December 21, 2012

Quick study: Abstraction is Queen



Picasso Black and White at the Guggenheim includes loads of paintings I've never seen before--even in reproduction. Featuring large, unpainted swaths and urgent brushwork, the paintings look so fresh--as if they might have been made in a Bushwick studio yesterday. Some of the reclining figures from the 1960s reminded me of Philip Guston. Did they know each other? The show is up through January 23, 2013.

Pictured above:  Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman in an Armchair (Dora) (Femme assise dans un fauteuil [Dora]), Grands-Augustins, Paris, May 31, 1938.

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At the NYTimes, Roberta Smith raves about "Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925," opening at MoMA on Sunday:
...“Inventing Abstraction” is itself a marvel of a diagram, a creative circuitry variously visual, aural and kinetic, whose radiating lines yield new sights and insights at every juncture. Bravi!

At Hyperallergic, Thomas Micchelli reports that
An intriguing aspect of the show is how fluidly the multiple strains of Modernism run together — Cubism, Vorticism, Futurism, Suprematism, Dada and the rest. What they shared seems to matter much more than how they differed, a point underscored by the sublime exhibition design. Simultaneously open and intimate, the layout allows you to see a panorama of works installed in different rooms, giving the impression that the artworks are characters appearing in one grand opera rather than on discrete stages, following their own narrative.
I can't wait to see the show this week.

“Endless Column,” by Constantin Brancusi, and a wall of Kazimir Malevich paintings. Credit: Philip Greenberg for the NYTimes.

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After I had a somewhat lengthy discussion on Twitter this morning with one of the guys from Abstract Critical in which I defended "unresolved" abstraction,  The Painted Wrd uploaded a post comparing Provisional Painting and New Casualism to pop music's Kei$ha:
In thinking about the relationship between pop music’s fascination with end times and life in post-crash America, I couldn’t help thinking about the a similar rise in visibility of abstract work concurrent with pop music’s “apocalyptic abandon.” In the past two years, several critics attempted to theorize practices in this very broad vein, most prominently Raphael Rubinstein and Sharon Butler, whose respective terms of “Provisional Painting” and “The New Casualists” focus on the unfinished appearance of such work. Butler describes this tendency as “calculated tentativeness,” but I would like to propose the opposite: what if we think of such work not as trying to look incomplete, but as rejecting completion as a contemporarily relevant state in a late capitalist society where instability and precariousness reign? Here, even perfection won’t help you get a job, and it certainly won’t save you from getting laid off. In this view, we might think of contemporary abstract painting more like music, and particularly dance music: remixed and faded into the tracks before and after it such that it never ends and becomes instead a perpetual experience of the present.... Read more.
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Buy this book for your kids from MOMA's online gift shop:
With eye-catching graphics and playful activities, this creative sketchbook encourages would-be artists of all ages to look at the world around them and express what they see. Inspiring and colorful, Make Art Mistakes creativity sketchbook will bring out the artist in anyone.
My rule of thumb is that we shouldn't spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for holidays. My limit is three times the length of the event :)

And: Stay tuned for the 2012 Best-of post. 

Related:
Year-end roundup: The IMAGES column, 2011
Out with the old, or, Hello 2011 (a few upcoming exhibitions)
2009 Top Ten list for painters


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