out....

NY Times Slide show.

Related posts:
Sigmar Polke sees the light
The inscrutable Sigmar Polke
Sigmar Polke: Lens Paintings, Michael Werner, New York, NY. May 6-June 27, 2009.
58 Polkes for sale on artnet

Paintings from Ambroise Vollard's collection for sale in London and Paris this month

Paul Cézanne, "Ambroise Vollard," 1899, oil on canvas; 39 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.

 Lot number 18: André Derain, "Salon d'Automne," 1905. Possibly exhibited in Paris in 1905.

After years of litigation and several exhibitions, the trove of art work found in a Paris safe deposit box in 1979 is going to auction. The paintings, which originally belonged to legendary art dealer Ambroise Vollard, were deposited in the bank in 1939 by Yugoslavian art collector Erich Slomovic. Slomovic was killed by the Nazis in 1942, and the pictures sat in the bank until 1979 when the bank tried to sell them in order to recoup unpaid safety deposit box fees. Litigation between the Vollard heirs and the Slomovic heirs ensued, and they finally reached a settlement in the 1990s, dividing the works among them.  In 2007, some of the pictures were included in "Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of The Avant-Garde," an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and that later traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The 140 works included in the auction at Sothebys include a 1905 painting by Andre Derain valued at up $18 million. Other highlights include a portrait of the writer Emile Zola by Cezanne, three rare monotypes by Degas and a print by Renoir. Derain's painting will be sold in London on June 22, when a Manet self-portrait estimated at up to $43.6 million also will be offered. The rest of the Vollard collection will be sold in Paris on June 29. (via Associated Press)

June 11, 2010

New British Painting in Helsinki: Figurative, modest, and miniature

Gavin Tremlett, "Portrait Study," 2010, oil and charcoal on canvas, 150x110cm

Dominic Shepherd, "Magus," 2008, oil on canvas, 36x31cm

Emma Bennett, "Some Slender Rest (Part 2)," 2009, oil & French enamel
on canvas, 160x130cm

Sam Jackson, "The Ebony Clock," 2010, oil on wood panel, 12 x 15cm

Nadine Feinson, "Nine," 2007, oil on aluminium, 150x204cm

Alex Gene Morrison, "Black Bile," 2007, 214 x 153 cm

Installation view.

In ArtForum Timo Valjakka considers a show called "New British Painting in Helsinki and suggests that here are different kinds of newness. "Among them is the paradigmatic newness of something taking place for the first time, or of something that rewrites history. But there is also the newness that appears new only because it goes against whatever immediately preceded it. 'New British Painting,' an exhibition curated by Zavier Ellis and Pilvi Kalhama, belongs to the latter category. The six artists participating here share a denial of many of the values characteristic of the works of the YBAs and their contemporaries: a theoretical or conceptual foundation, large scale, and the cult of the artist as celebrity.

"But instead of giving us a new idea of painting, these recent pieces look back and draw their inspiration from the styles and works of artists who are older or half-forgotten. What contemporary audience thinks about the fetishistic work of Allen Jones, or eighteenth-century French Rococo? These are what first spring to mind on looking at the works of Gavin Tremlett. Perhaps the main difference is the androgynous nature of Tremlett’s nude models. Most of the works are figurative, modest, and even miniature in scale, and many have the feel of traditional easel paintings. While there are obvious visual pleasures and even humor in Dominic Shepherd’s psychedelic fantasies, the most compelling examples in this exhibition are undoubtedly Sam Jackson’s earth-toned panels, melancholy working-class portraits with their roots in the grand traditions of Bacon and Freud.

New British Painting,” curated by Zavier Ellis and Pilvi Kalhama, Gallery Kalhama & Pippo Contemporary, Helsinki. Through August 8, 2010.